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Undergraduate study
 

Course overview

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 be able to harness science to develop solutions for a sustainable future.

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

Watch this short film about wildlife in Teesside from BBC Winterwatch.

 

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 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 the measurement and mitigation of environmental and ecological impact in a real-world sustainability problem.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Animal and Plant Biology

This module focuses on multicellular organisms such as animals and plants to introduce physiology, population biology, ecology and the complexity of ecosystems. You gain a thorough introduction with the lecture series and develop these themes during seminars integrating discussion, problem solving and quantitative techniques.

Lectures and practical seminars are also an opportunity to comprehend the relevance of the biological processes introduced to our human societies. Learning is also supported by a field trip within the local area, a first-hand experience of animal and plant biological surveying in the natural environment.

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.

Earth Systems

Learn about the fundamental global systems that sustain and shape our world. You explore the main systems and processes which shape how our world works: tectonics and earth’s structure; our atmosphere and oceans circulations; climatic changes in the past and in the future; as well as the processes which continue to shape the earth’s land surface.

Energy Systems

You are introduced 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. You also work in groups examining case studies including power generation accidents.

Global Environmental Issues

Humankind faces environmental challenges which are severe and varied. Threats as diverse as climate change, the supply of fresh water, soil fertility and plastic waste pose problems which differ in immediacy and scale. You will be introduced to the careful appraisal of information relating to these challenges, how the scale of the problem and its consequences may be measured and where the solutions might lie.

Physical Geography and Geology Field Work

Learn how we map, measure and monitor different natural processes and systems in the field. Delivered through a series of individual field days across the region, this module introduces you to different approaches and techniques for field work in both geography and geology. You will learn discipline specific skills, as well as working together with your colleagues to understand how landscapes form through the interactions between geological and surface processes.

 

Year 2 core modules

Cities and Sustainable Futures

You investigate the relationships between urban space and sustainable futures. You will explore cities around the world through three key aspects of sustainability – environmental, social and economic – and address how these impact on the concept of a sustainable future. This provides you with critical theoretical and empirical understanding of pertinent urban issues.

Earth Observation and GIS

Technology has fundamentally altered our ability to see and understand the world around us. In this module you will learn the fundamentals of remote sensing for environmental management, including satellite, airborne, and terrestrial sources. You will also learn to use advanced geographical information systems (GIS) to map, model, and understand spatially distributed environmental data.

Ecology and Biodiversity

You will explore 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 also 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. As part of this module, by sampling natural environments you will have the opportunity to develop your ecological fieldwork, laboratory and data interpretation skills.

Practical Conservation

You are introduced to the complexity of biological conservation science using practical examples and case studies at local, national and international scales. You will learn about the co-existence of a variety of approaches, aims and justification under the same overarching term of conservation. You will have a thorough introduction of conservation biology and how this field informs practical conservation measure undertaken on the ground to preserve endangered species, biodiversity at large, ecosystems services and the natural environment. In addition to lectures, the learning is enhanced by seminars and field trips where different aspect of practical conservation will be studied and discussed.

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.

The Anthropocene

You develop critical understanding of the effect of human activities on the planet, and explore the multiple scales at which this impacts the potential for a sustainable environment. You will address the environmental, social, economic and political issues that intertwine with this relationship.  

 

Final-year core modules

Biodiversity and Ecosystems

Natural ecosystems provide numerous benefits to humanity. Despite this knowledge, ever increasing pressure is being placed on ecosystems and many are under threat. In this module, you will explore how the benefits provided by ecosystems can be viewed as services and natural capital and, subsequently, how these concepts have been used to drive policies relating to biodiversity conservation. Through a series of case studies, you will examine the positive relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function, the mechanisms which underpin this relationship and, consequently, the impact of biodiversity loss on ecosystem services. In addition, you will, also explore how human activities can be mitigated and made more sustainable.

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.

Environmental Resource Management

You 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.

 

and one optional module

International Fieldtrip

You apply your skills and knowledge to unfamiliar landscapes overseas. Working as part of a team you will develop and then undertake field-based research on a week-long residential field course. You will also develop professional and employability skills aligned with contemporary geographical, geological, environmental and ecological issues, as well as key skills in interpersonal interactions, project planning, time management, and research presentation.

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.

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

You learn through a range of teaching and learning methods including:

  • lectures

  • tutorials

  • seminars and workshops (including oral presentations and poster sessions)

  • laboratory work

  • computer laboratory-based sessions

  • group projects

  • research projects.

The course provides a number of contact teaching and assessment hours, 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 programme and module is supported by a specific virtual learning environment (VLE) site.

How you are assessed

You may be assessed through:

  • formal exams including 'unseen' exams

  • laboratory reports

  • computer-based assessments

  • problem-solving exercises

  • data interpretation exercises

  • critical analysis of case studies

  • oral presentations and technical interviews

  • essays, literature surveys, evaluations and summaries

  • collaborative project work

  • preparation and display of posters

  • planning, conduct and reporting of project work


Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
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

Year 1 entry
96-112 UCAS tariff points
You must have GCSE English and Mathematics at grade 4 (grade C) or equivalent and have studied at least one relevant subject at Level 3. Eligible subjects include:

Applied Science
Biology
Chemistry
Environmental Science
Geography
Physics

Typical Level 3 qualifications include:

A levels (within a minimum of grade C from one relevant subject)

BTEC Extended Diploma
Access to HE Diploma

Alternative equivalent UK and international qualifications and subjects are also considered. If you are not eligible for Year 1 entry, we also offer this course with an integrated foundation year.

Direct entry to later years
If you have previously studied a relevant subject at a higher level (HNC, HND or one or more years of a degree at another institution) we can consider you for direct entry to Year 2 or Final Year of this course. Please provide us with a complete detailed transcript of your previous studies with your application to help us determine your eligibility for advanced entry.

Applicant Days
If you receive an offer to study with us you may be invited to attend one of our Applicant Days. This is a great opportunity to learn more about studying at Teesside by exploring our campus, seeing our excellent facilities, meeting staff and students, and finding out more about your course.

The Applicant Day provides you with information, guidance and advice to help you make the right choice. Even if you have attended an Open Day we encourage you to attend the Applicant Day - we are confident you will find your visit a useful experience.

Alternative progression routes
If you are not eligible to join this course directly then we may be able to help you prepare for admission by studying appropriate pre-degree Summer University modules.
Please contact us to discuss the alternative progression routes available to you.

Non-EU international students
Non-EU international students who need a student visa to study in the UK should check our web pages on UKVI-compliant English language requirements. The University also provides pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet the minimum English language requirement.

For additional information please see our entry requirements

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

Work placement

A dedicated work placement officer and the University's award-winning careers service support you with applying for a placement. Advice is also available on job hunting and networking.

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.

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.

Career opportunities

You could work as 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.

 

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 enrolment adviser

 
 

Full-time

Entry to 2020/21 academic year

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

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants


What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: F7M0 BSc/EnvS
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 tariff points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

2020/21 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: 6 years if entering Year 1; 4 years if entering Year 2
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)

 
  • On video

    National Horizons Centre

    The NHC is a £22m research, teaching and training facility which addresses the growth needs of the bio-based industries set to transform the UK economy, including biologics, industrial biotechnology and bio-pharmaceuticals.

     
 
 

Choose Teesside

iPad

Are you eligible for an iPad, keyboard and up to £300 credit for learning resources?

 

Accommodation

Live in affordable accommodation right on-campus

 

Campus

Study in our town-centre campus with over £270m of recent investment

 

Industry ready

Benefit from work placements, live projects, accredited courses

 

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