SOAS University of London

Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)

MSc/PGDip/PGCert in Environmental Management

Online and Distance Learning Programme

Duration: MSc/PGDip min. 2 years / PGCert min. 1 year

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment
  • How to Apply


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Minimum Entry Requirements: A good first degree in an appropriate subject area, as accepted by the University of London, and a high level of English language ability in reading and writing and in study skills.

Start of programme: This programme is now closed to new applicants

Mode of Attendance: Online Learning

Design and implementation of solutions to current issues of global environmental concern requires both specialists and well-trained managers capable of working within, between and across disciplines. 

This programme provides the necessary multidisciplinary training and is relevant to those concerned with the management of natural resources and the formulation and implementation of policies that create environmental improvements at local, national and international levels, and in community, corporate and government organisations.

This programme will provide you with the following learning outcomes:

  • a sound understanding of the principal environmental policy issues confronting managers in diverse geographical and culture situations
  • an awareness of the ethical and moral issues involved in seeking the wise and sustainable use of natural resources
  • a range of relevant practical skills, particularly in the fields of environmental impact assessment, audit and law
Professional recognition

The MSc and Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Management are approved by the Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), subject to the completion of specified modules. Completion of either of these qualifications can provide exemption from the training requirement for Practitioner Membership of IEMA. By becoming a Practitioner Member of IEMA, you will receive a wide range of benefits that can greatly enhance your professional and academic career. To qualify for recognition by IEMA, you will be required to study the elective modules in Ethics for Environment and Development (P563) and International Environmental Law (P514).On completion of your qualification you will have 12 months to join IEMA. As an international leader for environment and sustainability professionals, IEMA is a non-profit membership organisation with more than 15,000 members worldwide. IEMA promotes best practice standards in environmental management, auditing and assessment. It promotes sustainability through environmental practice and performance and supports professional development of individuals involved in the environmental profession in the public, private and nongovernmental sectors. Benefits of IEMA membership include access to: professional networking and career opportunities, training sessions such as workshops, seminars and webinars, regional and national events, publications, negotiated deals for professional indemnity insurance, special interest groups and website. For more information see:


Phone: +44 (0) 20 7898 4050


Environmental Management is available as a Master of Science, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate. The table below outlines the programme structure of each level.

Core Elective Research Duration
MSc 4 3* 2 2–5
PGDip 4 4* 2–5
PGCert 3 1* 1–5

* Including one free choice from across all programmes (subject to approval on the Programme Convenor)

Students are advised to consult the module withdrawal schedule for 2018–2022, that is published on the VLE.

Core modules
Elective modules
Research component (MSc only)
Strengthening quantitative skills

It is recommended that students whose basic quantitative analysis skills are weak should also take a non-examined module:Quantitative methods (CF04) at or near the start of their studies. Study materials may be obtained from CeDEP’s virtual learning environment.

Registration period

Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and MSc Students are registered for a maximum of five years, as per the University of London International Programme Regulations. If a student upgrades from a PG Certificate to PG Diploma or PG Diploma to MSc the five year registration period will apply from the date the students commences study on the first programmes.


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Academic level

All CeDEP programmes are taught to Master’s (Second Cycle) level, which involves building upon existing knowledge and understanding typically associated with the Bachelor’s (First Cycle) level or its equivalent. Study at Master’s level requires:

  • originality in developing and/or applying ideas, and extending or enhancing previous learning
  • application of knowledge and understanding, including problem solving in new or unfamiliar environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts
  • integration of knowledge and handling of complexity
  • formulating judgements with incomplete or limited information, including reflection on social and ethical responsibilities
  • clear and unambiguous communication of conclusions, and the knowledge and rationale underpinning these, to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • learning skills to study in a manner that may be largely self-directed or autonomous.

Prospective students should note that distance education of this kind demands a high degree of commitment, determination and self-discipline. Whilst CeDEP provides significant support through the tutorial system and by other means, students taking on programmes of this nature should possess a strong measure of self-reliance.

Study expectations

How long will it take?

For students in full time employment, the MSc and Postgraduate Diploma usually take three or four years to complete and the Certificate 2 years.

Master of Science (MSc)
Postgraduate Diploma Postgraduate Certificate
Minimum registration period 2 years 2 years 1 years
Minimum registration period 5 years 5 years 5 years

Below is a recommended progression pathway for those intending to complete an MSc in three years:

1st Year
(February / May)
2nd Year
(February / May)
2nd Year
3rd Year
(February / May)

3 x core modules

1 x core module

Research Methods
1 x elective module

Dissertation 2 x elective modules

Students wishing to register for more than three modules in their first year should satisfy their academic programme convenor that their personal circumstances will allow sufficient study time for this on a weekly basis (e.g. those students not in employment or in part-time employment).

When can I study?

The study session begins in February and runs for 30 weeks.

Examination arrangements

Due to Covid-19, written exams are currently online take-home format rather than in person at exam centres in your country. Submission is via a separate University of London Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Assessment of the Research Component

The Research Component comprises two modules:

  1. Research Methods
  2. Dissertation.

Research Methods is assessed through two examined assignments (each worth 50% of the module mark) submitted during the study year.

The Dissertation is assessed through a proposal (worth 20% of the module mark) submitted in February, followed by a 10,000 word dissertation (worth 80% of the module mark) submitted in September.

In order to qualify for an MSc, it is mandatory for CeDEP students to pass the Research Component.

Research Component (MSc students only)

The Dissertation is usually carried out during the final year of registration, once all core modules and the Research Methods module are complete.

The Research Methods module provides skills and techniques which will assist with the subsequent development and conduct of your research and preparation of your Dissertation. Research Methods can only be studied in the February study session. Therefore, if you are intending to complete your MSc in two years, you must register for Research Methods alongside your core modules in February of your first year.

You can apply to study the Dissertation once

  • you have completed all your core modules and Research Methods, or
  • you have submitted all the relevant assignments and exams, and are awaiting results.

 You will be required to submit a short topic form, outlining your initial ideas for your Dissertation research, when you make your application.

The Dissertation involves conducting desk or field-based research in a relevant topic of their choice. All research topics are subject to approval and each student is assigned a personal supervisor. The period between November and February is used for background reading and preparation of the assessed proposal, after which the main research work takes place.



Graduates of this programme typically apply skills in natural resource management, environmental appraisal, environmental auditing and analysis and policy design to the work of:

  • government ministries and related agencies, performing environmental planning and/or policy analysis work
  • private companies and consultancies preparing environmental assessments, evaluations and policy advice
  • corporations implementing programmes to meet goals of social and environmental responsibility
  • research and educational institutions involved in environmental management and sustainable development
  • international and non-governmental organisations concerned with economic development and environmental change
  • charitable trusts and organisations carrying out conservation and educational field work


How to Apply

This programme is now closed to new applicants.