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Sustainable Resource Management: Policy & Practice MSc

Course Details


Available: Full- Time

Duration: 1 Year

Award: Masters (MSc)

Faculty: Science and Engineering

Course Type: Taught

Fees: For Information on Fees, see section below.


Dr. Bernadette O'Regan
Faculty of Science + Engineering
Dr Caitríona Carlin
Rm 206, Applied Ecology Unit Centre for Environmental Science School of Natural Sciences NUI Galway
+353-91-493 863
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Brief Description

This one year MSc programme is distinctive in several important ways. While we recognise the major environmental and sustainability challenges facing us, the main focus is not on the challenges themselves, which are well known, but rather on actions we can take to reduce the threats and enhance our resilience. Students come from a wide variety of countries and disciplines but share a common interest in a desire to learn what has been done, and what might be done, to address these challenges. All the modules are taught by active researchers and experiences practitioners. The first semester provided by National University Ireland Galway has a focus on rural landscapes, and focuses on practical methods to meet challenges in managing land and habitats to maintain essential ecosystem services and biodiversity. The second semester offered by University of Limerick focuses on urban areas, sustainable transport, industrial waste management and quantitative methods of assessing sustainability. In the third semester students have the opportunity to select a research topic which is based in either campus. On completion graduates receive a parchment jointly awarded by both universities. Graduates find relevant and interesting employment in many arenas, including conservation, business and industry, local authorities and consultancy companies.

This novel course is a multidisciplinary approach to environmental sustainability devised by UL and NUIG to respond to the continuing interest among students in an environmental/resource management taught MSc., and to market demands for graduates with more applied knowledge of the environmental sector. Strongly research led, it is unique in that it combines the expertise of both institutions in relation to urban form and function and landscape evaluation and management for conservation in a jointly awarded MSc postgraduate degree.

The 12-month long course comprises new modules taught only at postgraduate level and aims to provide participants with the skills, knowledge and experience that are needed to pursue successful careers in managing environmental resources sustainably. The course will help develop government policy and economic recovery by producing top quality graduates who can contribute to a smart economy and hasten implementation of green technologies. Given the pressure on and competition for limited resources, the course applies an evidence based approach to developing solutions for all system users. Graduates will become technically fluent in selected environmental science theory, policy development, implementation and best practice.

Students who undertake this course will:

  • develop a technical and scientific understanding of sustainability issues and problems associated with management of resource use and management in relation to (a) urban form and function and (b) landscape evaluation and management for conservation.
  • comprehend a range of policy responses in relation to enhancement of sustainability in Irish urban and rural settings, and selected international case studies.
  • synthesise an understanding of the complexity of both natural and socio-economic-natural systems, together with an understanding of existing and innovatory sustainability policy options, to develop a competency in identifying and evaluating optimal policy options.

This programme brings together theory, policy and practice to provide participants with the skills, knowledge and experience that are needed to pursue successful careers in managing environmental resources sustainably.  As the course is structured around research in both NUI Galway and University of Limerick that is strongly linked to decision makers in industry and government organisations, it will develop graduates with necessary skills in identifying and evaluating solutions for real world problems.

Autumn  Spring Summer
3 modules taught in NUI Galway:-
  • Ecosystem Assessment
  • Biodiversity and Conservation
  • Environmental Problems and Solutions
4 modules taught in UL:-
  • Material and Energy Flows
  • Urban Form and Transport
  • Urban Household Sustainability
  • Sustainable Life-cycle Engineering
  • Research Project
    (based either in UL or NUIG)




Content of modules can be found by using the search option on the book of modules.


At least a second class honours primary degree (Level 8 - National Qualifications Authority of Ireland) in an appropriate discipline, or a professional or other equivalent qualification recognised by both the University of Limerick and NUI Galway. This course is suitable for graduates with a primary degree in the Environmental Sciences/Engineering/Economics or Geography/Biological Sciences/Ecology  and Earth Sciences who wish to extend their knowledge and skills for a career related to resource management. Mature students with relevant experience are most welcome to apply. A strong personal statement demonstrating interest in the course is also essential as this will be considered as part of the application. Applicants may be required to attend for interview.


  • Qualification transcripts and certificates
  • English language qualification if English is not your first language
  • Certified English translations of your transcripts/certificates where the originals are in a language other than English.
  • An up-to-date CV (curricumum vitae)
  • A copy of your Birth certificate (long document)


English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of either prior successful completion of a degree qualification taught through the medium of English or meet one of the criteria below (no longer than two years prior to application):

Acceptable English Language qualifications include the following:

  • Matriculation examinations from European countries where English is presented as a subject and an acceptable level is achieved
  • Irish Leaving Certificate English –Ordinary Level Grade D or above
  • TOEFL – 580 (paper based) or 90 (internet based)
  • IELTS – Minimum score of 6.5 with no less than 6 in any one component.
  • English Test for English and Academic Purposes (ETAPP) – Grade C1
  • GCE ‘O’ level English Language/GCSE English Language – Grade C or above
  • University of Cambridge ESOL –Certificate of Proficiency in English - Grade C / Certificate in Advanced English - Grade A
  • GCE Examination Boards – Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations – Grade C / Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate – School Certificate Pass 1-6 / University of London Entrance and School Examinations Council – School Certificate Pass 1-6

Results in examinations other than those listed above may also be accepted as meeting our English language requirements. Contact the International Education Division for advice.

