Students in a forest on a field trip.


Environmental Science

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Applied Sciences
Three years full-time; four years with placement year
Part-time; full-time, with placement
Programme leader:
Dr Pete Maxfield
Key fact:
Accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), this course will give you the knowledge and practical work-based skills to tackle today's most important environmental challenges and prepare you for a range of exciting career opportunities.

Page last updated 13 September 2017


Why study BSc(Hons) Environmental Science?

The environment in which we live is changing rapidly. Solving and managing the problems and challenges caused by environmental change is becoming an increasingly important issue for modern society. Environmental Science draws on skills and knowledge from a variety of scientific fields, combining a broad range of subjects. This builds a deep understanding of the environmental challenges facing the world today and also helps find real world solutions to assist society in adapting to our changing planet.

Why study our course?

Studying BSc(Hons) Environmental Science at UWE Bristol draws on skills and knowledge from a variety of scientific fields, combining a broad range of subjects to build a deep understanding of the environmental challenges facing today's world. This course has a practical focus. Whether you are on one of our expeditions working in the threatened forests of Madagascar, diving on the coral reefs of Cuba, carrying out an investigation in one of our labs or using latest mapping software in our dedicated computer suite, you will learn by using the skills and cutting edge technology employed at the forefront of environmental science.

You will learn how to analyse and interpret complex data and pioneer environmentally sound, scientifically robust, practical solutions.

You will be based in Bristol, the 2015 European Green Capital, a city of growing environmental innovation and opportunity.

Real-world experience

A hands-on approach to learning runs through all our modules and you will have the option to explore your own interests.Throughout the course, you will have the chance to undertake work placements, volunteering roles, field-based work and residential trips in natural and urban environments at home and abroad. If you undertake the sandwich course option, your third year will be spent on placement with a suitable public or private sector employer in this country, Europe or further afield, applying your knowledge to real-life environmental issues.

Where it can take you

Our graduates have gone on to work for internationally-renowned organisations. such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), or in industry, such as Thames Water, the Environment Agency, Wessex Water, Atkins or charities such as the Woodland Trust. Some have gone on to become film-makers, while others have taken part in conservation projects around the world, from the Seychelles to Panama.

Other graduates have continued their studies, undertaking a diverse range of MSc and PhD studies in both the UK and overseas.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience

Accreditations and partnerships:



Year one

The first year has modules which cover subjects from geology to climate science, while the Field Work module includes a free field course to Dartmoor.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Life on Earth
  • The Earth
  • Field Skills (including residential field trip)
  • Environment and Society.

Year two

The Field Techniques module in Year two includes a free field course to Tenerife, while the Environmental Change module studies the problems and solutions linked to our changing environment.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Environmental and Field Techniques (includes international field trip)
  • Ecology and Ecosystem Protection.

You will study four of the following optional modules:

  • Earth Science
  • Environmental Impacts and Mitigation
  • Atmosphere and Climate
  • Hydrology to Oceanography
  • The Microbial World.

You may elect to spend a year out, working for an organisation in an appropriate placement, to gain relevant work experience. Placements are available both at home and abroad. While on placement, you may opt to take the Professional Practice in Applied Sciences subject and this will count towards your final credit.

Final year

Bespoke Year three optional modules use the strengths of our science department and include a Tropical Expedition to Cuba or Madagascar, as well as the Science Communication module, which offers you skills to help you stand out from other environmental graduates.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Dissertation Project or Independent Research Project
  • Resource Security and Sustainability.

Plus four optional modules from the list below:

  • Scientific Frontiers and Enterprise
  • Energy Technologies
  • Tropical Expedition
  • Marine Ecosystems (including field trip)
  • Environmental Forensics
  • Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Global Forest Systems
  • Science Communication
  • Professional Practice in Applied Sciences
  • Sustainable Food Production
  • Environmental Microbiology.

This structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery, the same modules will be studied. However, the structure will differ.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

Course teaching is interactive. The topics introduced in lectures, seminars and tutorials are deepened and enriched through laboratory workshops, fieldwork exercises and case studies. A major feature of the degree is the opportunity to learn in a range of diverse environments through the residential field trips offered in all years.

Teaching is closely linked with world-class environmental research. You will learn from field leaders, working in areas such as the conservation of bird's nest ferns in rainforests, the decontamination of water in Third World countries and the use of plants to measure radiation levels.

We take a student-centred approach to learning. You will receive one-to-one guidance and individual feedback throughout your course. In your final year, you will undertake a research project, working closely with an academic supervisor in your chosen area of interest.

For more details, see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Percentage of time spend in different learning activities, per year.

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study% check


A variety of assessment methods are used to reflect the range of theoretical concepts, knowledge and practical skills developed in this course. These include unseen, open-book and practical exams, essays, practical reports, individual and group projects, oral or visual presentations, case-study analysis, taxonomic collections and problem-solving exercises. All modules are assessed via a combination of coursework and exams. The first year assessments do not contribute towards the final degree mark, which is calculated on the basis of year two and final year results.

For more details, see our full glossary of assessment terms.

Percentage of time spend in different assessment methods, per year.

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment% check


Professional accreditation

BSc(Hons) Environmental Science is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES). Graduates are awarded a certificate on completion of the degree and can apply for membership of the IES.


Throughout the course, you will be able to apply your expertise and build professional skills in work-based settings with placements, internships and volunteering roles. We encourage you to choose the sandwich course option, where your third year will involve at least 40 weeks of invaluable practical training and work with an employer in the UK or overseas.

Our students have previously worked in industry, government organisations, consultancies and conservation groups with placement providers such as the RSPB, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the Environment Agency, MoD, Kew Gardens and Tongariro Natural History Society in New Zealand.


Fieldwork is an essential part of studying and understanding environmental issues and a significant proportion of your time will be spent in this capacity. Fieldwork will range from short local trips in and around Bristol, with its rich variety of urban and natural environments, to UK and international residential visits to destinations including Devon, Cornwall, Tenerife, Madagascar and Cuba.

Find out about a recent field trip in Cornwall from our students studying Marine Ecology or hear more about a recent field trip to study the ecosystems of a tropical island near Cuba.

Study facilities

With access to a comprehensive range of well-equipped, specialist, analytical and computer laboratories, as well as a glasshouse and dedicated field centre, you will be supported and mentored by a team of environmental science specialists at the forefront of their profession. The course offers a wide-ranging curriculum taught through lectures, seminars and tutorials, complemented by laboratory investigations, case studies, workshops and a variety of work-based experiences and fieldwork. During your second year, we will focus on helping you identify the specific skills required for your ideal career.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.

Paid summer vacation internships

On this course, you will be eligible to apply for a paid summer vacation internship.

Be inspired

Read our students' experiences whilst studying Geography, Planning and Environmental Management courses.


Careers / Further study

Environmental issues impact at the local, national and international levels, and our students graduate with the knowledge, skills and practical experience to make a valuable contribution in many different areas. Past students have been recruited as pollution scientists, water quality experts and environmental managers with organisations including The Environment Agency, Wessex Water and DEFRA. Some have found roles as environmental consultants, working on renewable energy, waste management or the consequences of climate change. Others have chosen environmental education in schools and field studies organisations or gone on to study for postgraduate qualifications.

Award-winning careers service

Our award-winning careers service will help you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity, plus support for entrepreneurial activity and access to employer events.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and initiatives nurturing talent and innovation, you will have opportunities to gain valuable real world experience, allowing you to graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Visit our Employability pages to find out about careers, employers, real world experience and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

Be inspired

Find out what being a water quality scientist involves.

Useful links

UWE - careers in environmental management

Guardian - what to do with a degree in environmental science


Full Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year450

Full Time Course with Placement

FeesAmount (£)
International-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year12750
International-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594
International-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1594
International-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year11156

Supplementary fee information

The additional costs listed are those you could reasonably expect to incur during your studies and are for items not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, text books, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Further information about fees and funding.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 112
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C/4 or above in English Language, Mathematics and Double Science, or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • A-level subjects: Grade C or above in a Science subject. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of two A-Levels.
  • Relevant subjects: Subjects that meet the science requirement for this course: Applied Science, Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Geology, Maths. Use of Maths, Physics, Psychology, Science in the Environment, Statistics. For further information and advice please contact Admissions.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: To include six units in a science subject. BTEC Animal Management (or similar) is acceptable where at least six units in a science subject have been completed.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; to include 15 level 3 credits at merit in a Science subject and an additional 15 level 3 credits at merit in another subject.
  • Baccalaureate IB: A minimum grade of 5 in a higher level science subject.

Entry requirements

If you don't meet the entry requirements of this course, you may be eligible for Foundation Year entry into this or other related degree courses.

Please read the general information about entry requirements.

UWE Bristol's International College

If you are an international student and do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course, you can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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