KE7013 - Foundations for Professional Practice and Research

APPLY NOW Book an Open Day Add to My Courses Register your interest / Course PDF

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn how the practice of environmental health across society, in different sectors and in different roles, involves the application of scientific, technical and legal knowledge gained from research and applied to your needs in an ethical and professional manner. Across the year you will learn about the key concepts around ‘health’ and ‘wellbeing’ and how we define threats as ‘hazards’ and manage them through appropriate ‘risk management’ approaches. You will study how the English Legal System is structured and how English law can be applied to protect public health from unacceptable impacts on health and on the environment.

You will further develop your learning about research through studying foundations (research theories) and the advantages and drawbacks of a range of methodologies which you will apply to your own postgraduate research alongside other postgraduate programmes in the Department. You will also be prepared to scrutinise other people’s research discovering to what extent it is appropriate, robust and meaningful – particularly the connection between research objectives or questions, methods and interpretation of their findings. You will attend lectures and seminars with other postgraduate students on Departmental courses and will gain from their insights as you discuss ideas and research methods.
You will leave the module with fundamental knowledge ready to be applied to other modules in the programme and through external speakers, you will see environmental health applied in a range of settings from the private sector to non-traditional roles working across local government.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through lectures, seminars, practical workshop, site visit and independent learning. Lectures deliver the foundation knowledge and this is explored further through seminars. Throughout students are encouraged to share their own knowledge and experiences to illustrate theories and concepts that underpin the knowledge and practice of environmental health. A ‘flipped classroom’ approach is used whenever possible so that students are guided to undertake preparation before class and that research, experience and knowledge shared with others to illustrate the matter being discussed. Seminars and the practical workshop (using the mock courtroom) focus on practical skills such as legal controls and their application to a given situation based on a case study. Lecturers will direct you to further reading so that you can engage in discussion and prepare themselves for classroom work whether as an individual or in groups.

Formative feedback is embedded across the teaching with the open dynamic nature of the teaching. In addition it is used to support the completion of summative coursework.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

During contact time you will engage in small group activities, interacting closely with teaching staff. For example, you will gain practical understanding of how the English Legal System develops and functions through applying to your understanding of statutory nuisance. This is completed through lectures and seminars with students directed to investigate particular issues arising from case studies. For your research proposal you are assigned a tutor who will work with you on a one-to-one basis and will support you as you develop your idea into a research proposal ready for submission as part of the assessment for this module. If you keep the same topic, this research proposal can be formative feedback for your thesis.

Your class materials will be further supported by on-line resources available via the module eLP site. These resources include an interactive reading list with on-line access to a number of key articles and aligned with your weekly lecture programme.

Support and feedback is provided by tutors during seminars and the lectures as questions arise. This is supported by staff operating an ‘open door’ policy for students meaning you can approach them anytime during normal office hours, or via email, to answer questions, receive feedback and support your learning on the module on a one-to-one basis.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MLO 1: Evaluate the use of models to understand how a range of stressors may impact on human health.

• MLO 2: Critically review and assess the selection and application of research methods in a chosen field of focus.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO 3: Critically discuss with reference to appropriate scenarios the terms ‘health’, ‘risk’ and ‘hazard’ mean within a modern practice of environmental health

• MLO 4: Appraise and apply scientific and social science principles and concepts appropriate to environmental health practice and research

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MLO 5: Evaluate the effect of morality, ethics and justice on environmental health practice and research.

How will I be assessed?

Across the year two pieces of coursework are required.

The first is an essay (2,000 words) seeking a critical appraisal of the human body and how environmental stressors affect its function. The essay builds on the student’s study of the Health Develop Agency’s model of environmental health and asks them to use it as a basis to critically appraise its application. Student are allowed the freedom to research whatever topic they wish, they find interesting, to illustrate the impact. It contributes 40% to the overall mark for the module and reflects MLO1, MLO3, ML04, MLO5.

The second piece of work, focussed on the second semester’s study, you will prepare a research proposal that draws together your learning during the module and applies it to an area of study relevant to your discipline (3,000 words). 60% of the module mark and reflecting MLO2, MLO3, MLO4 and MLO5.





Module abstract

You develop the knowledge and practice of environmental health professionals. Topics include: hazard and risk management, the English Legal System and its application to public health, research as an academic and professional skill including the nature of research methodologies and the research process, and the scope of environmental health practice.

You develop skills in research, including synthesis of law from case studies, applied through independent student led research for (1) a topic you choose that demonstrates how environmental stressors can impact on human health and (2) a detailed research proposal ready to use as your dissertation. Assessments require an expert witness report, an essay exploring environmental stressors and their impact on health and a critical research proposal. Teaching has you engaging in discussion to reflect on each other’s beliefs and ideas. You receive formative support and guidance throughout the assessment process enabling you to achieve your full potential.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time
1 other options available

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

Current, Relevant and Inspiring

We continuously review and improve course content in consultation with our students and employers. To make sure we can inform you of any changes to your course register for updates on the course page.

Your Learning Experience find out about our distinctive approach at

Admissions Terms and Conditions -
Fees and Funding -
Admissions Policy -
Admissions Complaints Policy -