Environmental Surveying - MSc

MSc - Full Time, Part Time
September 2019
£6,100 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2019 entry (view all fees)

Our MSc Environmental Surveying focuses on the environmental challenges faced by professionals in today’s construction industry.

What's covered in the course?

We aim to produce graduates who desire to pursue continued excellence in both their personal and professional life, aiming to be the best at what they do.

To this end, our programme encourages and enables collaborative activity, engagement with work placements, projects, international exchanges and approaches to, and engagement with, emerging technologies, in order to support your future employability and maximise the investment you have made in your education.

By the end of this course, you will be able to identify, implement and evaluate the processes, tools and outcomes of surveying to create more sustainable places across the built and natural environment.

Over the course of the programme, you will learn to critically assess surveying theory and practice within the context of the environment and sustainability in order to respond to the growing demand for surveying practitioners and consultants who can address contemporary and future challenges within an environmental context.

You will develop the skills required to assess, analyse and offer practical, sustainable solutions to building and development related problems, and will acquire the knowledge needed to interpret the law across a range of environmental subject areas.

You will have the opportunity to apply your learning in an autonomous manner through the use of real problems and case study materials.

You will develop your problem-solving abilities, practical competencies, critical appraisal and written and oral communication skills.

The course will also encourage you to work in an inter-disciplinary manner with graduates and professionals from a variety of backgrounds employed within a planning, surveying, real estate and environmental context.

Environmental issues and sustainability are vitally important for successful management of the built and natural environments. The MSc Environmental Surveying provides ambitious students with the broad contextual knowledge and specific skills necessary to develop a dynamic career and play a leading role in this field. Roger Wall, Programme Leader

Why Choose Us?

  • This course has been developed in consultation with industry experts and in collaboration with our students.
  • This course is underpinned by extensive staff knowledge and skills.
  • You will develop as a confident independent and team problem solver who is willing to take on new challenges and experiences.
  • You will become technically proficient and have the ability to transfer your knowledge to a diverse range of activities on graduation.

Study a Masters in the Built Environment

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This course is open to International students

School of Engineering and the Built Environment

Discover the School of Engineering and the Built Environment

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

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Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Roger Wall.

Email Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate open day.

Study options

The programme has two intakes, in September and January, and may be studied in full or part-time mode. The full time duration is 17 months.

Entry Requirements

UK students

Students are required to have a 2:1 in a construction related degree.

Students with a non cognate degree will be considered if you have relevant work experience.

Students accepted with a non cognate degree will have to successfully complete a pre course module

EU/International students

Overseas candidates must have an equivalent qualification and have a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent, with a minimum score of 5.5 in all four skills.

International Students

Entry requirements here

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MSc Sep 2019 FT 12 months £6,100 per year
MSc Sep 2019 PT 24 months £3,050 per year

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MSc Sep 2019 FT 12 months £12,300 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Course duration

Please note, there are no taught classes over the summer months (June to August) for postgraduate courses, so the total time spent in University for this course is:

  • September start (full-time) 12 months
  • September start (part-time) 20 months

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements


Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

Commercial Inspection and Surveying
20 credits

This module focuses on the key surveying competencies of building pathology, inspection and measurement of land and property. The module draws on the various aspects of these competencies and their inter-relational qualities to develop a cohesive approach to the undertaking of a variety of surveys. You will be exposed to the range of data collection and data management techniques, the variety of surveys available for commercial and industrial property as well as evaluating the construction and condition of the building and the impact this might have on the viable use of the building. The need to collate information, integrate data from a variety of sources, reflect and formulate into a coherent professional report is a key employability skill.

Download the full module specification

Environmental Science and Design
20 credits

This module provides you with a knowledge and understanding of environmental science and its importance in the design and management of the built and natural environments. The module is designed to meet all of the requirements for the RICS ‘environmental science and processes’ competency and part of its requirements for the ‘contaminated land’ and ‘laboratory processes’ competencies.

Download the full module specification

Tools for Managing Sustainability
20 credits

The assessment and management of environmental impact is an increasingly important part of development and sustainability. This module is designed to give you exposure to key concepts and methods related to this area of work. It is designed to meet the requirements for the RICS ‘environmental management’ and ‘environmental assessments’ competencies.

Download the full module specification

Professional Practice
20 credits

The module enables you to understand the importance of working within the boundaries of established professional best practice. It focuses on the skills and competencies that are required in practice to meet professional standards and expectations. This includes ethics; stakeholder analysis; business presentation skills; negotiation; conflict management, team working; reflexivity etc. The module is designed to encourage action research and develop your capacity to address the changing needs of the built environment professions and the wider industry, giving you currency within the market.

Download the full module specification

Transitions for Sustainable Futures
20 credits

This module gives an overarching view of sustainability design and management issues and the different ways in which many of the major challenges facing society are being approached. It is designed to meet the requirements for the RICS ‘management of the built environment’ competency and part requirements for the ‘management of the natural environment and landscape’ competency.

Download the full module specification

Development Project
20 credits

This integrative module enables you to apply knowledge gained in modules throughout the programme to a “real life” practical scenario based assessment. It will provide an understanding of the factors influencing development decisions and how to evaluate possible development solutions in the context of client requirements. You will work in interdisciplinary teams to meet the requirements of your client. The module encourages you to develop competence in evaluating information and will extend your communication and problem solving skills. These are all vitally important in a professional practice situation.

Download the full module specification

Individual Master’s Project (Dissertation)
60 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed Level 7 project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. In agreement with your supervisor, you will decide upon your topic which will take the form of a practical outcome (artefact) with accompanying contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be aligned to the programme you are studying and informed by the research strategy of your school, and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

Download the full module specification

We take an experiential and practice-led approach to Learning and Teaching, and opportunities to develop relevant employability skills are embedded throughout the programme. This programme will support you in becoming an active, autonomous learner through the teaching, learning and assessment process.

The emphasis is on interactive learning, including student-led workshops, role-plays and simulations to achieve deeper learning and understanding.

We use visiting teachers, field study visits and research-informed teaching to engage students with practical and topical issues. Appropriate modules are shared across courses, which helps to enrich your educational experience and allows you to encounter the perspectives, values and attitudes of students from other disciplines, which will be helpful in your future career.

Throughout the programme you are given the chance to practice surveying skills within an environmental context in order to develop transferable skills which will be valuable whatever your final choice of career.

Many modules are team taught, thus providing you with a wide variety of rich and diverse academic styles and expertise.

The programme encourages you to participate in activities and discussions which are hosted on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Moodle. All learning activities are supported both in teaching sessions and on the VLE. The VLE also offers interactive practice-oriented opportunities to test and apply your knowledge.

We expect you to attend all teaching sessions as well as to read and prepare before these sessions. Good preparation will enable you to get the most from your contact time and will help you become an autonomous learner. Advance preparation is also a critical skill which you must develop if you wish to succeed in business or professional practice. Teaching sessions include lectures and small group interactive seminars. We will provide you with feedback on our VLE following seminar sessions.

The MSc programme offers a diverse range of assessments which are practice-led and knowledge-applied, providing an opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge and employability skills within each module. Our assessment strategy is designed at programme level and incorporates a broad range of practice-led techniques including essays, evaluations, verbal presentations, posters, reports, design presentations, group work and role play scenarios. Most modules are assessed through a variety of these techniques in the form of a portfolio linked together by a common theme.

International Opportunities

The course team has an international outlook and is keen both to welcome international students and provide opportunities for home students to get involved with international projects. The course team has good contacts in countries as diverse as France, Poland, India, Mexico, Colombia, Peru  and Tanzania and is always keen to explore project opportunities and develop new contacts.

Further Study

Successful students will be well placed to continue their professional careers through membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and completion of the Assessment of Professional Competencies (APC). Students wishing to continue their studies will find opportunities at PhD level.

Trips and Visits

Field study visits are used to inform teaching and engage you with practical and topical issues.

Enhancing your employability skills

We recognise the significance of employability and the investment you have made in your education. Therefore, our programme encourages and enables collaborative activity, engagement with work placements, projects, international exchanges and approaches to, and engagement with, emerging technologies.

Birmingham City University programmes aim to provide graduates with a set of attributes which prepare them for their future careers. The BCU Graduate:

  • is professional and work ready
  • is a creative problem solver
  • is enterprising
  • has a global outlook.

The University has introduced the Birmingham City University Graduate+ programme, which is an extra-curricular awards framework that is designed to augment the subject based skills that you develop through your programme with broader employability skills and techniques that will enhance your employment options when you leave university.


There is no guaranteed placement but the course team is very keen to provide project opportunities that extend beyond the curriculum. This is a new course but students on the previous MSc Environmental Sustainability programme were engaged in a number of projects such as: interviewing environmental specialists for a video project; running a webinar for international students; investigating the uses of natural fibres for building insulation; and designing an IT Centre for an eco-village in Tanzania.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

Our environmental sustainability course opens up opportunities within industrial, commercial, charitable and governmental organisations. Many companies now employ environmental or sustainability specialists to work as part of larger project teams engaged in core design and construction activities.

You may find a role as an environmental policy maker or manager.

  • Environmental engineers
  • Environmental analysts
  • Sustainability managers
  • Sustainability designers
  • Construction project managers.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

This course will be taught at Millennium Point at the City Centre Campus. We offer a wide range of technology to help you with your studies.

We have an ongoing strategy to upgrade and further develop our well-equipped laboratories. These plans are supported by global technology providers such as PTC and Technosoft. These two companies alone have recently donated more than £11 million worth of computer aided design, product lifecycle management and knowledge-based engineering software.

In addition, more than £750,000 worth of capital investment has been made in upgrading our engine emissions test facilities, environmental laboratory and thermodynamics equipment.

