Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Environmental Impact Assessment: Theory and Practice
Academic Year
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 4 x 3 hour seminars/case study workshops (12 hours)
Lecture 2 x 4 hour & 4 x 3 hour lectures (20 hours)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Scoping study review  30%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   Essay question paper  70%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.   30%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.   70%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Effectively communicate knowledge about the key issues relating to the theory and practice of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

2. Understand how EIA integrates into an environmental management framework at a national and international level.

3. Appreciate the value of EIA as a tool for making decisions on any development that has environmental implications.

4. Identify potential weaknesses in the EIA process and think critically about how potential problems may be overcome through process improvements, quality control, research developments and associated legislation (e.g. Strategic Environmental Assessment).

5. Apply their knowledge in the above to produce a scoping opinion that thoroughly explores the potential environmental impacts of a particular development.

Brief description

This module will provide student with a broad Masters level understanding about the development of, theory and range of practices employed in current Environmental Impact Assessment. The seminars are designed to focus on skills that may be used in a professional capacity through case specific exercises.


To provide broad understanding of EIA theory and practices.


A brief historical review will indicate the range of environmental problems that arise when projects are undertaken without being subject to EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) and indicate where EIA fits within the overall environmental management framework. The nature of the EIA process will be reviewed and its individual components will be analysed in detail. These include screening, scoping and the production of the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement). The role of the project co-ordinator in EIA will be discussed in detail along with an analysis of the importance of stakeholder and public participation. We will consider data, how it is used and different EIA methods. In addition, the procedures that have been adopted around the world to give effect to the EIA process will be discussed. Finally, the relationship between EIA and SEA (Strategic Environmental Assessment) will be explored to illustrate how both processes interact, as well as the role of environmental assessment in a wider environmental management context. Case studies will be explored from a range of sources leading to how EIA has helped shape the future of environmental regulation in the EU and beyond.

Lectures will cover:
1. The contribution of EIA to sustainability objectives.
2. Screening, scoping and the roles of different participants in the EIA process.
3. EIA methods, mitigation and alternatives.
4. EIA worldwide (Part 1).
5. EIA Worldwide (Part 2).
6. EIA in an overall environmental management context.

Seminars will involve:
1. Mock public debate on exploratory oil drilling in the Falkland Islands.
2. Students will adopt the role of the local planning authority in determining whether EIA is required for certain projects (screening).
3. Students will be required to assess the characteristics of different environmental impacts arising from a specified project.
4. Students will be required to give a (team) presentation on the issues arising from a single EIA case study chosen from a list that covers different sectors and countries.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Using and interpreting data.
Communication Via case studies.
Improving own Learning and Performance Through class discussions in workshops, feedback and interactions.
Information Technology
Personal Development and Career planning A integral module and knowledge required for any future Environmental manager.
Problem solving Via case studies.
Research skills Via case studies.
Subject Specific Skills Environmental Impact Assessment.
Team work Working together in groups for case studies.


This module is at CQFW Level 7