Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 3 years

UK/EU fee

£7,920

International fee

£7,920

Course level

Postgraduate

Qualification

MSc

Start dates

January, September, May

Location

Online

Online course description

This is one of our most established online courses and the only online MSc Environmental Health course accredited by both the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland. That means it is a crucial first step in becoming a qualified Environmental Health professional.

Environmental Health is a multi-faceted discipline which deals with issues that impact on the health and well being of individuals and society as a whole. This online Environmental Health MSc course addresses the need for Environmental Health professionals who are able to understand and evaluate the risks posed by the stressors - or hazards - of Environmental Health through equipping you with the knowledge, expertise and skills needed to take on and enhance your role as a professional in this field of study.

Our tutors have many years of experience in Environmental Health and they understand the pressures of balancing study around work and family commitments.

Through studying this Environmental Health MSc, you will be able to evaluate critically a full range of sustainable interventions which are available to eliminate or mitigate stressors thereby protecting human health and promoting wellbeing. This online learning Environmental Health Master of Science degree will equip you with the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies to enable you to understand and evaluate the risks posed by the full range of Environmental Health stressors, which impact on human health and wellbeing.

You will study a range of modules that will equip you with a broad understanding of the inter-relationship between environmental risks and hazards, professional issues in Environmental Health, health impacts and the impacts 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. It will give you the ability to undertake primary data collection, and to critically evaluate the likely impacts on health and wellbeing, with a deep conceptual understanding that enables you to evaluate in a clear, concise way.

An accredited degree

To receive CIEH/REHIS accreditation, you will need to attend a one-week residential at our Derby campus in the UK. This is part of the Applied Interventions module and usually takes place in May. Travel, accommodation and subsistence is not included in the cost of the module and will need to be arranged by the student.

You will also need to attend a one-week residential practical food inspection course and examination that is currently provided for the University by Billingsgate Market in London. This is a professional requirement and does not form a part of the MSc but is needed for professional registration and will incur an additional cost of approximately £700 which will be payable prior to attending.

If you are unable to attend these residential elements, you will graduate with an Environmental Health Studies MSc, a non-CIEH/REHIS-accredited award.

Our short video shows you what it is like to attend the one-week residential practical food inspection course.

our Environmental Health MSc practical food inspection residential week in London

View the practical food inspection residential week video transcript

A course aligned to the CIEH requirements

This course follows the requirements of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) Curriculum 2011. As well as delivering the core knowledge associated with Environmental Health, the programme is very practical in its approach. We believe that an essential element of gaining competence as a practitioner in Environmental Health is by being exposed to real-life situations both through the work place and through real-life scenarios. The ability to critically evaluate Environmental Health interventions underpins much of your learning throughout the programme.

Flexibility to study when and where you want

This course is extremely flexible so, if you are already working, you can study at a pace to suit you, fitting around your existing work and personal commitments. Course modules still operate within a fixed 10-week trimester but you can choose when and where is most convenient.

Learn online with experienced practitioners

We have over 10 years of experience in delivering this course successfully to Environmental Health Officers and Environmental Health Practitioners, from all over the UK. With industry accreditation from the CIEH and REHIS and our membership of the International Federation of Environmental Health (IFEH), 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.

By choosing to study with us, you’ll benefit from teaching and guidance by our professional team of experienced practitioners. All course content is relevant and topical, looking at current trends within the Environmental Health industry and covering key subject areas such as public health/applied public health, noise assessment and environmental policy and law.

What you will study

We will advise you of your study plan - the running order and availability of the modules - when you are invited to enrol. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered. In addition, where demand is high, some modules may be subject to a cap.

Our Environmental Health MSc comprises three progressive stages: postgraduate certificate (PG Cert), postgraduate diploma (PG Dip) and masters (MSc). You will be required to achieve 60 credits to complete each award within the programme, totalling to 180 credits to achieve the MSc. 

To receive CIEH/REHIS accreditation, you will need to attend the one-week residential on campus in Derby as part of the Applied Interventions PG Dip module. You will also need to attend a one-week residential practical food inspection course for professional registration. If you are unable to attend these residential elements, you will graduate with an Environmental Health Studies MSc, a non-CIEH/REHIS-accredited award.

Postgraduate CertificatePostgraduate CertificatePostgraduate DiplomaPostgraduate DiplomaMastersMasters

Code: 7EV533

Public Health and Wellbeing

The module aims to develop a critical understanding of the role of environmental health within the public health agenda in the UK. Students will gain a critical understanding of health surveillance, key public health issues, public health initiatives, health protection, governance and legislature. Such skills and knowledge will help realise the vision of the Public Health skills and Knowledge Framework and the ‘Environmental Health 2012’ document where Environmental Health Practitioners are working with and alongside other public health professionals, to be key partners in local and national efforts to protect and improve the health and quality of life of individuals and communities and to reduce inequalities.

