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Environmental management: systems and sustainability

In our climate-changing world, the complexity of environmental and sustainability issues requires different ways of thinking and a variety of practices. Environmental management: systems and sustainability (T220) combines systematic and systemic ideas and approaches to develop the skills and understanding you need to create more sustainable futures. The focus is on providing insights into how individuals, organisations and communities can engage with and progress contemporary environmental management issues. You’ll also undertake teamwork to review and make sense of a challenging case study.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
T220
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
30
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
OU SCQF FHEQ
2 8 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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What you will study

The module comprises five blocks:

Block 1: Introduction to environmental management
This block introduces the module and the range and complexity of contemporary environmental and sustainability issues. It also introduces key ideas and concepts relating to environmental management, systems and sustainability, plus diagramming as a fundamental systems skill and technique used throughout the module. Additionally, it explores the diverse roles and skills of environmental managers.

Block 2: Environmental management in households
In the second block, you’ll explore the concepts and practices of environmental management at the level of the individual. You’ll learn about environmental management in the context of your home, focusing on crucial issues such as energy management and water use, consumption and waste. It will introduce you to methods and systems ideas that you can apply to your domestic environment.

Block 3: Environmental management in organisations
The third block introduces environmental management within organisational contexts. You’ll explore why organisations face sustainability issues, how they interpret environmental management, and how they manage their environmental impacts and responsibilities using compulsory and voluntary approaches. You’ll also learn about and use some systems ideas to expand your analysis and understanding. Additionally, you’ll examine two case studies of how organisations approach environmental management and sustainability to deepen your understanding.

Block 4: Environmental management in communities
In the fourth block, you’ll look at environmental management issues and approaches at the community level. You’ll learn about the range of stakeholders and diversity of perspectives within a community through an international case study and a UK example. You’ll engage with other students in teamwork to review and make sense of an environmental management situation. This will include engaging with stakeholder perspectives to understand their key concerns and developing indicators to support environmental management.

Block 5: Synthesis
The final block provides you with a synthesis of the main themes. It gives insights from earlier blocks concerning environmental management concepts and practices and how systems approaches can contribute to more sustainable futures. You’ll also review the role and skills of environmental managers, drawing upon your teamwork experience to inform your understanding.

There are associated readings, activities, and audio and video resources for the module as a whole. Environmental management: systems and sustainability (T220) draws on a range of international examples to explore approaches to environmental management in different contexts and situations.

You will learn

By the end of this module, you’ll be able to:

  • describe key ideas such as environmental management and sustainability
  • engage with a range of complex environmental management situations
  • explore the different ways in which diverse stakeholders frame environmental management and assess the implications for domestic, organisational and community environmental management
  • apply a range of systematic and systemic concepts, approaches and techniques to complex environmental situations.

Vocational relevance

This module will help you develop a range of knowledge and skills for employment or involvement in the environmental and sustainability sector. The issues and topics explored will also provide insights into commercial and community contexts and practices associated with environmental management. You will:

  • develop an awareness and understanding of key issues and systems approaches to environmental management
  • be creative and innovative in problem-solving
  • develop effective communication skills
  • develop your ethical awareness
  • enhance self-management
  • expand your computer literacy
  • improve your understanding of and skills in collaborating with others through the teamwork element, an essential part of contemporary environmental management.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to you. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.

You must demonstrate you have participated in the teamwork. You’ll need to provide evidence in the form of contributions to online discussions. If you’re unable to participate in the teamwork due to personal or life circumstances, alternative arrangements are possible.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

Future availability

Environmental management: systems and sustainability (T220) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2023.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2029.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    End-of-module assessment
    No residential school


    Entry requirements

    T220 has no formal entry requirements; however, it is an OU level 2 module. Therefore, you need a good knowledge of environmental and sustainability issues obtained through OU level 1 study or another higher education institution.

    We recommend you have completed:

    We strongly recommend you check your background and experience are sufficient to tackle this module. We’ve found that appropriately prepared students have the best chance of completing their studies and get the most enjoyment from the module.

    Talk to an advisor if you’re not sure you’re ready.

    Register

    Start End Fee
    - - -

    No current presentation - see Future availability

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2029.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2023. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 02/12/2022.

    Can you study an Access module for free?

    In order to qualify you must:

    1. be resident in England
    2. have a personal income of less than £25,000 (or receive qualifying benefits)
    3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above, or completed 30 credits or more of OU study

    How to apply to study an Access module for free

    Once you've started the registration process , either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible.

    If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069 or you can request a call back.

    Not eligible to study for free?

    Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

    • monthly payments through OUSBA
    • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

    To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

    What's included

    The study materials for this module are a combination of print and online. The main print materials cover each block of the module. You’ll also have access to a module website, which includes:

    • a week-by-week study planner
    • course-specific module materials
    • audio and video content
    • learning activities
    • assignment details and submission section
    • access to student and tutor group forums.

    We’ll also provide an online resource about different diagramming techniques.

    Computing requirements

    You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11). Any macOS is unsuitable with this module.

    Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

    It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying T220 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.