BSc Environmental Science

UCAS codeF750
Duration3 years
Typical offerAAB-ABB; IB: 34-32; BTEC D*DD-DDD
LocationTaught in Cornwall Campus Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


Environmental Science Scilly Isles Field Trip 2017 Video

Environmental Science Scilly Isles Field Trip 2017 video. View full size.

Our BSc and MSci Environmental Science programmes are the University’s flagship environmental degrees, enabling you to learn the science behind the Earth’s amazing complexity and its environmental processes. These programmes are at the cutting edge of current thinking in the environmental field and will prepare you to help change the future of our planet. You will learn practical and theoretical insights from world-leading research experts in a range of environmental disciplines and emerge from your degree with an understanding of how to measure, evaluate, and make decisions about environmental issues. From day one of your degree you will take a hands-on approach to the collection and analysis of environmental data in the field and laboratory.

These challenging programmes will broaden your horizons by enabling you to learn about environmental processes at a range of scales, from local and regional to national and global. You’ll engage with issues relating to climate change, its impact on the world, and efforts to mitigate its effect. You will uncover the complexities of the legal processes which underpin environmental decision making and discover how the law facilitates the enforcement of environmental regulation.

Throughout the programme you will develop a wide range of practical skills to increase your employability, working with satellite data and using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to guide real-world environmental decision making. You will have the opportunity to work and learn in inspiring places where you will gain practical field experience.

You will benefit from exposure to cutting-edge interdisciplinary research through the programmes’ close relationship with the University’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) on the Penryn Campus. Cornwall is an exceptional place in which to study issues related to the environment and sustainability: the county is a perfect living laboratory which offers a diverse range of marine and terrestrial habitats, a wealth of natural resources and creative and resilient communities.

Our programme structures allow you to pursue your interests and shape your ambitions. Importantly, throughout the degrees you will gain insights from industry leaders in the environmental sector and engage with other relevant organisations through field trips embedded in modules and work placement opportunities offered by the University.

  • Our flagship environmental degrees enable you to learn the science behind the Earth’s amazing complexity and its environmental processes
  • At the cutting-edge of current thinking in the environmental field
  • Learn practical and theoretical insights from inspirational, world-leading research experts in a range of environmental disciplines
  • Join a community of experts working at the forefront of knowledge creation and innovative application
  • Unique fieldwork opportunities available locally in the South West and further afield, including a residential field trip to the US*

Year 1
Your first year will provide you with a solid scientific grounding in themes and topics of the integrated environmental sciences. Core modules will give you a broad range of knowledge, allowing you to pursue your interests further on in your degree.
Year 2
In your second year, you have more flexibility to explore your interests, tailoring your degree through module choice. You will also gain a more detailed understanding of key issues and practical training in implementing environmental science strategies.
Year 3
In your third year, you will gain specialist training in the skills necessary to acquire jobs in the environmental sector. You will have an opportunity to specialise in your preferred subjects through an independent research dissertation and a choice of optional modules.

Programme variations

*Field course destinations are subject to change. Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs.

There are many BSc Environmental Science degrees offered in the UK, but the programme here is, I believe, unique in incorporating a specifically legal and policy aspect, and the inclusion of these appropriate modules makes this programme distinctive and attractive.

The academic content is very comprehensive, including geographical and environmental subjects, combined with elements of biology and ecology as well as law and policy, fully delivering on the overall aim of training environmental practitioners. Modules incorporate a wide range of transferable skills, from conceptual and structural skills to technical and practical skills, which are all crucial to personal development and general employability.

The programme is comprehensive, rigorous and very well designed in its structure and modules. The learning outcomes, teaching methods, and assessments are very well coordinated and appropriate, with a good progression in content and advancement over the course of study. I congratulate the team for designing such an impressive, attractive, and highly relevant degree programme.

Dr Andreas Baas, Senior Lecturer, External Assessor for the Environmental Science degrees at the University of Exeter.

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted, or replaced as a consequence of the annual review of this programme.

You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

This programme is designed to be interdisciplinary and therefore you may not take elective modules from outside of the programme in any stage.

If you have mobility or health disabilities that prevent you from undertaking intensive fieldwork, reasonable adjustments and/or alternative assessment can be considered. This could include replacing a fieldwork module with an alternative in agreement with the Director of Education.

You are also permitted to take the five-credit module LES3910 Professional Development Experience in any year. Registration on this module is subject to a competitive application process. If taken, this module will not count towards progression or award calculation.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Entry requirements 2019

Typical offer


Required subjects

GCE AL grade B or IB HL5 in a science subject*.

GCE AL science includes: Biology/Human Biology; Chemistry; Computing; Design and Technology; Electronics; Environmental Studies; Geography; Geology; Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths; Physical Education; Physics; Psychology; Science (applied); Statistics.

*Applicants studying one of the following BTEC Extended Diplomas will be considered without GCE AL requirement(s): Applied Science, Countryside Management, Environmental Sustainability.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programme for Biomedical, Life and Environmental Sciences.

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

You will be taught by internationally recognised research-active staff through a range of methods including lectures, seminars, tutorials, field work, and laboratory sessions, and will receive at least 15 hours of quality contact time per week. Emphasis is placed on developing your practical hands-on expertise, grounded by sound theoretical knowledge. We embed important environmental science skills within modules, including GIS, remote sensing and data analysis. We include a wide range of local, national and international trips and you will engage in fieldwork of all varieties and in many different environments throughout your programme of study.

At the University of Exeter we have developed novel methods of hands-on interactive teaching, which you will benefit from in the Environmental Science degree. From Year 1 you will engage with hands-on enquiries using databases, maps and satellite data, developing GIS tools to help you understand the local, regional, national and global picture of the natural world and all of its processes. Lecture material will be global in scope but practical work will build from a local focus in Year 1 to a global perspective by Year 3. By the end of your degree you will be able to use spatial datasets to answer environmental questions important to the future of our planet.

