- 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
- Field courses available in the south west and further afield
- 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 2020
8th in the UK for Geography and Environmental Science
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020
7th in the UK for research in Geography and Environmental Studies
Research Excellence Framework 2014, based on intensity-adjusted Grade Point Average
Spend a year studying abroad or on a professional placement
You won’t find another university which has a stronger sense of community, good quality teaching and the chance to travel the world during the course with awesome field trips! The field trips are fantastic for getting to know your peers and staff in a more relaxed and fun environment.
My advice for anyone considering applying for the University of Exeter would be to go for it! The teaching is absolutely world class. The lecturers in Cornwall are fantastic, incredibly helpful and will go out of their way to make sure that you get the most out of the degree. Dr Karen Anderson and Dr Jon Bennie are two lecturers who particularly stand out for me, but they're all fantastic.
Living on campus and in Falmouth in Cornwall has been amazing. The university has such a tight-knit atmosphere and you feel part of a community. There's always something going on and it’s never dull with both university and public events on campus and in the towns of Penryn and Falmouth. The laboratories on campus are fantastic. There’s plenty of computers in the computer labs and the other labs are amazingly well kitted-out.
I am vice-president of the Geography Society at the Penryn Campus, and involved in lacrosse, hockey, kayaking, running and climbing.
I would like to pursue a career in the wildlife filming and documentary production sector, educating the public about wildlife and our impacts on the world and wildlife.
BSc Environmental Science, Penryn Campus
Accredited by the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences (CHES), the education committee of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES).
|Qualification||Required grades||Required subjects|
|A-Level||AAB - ABB
AAA - AAB (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
|B in a science subject*|
|IB||34/665 - 32/655
36/666 - 34/665 (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
|HL5 in a science subject*|
|BTEC||DDD - DDM
DDD (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
|Applicants studying one of the following BTEC Extended Diplomas will be considered without GCE A-level requirements: Applied Science, Countryside Management, Environmental Sustainability|
|GCSE||C or 4||English Language|
Specific requirements must still be achieved, therefore where a grade A is required, offers will be ABC or ACC. Find out more about contextual offers.
NB General Studies is not included in any offer.
*Accepted science subjects: Biology/Human Biology; Chemistry; Computing; Design and Technology; Electronics; Environmental Studies; Geography; Geology; Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only); Marine Science; Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths; Nutrition and Food Science; 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.
Our 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 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.
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.
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.
Find out more about study abroad or a professional placement under Course variants.
with Study Abroad
with Professional Placement
In your final 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. Another highlight is the residential field course, where you will be immersed in a new environment and taught how to understand its environmental and cultural challenges from multiple geographical perspectives.
UCAS code: F753
Why choose a professional placement year?
In your professional placement year you will learn to apply the knowledge learnt during your first and second years, improve personal and transferable skills, make new contacts and enhance your employability. Work placements allow you to gain experience of a professional workplace prior to graduating and develop your career focus, and are extremely valued by employers.
Where can I do my placement?
On the professional placement between the second and final years, you will gain valuable experience by spending a year working within an organisation appropriate to your degree. We have established collaborations with local, national and international organisations that you can consider when applying for placement positions.
Previous students have undertaken work placements at:
- Echo Foundation
- Field Studies Council
- JBA Consulting
- Office for National Statistics
- Schaeffler Group
What support is available during my placement?
The module convenor provides support while you are researching and applying for positions and you are encouraged to consider a range of organisations, including consultancies, charities, NGOs, research institutes and universities.
Does it count towards my degree?
The professional placement year counts towards your degree through the completion of your placement and associated coursework. It contributes to your final degree classification, and the words ‘with Professional Placement’ will appear in your degree title.
How does it affect my tuition fee?
If you spend a full year on a work placement (in the UK or abroad) you will pay a reduced fee. Find out more in the Fees section.
How do I apply?
You can apply to BSc Environmental Science with Professional Placement directly through UCAS using the code above.
How are the placements organised?
You are responsible for organising your own placement; however, we have established collaborations with local, national and international organisations that you can consider when applying for placement positions.
