Air Quality Solutions MSc

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
24 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons)
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£12,500 (Total)
International fees
£28,750 (Total)

Course overview

Person standing behind three model wind turbines.

Up to 7 million people are estimated to die every year due to the harmful effects of air pollution. Degradation in air quality is now the leading environmental cause of premature mortality - exceeding deaths due to unsafe drinking water, malaria and HIV combined. Understanding the factors controlling the emission, processing and fate of air pollutants is vital to effectively mitigate these harmful effects and to assess the effectiveness of policy interventions.

Our solutions-driven Masters programme will cover a broad range of air quality-related topics, including emissions, monitoring, modelling, pollution exposure, health impacts and policy and economic appraisal. The programme will also explore the synergies of air quality with climate change. You'll be taught by academics who are experts in each of these topics and have contributed to the UK being a world leader in air policy design, delivery and evaluation.

This Masters gives you the chance to be hands-on, applying and designing interventions using state-of-the-art modelling tools and appraising the expected benefits. You’ll use conventional and research-led pollution-monitoring techniques and novel data analysis tools – all of which will support your substantial independent research project you’ll undertake in the final semester.

The course draws on the globally-renowned research from five Schools: the Institute for Transport Studies, the School of Earth and Environment, the School of Civil Engineering, the School of Chemical and Process Engineering and the School of Chemistry. This ensures you’re learning the latest innovations in the field, preparing you for a career in industry.

The valuable knowledge and skills you’ll acquire throughout your Masters could lead you to pursuing a career in consultancy, the public sector and regulatory bodies, non-governmental bodies, industry and further research.

Why study at Leeds:

  • Our broad expertise across all facets of air quality-related research feeds into your course, shaping your learning with the latest thinking in crucial areas such as emissions control, atmospheric science, health impacts – and everything in between.
  • Take a hands-on ‘systems approach’ to tackling critical issues in air quality, exploring solutions for both the UK and internationally.
  • Engage with the Air Quality Living Lab initiative that brings high quality, personal air quality exposure and health monitoring together with novel data analysis and visualisation techniques.
  • Advance your knowledge and skill set in developing solutions to air quality problems covering areas like indoor air quality, sustainability, air quality sources and principles of air quality.
  • Become a competent data scientist and analyst through training across all taught modules in different aspects of computer modelling and data science.
  • Experience expert theoretical and practical teaching delivered by a programme team made up of researchers and academics from the Institute for Transport Studies, the School of Earth and Environment, the School of Civil Engineering, the School of Chemical and Process Engineering and the School of Chemistry who all have extensive expertise across a variety of air quality areas.
  • This course offers flexible study options where you can study full-time over 12 months or part-time over 24 or 36 months to fit in with your lifestyle.

SEE students conducting research on Pembrokeshire beach

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Course details

Students conducting research on SEE field trip

This Masters will equip you with the relevant knowledge to be able to provide solutions to air quality issues.

We recognise that data science is an imperative skill in the modern world, which is why a key element of the course will train you into skilled data analysts and data scientists. In all taught modules, you’ll be trained and required to demonstrate competence in different aspects of computer modelling and data science: from advanced data analysis and visualisation, through emerging data platforms and infrastructure to programming and experience using commercial software. Supplementary one-day courses in python and ‘R’ coding environments will be provided, in addition to within module (assessed) skill development.

You’ll also be taught all the important fundamentals of air quality, developing a thorough understanding of the strength of different sources of pollutants such as road transport, residential heating, industry and origins of contaminants indoor. Through theory and practicals, you’ll learn the mechanisms of air quality dispersion and atmospheric chemistry, from indoors, through urban streets to across cities, regions and at a global level.

With this knowledge and data analyst skills, you’ll be able to critically evaluate the impact of a wide range of air quality interventions, from Clean Air Zones in cities (also called Low Emission and Ultra-Low Emission Zones) and national emission regulations, to managing indoor sources of air pollutants and ventilation systems. You’ll then have the skills and expertise to not only assess the success of policies in terms of improved air quality and health benefits, but also when you graduate have the framework and knowledge to design and craft your own policies.


At the Institute for Transport Studies , we want you to graduate with hands-on, real-world skills you can take into your career. For Air Quality Solutions students, there will also be fieldwork activities in modules, such as visits to air quality monitoring sites and the chance to join and actively contribute to initiatives such as the Air Quality Living Lab.

Fieldwork gives you the chance to build those professional skills and put theory into practice – experiencing transport systems in action and meeting transport professionals who are actively working in the field.

West Yorkshire

Leeds provides a great base for our transport students, with opportunities for on-site visits to Headingley and the City Square, where you’ll be able to see the air quality stations that report open-data to UK public and are also published on an international network. You can also take part in our Metropoly game where you’ll work in teams travelling around West Yorkshire using a variety of transport systems to visit various places of interest. You’ll gain points for each destination reached and the number of different transport systems covered.

See photos from the Metropoly game on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #ITSMetropoly.


