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 climate change and sustainable development.

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

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 the design and implementation of ecological surveys, conservation management, environmental appraisal and audit, environmental impact assessment, project management, and professional report writing.

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 three spectacular National Parks, areas of intensive farming, and impressive coastlines.

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

Special features

International fieldwork 

This course has normally included a field trip to a European country during your second year, where you can put what you have learnt so far into practice. 

Study abroad 

Apply to spend one semester studying abroad at one of our exchange partners in Europe, the US, South East Asia and Australia. 

Year in practice 

Normally spend 12 months working within the dynamic world of environmental management, putting into practice the skills you learn on the degree helping you to gain your professional accreditation.

Teaching and learning

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

Practical subjects, such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Photoshop and SketchUp - as well as general computer skills - are taught in university computer suites.   

This work is accompanied by group work and the occasional lecture session, 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, team promotions, and project demonstrations (sometimes to practising professionals).   

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 a broad introduction to the background and problems of dealing with the environment in a variety of ways.

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

You will study contemporary topics including pollution, sustainable cities and environments, urban and landscape ecology, climate change, environmental impact, and nuclear energy.

You will also receive practical training in skills such as ecological surveys, conservation management, environmental appraisal and audit, and environmental impact assessment.

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 PLAN10501 20 Mandatory
Rural Planning PLAN10362 10 Optional

Course content for year 2

In Year 2, you will begin to focus on the practicalities of environmental management.

This course has normally included a field trip to a European country during your second year and you can also apply to spend one semester studying abroad at one of our exchange partners in Europe, the US, 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
Biogeography GEOG20771 20 Mandatory
Landscape Ecology PLAN20062 20 Mandatory
Sustainable Development Project PLAN20072 20 Mandatory
Environment and Development Fieldtrip PLAN20172 20 Mandatory
Environmental Policies and Designations PLAN20401 20 Mandatory
Professional Placement PLAN20090 20 Optional

Course content for year 3

In your third year of study, you will normally embark on a paid work placement with an organisation engaged with the environment to apply the conceptual, digital and communication skills you practice.   

Students will research potential employers with the support of Environmental Management staff.   

To facilitate securing a placement, staff will utilise our database of existing contacts in local and national organisations.   

However, there will be an expectation that students will research potential placements themselves, with Environmental Management staff and the University Careers Service providing additional support to obtain their chosen placement.   

Information regarding placements is currently disseminated via Programme Director emails from potential placement providers.   

Placements in Year 3 can only be undertaken with UK-based organisations.  

In addition, you will receive guidance via a non-credit bearing set of seminars/lectures in Year Two to outline the process of obtaining a placement.   

This will be delivered in both Semester 1 and 2 with the emphasis being placed on student searches in Semester 1, and Environmental Management guidance in Semester 2.

Course content for year 4

In Year 4, you will expand on themes from previous years while developing strong practice-related skills, in areas such as environmental law, environmental impact assessment, and project appraisal and auditing.

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
Research Methods PLAN30091 10 Mandatory
Professional Practice and Ethics PLAN30221 10 Mandatory
Conservation Management Project PLAN30402 20 Mandatory
Environmental Planning & Protection PLAN30731 20 Mandatory
Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Cities PLAN30852 20 Mandatory

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 our project studio/class, model-making workshop, specialist laboratories for fieldwork analysis, and computer suites with specialist design and 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: