MSc Environmental Impact Assessment & Management

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Environmental Impact Assessment

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN60411
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Environmental impact assessment (EIA) refers to the process of evaluating the likely significant environmental consequences of a proposed major development that may affect the natural and man-made environment before a development is given permission to proceed. EIA can contribute to the design of projects, as well as to the decision-making process on whether the project should proceed or not. It is a process that is undertaken worldwide by a wide range of jurisdictions and international organisations.

A key feature of EIA is its pro-active nature and, through the consideration and mitigation of poitential environmental impaccts throughout project development and execution, it can make an important contribution to sustainable development. However, the tool is at a key historical juncture. Its value in relation to the achievment of broader environmental goals is under scrutiny. It is crucial that academic and professional communities think carefully about its role within wider systems of environmental planning, management, and governance and are able to make a convincing, contemporary case for the tool. 




• Explain and assess the process, and underlying principles and concepts, of EIA
• Explore the methods and techniques used in the stages of the EIA process.
• Evaluate the operation of EIA in the UK and other countries.


Teaching and learning methods

Series of asynchroonous and in-person interactive lectures. 

Asynchronous recordings will be accessible from Monday of each week. These will introduce you to the topic of that week and require you to undertake an Individual Task and then meet in your groups to finalise a reponse to a Discussion Task. The response to the Discussion Task should then be uploaded to your Group Space by Friday of each week. Your responses will be used by staff members to inform the discussion in the synchronous session the following Tuesday. You will be introduced to this approach in more detail and have the opportunity to form groups during the 'Introduction to Module' lecture. 

Knowledge and understanding

Discuss the stages and operation of EIA process

Discuss current trends in EIA

Intellectual skills

Evaluate the wider role of EIA in the context of sustainable planning

Discuss impact assessment concepts

Evaluate information to make decisions

Practical skills

Conduct screening, scoping, report review stages of EIA

Analyse and synthesise previous research

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Work effectively in groups.

Write reports

Communicating findings

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 10%
Written assignment (inc essay) 75%
Oral assessment/presentation 15%

Individual Paragraph (200-250 words) 10% weighting

Group Statement (200-250 words) 15% weighting

Individual Essay (2,500 words) 75% weighting

Feedback methods

Feedback on submitted work will be provided within 15 working days

Recommended reading

Relevant Journals

Journals that often carry articles on EIA and SEA include:

•            Environmental Impact Assessment Review

•            Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal

•            Journal of Environmental Assessment and Policy Management

•            Journal of Environmental Planning and Management

•            Journal of Environmental Management

Reading and references

Please consult the online reading list throughout the semester available on the Blackboard course page. We have collated 100+ relevant readings, the majority of which are accessible online either as downloadable pdfs or via the University library’s subscriptions. The core textbook and topic specific readings are both available here. You will be given direction as to relevant readings for individual and group tasks. We would also encourage you to engage with other readings on the reading list to gain a deeper understanding of each topic area. Please remember, to achieve the highest marks for your essay we expect you to have read and understood a wide range of literature to demonstrate knowledge and understanding. This will also aid your analytical skills which are also essential to essay-writing.

Core eTextbook

Glasson, J. and Therivel, R. (2019). Introduction to environmental impact assessment. New York, Routledge.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 21
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Snow Unit coordinator

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