Module learning outcomes

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

  1. Critically evaluate how key public health initiatives impact on the wider determinants of health to control/mitigate or eliminate adverse health effects
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the policy and strategies that are available to improve population health and wellbeing

Module content

  • Environmental Health Practitioners, Public Health and the new public health agenda (Dahlgren and Whitehead 1991– EHP role)
  • Foundations of modern public health
  • The nature of governance in the UK
  • The nature of the legal system pertaining in each devolved country of the UK, and the jurisdiction of the courts in discharging the criminal and civil law
  • Health inequalities
  • Fuel poverty
  • Surveillance and assessment of the populations health and wellbeing
  • Key public health issues (including poor nutrition, alcohol and drug misuse, obesity, smoking mental health etc.)
  • Public health initiatives (including com dev/regeneration/health promotion etc)
  • Evaluation, cost effectiveness, policy and leadership in public health
  • Health protection (communicable disease control (including STD’s, protection from non-communicable environmental hazards, emergency planning and response)
  • Sustainable development
  • Research methods in public health
More information
20 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 7EV534

The Health Impacts of Workplace and Food

The module looks at the environmental health stressors associated with the workplace and food. You will look at how stressors in the workplace and from food can impact on human health. A risk based approach is used to determine the actual risk to human health and how intervention and compliance strategies can be used to mitigate these impacts.

Module learning outcomes

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

  1. Critically evaluate the impacts of stressors arising from food on human health
  2. Critically evaluate the impacts of stressors arising from working environment on human health

Module content

  • The range and mechanisms of the impact of food and workplace related biological, chemical, physical, social and psychosocial stressors and the potential and actual public health implications thereof
  • The range of potential interventions to achieve ‘safety’ and compliance
  • The way in which injuries, work-related illness and dangerous occurrences are reported and subsequently investigated
  • Food microbiology including the principles of food preservation and spoilage
  • The means of preventing the contamination or spoilage of food
  • The processes associated with the preservation of food
  • Determination and articulation of the opportunities and means to eliminate, reduce or mitigate the level of risk associated with a food or workplace generated hazard
  • The interface of ‘food’ and ‘workplace health and safety’ with the public
More information
20 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 7EV535

Natural and Residential Environments

The module looks at the environmental health stressors associated with the natural and built environments. You will look at how air, water, noise pollution and how conditions within the home can impact on human health. A risk based approach is used to determine the actual risk to human health and how intervention and compliance strategies can be used to mitigate these impacts.

Module learning outcomes

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

  1. Critically evaluate the impacts of the stressors arising from the natural and built environment on human health
  2. Critically evaluate the intervention strategies available to control, mitigate or eliminate the impacts of stressors on the human and physical worlds arising from the natural and built environment

Module content

  • The potential impact on human health of the air, water, and noise pollution
  • Types of housing construction and tenure commonly encountered
  • The relationship between housing and health
  • An understanding of common building defects
  • The application of housing law to the maintenance and improvement of the housing stock
  • Use of risk assessment to the determination of the suitability for occupation
  • Exploration of the particular issues relating to multi-occupied housing
  • Development of strategies regarding area initiatives and financial support for housing renewal
  • The assessment and management of air quality and its impact of health
  • The principles of environmental noise, its impact on health and its control
  • The evaluation of noise emitted from domestic and industrial premises
  • The importance of and principles associated with maintaining and enhancing public and private water supply
  • Drainage from buildings and ground, treatment of sewage and assessment of outfall on the environment directed reading
  • Solid waste management and disposal and the powers for dealing with illegally dumped waste directed reading
  • The determination of a contaminated land site and land recycling directed reading
  • Prescribed processes and requirements relating to consents and permitting
  • The origin and nature of 'nuisance' as a legal entity, and in particular the position of 'statutory nuisance' as a key public health tool in the remedy in the field of environmental health
More information
20 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 7EV532

Applied Interventions

This module entails a one week residential on The University of Derby’s Campus, UK, so that you can receive your CIEH/REHIS accreditation. This module is taken in the second year and usually takes place in the Spring (May). Travel, accommodation and subsistence is not included in the cost of the module and will need to be arranged by the student. If you are unable to attend these residential elements, you will graduate with an MSc Environmental Health Studies, which is a non CIEH/REHIS accredited award.

