Postgraduate study
Life & Physical Sciences

This course is available for January 2019 entry

PgDip/MSc Energy and Environmental Management

If you are seeking to develop the skills and confidence to address the critical global challenges of energy and diminishing natural resources, this is the programme for you. Clean energy, optimal use of resources and the economics of climate change are the key issues facing society, and form the fundamental themes of this programme.

Course information


  • within 1 year (September start) or 16 months (January start)

More full-time details

2018 entry


  • 2 years

More part-time details

2018 entry

Contact details

Further information

  • On video

    National Horizon Centre fly-through

    Take a virtual tour of our new £22m National Horizons Centre to open in March 2019. The University’s research, teaching and training facility at our Darlington campus complements our existing facilities and supports the emerging bio-based industries. You will have access to a wider range of labs and equipment in biologics, biotechnology, bio-pharmaceutical science, biomedical science, bioinformatics and related technologies.


You explore the world’s dependency on hydrocarbon-based resources, together with strategies and technologies to decarbonise national economies. The course examines global best practice, government policies, industrial symbiosis and emerging risk management techniques. You also address the environmental, economic and sociological (risk and acceptability) impacts of renewable energy provision and waste exploitation as central elements. The programme develops the problem-solvers and innovators needed to face the enormous challenges of the 21st century - those who can play key roles in driving energy and environmental policies, and in formulating forward-looking strategies on energy use and environmental sustainability at corporate, national and global scales.

For the PgDip award you must successfully complete 120 credits of taught modules. For an MSc award you must successfully complete the 120 credits of taught modules and a 60-credit master's research project.

Energy, environment, risk managing projects, sustainability and integrated waste management are the main foci of the programme, but you also explore the financial aspects of energy and environmental management. Economics is integral to the development of policies and is often a key influencing factor.

This programme aims to develop a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the role and place of energy in the 21st century and the way the environment impinges on the types of energy used and production methods. It also aims to investigate the environment as it is perceived, and contextualise its actual importance to mankind. Specific objectives for this course are to establish the financial validity for the pursuit of alternative energy forms and management of the environment.

You are encouraged to take up opportunities of voluntary placements with local industries to conduct real-world research projects. These placements are assessed in line with the assessment criteria and learning outcomes of the Project module.

Examples of past MSc research projects

  • The taxonomy of facilitated industrial symbioses
  • Assessment of the climate change impacts of the Tees Valley
  • Exploring the links between carbon disclosure and carbon performance
  • Hydrothermal carbonisation of waste biomass
  • Quantifying the impact of biochar on soil microbial ecology
  • Potential for biochar utilisation in developing rural economies
  • Carbon trading opportunities for renewable energy projects in developing countries
  • Exploring the potential for wind energy in Libya
  • Demand and supply potential of solar panel installations
  • A feasibility study of the application of zero-carbon retrofit technologies in building communal areas
  • Energy recovery from abandoned oil wells through geothermal processes

Course structure

Core modules

Concepts of Sustainability

This module explores different approaches to sustainability and sustainable development, giving you an understanding of the characteristics of sustainable natural systems. We introduce and discuss the major sustainability challenges of the 21st century, focusing on ecosystem services and resource depletion.

Economic and science/engineering solutions are outlined throughout the module, with particular emphasis on approaches that focus on system-level and/or design considerations. You gain experience with a number of analytical methods and sustainability metrics, such as mass flow analysis, life cycle assessment and footprinting. You also study approaches to modelling the impact of techno-economic systems on the environment.

Energy and Global Climate Change

Examining the science of climate change in detail, this module gives you an understanding of the natural greenhouse effect, and anthropogenic and natural perturbations of the climate-regulation system.

You gain knowledge of the likely future outcomes of anthropogenic climate change. You develop your understanding of the technologies involved in energy production and their importance to climate change in relation to energy policies. You also explore and critically analyse the roles of renewable energy systems such as wind, wave, tidal, solar and biofuels.

Throughout this module, we examine the potentially important roles that hydrogen economy and nuclear fusion could play in delivering future energy requirements. We also explore the vital issues of carbon dioxide sequestration and storage.

