BSc Environmental Management with Professional Placement / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

BSc Environmental Management with Professional Placement is a four-year degree studying the Earth's natural resources, the way in which human societies interact with them, and ways in which they can be sustainably managed.

Understanding both scientific principles and relevant policy frameworks is essential if we are to address global environmental challenges including the climate and biodiversity crises and sustainable development.

The course has a strong focus on practice and applied skills, and you will study environmental processes and their management by combining small group, classroom-based learning with fieldwork.

Your third year will normally be spent working in the environmental sector in a paid placement for between 9-12 months. Excitingly, you could be working for an environmental consultancy in the private sector, for local government in the public sector, or for an environmental charity in the third sector.

By the time you graduate, you will have an advanced understanding of environmental systems and processes, and the policies and practices involved in their management.

You will also have gained a wide range of practice-based skills, which enhance your employability including measuring a wide range of environmental impacts in the field, conducting ecological surveys and contemporary approaches to enhancing biodiversity, undertaking environmental impact assessments, and using important digital skills such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

During the degree you will also acquire a wide range of transferable skills including project management, presenting complex information in a range of formats and styles, professional report writing and team-working.

Manchester is a great place to study environmental management; it is a major UK city undergoing rapid urban change, which provides an ideal base for experiencing the challenge of balancing urban development pressures with their environmental impacts.

Manchester is also ideally placed for you to learn about a wide variety of rural environments, including being within easy reach of three spectacular National Parks, areas of intensive and sustainable agriculture, and impressive coastlines.

The city of Manchester and its surrounding environments are important resources for field teaching across your four years of study.

Special features

Gain real-world experience on work placements

To prepare for your paid year-long placement in your third year , you will normally have the opportunity in your second year to spend time outside the University on a short (2 or 4 week) placement with an organisation in the environmental management sector - equipping you with hands-on experience and wide-ranging environmental, sustainability or ecological skills.

International fieldwork

This course has normally included a residential field trip during your second year, usually to a European country, where you can put what you have learnt into practice in a different context. Past locations have included Porto and the Douro valley in northern Portugal where students learnt about diverse topics including renewable energy production, sustainable approaches to port wine production and wildfire risk.

Study abroad

You will normally have the opportunity to apply to spend one semester studying abroad at one of our exchange partners in Europe, the US, South East Asia and Australia.

Teaching and learning

We combine traditional lecture-based teaching with field visits, tutorials, seminars and workshop sessions.

Practical subjects, such as learning how to analyse spatial data and produce maps in Geographical Information Systems (GIS), and analyse environmental data - as well as general computer skills - are taught in university computer suites.

Practical field skills and data analysis are taught in a range of different environments, including urban and rural locations. Sessions analysing environmental samples sometimes make use of the School laboratories.

This work is accompanied by small-group learning, giving you an overall hands-on learning experience.

Important notice

The School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) recognises the value of fieldwork. However, the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff remains our priority. The School will assess on a regular basis the viability of any travel and fieldwork and communicate any significant changes to our students at the earliest possible opportunity.

The ability of fieldwork and travel to proceed, and whether any changes to proposed fieldwork and travel might be necessary, will remain subject to factors such as the:

  • rules and guidance on travel and activities implemented and published by the UK and overseas governments;
  • outcome of any risk assessments conducted by the University;
  • educational value and student experience of the fieldwork, if significant changes to the proposed fieldwork would be necessary;
  • availability of appropriate insurance cover;
  • availability of appropriate travel and accommodation and any significant changes to their financial costs.

All fieldwork and travel will be subject to a rigorous risk assessment process and the implementation of any protective measures identified by the risk assessment to ensure the health and safety of all our students and staff.

In some circumstances, it may become necessary to make changes to fieldwork or programme related travel. The University will notify you of those changes at the earliest opportunity. If any fieldwork does not go ahead as planned, then the School's focus will be on seeking to offer a suitable alternative and ensure that the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) of the programme are met.

Please note that Countries may change their immigration and visa regulations at short notice. The School cannot guarantee that where visas are required for fieldwork, they will be granted but we will take steps so that if a visa is refused, affected students are not academically disadvantaged.

Coursework and assessment

We place strong emphasis on coursework and continuous assessment.

