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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.

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 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

You explore 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 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.  

 

Year 3 optional placement year

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.

Each programme and module is supported by a specific virtual learning environment (VLE) site.

How you are assessed

The programme tests your subject knowledge, independent thought and skills acquisition. You may be assessed through:

  • formal exams including 'unseen' exams

  • laboratory reports

  • 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

You will be provided with an assessment schedule providing details of the submission deadlines for summative assessments.


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

Examples of typical entry qualifications include:

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

Any Level 3 subject is acceptable for entry to this course.

English language and mathematics requirements
Normally, evidence of English language and mathematical skills equivalent to at least GCSE grade 4 is required. We consider a wide range of English and maths qualifications alternative to GCSEs. Please contact our admissions staff for advice.

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.

Applicant Days
If you receive an offer to study with us you will 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.

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

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.

Work placement

A work placement officer and the University's careers service are available to help 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 may 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 preselection 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 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: 4 years (including a foundation year) or 5 years (including a work placement)
  • UCAS code: F759 BSc/EnvSFY
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: Offers tailored to individual circumstances

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

  • Not available 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.

     
 
 
 

Be bold, be immersed, be transformed. Be Teesside.

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

 

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Live in affordable accommodation right on-campus

 

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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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