BSc Environmental Management / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Principles of Environmental Management

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN10601
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


Three decades have passed since the global community agreed that each generation needed to leave the environment in a better state than that in which it was found. Since this agreement, there has been significant progress in developing legislation, policies and mechanisms to guide sustainable management of the environment. Despite this, major environmental issues threaten socio-ecological systems at multiple scales (climate change, land-use change, water pollution and ocean acidification). This course unit introduces the core principles of environmental management and their relevance to a wide range of practitioners working in diverse employment sectors. The course covers a variety of environmental management principles and practices across different concepts and their associated tools and approaches:

Concept Approach Tools
Pollution (source-pathway-receptor) Pollution prevention and control Permits, consents, licenses and exemptions
Biodiversity and ecosystem services Environmental Monitoring Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
Waste and resource management Waste hierarchy Lifecycle assessment (LCA)
Corporate sustainability Energy and carbon managament Energy and Environmental Management Systems (EMS


The unit aims to:

  • Demonstrate the breadth and diversity of topics within environmental management and provide foundational knowledge relevant to a wide range of vocations in the discipline.
  • Introduce foundational theories and practical tools relevant to the management of the environment and how these influence decision-making.
  • Establish a critical understanding of contemporary environmental management principles, including their ethical and social implications.


Syllabus (indicative curriculum content):

  • Concepts underpinning environmental management
  • Legislation, policy and regulations
  • Measuring environmental impacts
  • Managing and reducing environmental impacts
  • Evaluating environmental management performance
  • Issues and opportunities related to EDI and environmental justice

Teaching and learning methods

Lecture-based sessions:

Each week will have an interactive lecture, which as well as including didactic components will also include interactive components with small group and whole class discussion on different aspects of environmental management.


Seminars will be run to allow students to explore some of the core concepts and tools in greater depth, and to build their own knowledge through debate. The seminar sessions will draw directly from the lecture content and directed reading.

Field Visit:

One full day field visit will provide an opportunity for students to experience the interface between principles of environmental management and their practical implementation, with reference to one specific theme studied within the course unit.

Directed reading:

Each workshop session will require students to undertake preliminary preparation by accessing a range of mixed-media content provided on Blackboard, including reading journal articles and engaging with interactive content on different principles of environmental management.

Independent study:

Students will carry out independent study to develop their understanding of environmental management and allow students to explore particular topics that interest them in greater depth. 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Identify key theories and concepts that underpin environmental management and how these can shape different attitudes and approaches to the discipline.
  • Compare different approaches and tools that comprise the discipline of environmental management.
  • Describe the use of specific legislation, policy and regulation in environmental management.

Intellectual skills

  • Explain the difference between theory and practice in environmental management, and outline the challenges of implementing principles or policies.
  • Critically analyse the effectiveness of selected key tools and approaches currently used in environmental management

Practical skills

  • Evaluate the relevance and appropriateness of environmental management responses in different contexts.
  • Summarise information to non-academic audiences

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Assess the implications of specific decision-making tools, policymaking or knowledge construction on EDI and environmental justice.
  • Identify the role and priorities of relevant professional bodies (e.g. IEMA and CIEEM) with regard to guiding appropriate environmental management

Assessment methods

Assessment task


How and when feedback is provided

Weighting within unit (if relevant)


One page briefing note (tool summary)              


500 words

Written or audio feedback via Turnitin within the standard timeframe specified by the University


Critical review (one concept and one tool)                  

1,500 words

Written or audio feedback via Turnitin within the standard timeframe specified by the University


Feedback methods

Written or audio feedback via Turnitin within the standard timeframe specified by the University

Recommended reading

- Bell, S & McGillivray, D (2017) Environmental Law. (6th Ed.) Oxford, Oxford University Press.

- Brady, J., Ebbage, A. and Lunn, R., (2011). Environmental Management in Organisations: the IEMA Handbook. Routledge.

- Blowfield, M. (2013) Business and Sustainability. Oxford University Press.

- Christopher, S. (2017) ISO 14001 and beyond: environmental management systems in the real world. Routledge, London.

- Glasson, J., Therivel, R., & Chadwick, A. (2019) Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment. Abingdon, Routledge.

- IPBES (2019): Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Diaz, S. et al. (eds.). IPBES secretariat, Bonn, Germany. 56 pages.

- Manale, A. and Hyberg, S. (2021) A Guide to Understanding the Fundamental Principles of Environmental Management: It Ain’t Magic: Everything Goes Somewhere. IWA Publishing.

- Robertson, M. (2017) Sustainability Principles and Practice. Taylor & Francis.

- Schaltegger, S., Burritt, R. and Petersen, H. (2017) An introduction to corporate environmental management: Striving for sustainability. Routledge, London.

- Sholarin, E.A. and Awange, J.L. (2016) Environmental Project Management: Principles, Methodology, and Processes. Springer.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 8
Lectures 22
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 160

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