Coursework takes a variety of forms - from essays and reports, to posters, oral presentations, and project demonstrations (sometimes to practising professionals). We also incorporate lots of opportunities for feedback on non-assessed work so that you can be confident about your progress.

Your professional placement year will be assessed on completion, through a reflective report about your experiences and the implications of the placement on your desired career trajectory and overall employability.

Your dissertation, which takes place in the fourth year, will draw together the different strands of the course and allow you to study a subject that really interests you.

You will work with an individual supervisor to conceive, plan, execute and write up an independent and novel piece of research.

Course content for year 1

Year 1 is focused on providing a broad introduction to the diverse field of environmental management, and ensuring a baseline knowledge in the science of Earth's systems and human impacts on them.

As well as studying introductory topics in environmental management, many course units will normally incorporate field work where you learn practical skills in measuring the baseline conditions or human impacts in different environments.

You will learn from leaders in their field as Manchester's world-class academics teach their areas of specific expertise.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Environmental Processes and Change: The Global System GEOG10401 10 Mandatory
Designing Sustainable Futures PLAN10031 20 Mandatory
Applied Project PLAN10092 20 Mandatory
Applied Environmental Science PLAN10101 10 Mandatory
Introduction to Urban and Environmental Economics PLAN10352 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Ecology and Conservation PLAN10502 20 Mandatory
Principles of Environmental Management PLAN10601 20 Mandatory

Course content for year 2

In Year 2, you will begin to focus on developing an understanding of the wide range of different societal responses to environmental challenges, and developing practical skills in undertaking your own environmental research.

This year also provides you with an opportunity to start tailoring your degree to your specific interests with optional course units.

This course has normally included a residential field visit to a European country and you can also normally apply to spend one semester studying abroad at one of our exchange partners in Europe, North America, South East Asia and Australia.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Landscape Ecology PLAN20062 20 Mandatory
Environmental Planning and Impact Assessment PLAN20521 20 Mandatory
Data Analytics for Environmental Management PLAN26011 10 Mandatory
Corporate Sustainability Project PLAN26022 20 Mandatory
Applied Research for Environmental Management (with fieldtrip) PLAN26032 20 Mandatory
Climate Change: Science and Society GEOG20091 20 Optional
Professional Placement PLAN20090 20 Optional
Climate Change and Society UCIL33201 10 Optional
Climate Change and Society UCIL33501 20 Optional

Course content for year 3

In Year 3 you will normally embark on a paid work placement with an environmental organisation in the UK, allowing you to apply, in practice, the conceptual, practical, digital and communication skills you have learnt in your first two years of your degree.

You will be provided with the knowledge and skills necessary for securing work placements, including tailoring your CV and writing covering letters. You will then research potential employers and apply for individual placements with the support of academic staff including a specialist placement coordinator.

To facilitate securing a placement, staff will utilise a database of existing contacts in local and national organisations and provide advice and guidance on the application process. However, there will be an expectation that you will research potential placements yourself, identifying organisations that best fit with your career ambitions, with the placement coordinator and the University Careers Service providing additional support to obtain your chosen placement where necessary.

Course content for year 4

In Year 4, you learn advanced knowledge and skills in managing the environment and also undertake a piece of independent research on a topic of your choice.

Course units for year 4

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Dissertation (UG) PLAN30000 40 Mandatory
Conservation Management Project PLAN30402 20 Mandatory
Concepts in Environmental Law PLAN30671 20 Mandatory
Green Planet: Plant Ecology and Global Change GEOG31041 20 Optional
Corporate Sustainability Project PLAN26022 20 Optional
Environmental Impact Assessment PLAN30631 20 Optional
Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Cities PLAN30852 20 Optional

What our students say

Photo of Noor

I chose my course because of the urgent need to mitigate and adapt to the crisis of climate change.

I chose to study at The University of Manchester because of the political awareness of its people, and the appreciation it has for diversity and culture.

Noor Alqaffas / BSc Environmental Management student

Read more about Noor's experience in her student profile.


You can develop your practical skills in a wide range of field study locations, specialist laboratories for fieldwork analysis, and computer suites with specialist spatial analysis software.

See facilities  for more information.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: