Postgraduate study
This course is designed to develop environmental leaders who are equipped to drive and direct change in organisations, in order to address the profound environmental challenges of our time.
MSc Environmental Leadership and Management
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
2:1 (or international equivalent) in a relevant discipline
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in each element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£10,305 - Terms apply
International fees
£19,575 - Terms apply
University Park



There is growing recognition that addressing environmental and sustainability challenges requires a unique combination of fundamental knowledge, practical problem-solving skills and interpersonal competencies. All of these essential elements are integrated in this programme, and it is this distinctive holistic approach that will provide you with the skillset critical for success in this field.

This programme is one of the first of its kind in the UK and its unique features include:

  • opportunities to engage with experienced environmental leaders from industry and commerce
  • a focus on the development of skills-based competencies needed for employment
  • the ability to tailor your degree to a specific environmental specialism
  • the opportunity to gain a Level 5 Certificate awarded by the Institute of Leadership and Management

The course is ideal for anyone who aspires to be a leader who can generate positive change for the environment, both within organisations and broader society. Its dual focus on scientific and people skills ensures you are prepared to lead in roles that include sustainability management, environmental consulting, green policy development, and environmental entrepreneurship.

Dr Nick Mount and Dr Chris Ives talk about the MSc Environmental Leadership and Management.

Academic English preparation and support

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress to postgraduate study without retaking IELTS or equivalent. You could be eligible for a joint offer, which means you will only need to apply for your visa once.

Key facts


Full course details

The core curriculum will give you an understanding of fundamental environmental processes and the ways in which contemporary environmental decisions are made. You will develop as an informed, environmentally aware leader who is ready to be an effective agent of change and influence within organisations.

You will:

  • develop a deep understanding of the key environmental and sustainability challenges facing the world today, such as water quality and supply, clean air, climate change, urbanisation, biodiversity loss and sustainable energy resources 
  • be exposed to cutting edge scientific and social science thinking about how to measure, analyse and address these challenges 
  • identify and develop the character and personal competencies necessary to be an effective environmental leader
  • learn to utilise your leadership, communication and management skills, through practical experience, to be a change driver in a competitive organisational context, whilst also championing the environment
  • develop your ability to analyse information so that you can make sound judgements, find innovative solutions and take achievable actions that will meet the needs of organisations and the environment
  • gain the skills necessary for identifying, evaluating and mapping environmental challenges, visioning solutions and strategising pathways for change

Core themes will include:

  • leadership 
  • sustainability 
  • environmental processes 
  • decision making in an environmental context 
  • problem-solving techniques
  • project design

The programme also incorporates ILM tuition delivered in collaboration with GWA Ltd - an ILM Approved Centre. It will result in the professional qualification of a Level 5 Certificate in Leadership and Management.

The ILM tuition will include an intensive teaching block, plus supported assignment and project work. It will cover topics such as: 

  • leadership styles
  • motivating and influencing 
  • planning and managing change 
  • innovation 
  • project planning and managing

Through the completion of a research project with an emphasis on environmental practice, you will acquire the skills needed for effective design of environmentally-focussed research projects and problem-solving.

The dissertation can either be a traditional research dissertation supervised by an academic from the School of Geography, or it can be a placement-based dissertation co-designed and undertaken in partnership with a relevant organisation (for example, environmental NGOs; environmental consultancies; government agencies; environmental research centres and more).

This experience in an organisational context will help to demonstrate your abilities as an effective environmental leader to future employers.

Opportunity to specialise

In addition to the core curriculum, you may also specialise in a specific area of environmental challenge that aligns with your personal career aspirations, by selecting an individual pathway covering issues such as:

  • climate risk 
  • sustainable ecosystems 
  • water resources

Within each pathway, the teaching and learning is designed to develop theoretical and applied knowledge alongside practical competencies, so that you become equipped to be a leader that can manage specific contemporary global environmental challenges and their impacts.

Your degree award will identify your area of specialisation, ensuring employers can be made aware of your skills. Please see the modules section for more detailed module information.




People and the Environment

This module will provide a baseline contextual understanding of environmental challenges globally, and the social, political and legal context in which they are embedded. It is anticipated that the first half of the module will focus on biophysical environmental challenges (for example, pollution, biodiversity loss, land degradation) and the human drivers of this.

The second half of the module will consider how socio-political processes have enabled such environmental challenges to emerge (for example, via globalisation, economic growth paradigms) and the legal and policy structures that are relevant to environmental governance at local, national and global scales. Given this module covers such a broad scope, you will be directed to particular case studies based on staff expertise.

Techniques for Environmental Solutions

Functioning as an introduction to numerous technical methods, this module will expose you to techniques and analytical tools such as remote sensing and GIS, statistical modelling, stakeholder analysis, survey design, Bayesian Belief Networks and multi-criteria analysis.

