Strategic and Environmental Impact Assessment


1. Understanding of environmental impact assessment (EIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA), on different aspects: ethics, law, methodology, science, administration and decision-making.

2. Training of specific EIA and SEA techniques, with emphasis on those that invoke different domains of knowledge.

3. Understanding and resolution of practical EIA problems by simulating professional practice.

4. Ability to use EIA and SEA as decision support tools, respectively for projects and for policy, planning and programs.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

João Miguel Dias Joanaz de Melo, Tomás Augusto Barros Ramos


Weekly - 4

Total - 56

Teaching language



Multidisciplinary training in environmental and sustainability sciences , environmental planning and land use management.


MELO JJ & RAMOS TB (2002). Notas metodológicas sobre avaliação de impactes ambientais. FCT-UNL.

PETTS J (ed) (1999). Handbook of environmental impact assessment. Volumes 1 and 2. Blackwell, Oxford. 

VANCLAY F & BRONSTEIN DA (ed) (1995), Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, John Wiley & Sons

EA – Environmental Agency (2005). Good Practice Guidelines for Strategic Environmental Assessment. Environmental Agency, United Kingdom.

JONES C et al (2006). Strategic Environmental Assessment And Land Use Planning: An International Evaluation, Earthscan Publications. 

SMITH M, JOÃO E, ALBRECHT E (2005). Implementing Strategic Environmental Assessment (Environmental Protection in the European Union), Springer, Berlim. 

Therivel, R. (2004). Strategic Environmental Assessment in Action. Earthscan Publications Ltd. 

Teaching method

The teaching method is supported by lectures and practical classes. The teaching methods are mainly conducted to support several aspects: a) individual/group technical and scientific skills; b) debate skills and coherent analysis in the interpretation of the studied subjects. Classes will be complemented with a tutorial system, using e-learning tools.

Evaluation method

Evaluation is based on 3 assignments with 5 evaluation moments. The 1st is individual, the others in groups with individual evaluation. Themes: 1) Essay on professional ethics; (5%); 2) Report on an EIS (15%); 3) Summary EIA/SEA in three phases: (a) scoping (15%), (b) preliminary results (15%), (c) final report and discussion (50%). Delays delievering the assignments imply penalties in grading; participation in class is valued.

Improving grading: a) it is possible to improve the course grading in the current year with an oral exam; b) it is possible  to improve the course grading in the next year by resubmitting the assignments, all or part.

Subject matter

1. Introduction: course presentation; history, goals and basic concepts in EIA and SEA.

2. Professional ethics: debate on the ethics in Environmental Engineering and the role of environmental engineers.

3. EIA and SEA process and law: phasing and methodology; international, European and Portuguese legislation; main requirements and their application; insufficiencies of the law; case-studies of success and failure.

4. Methods in environmental assessment: impacts by activity; scoping; team management; methods identify and predict impacts; cumulative impacts; mitigation and compensation; use of indicators and data aggregation; evaluation of impact significance; decision support; process documentation for EIA and SEA.

5. Public participation: roles of different actors; modes and techniques of participation.