UCAS code: F752
Why study abroad?
Students who have studied abroad demonstrate initiative, independence, motivation and, depending on where they stay, may also have gained a working knowledge of another language – all qualities employers are looking for.
Where can I study abroad?
Our Study Abroad programme enables you to spend a year abroad at one of our partner universities across the globe. You can find a complete list of on the Study Abroad website (click on the College of Life and Environmental Sciences link).
What will I study whilst I am abroad?
Whilst abroad you will study approved modules at the host university to the value of 120 credits; these will be credited towards your degree, which you would then complete after four years of study rather than three.
Does it count towards my degree?
All assessments during the year abroad are undertaken at the host university and count towards your final degree. Upon return, you would then complete your degree in a fourth year (equivalent to the current Year 3 of our BSc Environmental Science programme).
How does it affect my tuition fee?
If you spend a full academic year studying abroad you will pay a reduced fee for that year. Find out more in the Fees section.
How do I apply?
You can apply to BSc Environmental Science with Study Abroad directly through UCAS using the code above. To qualify for your Study Abroad year, we would expect you to have successfully completed your Year 1 studies with an average mark of at least 60%. More information about applying.
For further information on where you can go and all the issues surrounding study abroad, see the Study Abroad website.
Tuition fees for 2021 entry
UK and EU students: £9,250 per year
International students: £22,950 per year
Please note that the fees for students starting in 2021 have yet to be set. The fees provided above are the fees for students starting in 2020 and are for guidance only. We will post the fees for 2021 entry shortly.
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.
Field work 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 further afield will allow you to develop key field skills, enable you to put them into practice and gain new research skills.
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.
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 and give you 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.
Learning and teaching
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 a welcoming atmosphere, 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.
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.
Learning from experts
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.
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.
Taking modules outside of your programme
Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or widen your intellectual horizons.
You can boost your employability by using up to 30 credits each year to study a foreign language. If you study the language for more than one year you may be entitled to have ‘with proficiency in’ added to your degree certificate. The Foreign Language Centre will be offering modules in French and Spanish language from complete beginners up to advanced levels, plus German and Mandarin Chinese from beginner’s level.
If you achieve at least 60 credits in a language via our Foreign Language Centre you may be able to have the words ‘with proficiency in’ and the language added to your degree title.
Further details can be found on the Foreign Language Centre webpages
As a student of the programme you will benefit from excellent student to 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. Your independent study will culminate in an individual project (dissertation) in Year 3 where you will research an environmental subject of your choice.
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.
Employer-valued skills this course develops
Students studying Environmental Science develop both a depth and breadth of knowledge, skills and experiences that make them 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.
Supporting your career in Environmental Science
A range of employability sessions are put on for students which include: 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 the College of Life and Environmental Sciences 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 work place 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. Further study is another popular choice for a number of students following graduation.
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. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Surveys 2016/17. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.
Recent graduates are now working as:
- Civil Servant
- Conservation Adviser
- Data Analyst
- Energy Services Project Officer
- GIS Technician
- Higher Education Project Officer
- Police Officer
- Protected Species Surveyor
- Research Support and Communications Assistant
- Sustainability and Environmental Policy Executive
Recent graduates are now working for:
- British Armed Forces
- Department for Transport
- Eden Project
- George Burton Architecture and Ecology Ltd
- Natural England
- The National Trust
- Walkers Crisps PLC
- Wilmott Dixon
- Wiltshire Wildlife
Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from an Environmental Science undergraduate degree. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of undergraduate programmes. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Surveys 2016/17.
- MA Climate Change: History, Culture, Society
- MA Environment, Development and Policy
- MRes Critical Human Geographies
- MSc Applied GIS and Remote Sensing
- MSc Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy
- MSc Oceanography
- PGCE Geography
- MSc Spatial Planning and Development
- MSc International Management
- MSc Environment and Human Health
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One University, two locations
We have around 20,000 students across our three campuses in Devon and Cornwall which means we offer the academic excellence and facilities you'd expect of a major university but also a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.