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

Top 15

in the Complete University Guide for Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Complete University Guide, 2022


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.


Core modules

Environmental Risk Assessment

This module covers the following:

  • Risk assessment principles (source, pathway, receptor) including conceptual frameworks, Greenleaves III, risk based regulation and environmental protection
  • Risk characterisation, hazard identification, consequences, significance, handling uncertainty
  • Tools and techniques: Qualitative risk assessment. Quantitative risk assessment, ie hands-on risk assessment modelling
  • Risk management
  • Fate and transport of contaminants, speciation of contaminants, environmental partitioning (fugacity)
  • Health impact assessment: Public health, occupational health studies, toxicology, perception, exposure, causality, odds ratios, epidemiological studies, scientific evidence for landfill versus energy from waste (comparative assessment), odour
Accelerated Design Training (year-long) 30 credits

Students undertaking this module will complete a group design project with a large individual component. The module is student-lead under the guidance of a group of academics.

Method and Frequency of Class:

Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Computing 23 weeks 1 week 1 hour
Lecture 23 weeks 1 week 2 hours
Workshop 23 weeks 1 week 4 hours
Workshop 23 weeks 1 week 4 hours

Activities may take place every teaching week of the Semester or only in specified weeks. It is usually specified above if an activity only takes place in some weeks of a Semester.

Method of Assessment:

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Coursework 1 30.00 A group conceptual design task consisting of: basis of design, a minimum of 3 PFDs for different process configurations and a 3 page report outlining the comparative performance of each configuration. Due in November.
Viva voce    
Coursework 2 70.00 Detailed group design task consisting of 10 separate components. Due in April.
Water Treatment Engineering

This module will concentrate on water treatment technologies covering those applicable to both the treatment of wastewater and the treatment of water for potable (drinking water) use. The first part of the module will review current practice and scientific principles in water treatment.

Case Studies across the water industry will be utilised to demonstrate problems and potential solutions and gain an understanding of design considerations and operation of water treatment processes. You’ll study emerging issues in water treatment and how developing technologies are addressing them. Guest speakers from industry and two site visits will support the module delivery. You’ll spend three hours in lectures per week.

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 various processes that may be employed to control atmospheric pollutants.

Students will be introduced to the scientific and engineering principles behind the design, costing, commissioning and operation of particulate and gaseous control devices. Students will study the application of these principles to the design of pollution control devices, and stack designs for a range of engineering processes.

The module covers two main topics:

Topic 1: Control of Particulates, including

  • Cyclone design 
  • Electrostatic Precipitator Design 
  • Fabric Filter Design 
  • Particulate Scrubbers

Topic 2: Design of Auxiliary Equipment, including:

  • Hoods
  • Ducts
  • Fans
  • Coolers


Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Lecture 12 weeks 1 week 1 hour
Lecture 12 weeks 1 week 2 hours
Tutorial 12 weeks 1 week 1 hour

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Coursework 20.00 Individual Student Engineering Design Calculation Assessment Sheet
Exam 80.00 Individual Student Particulate Process Control Design Project
Contaminated Land

This module develops a risk based framework for the assessment of contaminated land based on the characterization and modelling of contaminant sources, pathways and receptors and the remediation of such linkages.

Case studies are used to illustrate the application of this approach, the typical uncertainties and the management of risk. A range of physical, biological, chemical and thermal in-situ and ex-situ remediation technologies are covered. The application of these technologies is demonstrated by case studies including design studies based on the emerging concept of sustainable remediation.

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.

Optional modules

Water Treatment

This module will introduce you to a range of knowledge and skills applicable to water and wastewater treatment. You'll 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. You’ll spend three hours per week studying for this module. Teaching is also complemented by site visits.

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.

 Method and Frequency of Class:

Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 1 hour
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours

Method of Assessment: one 2-hour exam (100%).

Industrial Process Analysis

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 the reverse / forensic engineering based analysis of examplar plant designs. You'll learn how to:

  • assess the physical-chemical basis for safe process design, including handling of extremely hazardous materials, appropriate safety and control measures and the effect that such considerations have upon influence of scale-up
  • evaluate the basis for selection of construction material based on the characteristics of the materials being processed, conditions required to achieve the transformation, etc.
  • critically evaluate physical-chemical basis for application of novel/alternative processes and plant designs (e.g. green chemistry/process intensification/process integration)
  • explain the physical-chemical and practical factors which influence process economics, for example achievable yields, economies of scale of process, work-up and purification, sue stages
  • demonstrate what influence whole system thinking, total life-cycle and critical analysis have upon the physical-chemical basis of process designs
  • explain control choices with respect to the material, physical and chemical properties of the process relating them to product specifications and legislation requirements etc.
  • evaluate interactive risk within a complex system
  • understand the potential influence of that environmental impact and societal opinion has upon process design

Every week you'll have two hours of lectures and a one hour tutorial.

Power Generation and Carbon Capture (autumn) 10 credits

The following topics are covered:

  • fossil fuels, occurrence, use and world-wide availability
  • fossil power generation, conventional and advanced technologies
  • current environmental/climate change issues in power generation using fossil fuels
  • emission problems and reduction technologies
  • climate-forcing carbon emissions and fossil energy de-carbonisation
  • co-firing of fossil fuels and biomass
  • carbon (CO2) capture and storage (CCS)

The challenges in tackling climate change call for a sustainable re-structuring of our energy infrastructure, particularly the fossil fuel fired power generation sector. The primary aim of this module is to address the major issues and challenges facing the power generation sector using fossil fuels. This will be related to emissions problems and their abatement technologies and will address both conventional and advanced power generation technologies.

There will be a particular focus on various aspects of CCS technologies and their application in a range of fossil energy sectors, from the technical and deployment status of CCS to related financial and environmental challenges and opportunities. You’ll have two hours of lectures a week for this module.


Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Dissertation 30.00 Technology Assessment Report and Presentation
Exam 70.00 2 hour exam
Renewable Energy from Wastes (autumn) 10 credits

This module focuses on providing high quality teaching materials on renewable energy from different waste streams. The module will look at the potential of various waste streams in industry, domestic sources, and agriculture, as well as the different combustion technologies available.

The module includes 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.

The module looks at:

  • Indigenous fuels around the world
  • Fuel Types Characterisation of Fuels
  • Supply Chains for the Energy Sector
  • Small Scale Energy Production
  • Alternative Small Scale technologies for fuels production -
  • Future Energy Sources
  • New Technologies
  • Ethics, Engineering and Waste Management
  • Life Cycle Assessment, CCALC (Carbon Calculations over the Life Cycle of Industrial Activities)
  • Techno, Socio and Economic Considerations

This module aims to provide students with a comprehensive and in-depth introduction of the major existing and emerging technologies/proof of concepts and underlying physical and chemical principles for the low-carbon manufacturing of fuels and vital chemicals and materials, which underpin the required low carbon transitioning of chemical and energy process industries to combat climate change for sustainable development.

The module will enable students to gain advanced knowledge and understanding of key low-carbon technologies/concepts and to develop key conceptual skills needed in assessing related sustainability, economic, societal and ethical aspects.


Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 2 hour
Tutorial 11 weeks 1 week 1 hours

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Coursework 30.00  
Exam 70.00 2 hour final exam
Process Risk Benefit and Analysis

The module will explore decision making in the presence of uncertainty. Risks of particular interest are those associated with large engineering projects such as the development of innovative new products and processes. The module will present and interpret some of the frameworks helpful for balancing risks and benefits in situations that typically involve:

  • human safety
  • potential environmental effects
  • large financial and technological uncertainties

Case studies will be used to illustrate key points and these will centre on the use and recovery of plastics, metals, industrial minerals and energy. You’ll spend three hours in tutorials per week.

Energy Storage (spring) 10 credits

This module aims to provide students with the fundamental knowledge and practical skills in relation with energy storage science, engineering and technology.

It covers the following topics:


  • Fuels storage (coal, oil, natural gas, biomass, hydrogen etc.)
  • Mechanical energy storage (springs, compressed air, fly wheels etc.)
  • Heat or thermal energy storage (phase transformation, endothermic and exothermic reactions etc.)
  • Electricity storage (electrochemical means, such as batteries, fuel cells, redox flow batteries, supercapacitors).
  • Integration of storage with supplier and users (power electronics for interfacing energy stores with power grid, renewable sources and users.



Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Lecture 12 weeks 1 week 2 hours
Practicum  12 weeks 1 week 3 hours


Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Exam 1 100.00 2-hour examination
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 Friday 13 January 2023.

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 2023 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. You will require design experience in process engineering.
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 £11,300
International £27,200

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

Related courses

This content was last updated on Friday 13 January 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.