The human race is entirely dependent on the ecosystems that feed us, regulate our environment and recycle our wastes. They provide all we need to survive and thrive. Over the past 100 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period in history. There have been net gains in human well-being and economic development, but these gains have been achieved at growing cost in the form of environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and depletion of natural capital.

Many options exist to reverse ecosystem degradation, but an understanding of the ecological systems and science is just a starting point. Understanding how the science interacts with policies, institutions, and practices is vital to achieve real change.

The Environmental Resource Management option is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of how ecological principles can be applied to the management and conservation of natural resources and ecosystems, as well as practical skills and techniques.

Practical applications of ecological, institutional and economic concepts are illustrated by case studies, practical sessions, seminars and workshops. These are augmented by field trips and frequent contact with outside organisations responsible for environmental management. The option draws on a wide range of speakers with first-hand experience of environmental and ecological management in both the developed and developing world.

Students graduating from this option will be well placed to make informed decisions relating to real-world problems and able to identify and evaluate options for the management of environmental resources.


  • To equip students with the interdisciplinary knowledge and skills to embark on a career in natural resource management and to engage and interact with professionals in these disciplines.


  • To provide students from natural science, engineering, social science and other backgrounds with a broad understanding of issues, methods and underpinning philosophies in contemporary natural resource  and ecosystem management.
  • To produce graduates capable of combining the scientific, economic and policy aspects of resource management and conservation, so that they can draw conclusions of strategic significance for governments, companies and NGOs.

This course is particularly well-complemented by the Climate-KIC Added Value programme. Successful applicants onto our MSc, regardless of Option, can apply to attend the Journey summer school and work to develop innovative solutions to climate change problems with like-minded students from around Europe.


Three main themes run through the option:

Challenges and solutions to environmental resource management

This module will deliver an overview of environmental resources and management approaches associated with them. The module will allow students to engage with a range of ERM problems, addressed using a particular method or technology. The research-led case studies will be presented by external experts and practitioners. The module will include a range of environmental resources, which may change from year to year, reflecting emerging environmental issues. Topics will include several of the following:

  • Fisheries and marine ecosystems,
  • Agriculture and farming,
  • Forests and woodland,
  • Game and wildlife,
  • Biomass, soil, water.
Critical and analytical approaches to environmental resource management

This module will expose students to a variety of methods and tools for evidence-based environmental resource management and decision making. The module’s main component will be a group modelling projects, which will be student-led. Approaches covered by the module will include several of: Systems modelling, Citizen Science, GIS for Ecological management, Life Cycle Assessment, Carbon Footprinting, Field sampling, SEA/SA.

Environmental resource management in practice

This module will principally consist of a series of field visits that enable students to have first-hand experience of environmental management in practice and engagement with practitioners.  Visits will cover a range of ERM contexts.


The Environmental Resource Management option  (formerly  called Ecological Management)  has been running since 1978 and has more than 480 Alumni that can be found throughout all levels of Government, Industry, International agencies, Consultancy and NGOs.

Graduates are excellently placed to gain employment in a wide range of organizations dealing with natural resources, conservation and international development. Over 80% of graduates gain employment in the environmental field within months of graduating.

Common destinations include consultancy, NGOs, international organisations and government, a few people each year also go on to further study. In the following list, we have tried to include a representative example of the current roles held by students who have graduated from the option in the last three years.

  • Operations Leader - Conservation Volunteers (a UK NGO)
  • Research Officer at Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
  • Senior Program Officer, Environment and Climate Change at International Council on Mining and Metals – ICMM
  • Project developer at Partnerships for Renewable Energy
  • R&D Consultant – Energy Management Systems – Total
  • Analyst, Deloitte Sustainability, Australia
  • Researcher at British Antarctic Survey
  • PhD Student - ETH Zurich
  • Programme Officer, Business and Biodiversity at UNEP-WCMC
  • Waste and Environmental Consultant – AECOM
  • Environmental Scientist – Cascade consulting
  • Carbon monitoring officer – a London borough council

Find out more about the MSc course