The MSc in Environmental Technology provides the highest standard of knowledge and skills development for environmental specialists. Through the course students acquire a diverse range of discipline-specific problem-solving frameworks for tackling contemporary environmental issues. A major emphasis of the course is on the way that environments function and on the compatible tools, alternative technologies and policies for sustainable environmental management. MSc Candidates also learn to appreciate that successful projects depend, at least in part, on belonging to a network of experts aiming to advance personal and collective environmental goals. We emphasise a friendly and supportive learning environment.

The course combines the natural and social sciences, engineering and business in a truly interdisciplinary manner, providing a foundation for graduates to demonstrate their ability to identify and resolve environmental and sustainability issues in a holistic way. This broad training is followed by an in-depth education in many specialised areas. The specialist options in the second term are designed to cater for a variety of individual interests and career requirements.

The programme is currently only offered as a full-time (Mode J9UF) one year course or as a specific part-time (J9UF24) two year course with an industrial placement (Water Management Option), and both lead to the MSc degree and the Diploma of Imperial College (DIC). More information is provided in the Course Handbook and Blackboard.

Further information about the course structure

First term

Students complete the Core Course in the first term (October-December) which comprises taught modules, a small group seminar series, and continuous course work assessment. Environmental policy seminars conducted by external speakers also occur throughout the first and second terms. The Core Course emphasises contemporary policy debates through a number of cross-cutting themes: climate change and energy, international development, sustainability and health, and biodiversity. Core Course Directors are Dr Bill Sheate and Dr Caroline Howe.

The core course is presented as three main modules:

The Natural World

The Natural World module seeks to provide the ecological, scientific and technologic basis and context for environmental challenges. It exposes students to the core principles necessary for understanding the natural world and environmental problems, including ecology, environmental pollution and control, natural resource management and biodiversity.

The Human World

Environmental sustainability is enabled or constrained by policy, regulations, laws and economics, and through governance created by multiple stakeholders – government, business, communities and society at different scales. This module presents aspects of these socially-oriented disciplines to provide the core principles for understanding the social basis for many environmental problems and demonstrate how the use of the environment can be influenced by well-designed tools and management policies.

The Human-Natural World Interface

Becoming an interdisciplinary learner and understanding the interactions between the natural and human worlds is at the heart of environmental studies. This module is presented as a series of problem-based case studies, supported by small group seminars and policy seminars. This allows students to critically understand and tackle contemporary environmental and sustainability problems.

Content is drawn from the following areas:


Core course assessment

The Core Course is assessed using a combination of written, group and online assessments.


Learning outcomes for the core course

On completing the core course modules students should be: 

  • able to appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability
  • able to examine critically the breadth of subjects covered
  • able to integrate and apply knowledge across disciplines with confidence
  • able to understand the fundamental principles of ecology, environmental law, environmental economics, environmental policy and management, environmental pollution and control, and quantitative/qualitative research skills and uncertainty
  • confident to engage in group learning and communication
  • skilled and confident problem solvers, both independently and as part of a team, and able to project manage and make a contribution
  • confident and efficient in acquiring and applying new skills and knowledge 

Second term

During the Option Course in the second term (January-March) students complete their selected option based on their decision at application. A strong case study approach is employed with emphasis on working in teams, decision-making, strong analytical skills and report preparation. Click on the links below to find out more about each module.

Second term optional modules:

Third term

Specialisms are further developed in the final five months of the course, during which an in-depth individual research project (18 weeks in duration) is conducted. This term includes an interim-viva assessed within the department, a thesis and an assessed executive summary.

Research project