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Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 3 years

UK/EU fee

£8,145 (2020/21)

International fee

£8,145 (2020/21)

Course level




Start dates

January, September, May



Online course description

By taking this course you’ll be looking to contribute to improving the public health and wellbeing now and, in the future, to ensure all the physical environments where people live, eat, play and work are safe.

As one of our most established online courses this online Environmental Health MSc course addresses the need for environmental health professionals who can understand and evaluate the risks posed by the stressors - or hazards - of environmental health. It encompasses the wider areas of public health, food safety, occupational safety in the workplace and residential environment, and environmental protection.

Environmental health is a multi-faceted discipline which deals with issues that impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals and society. The course will equip you with the knowledge, expertise and skills needed to take on and enhance your role as a professional in this field of study. It will provide you with a broad understanding on the inter-relationship between environmental health hazards, risk assessment and the potential impact on public health and wellbeing.

You will gain additional key skills demanded by both public and private sectors and international organisations. As well as gaining core knowledge associated with environmental health, you will also be exposed to real-life situations using case studies based on real life scenarios.

A CIEH accredited course

The programme has been designed to align with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and is the only online MSc course accredited by the CIEH which means it is a crucial first step in becoming a qualified Environmental Health professional.

As a qualifying course for membership of the CIEH and you are actively encouraged to become a member of this professional body when you commence your studies as this will allow you to access to membership resources, network with industry contacts and explore career options.

Recognised partner of CIEH logo

Learn online with experienced practitioners

The programme is led by Bruce Birkett who is Chartered Environmental Health Officer with over thirty years' experience working in environmental health. You’ll also benefit from teaching and guidance by our professional team of experienced environmental health practitioners.

We have over 17 years of experience in delivering this course successfully to Environmental Health Officers and Environmental Health Practitioners. Our online MSc Environmental Health is closely aligned with industry needs to ensure your skills and knowledge are up to date to help you get ahead in your career.

All course content is relevant and topical, looking at current trends within the environmental health industry.

Goldstandard teaching**Teaching Excellence Framework
95%agree that they are satisfied with the quality of the course**Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2020

What you will study

You will study six core 20 credit modules and complete an independent study project worth 60 credits. We will advise you of your study plan - the running order and availability of the modules - when you are invited to enrol.


Code: 7EV537

Professional Issues in Environmental Health

This module looks at the key environmental health practice skills that are transferable across the entire discipline. These are the skills necessary for the environmental health practitioner to bring about behavioural change that can lead to measurable health improvements within a population.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate and apply the key operational skills needed by an Environmental Health Professional to facilitate behaviour change
  2. Critically reflect on the success or otherwise of the approaches taken to facilitate behaviour change and how these could be adapted to improve the outcome

Module content

  • Communication and articulation of, the nature, impacts, mechanism of impact and the potential or realised health outcomes of the environmental health stressors
  • Identify the points where the role of the EHP might be best practiced as a means of intervening to prevent, control or mitigate the impact of the stressors, but recognising the need to consider the political, technological, commercial and financial implications of these actions
  • Identify when, and how best to adopt the educational role, having regard to the skills of the target audience to make best use of the information obtained
  • Prioritise actions based on evidence and risk (mindful of other outside factors) and in so doing demonstrate a capability and confidence to work independently
  • Explore the relationship with other organisations evaluate the effectiveness of working in partnership with other organisations, and health professionals to implement effective intervention strategies
  • Assessment of the success of an intervention, based on evidence available
  • Communication of hazard and risk
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7EV548

Pollution Assessment and Remediation

This module aims to develop a critical knowledge and understanding of the sources, distribution, impact and remediation of a range of contaminants in the different compartments of the environment (air, water, land, and biota). Impacts of various anthropogenic activities including development and the generation and use of energy sources are also discussed using a range of case studies and reports.

The module will be delivered fully online through study materials via the blackboard platform which will include interactive materials, live-classroom sessions, word documents and power point presentations with voiceovers. Tutor support will be provided through the discussion forum, e-mail and personal tutoring as appropriate.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a critical understand of the sources, pathways and impacts of a range of conventional and novel environmental pollutants
  2. Critically assess the impacts of anthropogenic activities including development and energy use on different environmental media including air, land, water and biota
  3. Understand and critically evaluate available and emerging monitoring, assessment and remediation techniques for conventional and emerging pollutants in different environmental media

Module content

  • Environmental Pollutants, sources, pathways and behaviour in the environment
  • Anthropogenic activities including development and energy use as sources of environmental pollution
  • Impacts of anthropogenic activities including development and energy use on different environmental media
  • Pollution monitoring and assessment in air, land, water and biota
  • Conventional and emerging remediation techniques for a range of pollutants in various environmental media
  • Employability Skills
    • Collaboration and communication
    • Working effectively with others
    • Social responsibility
    • Problem solving
    • Professional awareness
  • Digital Skills
    • Independent and fluent research across a comprehensive range of information sources and networks
    • Online collaborative working
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7EV551

Food Control

One of the major roles in the sphere of environmental health involves working with food standards and the hazards related to food production.

This module explores legal, social and best practice requirements in food safety and standards.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a critical awareness of evidence-based practices in dealing with potential hazards arising from the stressors of environmental health, as they relate to food. 
  2. Critically evaluate good manufacturing practice and legal requirements of food production, preparation and storage.
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7EV552

Housing Standards

The module will examine the evidence of the public health impact of housing conditions.

The historical and contemporary impacts will be considered as well as the changing understanding of the effect upon public policy. Additionally, it will examine the principal reasons for statutory interventions and how these ensure minimum housing standards at a local and national level.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate the potential health impacts of the stressors arising from the built environment
  2. Critically evaluate the intervention strategies available to control, or eliminate the impacts of stressors on the human and physical worlds arising from the built environment.
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7EV553

Occupational Health and Safety

Health and safety in the context of the workplace is a major element of environmental health and is included amongst the physical and social stressors acting on the sphere of environmental health.

A critical knowledge and deep understanding of the principles of recognition, evaluation and control of hazards, together with a knowledge of the use of legislation and the consequence thereof, informs intervention strategies.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the interfaces between the workplace and all persons affected thereby; including employees, employers, self-employed; contractors, suppliers, and the public.
  2. Critically review strategies for the management of safety, occupational health and hygiene in the workplace.
  3. Provide evidence of a comprehensive and critical understanding of interventions to control or remove hazards in workplaces.
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7EV995

Independent Scholarly Activity

This module represents a significant opportunity for you to apply the knowledge and understanding gained from the taught modules within your programme of study to a specific research based investigation. You will have the opportunity to apply, creative thinking and organisational and time management skills to a specific topic or hypothetical/existing problem. Early in the module, emphasis will be placed on the research and communication skills necessary to execute an independent, investigative study. You will be expected to devise a research proposal and then execute the study over a given time frame.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate initiative and critical thinking skills in selecting a problem for investigation and identifying appropriate methodologies for your implementation
  2. Critically evaluate existing literature in your chosen field of study
  3. Collect, interpret and critically evaluate primary/secondary data and discuss its significance in the context of the investigation and of related studies

Module content

You will receive research skills tutoring through a combination of on-line materials with formative self-assessment exercises to consolidate those received in earlier modules for the development of a research based investigation. An understanding of the basic principles of experimental methodology of a range of research investigations will be explored including both qualitative and quantitative principles of research design. There will be directed study and tutorials covering the following elements:

  • Literature review techniques
  • Critical review of scientific literature
  • Tools for data gathering
  • Statistical methods of hypothesis testing
  • Data interpretation
  • Thesis structure, organisation and presentation
  • Research or Report paper organisation and presentation
  • Health and safety implications
  • Ethical issues
More information
60 Credits

Code: 7NU546

Public Health: UK and International Perspectives

Although there have been improvements in public health across the globe there still remains great inequalities within regions/countries of the world. Social and medical determinants of these inequalities impact on the health of communities and populations. Public health activities can play a key part in improving the health of families, communities and localities. This module allows you to explore and examine the issues that relate to public health through an international lens in terms of determinants of health and through reflection on your own practice. Using essential elements of public health as a framework, you will be able to compare activities between regions/countries to apply your own knowledge in relation to your own area of public health.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate and compare the dynamics and challenges of the  essential elements of public health theory and practice
  2. Propose ways in which Integrative care could be enhanced in relation to an identified global health issue

Module content

  • Definitions and scope of public health
  • Individual, community and population level approaches
  • Healthy public policy
  • Principles and essential elements of public health theory and practice
  • Reflection for learning and public health practice
  • The organisation of public health nationally and internationally
  • Accessing and using demographic and epidemiological data and information for public health
  • Exploring inequalities in health – the socioeconomic determinants of health
  • Multi-disciplinary public health
  • Exploring global public health activities
  • Barriers to public health practice
  • An introduction to evaluating public health initiatives
  • Public health in a digital world
More information
20 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

Teaching and learning

Modules within this course will be delivered by a professional team of experienced practitioners. Delivered entirely online through our user-friendly student portal dashboard and intuitive digital learning environment, you will interact with your tutors and fellow students and through a mix of virtual live classrooms and tutorials.

Group discussions and debate are held through forums and community spaces and the use of collaborative tools such as wikis for group projects and assignments. Digital texts, ebooks, journals, databases and more are available electronically via our library.

The programme team will bring their industry experience to life using real case studies for you to assess to gain practical hands-on experience ensuring you leave the programme with experiential learning.

You will be able to identify environmental health stressors and critically evaluate the likely effect on public health and wellbeing. Progression through the programme will aid you to develop critical thinking and analysis skills, culminating in the ability to think strategically across the breadth of the environmental health sector.

The independent study module will provide you with the opportunity to use and enhance the knowledge and intellectual skills gained during the course by means of an extensive investigation into a topic of your choice. This can include carrying out a project in collaboration with your employer and industry area.

Student support and guidance

Whilst we encourage our students to become independent, life-long learners, we also recognise that offering the right support and guidance will help you to achieve your goals. There is a wealth of support available to you at the University, from your dedicated Personal Tutor and Online Learner Advisor, through to our Library, Health and Wellbeing Centre, Careers and Employability Service, IT Support and the Union of Students. All these services, and more, are available to you as an online student at the University of Derby.

Study skills

Many of our students are mature learners and have not studied academically for many years. To help you to become an effective student, able to study at postgraduate level, there are a number of advanced study skill resources available to you covering areas such as research skills, critical evaluation in academic context, literature search, referencing, plagiarism and so on.

Pace of study

We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester.

Assessment method

This course is assessed through 100% coursework with a range of methods, such as essays, research reports, presentations, group work and practical reports.

To prepare you to work in environmental health the assessments include case studies to enable you to build the skills and knowledge that you will need to draw upon in professional practice.

Formative assessment opportunities will be available throughout your modules to provide structured learning and feedback. This may be gained through feedback such as self-assessment, peer review, or feedback directly from your tutor.

More formal summative assessments which count towards your grades, such as computer-aided tests, research projects, business reports, case study analysis, collaborative group work and reflective reports will develop your skills and knowledge at Masters level. They will tend to be directly related to your personal development or your application of learning to either your own or a case study organisation.

The final assessment on the MSc is the independent study, a triple module worth 60 credits. This is a major research project applied to a workplace, or you may choose to produce an academic paper for publication. You will be supported by an academic supervisor who will guide you through this process towards your final submission.

Don't just take our word for it...

Graduate Adeyemi Roland talks about his time as a student with University of Derby Online Learning.

Adeyemi Roland talking about the online Environmental Health MSc at the July 2019 graduation reception

View Adeyemi Roland and the online Environmental Health MSc video transcript

Who will teach you

Academic Bruce Birkett sitting at a desk

Bruce Birkett
Programme leader

Bruce Birkett has 30 years of experience working in the Environmental Health field. Before working in higher education, he was employed by various local authorities through England, lastly as a Head of Service. Bruce has also worked internationally within the oil industry in Environmental Health and loss prevention.

View full staff profileView full staff profile
Student wearing headphones at a laptop participating in an online webinar

Study Environmental Health Online Webinar

Thursday, 3 December 2020 14.00 - 15.00

Join this webinar to discover more about studying Environmental Health online at Derby. The webinar includes a 30 minute presentation from Bruce Birkett, Academic Lead for Environmental Health.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

Entry requirements

You should normally have a UK undergraduate degree (at least a 2:2) with honours in a pure applied science (or combination) of a UK university, the CNAA or an overseas equivalent.


Qualifications and experience considered to be equivalent to the above. All students applying via this route will be assessed and where necessary interviewed by the Programme Leader via phone or video call.

Exceptionally, we may admit you without these qualifications where you can demonstrate the potential to achieve the aims and outcomes of the curriculum. You will also need to demonstrate that your experiences are equivalent to having achieved a 2.2 honours degree. All students applying via this route will be assessed and evaluated by the Programme Leader.

When assessing a non-standard applicant's suitability for entry onto the programme the Programme Leader will have regard to:

To ascertain this we may ask for an interview with you, a reference from your employer that details your experiences and current role, and you may be asked to undertake a critical written report for consideration.

English language qualification

If English is not your first language, or you have not successfully completed your highest level of qualification in English, you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need at least one of the following:

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Have you already studied at another institution, completed a training course, or does your work experience appear equivalent to one or more modules of your chosen course? If so, you may able to translate this prior learning into credits towards your course modules, so you don’t have to study them again.

Further information about applying for credits for prior learning can be found in our recognition of prior learning section.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2020 and August 2021.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £905 7 (six 20 credit modules and one 60 credit module)  £8,145

2021/22 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2021 and August 2022.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £905 7 (six 20 credit modules and one 60 credit module)  £8,145

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.

However, please also note that you can receive a 5% discount if you either:

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from three payment plan options:

Masters funding options

Depending on where you are from in the UK or EU, and on your pace of study, you may be eligible for a postgraduate student loan. Accessible through Student Finance, this is a non-income based loan to help with living costs and tuition fees whilst studying your masters programme.

How to apply

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply now

Documents to support your application

You'll need to provide:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.

Application deadlines

All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.


Careers aimed at protecting the public and the environment cover a wide range of disciplines and include food safety and integrity, health and safety, waste management, the built environment, pollution control and public health. As an Environmental Health Practitioner, you may work across all areas of environmental health or specialise within a particular field.

As a qualifying course for membership of the CIEH, this programme forms a base for employment in environmental health anywhere in the world. Together with relevant work experience the MSc Environmental Health enables you to further progress to chartered membership status of the CIEH.

Environmental Health Practitioners can be found working in local government or within a chosen discipline working with the private sector such as international food retailers and the hospitality and leisure industry. There are also opportunities to work in public health, with the Environment Agency and in the Health Protection Agency.

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

Contact usContact usFrequently asked questionsFrequently asked questions

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