MSc Environmental Impact Assessment & Management / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Strategic Environmental Assessment

Unit code PLAN60461
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
Offered by Planning and Environmental Management
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


• Extending environmental assessment to the strategic level: policies, plans and programmes
• The SEA process
• SEA methods
• The European directive on SEA
• UK approaches to SEA
• International and agency examples of SEA
• Sectoral responses to SEA
• Current developments in SEA




1. To explore the basis of strategic environmental assessment (SEA).
2. To explore different SEA approaches and methods.
3. To understand the regulatory context for SEA in different contexts.

Teaching and learning methods

Workshops, student-led seminars, lessons from practice, self directed reading.

Knowledge and understanding

Appreciate the relationship between SEA and environmental planning processes;

Develop an awareness of SEA effectiveness and performance requirements

Intellectual skills

Develop an ability to debate alternative approaches and establish reasoned arguments.

Practical skills

Obtain a practical understanding of SEA methods and approaches

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Advance skills in group discussion, oral and written presentation, scenario development and problem solving.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 75%
Oral assessment/presentation 25%
  1. Group Presentation;  Weighting: 25%
  2. Essay; Length; Weighting: 75%

Feedback methods

Formative feedback will be given verbally through Q&A and discussion within lecture/workshop/presentation sessions, together with written comments as appropriate, and through the Blackboard Discussion Boards.   Written summative feedback will be given on the group presentation and individual report and essay.

Recommended reading

Dalal-Clayton, B. and Sadler, B. (2005) Strategic Environmental Assessment: A Sourcebook and Reference Guide to International Experience, Earthscan, London.
Fischer, T. (2002) Strategic Environmental Assessment in Transport and Land Use Planning, Earthscan, London.
Marsden, S. (2008) Strategic environmental assessment in international and European law: a practitioner's guide Earthscan, London.
Noble, B. (2000) SEA: what is it, and what makes it strategic? Journal of Environmental Assessment and Policy Management 2: 203-224.
Runhaar, H. and Driessen, P. (2007), What makes strategic environmental assessment successful environmental assessment? The role of context in the contribution of SEA to decision-making, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 25(1): 2-14.
Sadler, B. and Dusik, J (2016) European and international experiences of strategic environmental assessment: recent progress and future prospects Routledge, London.
Therivel, R. (2004) Strategic Environmental Assessment in Action Earthscan, London.
Verheem, R. and Tonk, J, (2000) SEA: one concept, multiple forms, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 18: 177-182.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 12
Seminars 12
Independent study hours
Independent study 126

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Carys Jones Unit coordinator
Andrew Snow Unit coordinator

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