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MSc in Environmental Decision Making


Please note that this qualification is only available until 31 December 2015. In order to claim this qualification you must have completed the required 180 credits by this time. If you have any questions about your eligibility for this qualification please contact the Centre for Qualifications and Ceremonies on +44 (0)1908 653003 or by email.

This qualification is not available to new students.

If you are interested in studying environmental management please see our MSc in Environmental Management (F65).

With this MSc course you can expand your knowledge of environmental decision making and develop the skills to participate in more effective, informed and creative environmental decision-making processes. It is the highest level of qualification within the environmental decision making (EDM) programme and enables you to build on your studies at postgraduate certificate and diploma levels with in-depth research of a topic that you choose yourself.

This MSc offers you the choice of a ‘research’ route or a ‘professional’ route to this qualification. If you are interested in a more business-oriented qualification, you can take the MSc professional project (T847) and complete your qualification with a module from a short list of relevant options. If you prefer a rigorous research route, you can take the Research project (T802) where the production of a dissertation will develop your academic research skills, and can provide an excellent basis for future doctoral studies that may enhance your career further. Both routes help you to develop essential skills for successfully addressing environmental issues.

From local planning issues to global challenges of climate change and energy conservation, environmental decision making is becoming increasingly important to everyone. The environmental decision making (EDM) postgraduate programme was established to meet the challenges of environmental decision making in the context of a changing world. It is designed to meet the needs of specialists, managers and the public for postgraduate level environmental education.

Everyday concerns of environmental protection, natural resource management and rapidly changing environmental legislation and policy are considered in global and local contexts. The modules teach the skills you need to unpack the issues and participate creatively in the process of making environmental decisions, in all sectors of society.

The EDM programme is for people who are interested in designing, managing and participating in more effective environmental decision-making processes. Students on this programme are drawn from industry, commerce, local government, consultancies, non-governmental organisations and communities. They include people already involved in the decision-making process and those who wish to be - either personally or professionally. Whatever your background this programme will widen your knowledge of environmental decision making and develop your skills in making informed decisions about environmental issues, whether at work, in your community or at home.

This programme offers qualifications at postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma and MSc levels and includes an entry route for non-graduates.

Planning your studies

For entry to the MSc course you need to hold the Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Decision Making (D38)

You can take modules in any order except that either the Research project (T802) or The MSc professional project (T847) must be the final module for your MSc.

There is a time limit for completing the qualifications in this programme. In order to claim this qualification you must have completed the required 180 credits by 31 December 2015. We cannot guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you. Note, in particular, you can only count the credit from one of the following modules towards a single qualification: Research project (T802) or MSc professional project (T847).

Career relevance and employability

The EDM programme is for people who are concerned with designing and managing more effective decision-making processes that affect the environment. For example, if you are involved in setting up or responding to environmental or integrated management systems, planning new development projects or are trying to understand or manage sustainability.

Students on the EDM programme are drawn from industry, commerce, local government, consultancies, non-governmental organisations and communities. They include people already involved in decision-making processes and those who wish to be – both personally and professionally.

You can select modules that are most relevant to your interests and career aspirations as your study builds from postgraduate certificate through diploma to MSc.

The ‘professional’ route, where you take the MSc professional project as your final module is particularly suitable if you want to develop your career in industry, commerce, the public sector or the third sector. The ‘research’ route is more applicable if you intend to develop a career in research or go on to undertake study leading to a PhD or other research degree.

Whichever route you follow, this qualification will equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary to work in this expanding sector.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this 180-credit masters degree, you require:

120 credits from the Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Decision Making (D38)

And 60 credits from either the Research route or the Professional route below:

Research route

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
Research project (T802)

This research module enables you to gain an MSc by building on the postgraduate diploma that you already hold. You’ll develop and submit a dissertation.

See full description

60 Oct 2014

Professional route

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
The MSc professional project (T847)

This highly intensive research based module enables you to design, conduct, analyse and report on a research project of your own choosing.

See full description

30 Nov 2014

And 30 credits from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Capacities for managing development (TU870)

This module analyses development management, examines a range of tools for planning, managing and evaluating development, and investigates key aspects of development management, including strategic thinking.

See full description

30 Nov 2014
Changing cities: urban transitions and decision making (D837)

This module enables you to explore how environmental changes, economic instability, limited resources and other challenges impact on our cities, towns and neighbourhoods.

See full description

30 Nov 2014
Environmental monitoring and protection (T868)

This online module equips you with the skills necessary to undertake environmental assessment work, interpret the results and suggest appropriate remedial measures.

See full description

30 Nov 2014
Environmental responsibility: ethics, policy and action (TD866)

This module is about understanding and taking responsibility, individually and collectively, for policy and action relating to environmental dilemmas, from climate change to biodiversity loss.

See full description

30 Nov 2014
Managing for sustainability (T867)

This module will increase your understanding of delivering and supporting sustainability management in your workplace or support your personal interest in this subject.

See full description

30 Nov 2014
Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction (TU812)

Develop your understanding of systemic inquiry, systemic action research and social learning in order to extend your skills of project, programme and change management.

See full description

30 Nov 2014
Problem solving and improvement: quality and other approaches (T889)

This module focuses on the practical application and deeper understanding of many of the methods and techniques associated with modern quality management and systems thinking.

See full description

30 Nov 2014
Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change (TU811)

Improve your management skills by exploring different approaches to engaging with complex situations and by developing your understanding of how cognitive processing shapes practice.

See full description

30 May 2015

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B822, B882, B889, BZX822, D830, D831, T830, T834, T835, T861, T862, TXX861, TUXX870

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Credit for previous study elsewhere

Credit transfer is not permitted for this MSc except for any awarded as part of the Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Decision Making.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded an MSc in Environmental Decision Making entitling you to use the letters MSc EDM (Open) after your name. 

You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

How to register

If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.

See a full list of modules available for this qualification

About this Taught Masters
Code F13
Level Postgraduate
Made up of 180 credits

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