Undergraduate study
Environmental Science (with Foundation Year)

Environmental Science (with Foundation Year)
BSc (Hons)

 
 

Course overview

This extended degree course is ideal if you wish to study for a university degree but you do not have the necessary Level 3 qualifications required for direct admission. In the first year of the extended programme, you enhance your knowledge in maths and the fundamentals of biological, chemical and physical sciences.

You can complete an optional work placement year as part of this degree course at no extra cost.

The impact of human activities on the planet has reached unparalleled levels and, coupled with an increasing population, is of significant concern. The detrimental impact of human activity is far reaching and includes changes to climate, depletion of natural resources and loss of biodiversity.

Humans will have to develop new technological and environmental approaches to conserve the planet's natural resources, and change economic, political and social policies significantly if we hope to mitigate these detrimental impacts before it is too late. As a graduate with an environmental science degree you can play a significant part in making the world a better place to live in. This degree provides you with the underpinning knowledge and skills to measure and assess the impact of human activities on the complex and interconnected environmental systems which support life on this planet - and to harness science to develop solutions for a sustainable future.

 

Course details

In Year 1, you study a broad range of modules which provide an overview and introduction to the multidisciplinary nature of sustainability, addressing the key socio-political and economic debates that underpin the agenda, the core environmental sciences and exploring the role of science and technology in providing solutions.

In Year 2, you explore how the impacts of human activities on environmental systems can be monitored, the potential to minimise these impacts by more effective management and the use of resources, energy and waste and how to remediate the effects on environments by harnessing natural ecosystems. You also study the legislative and economic drivers which can be used to make this happen. You consolidate and apply this learning through a second major team project working alongside biological scientists, focusing on measuring the ecological impact of an industrial activity and the effectiveness of the remediation and environmental protection measures.

In your final year, you focus in more detail on the potential of science- and technology-based innovations to identify and provide solutions to environmental problems and support the policing of legislative control. A second major team project ties together all strands of the course in the Sustainability Project. You also undertake a major individual project which focuses on measuring and mitigating environmental and ecological impact in a real-world sustainability problem.

Course structure

Year 0 (foundation year) core modules

Big Data

Big data – it’s a phrase that a lot of people would argue is overused, or at least not always used in the appropriate context. So what is it really? How is it made and how do we make sense of it?

In this module you learn how big data is not just abundant but a growing field in so many aspects of our society from policing and conservation to health and bioinformatics. You explore how groups and communities use and share big data to help keep themselves safe in disaster zones around the world. You begin to value the role data plays in helping to make sense of community relationships in society, from uncovering criminal networks, tracking disease outbreaks to developing a deeper understanding of our ecology.

Data might end up in a data-frame spreadsheet format but it doesn’t begin there. It is often created with people and animals engaging with each other and technology. You explore how search engines collate and store the data we need to help make predictions, enhance decision making, or simply to better understand society’s needs.

Chemical Science and the Environment

This module provides an overview of fundamental concepts in chemistry and their application in the context of environmental and life sciences

Chemistry is the study of the structure, properties and reactivity of elements and compounds, and plays a key role in all physical, life and applied sciences. The topics covered include the structure of the atom, the periodic table, chemical bonding, chemical reactivity, environmental science, biogeochemistry, pollution, green chemistry and climate change.

Experimental Methods for Life Science

This module is based around a series of laboratory sessions. The first sessions emphasise important foundation skills, such as how to work safely in a practical environment and how to properly document practical work. These are followed by a series of sessions based on your wider academic interests including the basics of microscopy, handling microorganisms, safe handling food, using volumetric glassware and investigating acid base titrations.

Global Grand Challenges

This module focuses on how science can help address some of the biggest global Grand Challenges that face society. This reflects the University’s focus on externally facing research that makes a real, practical difference to the lives of people and the success of businesses and economies.

You work on a project in a group, to enabling you to develop innovative answers to some of the biggest issues of our time based on five thematic areas – health and wellbeing, resilient and secure societies, digital and creative economy, sustainable environments and learning for the 21st century.

