Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 3 years

UK fee

£8,775 (2023/24)

International fee

£8,775 (2023/24)

Course level




Start dates

September, January, May



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.

100%there is appropriate access to online library resourcesPostgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2023
100%staff are enthusiastic about what they are teachingPostgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2023
100%the workload on my course has been manageablePostgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2023

A talk from our academic

The programme leader for Environmental Health, Bruce Birkett, talks about our online Environmental Health MSc course.

The programme leader for Environmental Health, Bruce Birkett, talks about our online Environmental Health MSc course

View our online Environmental Health MSc course video transcript

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.

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.

lady sitting at laptop with headphones

Online Discovering Online Learning webinar: June 2024

Thursday, 6 June 2024 12.00 - 13.00

During this hour long webinar, we'll take you through how online learning works and what you can expect as an online student with the University of Derby.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

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.

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.

The programme usually takes between three to five years to complete. However, it may be completed sooner if you choose to start the Independent Scholarly Activity module whilst also studying your final taught module.

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.

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:

All these services, and more, are available to you as an online student at the University of Derby.

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

Get a taste of the course content

Our Environmental Health MSc course taster will give you an idea of how online learning works. It includes a selection of content from a course module so you can see what some of our learning material looks like.

You will need to complete a short form to access the course taster.

Try our course tasterTry our course taster

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:

Find out more about our English language requirements

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 be 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

2023/24 for new entrants

Starting between September 2023 and August 2024.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £975 7 (six 20 credit modules and one 60 credit module)  £8,775

2024/25 for new entrants

Starting between September 2024 and August 2025.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £1,000 7 (six 20 credit modules and one 60 credit module)  £9,000

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course based on the fee 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.

If you are required to undertake any associate study or additional study as a condition of your offer for the programme, please be aware that the cost for this will be in addition to the programme cost stated above.

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from two payment plan options:

*Please note: the discount for paying your fees up front will only be available to students enrolling for eligible online studies between August 2023 and July 2024 and will not be available for the September 2024 intake onwards.

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.

If you are considering applying for a student loan, please also see our additional guidance on Loans for Online Students.

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out more about the Alumni discount

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

Apply directly to the University.

Apply now

For support with completing your application, view our guide to the application process.

Documents to support your application

In order for your application to be assessed, you will need to provide the following documents when you apply:

*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.

Please note: failure to submit any documentation when requested, may result in your application being withdrawn.

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.

Utilise our Careers and Employment Service​

Whilst you are a student at the University of Derby, and for 3 years after you graduate, our Careers and Employment Service can assist you with job search advice, CV creation, workshops and events, as well as one-to-one appointments with employment advisers to help with career planning and interview preparation.

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

Contact usContact usFrequently asked questionsFrequently asked questions

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