BSc Mathematics and the Environment

UCAS codeGF19
Duration3 Years
Typical offerA*AA-AAB; IB: 38-34
DisciplineMathematical Sciences
LocationTaught in Cornwall Campus Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


Our innovative BSc Mathematics and the Environment programme gives you the opportunity to develop your mathematical skills in an inspirational setting and to apply these skills to important contemporary challenges.

Mathematics and the Environment is interpreted broadly and encourages you to develop core and advanced mathematical skills alongside a perspective on renewable technologies, ecology, society and human health.

Your studies will benefit from the personalised support and flexibility built into the programme, and from the state-of-the-art facilities on our modern campus.

Why is the programme timely?

Planet earth is facing many simultaneous threats. Impacts of climate change, populations under pressure, sustainable energy, food security, globalisation and human health present numerous and multi-faceted challenges for scientists, governments and policy-makers. Mathematics is essential for understanding and finding solutions to these challenges. Mathematics can make a difference. You can be part of the solution with your expertise in mathematics and statistics helping to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Why study here?

Cutting-edge research at the EU funded Environment and Sustainability Institute and the European Centre for Environment and Human Health inspires mathematics teaching in Cornwall. Alongside this, Cornwall is itself a "living laboratory" comprising a diverse range of marine and terrestrial habitats. This natural environment is perfect for you to learn and develop mathematical skill via hands-on experiences, and to understand the challenges facing our planet and the underlying mathematical problems.

What is unique about this programme?

Whilst acknowledging the need to learn core mathematical skills, this new mathematics programme will take mathematics education out of the classroom into field trips with expert guides, overseas field courses, and working in collaboration with local, national and international organisations and businesses.

Flexibility is a key feature, enabling students to graduate in “Mathematics and Ecology”, “Mathematics and Sustainability” or “Mathematics and Renewable Technologies” to suggest just a few potential specialisms.

Employability in traditional areas for mathematics graduates will be enhanced by career opportunities in new and emerging areas related to sustainability, renewable energies and environment.

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.

You may take Option 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. Descriptions of the individual modules are given in full on the College web site

You may take Elective Modules up to 15 credits outside of the programme in stage 2 and 30 credits in stage 3 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. 

Year 1

Your first year involves three key components: core modules aimed at developing fundamental university level mathematics in calculus, matrix algebra, computing and statistics; an expert-led module aimed at developing mathematical and inter-disciplinary approaches to, and understanding of, key applications areas in ecology, renewable energy and environmental humanities; and the flag ship module of the programme, Mathematics of the Environment, which involves classroom-based mathematical investigations intertwined with half-day field work trips.

Compulsory modules

ECM1901Mathematics of the Environment I 30
ECM1902Fundamentals of Interdisciplinary Mathematics 30
ECM1903Calculus 15
ECM1904Numbers, Vectors and Matrices 15
ECM1905Computing 15
ECM1906Data Modelling 15

Year 2

In your second year, core mathematics modules develop the key concepts and techniques needed in both mathematics and also applications in ecology, renewable energy and environmental humanities. You may start to specialise in one applications area by choosing options in specific areas. Mathematics of the Environment continues to provide the spine of the programme and combines classroom-based activities, guided field work, peer-to-peer presentations and group work aimed at developing communication skills.

Compulsory modules

ECM2901Mathematics of the Environment II 15
ECM2902Calculus and Dynamics 15
ECM2903Statistical Modelling 15
ECM2904Computational Modelling 15
ECM2905Systems and Transforms 15

Optional modules

Select 45 Credits

Students may choose a 15 credit elective module subject to approval, timetabling and satisfaction of prerequisites.

GEO2428BAtmosphere and Ocean Systems 15
BIO2414Evolutionary Ecology 15
GEO2424Applied Environmental Management 30
CSM2319Wind Energy 15

Year 3

The third year sees the culmination of the Mathematics of the Environment module. Data collected and concepts developed in the first and second years are brought together in sophisticated mathematical modelling and analysis tasks. You will be able to further develop your communication skills and enhance your employability by peer-to-peer mentoring of first year students through presentations and assisting with guided field work. The third year also involves a wide range of mathematical and statistical options, applications modules, a field trip and a project involving dual supervision from mathematics and a relevant applications area.

Compulsory modules

ECM3901Mathematics of the Environment III 15
ECM3902Field Course 30
ECM3903Project 30

Optional modules

In addition to the modules below, students may choose 30 credits of modules from the Elective list subject to approval, timetabling and satisfaction of prerequisites.

Select 30 credits of elective modules from:

Elective option within Renewable Energy
Elective option within Ecology
Elective option within Environmental Humanities

ECM3904Mathematics of Renewable Energy 15
ECM3905Mathematics Biology and Ecology 15
ECM3906Statistical Ecology 15
ECM3907Mathematics of Climate Change 15
ECM3908Frontiers of Interdisciplinary Mathematics 15

Entry requirements 2015

Typical offer

A*AA-AAB; IB: 38-34

Offers will be in the range A*AA-AAB, but will normally be at AAA or AAB (including an A in Mathematics).

Required subjects

GCE AL Maths grade A; IB Maths HL6
Candidates may offer GCE AL Maths, Pure Maths or Further Maths.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programmes.

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

Field work

Iceland field course
The focus of Mathematics and the Environment is on using and developing mathematics and statistics to understand the environment and our interaction with it. The Iceland field course is taken in year three and gives us the opportunity to test our mathematical knowledge in real applications and to assess our understanding of key environmental issues. You will experience at first hand “extreme” ecological habitats, human exploitation of the environment and several types of renewable energy sources and associated technologies.


A BSc Mathematics and the Environment degree from Exeter will equip you with a wide range of subject specific and more general skills which are highly prized by employers.

Specific skills will include an analytical approach to problem solving, handling data using modern software, and a readiness to tackle new concepts.

In addition you will develop the ability to work independently, work to tight deadlines and develop communication skills. We have excellent links with employers, locally and nationally, and encourage our students to carry out work placements.

Our Mathematics alumni are invited back to give career inspiration to our students and we hold employer events where companies are specifically looking for Mathematics graduates.

Our graduates are highly valued by employers in a broad range of sectors. Our graduates enter a wide variety of fields where their analytical skills are valued, both in business and in the public sector. Areas such as finance and actuarial work are particularly popular.

A number of graduates each year decide to follow their degree with a higher degree in an area of particular interest or train to become teachers. Find out more on the Employability page.

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Phone: +44 (0)1392 724061

Cornwall Campus, Near Falmouth

Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit the Mathematics website