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Postgraduate Certificate in Environmental Decision Making

This postgraduate certificate course provides an introduction to postgraduate study and represents the first level of qualification within the environmental decision making (EDM) programme. The modules you study for this certificate course can also contribute to the Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Decision Making (D38), and if you choose to continue your studies, to the MSc in Environmental Decision Making (F13).

From local planning issues to global challenges of climate change and energy conservation, environmental decision making is becoming increasingly important to everyone. The environmental decision making (EDM) postgraduate programme was established to meet the challenges of environmental decision making in the context of a changing world. It is designed to meet the needs of specialists, managers and the public for postgraduate-level environmental education.

Everyday concerns of environmental protection, natural resource management and rapidly changing environmental legislation and policy are considered in global and local contexts. The modules teach the skills you need to unpack the issues and participate creatively in the process of making environmental decisions, in all sectors of society.

The EDM programme is for people who are interested in designing, managing and participating in more effective environmental decision-making processes. Students on this programme are drawn from industry, commerce, local government, consultancies, non-governmental organisations and communities. They include people already involved in the decision-making process and those who wish to be - either personally or professionally. Whatever your background this programme will widen your knowledge of environmental decision making and develop your skills in making informed decisions about environmental issues, whether at work, in your community or at home.

This programme offers qualifications at postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma and MSc levels and includes an entry route for non-graduates.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

The EDM programme is for people who are concerned with designing and managing more effective decision-making processes that affect the environment. For example, if you are involved in setting up or responding to environmental or integrated management systems, planning new development projects or are trying to understand or manage sustainability.

Students on the EDM programme are drawn from industry, commerce, local government, consultancies, non-governmental organisations and communities. They include people already involved in decision-making processes and those who wish to be - both personally and professionally.

You can select modules that are most relevant to your interests and career aspirations as your study builds from postgraduate certificate through diploma to MSc.

The course will equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary to work in this expanding sector.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this 60-credit postgraduate certificate, you require:

30 credits from these optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Environmental decision making: a systems approach (T863)

This course uses systems ideas to explore environmental decision-making situations, to make sense of their complexity and to look for feasible changes and action.

See full description.

30 May
Environmental responsibility: ethics, policy and action (TD866)

This course is about understanding and taking responsibility, individually and collectively, for policy and action relating to environmental dilemmas, from climate change to biodiversity loss.

See full description.

30 May
Managing for sustainability (T867) NEW

This course will increase your understanding of delivering and supporting sustainability management in your workplace or support your personal interest in this subject.

See full description.

30 May

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules T830, T860, T862, TXX860, TXX863

And another 30 credits chosen either from the postgraduate modules listed above or from the following optional postgraduate modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Capacities for managing development (TU870)

This course provides development practitioners with a conceptual framework for analysing development management practice; and develops skills and capacities for analytical thinking and strategic action.

See full description.

30 May
Changing cities: urban transitions and decision making (D837) planned for presentation in November
Creativity, innovation and change (B822) (or version BZX822)

This interdisciplinary course is about managing innovation and change, sustaining a creative climate in your organisation, and promoting imaginative, flexible and practical thought and action.

See full description.

30 May FINAL
Environmental assessment and interpretation (T868) planned for presentation in May
Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction (TU812)

Develop your understanding of systemic inquiry, systemic action research and social learning in order to extend your skills of project, programme and change management.

See full description.

30 Nov
Problem solving and improvement: quality and other approaches (T889)

This course focuses on the practical application and deeper understanding of many of the methods and techniques associated with modern quality management and systems thinking.

See full description.

30 May
Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change (TU811)

Improve your management skills by exploring different approaches to engaging with complex situations and by developing your understanding of how cognitive processing shapes practice.

See full description.

30 May

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B882, B889, D830, D831, T834, T835, T861, TXX861, TUXX870.

Educational aims

This programme aims to:

  • provide masters-level study of environmental decision making and related issues
  • provide career and personal development for current and potential professional environmental specialists, as well as for others seeking to include environmental issues in their decision making
  • enable you to develop skills in environmental decision making that can be applied in organisations, businesses, communities and other areas of your life
  • enable you to develop the academic skills appropriate to independent postgraduate study of environmental issues.

Learning outcomes

The programme leading to this qualification provides achievable outcomes in the following four areas:

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this qualification, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • the concepts of environmental decision making, environmental management, sustainable development and other relevant key concepts
  • how perspectives, motivations and traditions affect environmental decision making and environmental responsibility.

Cognitive skills

When you have completed this qualification, you will be able to:

  • explore environmental issues systemically and systematically
  • critically analyse and evaluate information within an environmental context
  • distinguish between and critically examine factors influencing environmental decision making.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed this qualification you will be able to:

  • use appropriate frameworks to investigate and analyse environmental issues
  • use appropriate techniques to support analysis and decision making.

Key skills

When you have completed this qualification you will be able to demonstrate the following skills:

  • Effectively communicate in written form ideas and arguments on environmental decision making.
  • Advance your own knowledge and understanding through independent learning and experience.
  • Work independently, reflecting on own actions and thoughts, and making effective use of constructive feedback.
  • Seek and interpret relevant information from appropriate sources and integrate the knowledge and skills derived into a coherent product.

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