This module aims to provide the student with experience of applying the principles of the profession of environmental health as developed in previous taught modules in a ‘real world’ context. It will allow students to integrate knowledge across a range of intervention areas associated with the determinants of health and wellbeing. The scenarios will challenge the students ability to critically evaluate the risk to public health from a range of stressors, to gather relevant information/evidence, understand the range of interventions available including formal action, consider the actual or potential effects of the interventions (or absence of) on human health, be able to communicate and justify any action/intervention, and be able to make a case for working in partnership to contribute to any health outcome. 

Much of the work will be group based and students will engage with a range of group activities. Students will be able to show how the acquisition, assimilation and application of knowledge can be used to generate possible options for resolution of the problem, and, where possible, suggest ‘the most appropriate courses of action’ to resolve environmental health-based problems.

Module learning outcomes

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

  1. Critically evaluate the risk to public health from environmental health stressors set in a practical context
  2. Critically evaluate the full range of intervention options that are available to control mitigate or eliminate the impact from environmental health stressors acting upon the physical, social and human worlds

Module content

Using real life environmental health scenarios for example; 

  • Infectious disease outbreak
  • Accident in the workplace Investigation
  • Environmental pollution complaint
  • Housing health risk evaluation
  • Development of a joint strategic needs assessment
  • Emergency planning situation

You will gain a practical application of key core competencies, intervention strategies/ operational skills and practice skills within public health, food safety, health and safety, housing and health and environmental protection (Environmental Health Curriculum 2011). Including:

  • Identifying 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 previously studied, but recognising the need to consider the political, technological, commercial and financial implications
  • Assimilating and integrating data from works of authority, legislation, codes of practice etc, and by mobilising the data thus acquired through local research, using it in a way that maximises the intervention
  • Identifying when, and how best, to adopt the educational role, having regard to the skills of the would-be recipient to make use of the information so obtained and/or to know when best to defer to enforcement action (recognising the need for this to be proportionate, transparent and consistent) but once decided upon the pursuit of formal action, to collect and assemble such evidence that the matter is dealt with efficiently and effectively
  • Recognising how inspections, investigations and audits (conducted with a clear idea of how to maximise their impact), and with effective engagement with duty holders (through questioning and ‘active listening’), reaching an early assessment of normal practice, deducing the effectiveness of systems in place and revealing the mechanisms of control that may (or may not) be in place
  • Learning how best to work in a team and through ‘partnership’ with other organisations, bodies and health professionals see how effective intervention strategies might arise through ‘joint working’
More information
20 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 7EV536

Hazard and Risk Management

The module looks at the concepts of hazard and risk in respect of environmental health. A risk based approach is used to determine the actual risk to human health and how intervention and compliance strategies can be used to mitigate these impacts.

Module learning outcomes

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

  1. Critically evaluate the concept of hazards, stressors and risk as applied across the breadth of environmental health
  2. Critically evaluate the specific risk based intervention strategies available to control, mitigate or eliminate the impacts of stressors on the human and physical worlds arising from the wider determinants of health

Module content

  • The concepts of hazard and risk in respect of the wider determinants of health and the principles surrounding their assessment and management
  • The concepts of hazard and risk in respect of food and the workplace and the principles surrounding their assessment and management
  • The principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) and its application within a food safety quality assurance system
  • How the Housing Health and Safety Rating Scheme (HHSRS) serves to establish a link between a residential hazard and its potential health impacts. And how its use by EHPs provides the means by which that risk can be assessed and classified and intervention duly implemented
  • How environmental management systems, such as ISO14001 can be used to manage environmental risk and to control, mitigate or eliminate the impacts of stressors on the human and physical worlds from environmental pollution
  • The application of risk assessment procedures and safety management systems designed to identify the appropriateness of interventions in different workplace situations, and thus to bring about a reduction in the incidence of injury and disease through targeted risk management strategies
More information
20 Credits
core
Coursework

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, students 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
core
Coursework

Code: 7EL995

Independent Scholarly Activity

This module represents a significant opportunity for students to apply the knowledge and understanding gained from the taught modules within their Programme of study to a specific research based investigation. Students will have the opportunity to apply, creative thinking and organisational and time management skills to a specific topic. Early in the module, emphasis will be placed on the research skills necessary to execute an independent, investigative study. Students 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, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate initiative and critical thinking skills in selecting a problem for investigation and identifying appropriate methodologies for their implementation
  2. Critically evaluate existing literature in their 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

Students will receive research skills tutoring through a combination of on-line materials with formative self-assessment exercises to support 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 specifically:

  • Literature review techniques
  • Critical review of scientific literature
  • Questionnaire design
  • Statistical methods of hypothesis testing
  • Data interpretation
  • Thesis structure, organisation and presentation
  • Health and safety implications
  • Ethical issues

Independent scholarship is not restricted to traditional academic studies.  Students may carry out independent scholarship in collaboration with their employers/sponsor, governmental organisations and, the professions or the voluntary sectors.  These studies will require careful liaison between the University and employers to ensure that employment and industrially based projects have appropriate academic rigour. Students are actively encouraged to be imaginative in the design of their investigation.