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Specific career opportunities such as Sustainability Officers, Ecological Consultants and Environmental Advisors exist within government agencies, public bodies, NGOs, environmental planning and engineering consultancies with an emphasis on sustainable design, corporate companies on a national and international scale.  In addition, opportunities for further research exist. Opportunities exist within the "Green" economy as governments, NGOs and large corporations must work to meet environmental targets set within international obligations. Graduates will acquire translational and multidisciplinary skills in environmental entrepreneurship and sustainability sector enabling them to take on managerial roles within an industrial / corporate setting, or within a regulatory body or consultancy firm.

Previous graduates have found relevant employment in Ireland, UK, USA and elsewhere as University researcher; PhD student; industry based environmental management, environmental analyst, environmental quality control officer; consultancy based climate change researcher; in non-governmental conservation organisations, in governmental organisations such as the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

Student Testimonials

Fergal Healy, 2016

The trip to Malmö was a huge learning experience for me. The first thing you see on the train from Copenhagen to Malmö is on offshore windfarm which is an introduction to the city’s sustainability measures before we had even reached the city. Rooftop gardens were commonplace in governmental, commercial and private buildings. I was very impressed by willingness to show the public the benefits of sustainability through education, infrastructure and incentives. On the first day we visited the Western Harbour which  provides itself with 100% renewable energy. We were told of how any mistakes or things that could have possibly have been done on one construction, would then be noted and used in new builds. They also liked to test new solar panels on governmental buildings. What I found the most interesting from the whole trip is the way the city from top down and bottom up are mostly geared towards sustainability. This makes a massive difference when it comes to making new developments more sustainable. The city used to be solely focused on ship building in the 1940’s and now has completely changed around to a more sustainable one. The trip complimented the course and the modules and I learnt a lot from it. Knowledge I hope to use in the future.


Aura Pacheco 2016

During my visit to Malmo in Sweden I could see different approaches in term of sustainability which has been applied there. I was pleasantly impressed with the city because I have been reading and researching, basically learning about those approaches but seeing them in practices and making the difference is absolutely brilliant.
Malmo is a city with 300,000 inhabitants approximately, which is not a small city. But despite the problems that can face any city, with the characteristics of Malmo it has shown that if the community and the government work together they can achieve incredibly benefits for the city such as the reduction of unnecessary waste of resources and encouraging people to live in a more sustainable way.
I learned that the key of everything is the cooperation of government, community and private sector along with NGOs, basically a team work. Also that it is necessary to implement all the strategies for the management of water, electricity, heat and fuel consumption, as well as reduce CO2 emissions which cause serious damage to the environment and air and water pollution, in addition to have a proper resource management to meet the basic needs of all human being.
Furthermore, I have learned that it is possible by hard work and desire, creating neighborhoods, towns, cities and countries that consume what they produced always using a mixed of technology and sustainability, consequentially we will have more spaces for healthy recreation and free from contamination.
Residents in Malmo look happy and that it is the consequence of having a high level of life quality. There is much more to do, but they have learned from their own mistakes and they have improved. I am from South America, and from my perception it was like being in the future, the future that we all deserve, to live longer, better and healthier.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to see Malmo and all which can be achieved in terms of sustainability, using different strategies for energy management: such as, solar energy, wind power, also for waste management such as incineration, and anaerobic digestion as well as using biogas to replace gasoline and diesel. 
Projects and plans for reuse and recycling of materials, educational plans for children which teach them the importance of recycling and reuse, the use of Green roof to help with flooding and create biodiversity as well as spaces for growing food and recreation. Additionally, the application of communication campaigns to raise the awareness in terms of costs, time, conveniences and sustainability, also the facilities to drive less and ride more bikes around the city.
All has been possible through the work of everyone and the significant economic investment by the Local Government.


Kate Redington 2016

The field trip to Malmo was extremely interesting and informative, and one of the best things about the course so far. It was very well organised and we really packed a lot of things into the two days. One of my favourite parts about the field trip to Malmo, besides seeing the latest technology and results of three decades of environmental projects in action, was listening to an expert talk about how the city has managed to achieve all that they have. Johanna has worked for the city of Malmo and was directly involved in a number of the projects that we visited, and had a large network that she introduced us to. She also told us about how they go about securing funding for various initiatives, including from the EU.  It was wonderful to hear about a local authority that “dared to try new things, and dared to fail”. The city of Malmo recognised that they needed to make it easy for people do the right thing and have been committed to doing that. In Malmo, when a local project in Augustenborg had very little public participation at the meetings they organised, they went door-to-door to talk to people and get them involved. Seeing the measures to combat flooding in Augustenborg, such as the green roofs and small channels and canals that were made into water features, were particularly interesting because they could work well in Ireland.  I also like how these measures have multiple functions, like the green roofs which act as insulators and contribute significantly to temperature control, while also supporting biodiversity, and soaking up and purifying storm water. The Returen reuse and recycling centre was a very interesting example of a bring centre with a social function as well, and is another thing that could work very well in Ireland, particularly for rural communities.
The best part of the trip by far though, was the Climate X workshop at the technical museum. I think making the science behind climate change fun and accessible for school kids, including potential solutions to address these problems and for adaptation, is a brilliant idea, and something that is done very well in Malmo.  This is even reiterated in their themed playgrounds. It was also interesting to hear what didn’t work, and to see the amount of experimentation that is happening; for example at Sege park, where they’re testing different types of solar installations, from standalone PVs that can be moved and reattached on to another building to integrated PVs that make up the roof itself.  Hearing about the long range planning and commitment to the project as a whole was inspiring because it proves that it is possible.