Course overview

Our Environmental Engineering MSc will develop you into a employable graduate who will act as a leader and a manager. The programme examines environmental problems like air pollution, energy efficiency, contaminated land and water. The programme equips graduates with a high-level competency in process engineering design, environmental assessment, resource management and technological innovation.

The course offers to students with BEng, BSc or non-accredited engineering degrees the skills required to be eligible for Chartered Engineer/Chartered Environmentalist status. Most applicants have an engineering degree, and the most common include environmental or chemical engineering.

Why choose this course?


in The Guardian University Guide 2023 for Chemical and Environmental Engineering

The Guardian University Guide 2023


in the Complete University Guide for Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Complete University Guide 2024


highest in the UK for female engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation.

Top 10

in the UK for Chemical and Environmental Engineering

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide

Expert Teaching

Learn from research, industrial and teaching experts


most targeted university by top employers in the UK, and have been in the top 10 since 2013

Course content

The course follows a modular structure, with students completing 180 credits over a 12-month period. Students will complete:

  • 70 credits of core modules
  • 20 credits of optional modules
  • a 30 credit development project providing skills in advanced design practice
  • 60 credit summer project which develops skills in research

The course utilises an integrated approach in which lectures, classes, laboratories and information technology form key elements.

We provide English-language support from the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), including: in-class support, a technical writing course designed specifically to support our summer project, and one-to-one English tuition on request.  CELE are accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.


Core modules

All students must take the following core modules:

Accelerated Design Training (Autumn & Spring) 30 credits

The aim of this module is to help our graduates gain the necessary skills-set required for process engineering design and project management skills for future career development; be it Chemical, Environmental or Food. Student-led under the guidance of an academics who are all industrial specialists with extensive experience working for chemical, environmental and food manufacturing companies. Workshops and lectures are held by department staff in key areas. AutoCAD instruction is also provided. Regular mentoring sessions by an appointed team tutor to support your group work.

Modern engineering is not just motivated by profit and productivity, we must make decisions considering the technical, safety, economic and sustainability aspects, and these four factors will form the basis of our design. The focus of your process project is multi-disciplinary and rooted in “cutting-edge” research taking place around the world.

Assessment: 100% coursework

Coursework 1 (30%) Conceptual group design task

Coursework 2 (70%) Detailed group design task

Viva and Team peer assessment to compute individual marks

Environmental Risk Assessment (autumn) 10 credits

This module introduces students to the principles and practice of environmental risk assessment, with a focus on applications in groundwater and contaminated land. Students will learn how to characterize risk, develop conceptual models, and evaluate uncertainty. Students will use simulation software to model the mobilization and transport of contaminants. Outputs will be evaluated to predict human health and environmental impacts and propose risk management strategies.

Assessment: 100% coursework

Coursework 1 (30%) Individual presentation

Coursework 2 (70%) Group risk assessment report

Research Planning (spring) 10 credits

The module develops the skills required to design, plan, implement and manage a research project. Students will be given instruction and practice in problem definition; collection, synthesis and critical review of information from a range of traditional and electronic sources; definition of scope, aims and objectives; development of a project plan and schedule; management of project progress.

Particular emphasis of the module is towards quality control and quality assurance and how these underpin measurement activities. The use of statistics for the assessment of data quality in measurement is also emphasised. Students will also develop their writing and practical skills through exercises and coursework.

Assessment: 100% individual coursework

Coursework 1 (70%) 3,000-word laboratory report

Coursework 2 (30%) 1,000-word critical review

Contaminated Land (spring) 10 credits

This module teaches a risk-based approach to contaminated land management. The first part introduces land contamination within the UK legal context through the development of conceptual models using a source-pathway-receptor linkage approach. The second part looks at risk management, introducing a range of remediation approaches. The selection of an appropriate remedial technology considering cost, timeframe and sustainability are covered.

Assessment: 100% individual coursework

Air pollution 2 (spring) 10 credits

The aim of this module is to give students an in depth understanding of the physical and chemical principles behind the selection and design of control systems to mitigate particulate emissions from process streams. The module is delivered as a series of design calculation tutorials that consider the design of unit operations. Students are required to produce a design of an integrated particulate control system of a mineral processing circuit to meet a given client specification.

Assessment: 100% individual coursework

Water Treatment Engineering 10 credits

This module will give you a detailed understanding of design considerations, current industry challenges, emerging issues, and technological solutions in water treatment. The module is delivered through case studies for you to experience and learn what water treatment engineering really means to different industries. Guest speakers will also introduce you to their challenges and solutions, including how these problems are driving investment into developing and emerging technologies.

Assessment: 30% individual coursework, 70% exam

MSc Project 60 credits

You will gain skills in planning, executing and reporting on an individual research study thereby developing your powers of analysis, independence and critical judgement.

This is a combined design and research project undertaken by a team of 2-5 students, and involving both group and individual working. The basic elements of the project involve a critical review of the literature to provide the background to the initial group design element, followed by the group design part of the project.

The design element will involve the selection of an appropriate, initial process scheme following by preparation of a process flowsheet with associated mass and heat balances. The design will also include control, operational, safety, environmental and economic aspects in addition to the design of important plant items.

This will then be followed by the research element, which will be based on a topic with the aim of eventually aiding the individual design process. The research segment will consist of a critical review of relevant literature and subsequent research work, which may be experimental, computational or theoretical in nature.

The final element of the project is a re-evaluation of the previous design in the light of information gleaned from the research segment.

