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Environmental science courses

Looking after our planet for future generations is of prime importance and environmental science graduates gain knowledge and skills to address issues such as climate change, conserving biodiversity, sustainable development, dealing with water and air pollution and human population growth. If you enjoy science or geography and have an interest in environmental or conservation issues, this type of course could be for you.

Studying environmental science at university

Example course modules

  • Geographical skills
  • Practising environmental science
  • Rocks, minerals and fossils
  • Postglacial environments
  • Climatic change
  • Scientific concepts and scientific modelling
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Ecology: terrestrial and water
  • Environmental pollution and management
  • Natural hazards

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 56%
    Male : 44%
  • Mature : 45%
    School leaver : 55%
  • Full-time : 56%
    Part-time : 44%

What students say about environmental science

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Choose two from biology, chemistry, geography, maths and physics

Useful to have

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • geography
  • Mathematics

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
The recession has been difficult for some environmental scientists, with jobs and funding cuts, so bear that in mind when you look at the figures below. This is also one of those subjects where graduates don’t usually go to London to work, so if you want to work in East Anglia or the South West – or overseas – this might be a good subject. Graduates tend to get jobs in the environment, in surveying and as lab technicians, but, like a lot of other subjects, if you want a job in research, start planning to take a doctorate. A small number become oceanographers and meteorologists.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Recycling officer
  • Environmental analyst
  • Occupational hygienist

Other real-life job examples

  • Nature reserve warden
  • Statistical modeller
  • Scientific adviser

What employers like about this subject

A degree in environmental science will give you a range of subject-specific skills as well as knowledge of current environmental science principles and how to conduct effective fieldwork. Students develop skills in statistical analysis and modelling approaches to the study of sustainable industry. You will also gain an understanding of the way that humans and the environment act upon one another. Sought-after transferable skills developed by environmental science students include numeracy, communication, data handling, team-working and problem-solving skills. These are in demand from many employers including government departments and regulators, banks, universities, consultancies and the water industry.