Life on Earth

This module explores the diversity of life on earth and the concept of evolution. You consider Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection to demonstrate relationships between species, the principles of taxonomy and speciation, and how they relate to the evolutionary tree.

You are introduced to the physiological processes, cellular organisation, homeostasis, metabolism, growth, reproduction, response to stimuli and adaptation - all hallmarks of living organisms equipping diverse species to survive and thrive.

Life Science

This module focuses on the life sciences from a human perspective. While developing an understanding of human biology you explore the role of different but interconnected life science disciplines in modern life.

While reviewing life science from an interdisciplinary context, relatable to a variety of backgrounds, you examine the major human body systems – cardiovascular, respiratory, excretory, endocrine, nervous, digestive, skeletal and reproductive. This module enables you to appreciate how such knowledge is relevant to issues in health, disease and modern society.

 

Year 1 core modules

Animal and Plant Biology

This module introduces the themes of ecology, diversity, variation within animals and plants, population biology and the complexity within ecosystems, and the relationships between animals and plants and their environment. You gain a thorough introduction to these themes within the lecture series and are given example problems to solve within tutorials. Learning is supported by a field trip surveying diversity within the local area, and laboratory sessions exploring the physiology of animals and plants.

Biodiversity and Evolution

You study the concept of evolution and how it led to the development of biodiversity and the world we now inhabit. You discuss evolution by natural selection and our development from the common ancestor, along with the principles of taxonomy, speciation and the evolutionary tree to demonstrate relationships between species. We highlight the impact of modern molecular methods of taxonomy in the form of phylogenetics, particularly the discovery of the domain of archaea. We discuss the complex biodiversity of the microbial, plant and animal worlds and their importance in ecological balance for the earth, human kind and society in the form of conservation. Lectures and tutorial sessions provide an insight into the theoretical aspects of evolution and biodiversity, and you discuss and analyse problem-based exercises to affirm your theoretical knowledge.

Biological Methods

Life sciences is a multifaceted field drawing on knowledge and understanding from the molecular level to whole organisms and ecosystems. Biologists must be able to work in teams, drawing on this vast knowledge to solve problems in the field. In this module, you work in teams to solve a biologically relevant problem, taking into account the principles of health, safety and ethics facing professionals in the workplace. You develop a range of employability skills such as time management and presenting your work. You also gain the research skills needed to support problem solving in the field and to help you become a well-rounded, professional scientist.

Earth Sciences

This module provides students with an introduction to the concepts of the earth as a system and develops the skills used to investigate environmental issues. It begins by considering, rocks and minerals, the fundamental building blocks of the planet. Using this knowledge the internal physical and chemical structure of the planet can be defined, from which deep earth structure and processes can be deduced. This includes the theory of plate tectonics, which in 50 years has revolutionized our understanding of the development of the planet, its atmosphere and the evolution of life.

Complex interactions between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere are at the heart of current environmental issues, such as climate change, which will influence the immediate future of every aspect of life and commerce, perhaps even including survival of the species. Lectures, seminars, classroom problems and practical work are used to develop observational and data recording skills, culminating in a field-based activity to acquire data relating to a real-world environmental problem. The module is intended for those who have little or no previous experience of earth science and/or geoscience to enable them to appreciate environmental science in the context of the earth as a dynamic spatial system which evolves with time and human intervention.

Energy Systems

This module introduces students to the concept of energy and the physical laws relating to it. Modern energy generation, storage, distribution and use are explored along with the environmental consequences. Material is delivered through lectures, science laboratory practicals, IT workshops and field trips to local industrial sites. Students also work in groups examining case studies including power generation accidents.

 

Year 2 core modules

Ecology and Biodiversity

This module is for students interested in ecology and how complex interactions shape the distribution and abundance patterns of species in the natural environment. You examine the ecology of populations and communities, and how the integration of powerful new molecular biology technologies can inform the study of ecology and ecological interactions. You explore the underlying theories used to explain the observed spatial and temporal patterns of diversity observed and the measurements which can be used to quantify diversity. These topics are aligned to current issues, enabling you to appreciate the environmental, ethical and socio-economic concerns raised by ecological studies. Field trips give you the opportunity to sample natural environments and interpret ecological data, such as diversity indices, based on these sites.