The field trip to Sheffield around December will build on the teachings from semester 1, showing you the reality of planning and managing transport in a practical setting. You’ll also independently explore the city’s main urban and transport features, whilst learning about recent or ongoing transport-related projects from local practitioners. This includes the Clean Air Zone launched in the in February 2023, which charges the most polluting heavy and light-goods vehicles (LGVs and HGVs), buses, coaches and taxis driving into a controlled zone around the centre of the city.

In addition, we offer an optional residential trip to Castleton after the Sheffield visit – a fantastic way to get to know your fellow course mates better.

The Netherlands Photograph of boats on a canal in Amsterdam, taken during the European field trip.

We also offer a week-long European field trip in June which usually involves a circular tour around parts of The Netherlands. For many students, this trip is the highlight of the course – offering the chance to experience first-hand some truly innovative transport solutions.

Activities could include a cycle tour of Delft, a planning walk around the redeveloped Rotterdam docks area and a review of the redesign of Utrecht main railway station. You might also get chance to experience a properly integrated city neighbourhood and hear from local transport experts and ITS alumni at various talks.

Please note: itineraries may vary from year to year.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Compulsory modules

Environmental Science and Sustainability for Transport – 15 credits

You'll learn the knowledge and skills required to understand the environmental constraints of cities and how to influence decision making in transport towards environmentally and socially sustainable solutions. The module includes training in the UK toolkit for modelling vehicle emissions across transport networks in current and future years.

Principles of Air Quality Modelling Part I: Transport – 15 credits

Drawing on elements of air pollution dispersion theory taught by the School of Earth and Environment and the School of Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Leeds, you’ll focus on how transport emissions and pollution are modelled. The module will include training (delivered in partnership with the developer) in an internationally leading specialist air pollution dispersion modelling software.

Air Quality Sources andMitigation – 15 credits

You’ll explore non-transport sources of pollution, including secondary pollutants formed through atmospheric chemistry and appropriate mitigation and control strategies. Source apportionment techniques will be covered alongside training in accessing and analysing air pollution data from monitoring networks, as well as scenarios from regional air pollution models via bespoke data science tools.

Indoor Air Quality and Public Health – 15 credits

This module will explore exposure to air pollution, both at individual and population levels, and associated health impacts. This includes exposure to air pollution indoors, with training in using an indoor pollution model. Health impacts and awareness of health data, trends and data protection will be delivered by BiB. The learning will feed into training in the economic appraisal of air pollution and policies.

Air Quality Solutions (Design, Analysis and Evaluation) – 15 credits

We'll equip you with the skills necessary to analyse air pollution data, then design and evaluate the impact of air quality policies, including mitigation options for poor indoor air quality. Practical experience of open-source innovative data analysis tools is provided, including a new package – AQEval – developed and published by Institute for Transport Studies to evaluate Air Quality policies.

Transport Integrated Project – 15 credits

Enhance your range of personal and professional related skills (technical applied transport skills, communication and project management skills) through a multi-disciplinary project group across the range of transport programmes. You’ll undertake a specific transport project as suggested by a client, which could be either an external organisation or experienced Institute for Transport Studies academic staff.

Principles of Air Quality Modelling Part II: Chemistry and Emerging Markets – 15 credits

Build on the skills gained in modelling air pollution at the city scale in semester 1, to understanding the theory and application of regional and continental scale air quality modelling. Hands-on taught sessions will be used to analyse output from regional simulations in India and China and investigate pollution processing and policy interventions.

Research Dissertation – 60 credits

This Research Dissertation is an independent research project that gives you the opportunity to develop and apply research and/or design skills in a specialist topic in the air quality field. Cross-campus supervision teams are encouraged to explore and develop interdisciplinary research topics.

Optional modules

You’ll choose one optional module offered by collaborating schools from across the University of Leeds. The list below gives you a flavour of what might be available.

Sustainable Spatial Planning and Analysis – 15 credits

City Systems: Energy – 15 credits

Green Logistics – 15 credits

System Dynamics: Modelling Policy – 15 credits

Transport Investment Appraisal – 15 credits

Environmental Economics – 15 credits

Key Issues in International Health – 15 credits

Geographic Data Visualisation and Analysis – 15 credits

Learning and teaching

You'll learn through a blend of face-to-face lectures, tutorials, computing practicals and workshops, fieldwork and research seminars, leading to the development of knowledge and skills for your own independent research project. Knowledge and skill development will take place within taught modules, but also a series of research seminars, training and field visits will run alongside the assessed modules.

The majority of learning within taught modules is delivered by introducing and explaining underlying theories, discussing their application in practice and debating strengths and weaknesses of different concepts and approaches. This teaching is then followed by structured computing practicals, supporting students applying and testing their knowledge and understanding using real data and case studies.

The computing and data-science training within taught modules and the programme of supplementary skill development are coordinated through the course, so you can progress from being confident undertaking basic quantitative analyses at the start of the course, to demonstrating competence in computer modelling and data science: from advanced data analysis and visualisation, through understanding and using emerging data platforms and infrastructure, to programming and experience using commercial software.

