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Course type
Integrated masters  

Integrated masters

  • Combines study at the level of an undergraduate honours degree with study at postgraduate (masters) level.
  • Common in engineering, mathematics and science.
  • Often linked to professional body recognition.
Credits
480  

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.
How long it takes
Part-time study – 8 years
Full-time study – 4 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements
Find out more about
Entry requirements

Master of Environmental Science

Course code: M05

An integrated masters is an undergraduate degree that combines undergraduate and postgraduate study. Our Master of Environmental Science (MEnv) takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding, managing and protecting our world. Gain a deeper understanding of the natural environment, and learn to assess environmental challenges and propose solutions. Acquire the scientific knowledge and technical skills to address global environmental challenges such as climate change, energy, sustainability, and biodiversity loss. You’ll study various subjects, including conservation, ecology, ecosystems, environmental management and renewable energy. You’ll also learn about the socio-economic, political and ethical issues integral to these areas. In addition, you’ll gain communication, project management, and research skills, plus technical skills in areas such as remote sensing and climate modelling.

Stages 1–2 of this integrated masters degree are the same as our Diploma of Higher Education in Environmental Science (W47) and Stages 1–2 of our BSc (Honours) Environmental Science (Q52).

Course type
Integrated masters  

Integrated masters

  • Combines study at the level of an undergraduate honours degree with study at postgraduate (masters) level.
  • Common in engineering, mathematics and science.
  • Often linked to professional body recognition.
Credits
480  

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.
How long it takes
Part-time study – 8 years
Full-time study – 4 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements

Find out more about Entry requirements

This integrated masters degree has four stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • In Stage 1, you’ll study two 60-credit modules.
  • In Stage 2, you’ll study a 60-credit module and choose 60 credits of option modules.
  • In Stage 3, you’ll study two compulsory 30-credit modules and choose 60 credits of option modules.
  • In Stage 4, you’ll study a 30-credit postgraduate module, choose a 30-credit postgraduate module and complete a 60-credit postgraduate project module.

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

You’ll study two 60-credit modules.

Stage 1 modules
ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Environment: journeys through a changing world (U116)60
Science: concepts and practice (S112)60

You’ll study a 60-credit module and choose 60 credits of option modules.

You’ll study two compulsory 30-credit modules and choose 60 credits of option modules.

You’ll study a 30-credit postgraduate module, choose a 30-credit postgraduate module and complete a 60-credit postgraduate project module.


We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 14 March 2023.


Accessibility

Our qualifications are as accessible as possible, and we have a comprehensive range of support services. Our Master of Environmental Science uses a variety of study materials and includes the following elements:

  • Online study – most modules are online; some have a mix of printed and online material. Online learning resources could include websites, audio/video, and interactive activities
  • Pre-determined schedules – we’ll help you to develop your time-management skills
  • Assessment in the form of short-answer questions, essays, and examinations
  • Feedback – continuous assessment includes feedback from your tutor and using this to improve your performance
  • Using and producing diagrams and screenshots
  • Finding external/third-party material online
  • Accessing online catalogues and databases
  • Specialist material, such as research papers
  • Specialist software, such as Open Studio and ArcGIS
  • Mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • Online tutorials
  • Group-work
  • Practical work
  • Field school (onsite in the UK or online)

Every module has its own Accessibility Statement with more detailed accessibility information – you’ll find these on individual module descriptions.

Visit our Disability support page to learn about our services.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding.
  • Cognitive skills.
  • Practical and professional skills.
  • Key skills.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you’ve already completed some study at another university, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. Just tell us what you studied, where and when, and we’ll compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen course.

For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Master of Environmental Science.

The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 3 and 4.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

International recognition

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.

Regulations

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


Compare this course

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you’ll need to succeed. If you’re not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.

Answer a few quick questions to check whether you’re ready for study success

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.

Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner

Preparing for study with an Access module

Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
  • support from a dedicated team throughout your study
  • detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:

Science, technology and maths Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics. It’ll help develop your study skills in advance of your OU qualification, and you get to explore a number of STEM subjects including science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.

View full details of Science, technology and maths Access module

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won’t have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • Most OU students study part-time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 30 credits at undergraduate level is £1,731* and for 60 credits it’s £3,462*.
  • Our current fee for 30 credits at postgraduate level is £1,665* and for 60 credits it’s £3,330*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £27,432*.

*The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2024. Fees normally increase annually. For further information about the University’s fee policy, visit our Fee Rules.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as 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 you start studying.

Field schools

This qualification has modules (SXF206, S209 and S295) with optional residential field schools. You must pay an additional charge for each residential school and your travel. See individual module descriptions for more information.

Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

Visit our Fees and funding page for a summary of the funding options available.

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.


How will I study this course?

With our unique approach to distance learning, you can study from home, work or on the move.

You’ll have some assessment deadlines to meet, but otherwise, you’ll be free to study at the times that suit you, fitting your learning around work, family, and social life.