Geotechnology and Earth Catastrophes

This module provides you with an introduction to the engineering characteristics of geological material and the formation of rocks and soils. It provides a basic understanding of the use of rocks and soils in construction.

You also explore the fundamental nature of the catastrophic processes that have shaped the earth and the environment we live in and the materials, such as the soils and rocks that we use.

We look at cosmology and global catastrophes, the origin of the universe, dynamic earth and structure, life on earth and extinction, meteorite impacts, internal and external earth processes, plate tectonics, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and atmospheric circulation.

We explore common rock types, mode of formation and identification, the role of ground investigation in the measurement of geotechnical parameters and landslides and related phenomena.

We use lectures, involving practical demonstrations, to outline the concepts and techniques augmented with class discussions of case studies. You use tutorials and assignments to gain skills in applying the techniques to designs. During the tutorial sessions we can give additional help to direct your further study.

At the end of the module you will have a working knowledge of soil and rocks how they are formed and how they impact on the stability of buildings. You will understand how earth processes affect civilisations.

Renewable Energy

This module develops the ideas discussed in the level 4 module “Energy Systems” by reference to the growing field of renewable energy which will be seen in the wider context of reliability and flexibility of energy generation and its relationship to the energy market. The module will include a low tech construction project in which students will collaborate to design, construct and operate a wind turbine or similar generator.

Science Communication and Bioethics

Central to this module is using teamwork for problem-based learning and monitored or facilitated self-directed learning. You explore the way science is communicated within the scientific community, to stakeholders and the general public. You discuss and critically analyse the different communication methods. You are also introduced to bioethical issues central to your programme of study. You are expected to debate these issues and sensibly communicate the complexity of the themes which are embedded within the scientific disciplines.

Science Research Methods and Proposal

You will take this module if you are studying a science degree and complete a hypothesis-driven research project at Level 6 of your degree studies. It is delivered though lectures, tutorials and workshops.

You develop a proposal for your research project, which includes an explanation of the project targeted at both a specialist audience and the general public, and details of experimental design and statistical analysis to be employed. The proposal considers academic beneficiaries and economic, environmental and societal impacts. Project costs are estimated on the basis of a full economic costing model. In addition, the proposal is supported by a targeted CV.

A short lecture series at the start of the academic year provides you with an introduction to the module and advice on completing the research proposal documentation, followed by a series of assessment centre-style workshops and tasks which help assign you to a specific research project area and supervisor. These tasks familiarise you with the type of activities you might face during the application, interview and selection procedures.

You must produce a research proposal for your individual project. You are supported by a series of meetings with your supervisor to provide feedback on your progress.

For the proposal to be considered you must acquire ethical clearance from the School Research Ethics Committee. Once you are allocated a project you join discipline-based tutorials with other students. Each discipline operates tutorial sessions, which are used to provide academic guidance and support for completing ethical clearance documentation and the proposal. A series of research methodology-based workshops introduce you to various experimental designs and statistical techniques relevant to your discipline. These sessions also demonstrate how you can use software such as Minitab, SPSS and Excel to present and analyse datasets. These workshops help you decide on the design and analysis of the data associated with your project.

The module is assessed by you successfully acquiring ethical clearance (pass/fail) and submitting a completed research project proposal and supporting CV (100%).

Waste Management and Sustainability

An introduction to the definition of waste and waste management and its role in sustainable development.

Throughout this module you explore the key methods used to investigate organic and inorganic pollutants in the environment, including sampling procedures and analytical techniques.

You examine the core principles of resource management, waste management legislation and compliance management systems using online interactive distance learning software. This software is accredited by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and is supported through tutorials, laboratory sessions and industrial site visits.

Laboratory-based practical sessions introduce you to sampling procedures and analytical techniques. These sessions enhance your lab skills and your ability to handle data.