Test Cell Facilities

The key features of our test cell include:

  • 340 kW fully transient dynamometer
  • Full exhaust gas analysis both pre and post after treatment system
  • Ammonia slip analyser, EGR CO2, THC and non-methane HC

Exhaust Analysis

The key features of our exhaust analysis facilities include:

  • Signal Group Analysers in 3 racks with heated sample systems
  • Sierra BG-3 particulate mini-tunnel
  • AVL 415S smoke meter

Environmental Lab

The environmental lab is part of the Centre for Low Carbon Research (CLCR) and is home of the bioenergy and bioprocessing research group at the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment.

The suite is divided into three main areas a wet lab/pilot facility a fully equipped analytical suite and a microbiological lab. This newly refurbished facility offers state of the art analysis and testing of environmental samples as well as scientific evaluation of lab scale and pilot scale technologies and processes.

More about our facilities

Our staff

Our academics have worked alongside small, medium and large companies and bring to the table expertise from within the automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, ICT, environmental and health sectors.

Roger Wall

Senior Lecturer

Before joining the University in 2001, Roger worked for a water resource management consultancy specializing in IT solutions and GIS applications, and as a software engineer for a German consultancy firm.

He has been involved in a number of European projects, including the IEE IEC-SME project related to energy efficiency and management in small companies, and has taken part in Erasmus exchanges with EIGSI in La Rochelle and in Saint Petersburg. He has also previously worked on business engagement programmes designed to help UK SMEs develop and market environmental technologies (EnviroInnovate & EBOP).

Roger is responsible for the development of UG and PG environmental teaching programmes at BCU. He teaches across a number of programmes in the areas of environmental science, green design, energy and sustainable construction, and is also engaged in UG and PG research project supervision. He has extensively and has recently undertaken recruitment and partnership building visits to India, Mexico Colombia.

Roger’s current interests revolve around the complexities of sustainable systems and the need to balance many different and often conflicting factors. He is also interested in humanitarian engineering solutions and the use of appropriate technologies in building design and sustainability. He is involved with the Engineers Without Borders programme at BCU and is currently working with like-minded staff to develop a new MSc course reflecting these interests.

Nicki Schiessel Harvey

Nicki Schiessel Harvey

Director of Recruitment and School Tutor for Personal Development

Nicki Schiessel believes firmly that knowledge must be made applicable to everyday practice, and draws on four years' consultancy with Atkins Environment carrying out EIAs, sustainability appraisals and socio-economic assessments. Nicki is interested in the implications for decision-making of changing values in different environments, particularly urban water. She has lived and worked in Africa, Asia and the ex-Soviet republics.

Claudia Carter

Reader in Environmental Governance / Associate Professor

Environmental Values journal cover Claudia is Associate Professor in the field of interdisciplinary environmental research and environmental governance. Her research relates to climate change and sustainability adopting social-ecological systems thinking/approaches. A poignant area of interest are the opportunities and barriers to 'low-impact' living and the emergence of transition initiatives/towns and degrowth movement. Claudia studied geography and environmental management and for many years worked in academic and applied research on environmental policy and management, environmental values, public and stakeholder engagement, critical evaluation, and interdisciplinary research approaches. She joined Birmingham City University in 2011 as a researcher and lecturer teaching and supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students. Since 2011 she has been Associate Editor (Socio-Economics) of the journal Environmental Values.

Current/recent research projects include (i) development of PARTICIPOLOGY, a resource to engage people in participative planning, decision-making and training using a board game format; (ii) work packages 9 and 10 of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) Follow-On programme focusing on assessing and developing tools to take account of the Ecosystem Approach in decision-making; and (iii) collaboration in the Rural Economy and Land Use programme (RELU) - funded project 'Managing change at the rural-urban fringe'.

Past posts included Project Leader/Social Scientist at the Forestry Commission's Research Agency - Forest Research (Farnham, England; 2006-2011); Researcher in the Socio-Economic Research Group (SERG) of the Macaulay Institute (Aberdeen, Scotland; 2002-2006), Research Associate in the Department of Land Economy at the University of Cambridge (1998-2001). For more information about Claudia's work and current research, please contact her via claudia.carter@bcu.ac.uk.

Sue Hayhow

Senior Lecturer

Senior lecturer Sue Hayhow is a former associate partner of Lawrence and Wightman who moved into Social Housing, managing large regeneration projects in the West Midlands.

Sue is a member of RICS and has been training and assessing young surveyors since 1994. She's recently been a judge for the RICS regional awards.

Amanda Mundell

Senior Lecturer

Amanda is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and the Built Environment and teaches on post-graduate and undergraduate programmes. Her teaching experience is supported by 2:1 law degree (specialising in Planning and Environmental Law), a post-graduate professional qualification (Legal Practice Course), along with 15 years relevant practical experience with a Local Planning Authority in their Legal and Development Control Sections.