Global Energy Policy

Energy is of central importance to national and international economic activity. This means that the supply and demand of energy is an important focus for national governments and international debate.

Energy supply is dependent on technological possibilities and environmental constraints. Subsequently, the development of energy policy for any given country is a complex area.

Throughout this module, you question what shapes energy policy? Why do national policies differ? How are policies developed alongside technological and environmental uncertainty? How does energy policy relate to a country's wider political standpoint?

Integrated Waste Management and Exploitation

This module introduces you to modern thinking on integrated waste management technologies and techniques, and its role in sustainable development. And we introduce essential knowledge of physical and biological waste management technologies, and the terminology associated with these technologies.

Research Methods and Proposal

You develop a proposal for your research project, which contains an explanation targeted at both a specialist audience and the general public, details of experimental design and statistical analysis to be employed. You consider the impacts of the proposed work both in the form of academic beneficiaries, economic, environmental and societal impacts. Your project costs are estimated on a full economic costing model. You also include a targeted CV.

You attend a short lecture series at the start of the academic year that will provide an introduction and advice. You are allocated a project area and supervisor and you produce a research proposal for the project. You are supported by a series of meetings with your supervisor and receive feedback on your progress. You acquire ethical clearance from the School Research Ethics Committee.

You are assessed by the successful acquisition of ethical clearance (pass/fail) and submission of a completed research project proposal and supporting CV (100%).

Research Project

Investigate an area of engineering or science for an extended period through a research project or design project, working independently at a level recognised as at the forefront of the discipline. You develop key research skills, applying and creating your knowledge through keynote lectures and self-managed independent study. You will demonstrate your capacity for comprehensive and objective analysis, and for developing innovative and constructive proposals as a solution to the project topic. We support you through tutorials and/or one-to-one guidance but you require a high degree of autonomy.

The Economics of Climate Change

Gain an understanding of the basis of the economic argument within energy and environmental management and how this relates to the energy and environmental challenges of the 21st century with emphasis on climate change. You address the political and economic attempts made to deal with the problem of climate change and consider some of the possible future outcomes from both social and technological standpoints. These include industrial ecology and industrial symbiosis. The module also provides the linking theme that connects all the other modules that comprise this MSc course.


Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

The course provides a number of contact teaching and assessment hours (through lectures, tutorials, projects, assignments), but you are also expected to spend time on your own, called 'self-study' time, to review lecture notes, prepare course work assignments, work on projects and revise for assessments. For example, each 20-credit module typically has around 200 hours of learning time.

In most cases, around 60 hours are spent in lectures, tutorials and in practical exercises. The remaining learning time is for you to gain a deeper understanding of the subject. Each year of full-time study consists of modules totalling 180 credits; hence, during one year of full-time study a student can expect to have 1,800 hours of learning and assessment.

How you are assessed

Modules are assessed by a variety of methods including examination and in-course assessment with some utilising other approaches such as group-work or verbal/poster presentations.

Work placement

There may be short-term placement opportunities for some students, particularly during the project phase of the course. This University is also in the process of seeking accreditation for the Waste Management module from the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management.

Career opportunities

Successful graduates from this course are well placed to find employment. As an energy and environmental manager, you might find yourself in a role responsible for overseeing the energy and environmental performance of private, public and voluntary sector organisations, as well as in a wide range of engineering industries.

Energy and environmental managers examine corporate activities to establish where improvements can be made and ensure compliance with environmental legislation across the organisation. You might be responsible for reviewing the whole operation, carrying out energy and environmental audits and assessments, identifying and resolving energy and environmental problems and acting as agents of change. Your role could include the training of the workforce to develop the ability to recognise their own contributions to improved energy and environmental performance.

Your role may also include the development, implementation and monitoring of energy and environmental strategies, policies and programmes that promote sustainable development at corporate, national or global levels.

Entry requirements

You will need a first degree in a subject related to science, technology, engineering or business/management equivalent to at least a UK second class (2.2) honours degree. In addition, international students will normally need at least 6.0 with no component below 5.5 in the International Language Testing System (IELTS) test.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

Course information


  • within 1 year (September start) or 16 months (January start)

More full-time details

2018 entry


  • 2 years

More part-time details

2018 entry

Contact details

Further information