 

Year 3 optional placement year

Final-year core modules

Environmental Resource Management

In this module students will critically evaluate international agreement-derived sustainability models. In particular, eco-efficiency and ecological models, and their underpinnings of key thrusts, such as industrial symbiosis and sustainable product development. These will be analysed at the local, national and international level. The module will consider in detail the importance of energy policies and energy technologies and their implications in climate change. Specifically, the roles of renewable energies, such as wind, wave, solar, biomass and biofuels will be evaluated. The potentially important role the hydrogen economy could play in satisfying future energy requirements, taking cognisance of the pivotal role of carbon dioxide sequestration and storage, will be discussed.

Science Research Project

You bring together a range of practical and academic skills, developed in previous years of study, to interrogate a particular aspect of your field of study. You specialise in a particular area of science, supported by an appointed research supervisor who will act as a mentor and guide you through the development and completion of your research project.

You are required to present a poster and abstract at the School’s annual Poster Day event, which is attended by academics of the School, external examiners, and professionals from the region. The poster contributes to your final project mark. Throughout the project you are expected to maintain systematic and reliable records of your research which are reviewed on a regular basis by your supervisor and assessed at the end of the project. You submit your research in the style of a paper which could be submitted to an appropriate scientific journal related to your discipline.

The module is assessed by a poster presentation (20%) and the submission of a journal paper supported by a research diary and/or laboratory notebook (80%).

Sustainability Project

The generic spectrum of sustainability encompasses a range of disciplines, from those based in empirical sciences through environmental economics to social science. As such, environmental scientists must be able to work in expertise teams and communicate with teams in complementary but disparate disciplines. The goal of this module is to develop professionalism and employability skills relevant to pertinent environmental challenges.

The use of team work for problem-based and self-directed learning will be central to this module. Appropriate context will be fundamental to this. Expertise in problem-solving will be gained together with key skills such as interpersonal interactions, time management, budget management and research presentation. Due cognisance will also be taken of the principles of health, safety and ethics.

 

and two optional modules

Biogeography and Conservation

This module is ideal for you if you’re interested in the biogeographical distribution of species and how this information can inform conservation practices.

Biogeography, with its focus on the distribution of species at a range of scales, provides an important theoretical framework within which ecosystem services, and the increasing impact of human activity on global biodiversity and ecosystem functions, can be evaluated.

You explore the contribution of habitat destruction and fragmentation and invasive species to biodiversity losses. You examine underlying principles in biogeography, including the historical development of the discipline, and investigates how these principles can inform effective conservation practices targeted at preventing biodiversity losses. You explore how endangered species are characterised, the selection and design of conservation areas, and the legal and policy frameworks in place to support conservation efforts.

Ecological Sustainability

The module is for life and environmental sciences students. You explore key areas in which biological-based technologies have the potential to offer more sustainable solutions to environmental problems. You consider the complementary and multidisciplinary analytical techniques that are used to understand and ensure the sustainable management of different ecological systems. You learn through a combination of lectures, student-led seminars, tutorial sessions and a field trip where possible.

Forensic Ecology

You explore the broad subject of forensic ecology – the use of the environment in forensic investigations. This includes topics such as archaeology and anthropology, entomology, palynology and soil analysis. A number of different topics are examined and discussed and their potential to aid forensic scientists will be critiqued. Case examples will be used to illustrate the application of these ecological methods. Lectures will be complemented by practical sessions and discursive seminars to fully embed this knowledge and to allow you to fully explore and engage with this area.

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

A key and unique element of our sustainability programmes is the multidisciplinary and practical solutions focused approach where you develop and apply your learning by addressing real sustainability problems. Project-based learning is extensively utilised throughout, both in specific group and individual project modules and through various activities in other modules which together make up approximately 50% of the course. These modules and activities allow you to develop and apply your learning to real-life problems and situations by engaging in a variety of activities including site visits, field trips and design-based investigations for local companies and community-based projects.

The course provides a number of contact teaching and assessment hours (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratory work, projects, examinations), but you are also expected to spend time on your own - self-study time - to review lecture notes, prepare coursework assignments, work on projects and revise for assessments. Each year of full-time study consists of modules totalling 120 credits and each unit of credit corresponds to ten hours of learning and assessment (contact hours plus self-study hours). So, during one year of full-time study you can expect to have 1,200 hours of learning and assessment.

