- Our MSci provides an opportunity to work on a project focused on a specialised areas of environmental practice or academic research
- Learn the science behind Earth’s amazing complexity and its environmental processes
- Take a hands-on approach to the collection and analysis of environmental data in the field and laboratory
- You will develop a wide range of practical skills to increase your employability, from working with satellite data and using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to guide real-world environmental decision making
- Learn practical and theoretical insights from inspirational, world-leading research experts in a range of environmental disciplines and benefit from exposure to research through the programme’s close relationship with our Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) on the Penryn Campus
Top 50 in the world for Environmental Sciences
QS World University Rankings 2023
Top 10 in the UK for Geography and Environmental Science
8th in The Complete University Guide 2024
Study climate change, biodiversity, sustainability and environmental decision-making
Field courses available in the south west and further afield
Accredited by the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences (CHES), the education committee of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES). As a graduate of this programme you will be eligible to apply for Associate Membership of the IES. Find out how membership can progress your career here.
This is a strong programme offering a wide range of engaging and effective provision that prepares students for a career in the environmental sciences. Students have the opportunity to develop a broad range of relevant practical skills.
The tutorial structure embedded throughout the programme [...] provides scaffolded academic and pastoral support. Opportunities to gain insight into professional practice are embedded throughout the curriculum, including innovative real-world assessment.
The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES)
From their accreditation report on BSc/MSci Environmental Sciences
Entry requirements (typical offer)
|AAA - AAB
|B in one science subject*
|36/666 - 34/665
|HL5 in one science subject*
|Applicants studying one of the following BTEC Extended Diplomas will be considered without GCE AL requirements: Applied Science, Countryside Management, Environmental Sustainability
|C or 4
|Access to HE
|30 L3 credits at Distinction Grade and 15 L3 credits at Merit Grade
|To include 12 L3 credits at Merit Grade in a Science subject area*
|T-level in Design and Development for Engineering & Manufacturing. Applicants also required a GCE AL grade B in one of the following Science subjects: Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Design and Technology, Electronics, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only), Marine Science, Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths, Physical Education, Physics, Psychology, Science (applied), Sport Science, Statistics
A-Level: ABB - BBB
Specific subject requirements must still be achieved where stated above. Find out more about contextual offers.
|Other accepted qualifications
|English language requirements
International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B2. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.
NB General Studies is not included in any offer.
Grades advertised on each programme webpage are the typical level at which our offers are made and provide information on any specific subjects an applicant will need to have studied in order to be considered for a place on the programme. However, if we receive a large number of applications for the programme we may not be able to make an offer to all those who are predicted to achieve/have achieved grades which are in line with our typical offer. For more information on how applications are assessed and when decisions are released, please see: After you apply
*Accepted science subjects: Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Design and Technology, Electronics, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only), Marine Science, Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths, Physical Education, Physics, Psychology, Science (applied), Sport Science, Statistics
Environmental science is a quantitative and interdisciplinary approach to understanding and managing the world in which we live. Environmental scientists are concerned with understanding spatial patterns in physical, biological and chemical phenomena in the Earth’s system at local, regional and global scales. They find appropriate solutions to environmental problems by assessing, reporting and quantifying environmental risks. They work in areas as diverse as contaminated land assessment and remediation, natural resource management, practical conservation, pollution mitigation, ecosystem service assessment, environmental monitoring, mapping and consultancy.
This degree in Environmental Science will give you the skills and expertise you need to address the world’s greatest challenges in climate change, such as biodiversity, sustainability and environmental decision-making. The additional fourth year provides an opportunity to work on a project focused on a specialised area of academic research.
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.
90 credits of compulsory modules, 30 credits of optional modules
|Earth System Science
|Global Issues in Environmental Science
|Environmental Science Tutorials
|Marine and Environmental Science Field Course
|Introduction to data science
|A Legal Foundation for Environmental Protection
|GeoP S1 BSc-MSci ES opt 2021-2
|Ecology and Conservation
|Approaches to Geographical Knowledge
|Atmospheric and Oceanic Systems, Their Interactions and Importance
|Introduction to Human Sciences
|The Geography of Cornwall
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.
90 credits of compulsory modules, 30 credits of optional modules
a You may not take GEO2449 and LES2002 in the same academic year.
b The field course module, GEO2460, is compulsory. If you are unable to take the field course, you will be required to take another optional module.
|Geographical Information Science and Systems
|Remote Sensing for Environmental Management
|Environment and Sustainability on the Isles of Scilly [See note b above]
|Second Year Tutorials
|Research Design and Methods
|Environmental Regulation and Redress
|GeoP S2 BSc-MSci ES opt 2021-2
|Biodiversity and Conservation
|Population and Community Ecology
|Introduction to Ecological Consultancy
|Exploitation of the Sea
|Applied Insect Ecology
|Evolution of Human Societies
|Oceans and Human Health
|Health, Place and Wellbeing
|The Politics of Climate Change and Energy
|Rural Social Issues
|Ice Sheets: Glaciology, Climate and the Oceans
|Waste and Society
|Physical Ocean Processes
|People and Nature
|Social and Cultural Geographies
|Green Politics in Theory and Practice
|GeoP Employability opt 2021-2 [See note a above]
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.