Active research environment

At Leeds, our broad expertise spans across all facets of air quality-related research – from emissions control to atmospheric science to health impacts – and everything in between. This means that we are uniquely placed to offer an industry-relevant and forward-thinking applied and solutions-focused Masters degree in air quality solutions.

The Institute for Transport Studies was established as the UK’s first multidisciplinary transport department, and we continue to lead the field with our research. Our reputation allows us to invest in world-class facilities and a variety of specialist software tools including SATURN, DRACULA, and specialist open-source analysis packages such as OpenPave for pavement design and AQEval for tracking trends and detecting changes in air quality levels, and licensed software such as ARCADY, LINSIG for junction design. We also have a driving simulator, too.

Specialist facilities

The course connects to the Air Quality Living Lab initiative that brings high quality, personal air quality exposure and health monitoring together with novel data analysis and visualisation techniques. You'll be encouraged to engage with and be part of the initiative's activities throughout your course.

You'll have access to a fleet of 'low cost' portable, personal air quality monitor, backed-up by a cloud-based data architecture. This will give the students on the programme the research platform to explore individually, and as a group, a wide range of air quality issues and research questions. This could also give you the opportunity to engage in your own citizen science and community action projects, too.

Other study options

This programme is also available part-time, over 24 months. We are flexible as to how you choose to study this course so that you can combine it with other commitments, such as an existing job. Please get in touch with our admissions team to discuss part-time study options.

Programme team

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Assessment is equally varied and can include coursework essays, case-study reports, group assignments, posters, presentations and exams.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a relevant numerate subject such as (but not limited to) engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics, chemistry or economics.

Graduates from other disciplines and those with professional qualifications plus experience in the sector will also be considered.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information, please contact the Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component.

How to apply

Application deadline

Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

30 June 2024 – International applicants

8 September 2024 – UK applicants

Click below to access the University’s online application system and find out more about the application process.

If you're still unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

Institute for Transport Studies

Contact us

Institute for Transport Studies Postgraduate Admissions Team



UK: £12,500 (Total)

International: £28,750 (Total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

Students wishing to attend the annual European Field Trip should allow approximately £500 for travel and accommodation during the trip.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Career opportunities

Our aim is to equip you with the knowledge to provide solutions across a range of air pollution challenges and environments.

The rapid pace at which air pollution issues have moved up the national and international agenda will likely see increased demand for graduates with the specialist skills needed to implement air pollution mitigation strategies, design effective policies and consider air pollution aspects of economic and industrial activities and new developments. The ‘solutions’ focus of this course aligns with consultancy business, local and regional authorities and central governments.

As such, the skills and knowledge you’ll gain on this course will give you the platform to pursue a career in:

  • Consultancy
  • Public Sector
  • Regulatory Bodies
  • Industry
  • Cities
  • Further research

Plus, the University of Leeds is in the top 10 most targeted universities in the UK by graduate recruiters, according to High Fliers’ The Graduate Market in 2023 report.

Careers support

At Leeds, we help you to prepare for your future from day one — that’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers. The University’s Careers Service is one of the largest in the country, providing a wide range of resources to ensure you are prepared to take your next steps after graduation and get you where you want to be.

  • Links with industry – we have close working relationships with a number of organisations and many employers visit the Institute for Transport Studies each year to interview our students for graduate schemes and other vacancies. We also regularly circulate specific job vacancies to students. Organisations include ARUP, Mott MacDonald, AECOM, Capita, Transport for London, Pell Frischmann, Leigh Fisher, JMP, Amey and Hyder among many others. Read more about graduate employability at the Institute for Transport Studies.
  • Dedicated Employability Officer — gain quality advice, guidance and information to help you choose a career path. From CV and cover letter writing to supporting you with job applications, our School’s dedicated Employability Officer is on hand to help maximise your capabilities through a process of personal development and career planning.
  • Employability and networking events — we run a full range of events, including careers fairs and industry talks in specialist areas and across broader industries, with employers who are actively recruiting for roles, giving you the opportunity to network and engage with industry sponsors. 
  • Employability skills training – to support your transition to the workplace, we embed training in a range of key transferable skills valued by employers such as research and data analysis in all our programmes.
  • MyCareer system — on your course and after you graduate you’ll have access to a dedicated careers portal where you can book appointments with our team, get information on careers and see job vacancies and upcoming events.
  • Opportunities at Leeds — there are plenty of exciting opportunities offered by our Leeds University Union, including volunteering and over 300 clubs and societies to get involved in.

Find out more at the careers website.

Study abroad and work placements

After a competitive application process, paid 3 to 4-month placements are offered from September to December at the end of your studies in the UK with companies, city and regional authorities. This scheme will be extended to Air Quality teams, companies and authorities.

The scheme is open to all Masters students, including those on a student visa, within the Institute for Transport Studies. Placements aren’t guaranteed.