One module in each year of your study, excluding your first year (Level 3), involves a compulsory one-week block delivery period. This intensive problem-solving week, provides you with an opportunity to focus your attention on particular problems and enhance your team-working and employability skills.

How you are assessed

Assessment is based on a combination of project work, examinations and in-course assessments aimed at encouraging team work and independent management skills essential to academic study and your professional development.


Our Disability Services team helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs

 
 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Depending on your Level 3 subjects previously studied, typical offers normally range from 32-88 tariff from any combination of Level 3 qualifications.

We also consider a range of alternative qualifications and relevant work experience.

Acceptable entry qualifications can include any of the following:

1. any combination of Level 3 qualifications (for example, A/AS levels, BTEC Certificates/Diplomas, Access to HE courses)
or
2. a High School Certificate/Diploma with good grades completed after at least 12 years of primary and secondary education
or
3. demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of relevant post-school work experience.

There are no mandatory Level 3 subjects for entry to this course but we normally expect students to provide evidence of English language and mathematical skills equivalent to GCSE grade 4 or higher. We consider a wide range of English and maths qualifications alternative to GCSEs. Please contact our admissions staff for advice.

If you are in the UK you may be required to attend an interview before we make you an individual offer tailored to your background, experience and qualifications. During your visit you also have the opportunity to see our campus, get more information on your course, tour our facilities and meet our staff.

Secure a guaranteed course place now*
Guaranteed Place Scheme (for UK/EU students only)

If you have completed Level 3 qualifications (for example AS Levels, BTEC Nationals) and have at least five GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including English and Mathematics, you may be eligible for a guaranteed place on an Extended degree course in your chosen subject whilst still working towards meeting the conditions required for a course with higher entry requirements.
Find out more and check your eligibility

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

 

Employability

Career opportunities

Graduating with an environmental science degree can lead to a variety of careers, including that of an environmental consultant working on commercial or government contracts, addressing a variety of environmental issues. Your role and responsibilities could cover a wide range of disciplines including:

  • assessment of air
  • land and water contamination
  • environmental impact assessment
  • environmental audit
  • waste management and the development of environmental policy
  • environmental management systems.

Graduate starting salaries can reach £24,500. The upper end of the salary range for senior consultant grade positions is £44,000, and for those at principal consultant grade, £55,000 (prospects.ac.uk, 2015).

Work placement

We produce graduates with the problem-solving and leadership skills necessary to forge successful careers.

This programme allows you to spend an optional year - in-between your second year and final year - learning and developing your skills through work experience. You have a dedicated work placement officer and the University's award-winning careers service to help you with applying for a placement. Advice is also available on job hunting and networking. Employers are often invited to our School to meet you and present you with opportunities for work placements.

By taking a work placement year you gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also obtain the transferable skills required in any professional environment. Transferable skills include communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure, and commercial awareness.

Throughout this programme, you get to know prospective employers and extend your professional network. An increasing number of employers view a placement as a year-long interview and, as a result, placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process.

Potential benefits from completing a work placement year include:

  • improved job prospects
  • enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
  • a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
  • a better degree classification
  • a richer CV
  • a year's salary before completing your degree
  • experience of workplace culture
  • the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

 

Information for international applicants

Qualifications

International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

Select your country:

  
 

Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

Talk to us

Talk to an international student adviser

 
 

Full-time

Entry to 2018/19 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for non UK/EU applicants
Find out more

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 4 years (including a foundation year) or 5 years with additional work placement year
  • UCAS code: F759 BSc/EnvSFY
  • Typical offer: Offers tailored to individual circumstances

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

  • Not available part-time
 

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Benefit from work placements, live projects, accredited courses

 

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Find your ideal degree course here at Teesside University and feel welcomed, supported and prepared for the career you want.

 
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    National Horizon Centre fly-through

    Take a virtual tour of our new £22m National Horizons Centre to open in March 2019. The University’s research, teaching and training facility at our Darlington campus complements our existing facilities and supports the emerging bio-based industries. You will have access to a wider range of labs and equipment in biologics, biotechnology, bio-pharmaceutical science, biomedical science, bioinformatics and related technologies.

     
 
 

Open days

17 November 2018
Undergraduate open day

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