45 credits of compulsory modules, 75 credits of optional modules (you will have the option of taking a field course in your final stage but the location has not yet been finalised)
a You may not take GEO2449 and LES2002 in the same academic year.
c Changes to your dissertation topic will not be possible beyond 1 December in stage 3.
|Dissertation in Environmental Science [See note c above]
|Preparing to Graduate
|GeoP SF BSc-S3 MSci ES opt 2021-2
|Trends in Ecology and Evolution
|Human Behavioural Ecology
|Science in Society
|Evolutionary Biology of Health and Disease
|Frontiers of Global Health
|Living with Environmental Change
|Climate Change and Society
|The Complexity of Human Societies
|Quaternary Environmental Change
|Literature Review in Environment and Society
|Antarctica: Science from a Frozen Continent
|Geographies of Democracy
|Marine Climate and Environmental Change
|Marine and Coastal Sustainability
|Whole Energy Systems
|Arctic Frontiers: Can We Preserve the Arctic Environment?
|Legal Response to Environmental Destruction
|Major Transitions in Evolutionary History
|Ocean Management and Conservation
|The Politics of Climate Change
|Politics, Mining and Sustainable Development
|GeoP Employability opt 2021-2 [See note a above]
The final year provides an opportunity to work on a project focused on a specialised area of academic research; this project will normally be related to and advance beyond your third year research dissertation project. The remainder of your time will be spent learning more about environmental science and sustainability, and on a two-week residential field course in which your scientific field-research, debating and presentation skills will be further developed.
105 credits of compulsory modules, 15 credits of optional modules
d If you cannot take the field course, you will take instead LESM003 Literature Review in the Life Sciences, and 15 other credits from the MSc suite of modules.
|Academic Research Project
|Global Challenges Field Course (MSci) [see note d above]
|Applied Data Analysis
|GeoP SF MSci ES opt 2021-2
|Themes in Climate Change
|Policy and Governance for Sustainability
|Marine and Coastal Sustainability
|Heritage and Environmental Change
Tuition fees for 2024 entry
UK students: £9,250 per year
International students: £29,700 per year
If you choose the four-year version of this degree programme and spend a full academic year studying abroad, you will pay a reduced fee of 15 per cent of the maximum fee for that year.
Professional placement year
If you choose the four-year version of this degree programme and spend a full year on a work placement (in the UK or abroad) you will pay a reduced fee of 20 per cent of the maximum fee for that year.
Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs. When participating in field courses, you will be required to cover any visa costs and, if necessary, purchase anti-malarial medication and relevant immunisations. You may also need to provide your own specialist personal equipment appropriate to the field course destination. You may incur additional costs dependent upon the specific demands of the research project chosen.
The University of Exeter has many different scholarships available to support your education, including £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*. Financial support is also available for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, lower income households and other under-represented groups to help them access, succeed and progress through higher education.
* Terms and conditions apply. See online for details.
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. 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.
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 Year 3 we take you further afield to think about bigger issues in environmental science and give you an opportunity to apply your research and practical skills.
In your final year you will undertake a field course, learning about threats to biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as studying ecology and behaviour with a focus on human impacts.
We also make the most of our location in the South West of England, organising a range of day trips each year as part of modules. These provide fantastic opportunities to study distinctive human and physical processes.
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.
*Please note that field course destinations are subject to change. Some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs.
A great thing about Penryn is the amazing Gylly Beach located just 30 minutes away from campus! And as an Environmental Scientist, I simply must mention that the air we breathe here is 100% fresher! When I graduate I intend to work with the Environmental Agency in Singapore to better understand the recycling predicament we are facing and how we can resolve that.
Cheryl, from Singapore
BSc Environmental Science
Learning and teaching
How will I learn?
- Hands-on interactive learning
- Field work
- Laboratory sessions
- Independent study
- Embedded GIS, remote sensing and data analysis
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.
Where will I learn?
At the Penryn Campus in Cornwall you will be welcomed into an intimate and supportive learning environment that encourages enthusiasm and passion for Environmental Science, and promotes interest in the global challenges geographers seek to address. You will benefit from excellent student-to-staff ratios, small group tutorials and friendly, accessible staff.
Research undertaken at the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) – which leads research into various aspects of the relationship between people and the environment – inspires much of the teaching.
