The paper briefly considers changes in the higher education system in Kazahkstan since the break-up of the former Soviet Union. At that time master's programmes did not exist and there was no unified system for their introduction. The one-year environmental management course described was the first of its type and was set up with special permission from the Ministry of Education and Science, Republic of Kazakhstan to run on an experimental basis. The course differs significantly from other programmes and, under regulations introduced by the ministry in 2001, it is difficult to see how a broad-based programme aimed at introducing graduates from a variety of backgrounds to environmental issues could be achieved within a one-year period. The permission to run the course is periodically reviewed, however, and has been extended due to the excellent results. The course structure and the philosophy behind it are presented along with some of its history. The aim is not to produce specialists in any one area of environmental management, technology or engineering, but individuals with a broad foundation to build on as their professional careers progress.

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