For each of your modules, you’ll use either just online resources or a mix of online and printed materials.

Each module you study will have a module website with

  • a week-by-week study planner, giving you a step-by-step guide through your studies
  • course materials such as reading, videos, recordings, and self-assessed activities
  • module forums for discussions and collaborative activities with other students
  • details of each assignment and their due dates
  • a tutorial booking system, online tutorial rooms, and your tutor’s contact details
  • online versions of some printed module materials and resources.

If you have additional needs, we can also provide most module materials in alternative formats. Find out more about materials on our accessibility webpage.


Tutor support

You’ll have a tutor for each module, who will introduce themselves before the module begins.

Throughout the module, they will:

  • mark your assignments and give feedback to help you improve
  • guide you to learning resources
  • support you, whether with general study skills or help with a specific topic.

Tutorials

Tutorials usually take place online, and they’re always optional.

Online tutorials are live presentations with module tutors in dedicated online tutorial rooms and are sometimes recorded.


Assessment

Our assessments are all designed to reinforce your learning and help you show your understanding of the topics. The mix of assessment methods will vary between modules.

Computer-Marked Assignments

  • Usually, a series of online, multiple-choice questions.

Tutor-Marked Assignments

  • You’ll have a number of these throughout each module, each with a submission deadline.
  • They can be made up of essays, questions, experiments or something else to test your understanding of what you have learned.
  • Your tutor will mark and return them to you with detailed feedback.

End-of-Module Assessments

  • The final, marked piece of work on most modules.
  • Modules with an end-of-module assessment won’t usually have an exam.

Exams

  • Some modules end with an exam. You’ll be given time to revise and prepare.
  • You’ll be given your exam date at least 5 months in advance.
  • Most exams take place remotely, and you will complete them at home or at an alternative location.
  • If a module requires you to take a face-to-face exam, this will be made clear in the module description, and you will be required to take your exam in person at one of our exam centres.

Progressing to a point where I felt more comfortable writing my assignments, and having my scores reflecting that, made me quite happy because it showed the hard work was being rewarded.

Patrick ‘Ricky’ Skene, BSc (Hons) Sport, Fitness and Coaching

Other support and resources

Throughout your studies, you’ll have access to our subject-specific Student Support Teams.

They’ll help you with any general questions about your study and updates to your OU account.

To help with your studies, you’ll also have access to:

  • our online library, with high-quality online resources to support your study
  • other university libraries in the UK and Ireland
  • the online Help Centre, which has general information about OU study and support, along with study skills advice
  • free Microsoft Office 365 software
  • IT and computing support from our Computing Helpdesk.

Find out more about student support and being a part of the OU community.

Skills for career development

As a graduate of the Master of Environmental Science, you’ll have gained breadth and depth of understanding in scientific, technical and environmental issues. You’ll be able to think creatively; tackle multifaceted issues; and collect, analyse and interpret complex quantitative and qualitative data. You’ll also develop research, planning and fieldwork techniques as you take part in practical and project work.

You’ll also gain important transferable skills that will demonstrate your all-round ability and make you more employable. These include:

  • problem solving
  • digital literacy
  • communication
  • self-motivation
  • team working.

Career relevance

The broad and specialist skills you’ll develop during this degree course will equip you to work in a variety of jobs. Environmental science skills are in demand from government and regulatory bodies, the private sector, consultancies and conservation organisations. Careers directly related to the degree include:

  • ecology and nature conservation
  • energy management
  • environmental consultancy
  • environmental education
  • pollution control
  • recycling
  • resources
  • sustainability
  • water quality.

Accreditation

Accredited by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

CIWEM logo

This programme is accredited by the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences (CHES), the education committee of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES). CHES is the collective voice of the environmental sciences academic community and serves to enhance the quality of environmental education worldwide. A programme accredited by CHES is assured to meet high standards, contain a strong component of practical, field and theoretical activities, and has excellent opportunities for training, work experience and links to the professional environmental sector. Students enrolled on CHES accredited programmes can apply for free Student Membership of the IES and for a fast-track route to membership once they graduate, starting them on a route towards becoming a Chartered Environmentalist or Chartered Scientist.

IES logo

Other careers

The logical, reasoned approach needed for science study is also relevant to a wide range of non-scientific contexts. Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector.  Science graduates with good communication and interpersonal skills are demand. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):

  • botanist
  • countryside manager
  • environmental consultant   
  • environmental engineer
  • estates manager
  • forensic scientist     
  • industrial researcher
  • landscape architect
  • marine scientist
  • meteorologist
  • nature conservation officer
  • science communicator
  • science teacher
  • technical consultant
  • water quality inspector.

Thinking of studying this course?

Registration will open in March. If you would like to be kept updated, register your interest.


Request your Environment and Development or Science prospectus

Our prospectuses help you choose your course, understand what it's like to be an OU student and register for study.

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