More information
60 Credits
core
Coursework

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

Pace of study

We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester. If you aim to study two modules in one trimester, we recommend 40 hours of study per week.

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.

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally have a minimum of a lower second class (2.2) honours degree in a pure or applied science (or combination) from a UK university, the CNAA (Council for National Academic Awards) or an overseas equivalent.

However, we will accept qualifications and experience considered to be equivalent to a degree. All students applying via this route will be assessed and, where necessary, will need to speak to the Academic Lead via a phone or video call.

English language qualification

International students will be expected to demonstrate that they have achieved an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 6.5 or above or equivalent.

Exceptionally, we may admit you without this qualification 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 Academic Lead.

When assessing a non-standard entrant’s suitability for entry on to the programme, the Academic Lead will have particular 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.

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.

Fees and funding

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £880 7 (six 20-credit modules and one 60-credit module) £7,920

† Prices correct for 2019/20 new students. Subject to potential annual increase in September 2020.

Additional costs

The course fees do not include the costs for the one-week residential practical food inspection course at Billingsdate Market. The fee for this residential is approximately £700. Accommodation, travel and food costs are also supplementary.

The course fees do not include the extra costs for the Applied Interventions module (accommodation, travel and food costs are supplementary).

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from three 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

Careers

This course will open up various career opportunities for you in the UK and overseas. A popular career choice is to work as an Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP) in local government but there are opportunities in the private sector where health protection is paramount, such as international food retailers and the hospitality and leisure industry. There are also opportunities to work in public health and in the Health Protection Agency.

Becoming an EHP

To qualify as an Environmental Health Practitioner, you'll need:

Career alternatives to being an EHP

We are seeing a number of our graduates gaining employment within the private sector such as in the food industry and environmental consultancies. We have an established record of training students who are already members of, or potentially recruited into the Armed Forces (Army Medical Corp). However, the degree may also allow graduates to obtain positions in other career choices such as emergency planning, environmental conservation, scientific writing and risk management. There are also opportunities to work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the delivery of community-based projects, particularly in developing countries.

Registration with CIEH

Registration with CIEH requires you to undertake a range of professional assessments. Our MSc Environmental Health has been designed and accredited to meet three of the five professional requirements needed for registration purposes. Our professionally qualified academic team will be able to advise and guide you with regard to the other two aspects. Completion of the CIEH assessments will enable you to become a qualified Environmental Health Practitioner.

Registration with REHIS

Our MSc Environmental Health online degree meets the academic requirements needed to qualify as an Environmental Health Officer in Scotland and to become registered with REHIS. Upon completion of the MSc Environmental Health, you will need to undertake the REHIS professional examinations. We advise you to contact REHIS once you’ve begun the MSc Environmental Health for more information on the professional examinations and any additional requirements.

Benefits of becoming a CIEH member

We actively encourage you to become student members of the respective professional bodies when you commence your studies. As a student on the MSc Environmental Health programme, you are eligible for membership of the CIEH and details can be found on the CIEH website. Membership will allow you to network and to explore career options. Benefits include: free subscription to Environmental Health News magazine; resources and forums via member-only area (MyCIEH); exclusive member-only events; networking opportunities; technical toolkits; briefings; and email bulletins.

As an international member of the CIEH, you will be part of a globally respected public health organisation and have access to an international network of like-minded professionals. As an international member, you will be open to a new network of channels as well as research and cultural exchange opportunities.

Take advantage of our careers guidance

Our Careers and Employment Service offers advice, support and guidance with a more focused approach to career and continuing professional development to all students. The careers staff will engage with you in online sessions upon request in preparation for job selection, person specification, job roles, CV preparation and techniques for interview.

Many of you will already have clear ideas regarding the direction of your career. The academic team are experts in their field of study and are able to provide professional guidance and direction to help you progress this and with their support you are encouraged to pursue professional recognition upon completion of the programme.

Progression routes

The MSc Environmental Health programme allows progression in terms of further qualifications and employment. The masters is a good basis for further study in the form of a PhD. It is a good basis for employment in the fields of public and environmental health both in the UK and around the world. Together with relevant experience, the masters allows for further progression to membership of the CIEH.

From a wider perspective, the programmes provide a suitable qualification for those working in allied areas to progress and broaden the skills they offer. For example, with the non-governmental organisations (NGOs), national and local government organisations, private consultancy companies and charity organisations.

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.

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Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

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† Additional information about your studies

Prices correct for 2019/20 new students. Subject to potential annual increase in September 2020.

Download programme specification