We believe every student benefits from being part of a research-inspired culture. You will discuss the very latest ideas in seminars and tutorials and be taught by expert staff who are actively engaged in research on a wide range of specialisms, including climate change, remote sensing, landscape evolution, energy policy, environment and sustainability, social innovation and cultural landscapes.
We have strong links with research projects across every continent of the globe from Antarctica to Asia.
From week 1 onwards you will join a group of around 6 students led by an academic personal tutor, who will support you throughout your studies. You will meet with your tutor group frequently during term and remain with the same tutor throughout your 4 years of study.
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. Your independent study will culminate in an individual project (dissertation) in Year 4 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, third and final years all contribute to your final degree classification.
We have a large variety of equipment that can be used on student research projects. These include a wide range of devices to assess soil, water and air conditions and a cutting-edge handheld XRF analyser to directly measure heavy metal concentrations in soil and river sediment. Digital media such as iPads, cameras and voice recorders are also available.
Optional modules outside of this course
Each year, if you have optional modules available, you can take up to 30 credits in a subject outside of your course. This can increase your employability and widen your intellectual horizons.
Proficiency in a second subject
If you complete 60 credits of modules in one of the subjects below, you may have the words 'with proficiency in [e.g. Social Data Science]' added to your degree title when you graduate.
- A Foreign Language
- Social Data Science
Employer-valued skills this course develops
Your degree in Environmental Science will give you the skills and expertise needed to address the world’s greatest challenges in climate change, and make you highly employable across a diverse range of careers.
These skills 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.
Membership of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES)
Upon graduation you will receive a certificate stating that you have completed a course accredited by the Institution of Environmental Science (IES). The IES is a charitable organisation which promotes and raises public awareness of environmental science by supporting professional scientists and academics working in this crucial arena.
The Institution is an international organisation attracting professionals of high standing with significant specialist and interdisciplinary experience, from countries including Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Kenya, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Portugal, Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, USA and Zimbabwe.
Before graduating you are eligible to join the IES (at no cost) as a student member. You are eligible to apply for Associate Membership upon graduation using a free fast-track application process. For more information, please visit the IES website.
How will membership help my career?
- Gain the experience of being a member of a long-established, highly reputable professional body.
- Take the first steps on an environmental career path which could take you to Chartered Status.
- Membership is recognised by employers as evidence of your professional status.
- Gain access to job opportunities, career development events and reports on the environmental science sector.
- Join a global network of scientists.
Supporting your career in Environmental Science
A range of employability sessions are put on for students such as: career talks with visiting alumni and employers from a range of backgrounds, career conversations and employability seminar series events with employers, a Careers in Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection Careers and Networking event and visits to the Met Office and UKHO, plus an annual Careers Fair and opportunities to access high-quality work placements through an employability optional module.
We have a dedicated, award-winning Careers Service ensuring you have access to careers advisors, mentors and the tools you need to succeed in finding employment in your chosen field on graduation. We offer the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award which include employability-related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market.
The University of Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Whatever path you wish to follow, we’re here to help and support you with all your career and employability needs.
Royal Geographical Society (RGS) Ambassador Scheme
You will have the opportunity to apply for the RGS Ambassador Scheme. The scheme recruits, trains and supports geographers currently at university and graduate geographers from the workplace to act as ambassadors for geography in the classroom. Ambassadors act as positive role models for pupils and can illustrate, with enthusiasm, both the specific and transferable skills they have developed as a geographer. For more information you can visit the RGS Ambassador Scheme website.
The breadth of career opportunities open to graduates is vast, such as environment, health, conservation, education, third sector work, culture and heritage and community work. With training in both biological and social sciences, your options are likely to be broader than from a more narrowly focused subject.
Whatever you choose to do after graduation, your Environmental Science degree will stand you in good stead, with excellent employment prospects and transferable skills.
Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates from our Environmental Science and Geography undergraduate programmes*
Recent graduates are now working as:
- Chartered and certified accountants
- Business and related research professionals
- Data analysts
- Property, housing and estate managers
- Marketing associate professionals
- Estimators, valuers and assessors
- Project support officers
- Primary and secondary education teaching professionals
- Information technology professionals
Recent graduates are now working for:
- Babcock International
- BNP Paribas
- Environment Agency
- Ernst & Young
- European Space Agency
- Ordnance Survey
- Oxborough Surveyors LLP
- UK Hydrographic Office
Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a Geography or Environmental Sciences undergraduate degree. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of undergraduate programmes*.
- Graduate Diploma in Law
- MA Quantity Surveying
- MRes Sustainable Development
- MSc Environmental Consultancy
- MSc Flood and Coastal Engineering
- MSc Geospatial Sciences
- MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies
- MSc Management
- MSc Public Health
- MSc Rural Land and Business Management
- MSc Transport and Planning
*This information has been taken from aggregating the responses from full-time, first degree, UK domiciled students who completed 2017/18 and 2018/19 Graduate Outcomes surveys. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.