As a student of the programme you will benefit from excellent student:staff ratios, small group tutorials and accessible staff. In all three years you will be offered personal tutoring in small groups with an academic member of staff. In addition to participating in taught modules you are expected to undertake extensive independent and self-motivated study as part of your degree. You will learn to work independently and become a scientific thinker during this programme – learning these skills is not easy but we will be on-hand to guide you throughout the programme. Your independent study will culminate in an individual project (dissertation) in Year 3 where you will research an environmental subject of your choice.


Assessment methods vary depending on your choice of modules, but are likely to include exams and coursework-based assessment. You must pass your first year assessment in order to progress to the second year. The assessments in the second and final years all contribute to your final degree classification.


Environmental Science field work video

Staff and students discuss the fieldwork aspect of the BSc Environmental Science programme. View full size.

California field course video

Centre for Geography, Environment and Society California Field Course 2017. View full size.

Fieldwork is an integral part of all of our programmes, taking learning into the field to explore the incredible landscapes in the region and beyond. Several modules, including day and residential field courses in the UK, and overseas*, will allow you to develop key field skills, enable you to put them into practice and gain new research skills. The international field course in the third year is one of the capstones to your degree, where you will be immersed in the scientific, environmental and cultural geography of a completely new landscape.

Led by expert staff, field trips are embedded into modules throughout your degree to give you a first-hand understanding of the subject.

We begin in Year 1 with a range of local field excursions, exploring ecological and environmental principles in West Cornwall. There is an overnight trip to West Penwith, and various field classes within the local region. This includes a three-day volunteering exercise with a local environmental organisation, learning practical environmental stewardship and working with local groups.

In Year 2 you will undertake a week-long residential field course on the Isles of Scilly. It will enable you to develop the conceptual, analytical and practical research skills necessary for you to carry out independent research work.

In your final year we take you further afield to think about bigger issues in environmental science. During the USA* field course, you will have an opportunity to apply your research and practical skills.
By the end of the programme you will have gathered a suite of unique field working skills that will place you in a strong position to move into environmental employment.

*Field course destinations are subject to change. Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs.


A degree in Environmental Science from the University of Exeter will equip you with a wide range of skills suitable for progressing onto further study or employment. These skills, highly sought after by employers, include: data gathering; information retrieval; problem solving; project planning and management; organising and communicating information; report production and presentation (written and oral); plus the ability to work effectively on your own and as part of a team.

Jobs in environmental sectors across the globe are likely to increase in the future as population growth intensifies the demand for resources such as energy, and emerging global environmental policies place a question mark over the longevity of carbon-hungry energy supplies. A growing body of scientific evidence, with significant contribution from staff at the University of Exeter, is highlighting the fragile future of biodiversity, water resources, food security, and natural carbon stocks under global climate change. Climate change is now acknowledged by scientists, governments, businesses and social, environmental and economic organisations as one of the greatest challenges of our time. Our changing environment presents a fascinating and urgent set of challenges and opportunities for today’s practitioners, policy makers and researchers.

Environmental consultancy is increasing in prominence globally. There is an emerging need for skilled graduates to feed into this industry, bringing sound scientific understanding of environmental issues, coupled with practical training in how to solve or mitigate environmental problems. For example, in the UK, the skills of environmental scientists are required to implement EU legislation at local and regional levels in relation to sustainable development, rural and urban regeneration and access to the countryside. There are also many jobs for environmental scientists with an understanding of remote sensing data and information management in Geographical Information Systems. In addition, the UK is currently one of the poorest waste managers in Europe, so waste disposal and recycling are likely to remain important issues for both householders and businesses over the next few years. Furthermore there are new openings for environmental scientists in the water industry, where sustainable management of water supplies is a growing concern. This list is by no means exhaustive; a degree in environmental science will place you at the forefront of a discipline where resource management and environmental decision making are critical to the future health and function of planet Earth.

The University of Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. On campus we offer a careers advisory service which provides high quality careers information and guidance to all students as well as online facilities such as a CV creator and advice on application and interview techniques. Whatever path you want to follow after graduating, we’re here to help and support you with all your career and employability needs.

Developing your skills and career prospects

The University provides a range of support and opportunities to help you develop skills that are attractive to employers. Visit our Careers and employability pages on the Biosciences and Geography websites for more information.

Graduate destinations

Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates of University of Exeter Geography and Environmental Science undergraduate programmes in Cornwall. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2012/13. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Job title Organisation
Assistant Catastrophe Exposure Assistant
Planning Assistant
Performance and Efficiency Analyst
Marine Conservation and Divemaster Internship
Marketing Assistant
Case Assessor
Business Graduate
Recruitment – Energy Sector
Information and Systems Assistant
Research Consultant
Army Officer
London Borough Newham Council
HCC Insurance
Department for Transport
British Armed Forces
University of Exeter
Spencer Ogden
Pinnacle Internet Marketing
Scott and May
Thales UK

Further study

Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by graduates of University of Exeter Geography and Environmental Science undergraduate programmes in Cornwall. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2012/13. Please note that, due to data protection concerns, the subjects of study and institutions are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Subject areaInstitution
Climate Change and Risk Management
Sustainable Crop Production
Volcanology and Geological Hazards
CIM Professional Certificate in Marketing
Food Economics and Marketing
Energy Policy
Oil and Gas Management
University of Exeter
University of Warwick
University of Lancaster
Coventry University
University of Reading

Find out more

Further information about the opportunities the University of Exeter offers to maximise our graduates’ employment prospects can be found on the CareerZone website.

Contact us

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit The Centre for Geography and Environmental Science