Additional core modules: These vary based on the applicant background conditions outlined below, e.g. if you are a returning student to University of Nottingham

Students who have not studied their first degree at University of Nottingham must also take:

Water Treatment (autumn) 10 credits

This module introduces students to a range of knowledge and skills applicable to water and wastewater treatment. Students will gain an understanding in water availability, sources of pollution and the legislative framework for water quality from an EU perspective. Municipal water and wastewater treatment processes will be covered, focusing on key unit processes including sedimentation, filtration and disinfection. The module will also be supported by 2 site visits.

Assessment: 100% exam

Air Pollution 1 (autumn) 10 credits

This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of air pollution problems. It includes a categorisation of the types of natural and anthropogenic air pollution sources, sinks, and the effects that air pollutants may produce within natural and manmade environments. You’ll learn about the processes of selection and design of pollutant monitoring and control technologies that may be applied to control atmospheric emissions from industrial processes.

Assessment: 100% exam

Students who have previously studied BEng Environmental & Chemical or BEng Environmental Engineering at University of Nottingham can instead take the following as additional core modules:

Biochemical Engineering (autumn) 10 credits

This module covers underpinning aspects for bio-processing technologies including: an overview of microbes, including structure, function, kinetics and components; metabolism and biomolecules; microbial technology including industrial biosafety and reactor systems; and industrial enzyme biocatalyst technologies with applications.

Assessment: 100% exam

Industrial Process Analysis (autumn) 10 credits

This module aims to provide you with a thorough understanding of how process, hygiene and material characteristics influence the total transformation design of chemical process plants via analysis of exemplar plant designs. 

You'll learn how to assess the basis for safe process design and selection of construction materials. Demonstrate what influence whole system thinking, total life-cycle and critical analysis have upon the basis of process designs and influence process economics. Explain control choices, evaluate interactive risk and understand the potential influence of that environmental impact and societal opinion has upon process design.

Assessment: 100% exam

Optional modules

These are your choices of optional modules for this course:

Renewable Energy from Wastes (autumn) 10 credits

This module will look at the potential of various waste streams in industry, domestic sources, and agriculture, as well as the different combustion technologies available. It will include a strong international focus, particularly on small to medium scale renewable energy schemes in developing countries. The module will also have dedicated socio-cultural, socio-economic, policy and guidance and techno-economic seminars to introduce students to the interdisciplinary nature of the subject.

Assessment: 30% group coursework, 70% exam

Food Processing (autumn) 10 credits

This module gives the students an introduction to industrial scale food processing. A $12 trillion industry that represents greater than 10% of global consumer spending and 40% of employment. Topics covered included: Food structure, food safety and hygiene, freezing, baking, frying, separation, drying and packaging. There is a large amount of industrial context with several guest lectures delivered by industrial engineers working within the fast-growing food and drink sector.

Assessment: 100% exam

Process Risk Benefit and Analysis (spring) 10 credits

In this module, you form a small start-up business based on the development of new technologies and work in teams to develop technological applications, assess market opportunities, explore competitor technologies, evaluate and consider risks—and then develop a full business case for specific technologies in specific market areas. Classes will revolve around group clinics/consultancy sessions, Q&A, lectures and guest lectures and two presentation sessions to a panel of ‘dragons’.

Assessment: 100% group coursework

Energy Storage (spring) 10 credits

Energy storage is emerging as one of the most important and most exciting of modern engineering activities. This module begins with an overview of why energy storage is becoming so important and reviews the main options available. Then it addresses thermo-mechanical solutions (springs, flywheels, pumped hydro, compressed air and pumped thermal), electro-chemical solutions (batteries, supercapacitors and flow-batteries) & fossil fuel storage (gas, oil & coal).

Assessment: 100% exam

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Thursday 27 July 2023.

Due to timetabling availability, there may be restrictions on some module combinations.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Lab sessions
  • Group study
  • Practical classes
  • Independent study
  • Self-study
  • Tutorials

How you will be assessed

  • Coursework
  • Examinations
  • Group coursework
  • Presentation
  • Research project

You will be assessed with a combination of methods, relating to the module learning outcomes and activities. You must pass each module with at least 50% to progress.

Contact time and study hours

On average, you will have around 20 contact hours a week. This include lectures, practicals, meeting with project supervisors and personal tutors. Combined with coursework and self-study, you may spend over 50 hours a week on your studies. Class sizes depends on the nature of the module (e.g. compulsory or optional) and can be between 50-100.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 (or international equivalent) in an engineering-related field. Applicants with a high 2:2 (or international equivalent) and substantial work experience may also be considered.
Work experience

Applicants who do not meet the entry criteria, but have significant work industry experience may be accepted on to the programme.


Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply


Qualification MSc
Home / UK £11,850
International £28,600

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, you could factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.


There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

The growing need for environmental protection has generated high demand for good quality environmental engineers.

The career options for environmental engineers focus on environmental issues and aspects.

This course equips students with skills suitable for a wide range of careers within UK and internationally. These include:

  • petrochemicals
  • foods
  • pollution protection
  • nanotechnology
  • academic research
  • consultancy

Career progression

100% of postgraduates from the School of Chemical Engineering secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £34,125.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on data from graduates who completed a full-time postgraduate degree with home fee status and are working full-time within the UK.

Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)

This course is accredited by the IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers)

Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3)

This course is accredited by the IOM3 (Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining).

We have a dedicated staff in the department to work with the Careers and Employability and Industrial Placements Teams, helping support our students to find summer and year-long placements and graduate jobs.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" "Nottingham’s Environmental Engineering MSc provides a fantastic opportunity for students to learn first-hand from professionals with current or past experience of working in the environmental sector, and develop skills alongside peers from many different cultural and professional backgrounds." "
Dr Eleanor Binner, Associate Professor in Chemical and Environmental Engineering

This content was last updated on Thursday 27 July 2023. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.