It is not intended to provide you with in-depth competencies in particular techniques, but rather a grounded understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of different methods in various environmental management contexts. Assessment will therefore consist of selecting appropriate techniques applying technical output to inform and solve environmental problems in real-world scenarios.

Perspectives on Environmental Leadership

This module will explore how environmental leadership is conceptualised and operationalised through engaging with existing environmental leaders from different sectors. The structure of the module will mainly consist of guest lectures/interviews, and you'll be encouraged to direct inquiry (for example, through asking questions yourself).

Assessment will revolve around you developing your own theory of environmental leadership (with reference to the literature) and reflecting on the relationships between inner character and outward competence.

Project Management

The module covers:

  • definitions and classifications of projects
  • objectives in project management - time, costs, quality
  • activity identification
  • resources and resource management
  • critical path method, programme evaluation and review technique, and resource scheduling
  • performance measurement and costs
  • project lifecycles and models
  • project teams and leadership in project management
  • managing risk in projects
  • critical chain planning method
  • analysis of project success and failure
  • Monte Carlo Simulation
  • project management software
Leadership, Strategy and Performance in the Public Sector

This module will examine the role of leadership in the public sector. It will discuss different concepts of:

  • leadership
  • organisational culture and change
  • performance in the public sector
  • the use of knowledge and information in organisation learning
  • performance improvement in public sector organisations
  • the use of strategy in the public sector

You will study different models and approaches to these concepts, how they are affected by and interact with the policy environment, and how they influence each other.

Leadership and Management in Practice

This module is delivered by an external training provider (Goodman Wilkinson Associates). Assessment and teaching will be modified to ensure that the standard of the content can be accredited at masters level, resulting in you receiving a Level 5 certificate by the ILM which also contributes to your MSc.


Optional modules

You can specialise in a particular pathway by selecting both of the 10-credit optional modules under the following specialisms. An option is also available to choose an open pathway where two of the following can be selected:

Climate Risk

Climate Change: The Scientific Basis

This module includes:

  • a review of modern climate systems and climate forcings
  • climate modelling, projections of future climate change and their uncertainty
  • controversies around climate change and the ways in which climate change is communicated to and perceived by the public
  • the impacts of climate change on the oceans, food security, forests, water scarcity, extreme events and human health
  • mitigation and adaptation to future climate change including the role played by policy-makers and NGOs
Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation

This module includes:

  • a review of modern climate systems and climate forcings
  • climate modelling, projections of future climate change and their uncertainty
  • controversies around climate change and the ways in which climate change is communicated to and perceived by the public
  • the impacts of climate change on the oceans, food security, forests, water scarcity, extreme events and human health
  • mitigation and adaptation to future climate change including the role played by policy-makers and NGOs

Sustainable Ecosystems

Ecosystem Conservation and Management

Content to be confirmed.

Conservation Planning

Content to be confirmed.


Water Resources

Managing Rivers and Catchments

Content to be confirmed.

Hydrological Modelling for Water Resource Solutions

This module covers:

  • modelling approaches for understanding catchment hydrology 
  • modelling land-use change impacts on catchment hydrology using SHETRAN
  • catchment hydrology: humans influences on river biodiversity
  • modelling the global effects of dams on runoff, water security and ecosystems


The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

International masters scholarships

For 2019 entry, we are delighted to offer very generous scholarships to reward high-quality candidates who are applying for the MSc Environmental Leadership and Management programme, who:

  • are classed as an international (non-UK or EU) student for fee purposes AND
  • hold, or are predicted to achieve, the UK equivalent of a high 2.1 in undergraduate studies – these students will be considered for a 50% scholarship until we reach our funding limit
  • hold, or are predicted to achieve, the equivalent of a first class degree – these students will be considered for a Scholarship for Excellence which will provide either a 75% or 100% scholarship, until we reach our funding limit

See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide. Further information is available on the school website.

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you'll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.


Careers and professional development

This course will help you to effect genuine change and to meaningfully contribute to your organisation's sustainability agenda.

By developing your leadership skills in tandem with specialist knowledge you will be able to address today's most pressing environmental challenges, as well as create strategies to tackle future problems.

Your skills as a solutions-orientated specialist will enhance your career opportunities and employability across a range of sectors including government, private industry and NGOs.

Employability and average starting salary

85.7% of postgraduates from the School of Geography who were available for employment secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £26,000 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £33,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career and professional development

Whether you are looking to enhance your career prospects or develop your knowledge, a postgraduate degree from the University of Nottingham can help take you where you want to be.

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service offers specialist support and guidance while you study and for life after you graduate. They will help you explore and plan your next career move, through regular events, employer-led skills sessions, placement opportunities and one-to-one discussions.


Related courses and downloads


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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