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F850 - Environmental Science

Environmental Science

BSc Honours

  • UCAS code: F850
  • Full time
  • 3 years
  • Next start date: September 2023

Environmental science is the study of the whole environment. It covers biological organisms, our physical environment, and the interactions between them. This wide-ranging degree also includes topics such as environmental law.

Fees (per year)

  • Home: £9250
  • International: £26400

Entry requirements and offers

  • A Level: ABB
  • IB: 32 points

UCAS Institution name and code:

  • NEWC / N21
Study abroad opportunity

Course overview

Biology and geography are an important part of this degree, to help you to understand the processes within ecosystems and how we can manage our natural resources effectively.

You will also study chemistry, physics and geology as applied to the study of the environment. Topics cover a wide range of subjects, from plant biology and ecology, to sustainability and environmental law. 

You'll learn about the role of social and economic factors, ethics and public perception in environmental management.

You'll benefit from expertise at our Centre for Rural Economy, recipient of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education 2014.

Your degree is shaped by the cutting-edge research of our expert staff, so you know your degree is focused on up-to-date and socially important theories and discoveries in the area.

Your course and study experience - disclaimers and terms and conditions  
Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the programmes, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to Covid-19.

View our Academic experience page, which gives information about your Newcastle University study experience for the academic year 2022-23.

See our terms and conditions and student complaints information, which gives details of circumstances that may lead to changes to programmes, modules or University services.

Quality and ranking

  • Top 150 for Environmental Studies– QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022
  • 1st in the UK and 8th in the world for sustainable development – Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022
  • 65% increase in research power since 2014 – Research Excellence Framework 2021
  • 42% of our research is classified as 4* world-leading research – Research Excellence Framework 2021
  • Global Top 125 University - QS World University Rankings 2023

Modules and learning

Modules

The information below is intended to provide an example of what you will study.

Most degrees are divided into stages. Each stage lasts for one academic year, and you'll complete modules totalling 120 credits by the end of each stage. 

Our teaching is informed by research. Course content may change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback.

Optional module availability
Student demand for optional modules may affect availability.

Full details of the modules on offer will be published through the Programme Regulations and Specifications ahead of each academic year. This usually happens in May.

To find out more please see our terms and conditions.

We introduce you to a number of topics in environmental science, physical geography, plant biology and ecology, which lay the foundations for more specialised study in later stages.

Modules

Compulsory Modules Credits
Environment and Land Resources 10
Academic and Professional Skills 20
Investigating Rural Landscapes 20
Plants, Environment, Agriculture 10
Earth System Science 10
The Geosphere 20
Geographic Information Systems 10
Optional Modules Credits
Agri-Food Supply Chains 20
Natural Science Research Impact 10
Ecology and Conservation 20
Interpreting Geological Maps 10
The Marine Environment 20

You study compulsory modules that cover the practice of environmental science, terrestrial ecosystems and pollution.

You will develop your professional skills with a focus on career development and research. You also select optional topics from a range that includes: conservation; landscape, culture and heritage; population ecology; and economics.

Modules

Compulsory Modules Credits
Site Management and Communication Skills 20
Dissertation and Research Preparation 10
Ecosystem Ecology 10
Sustainable Solutions 10
Pollution of Air, Water & Soil 10
Research Methods in Environmental Pollution 20
Optional Modules Credits
Landscape, Culture and Heritage 20
Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation 20
Global Element Cycling 10
Geological Resources 10
Geomicrobiology 10
Law and Land Use 10
Career Development for second year students 20

Module Overview - CEG2607: Geomicrobiology

During Stage 2, you can study this optional module in geomicrobiology. You'll be introduced to microbiology and microorganisms. You'll explore their role in shaping the geochemistry of the Earth. You'll be learning in the field, seeing the process in action.

You take part in a residential field course that develops your ecological research skills and your professional skills in writing and presenting reports. You study compulsory topics in sustainability, environmental impact assessment and project management, and apply a range of research methods.

A quarter of your study time is made up of optional modules, which allow you to select topics such as: conservation; ecological modelling; policy evaluation; environmental law; and countryside management.

Modules

Compulsory Modules Credits
Environmental Impact Assessment 20
Sustainable Development and Environmental Valuation 10
Earth and Environmental Science Dissertation 30
Optional Modules Credits
Qualitative Research Methods 10
Countryside Management 20
Rural Planning, Politics and Society 20
Your Future - occupational awareness 10
Biodiversity Science and Management 20
Biological Modelling 20
Biogeochemistry 20
Geohazards and Deformation of the Earth 10
Career Development for final year students 20
Science Communication for Sustainable Development 10

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

In stages 2 and 3, just over half of your teaching time will be spent in classroom-based lectures or seminars. The remainder will be made up of field classes, computer classes, and practical lab work. In Stage 3, greater emphasis is placed on project work, culminating in a final-year project based on a topic of your choice.

Assessment methods

You'll be assessed through a combination of:

  • Assignments – written or fieldwork

  • Dissertation or research project

  • Essays

  • Examinations – practical or online

  • Group work

  • Presentations

  • Projects

Skills and experience

Practical skills

You will develop your hands-on, practical skills with fieldwork opportunities embedded throughout your degree.

You'll have access to our two University-run farms for research, teaching and demonstration, as well as an experimental station providing field laboratories and state-of-the-art lab facilities on campus.

You will undertake field visits throughout your degree, so you can develop skills relevant to your future career. You'll also learn field techniques, knowledge of how to design and plan an investigation and environmental monitoring skills.  

Research skills

In Stage 3 you'll take part in a week-long residential field course to develop your ecological research skills. 

You'll also write a dissertation which gives you the opportunity to plan and conduct a thorough investigation into a subject you're interested in, exploring current and future issues in environmental science. 

Opportunities

Study abroad

Experience life in another country by choosing to study abroad as part of your degree. You’ll be encouraged to embrace fun and challenging experiences, make connections with new communities and graduate as a globally aware professional, ready for your future.

You can choose to spend up to a year studying at a partner institution overseas.

If you choose to study abroad, it will extend your degree by a year. 

Find out more about study abroad

Work placement

Our environmental sciences degree is also available as a four-year programme.

You'll apply to spend 9 to 12 months working in any organisation in the world, and receive University support from our dedicated team to secure your dream placement. Work placements take place in Stage 3.

You'll gain first-hand experience of working in the sector, putting your learning into practice and developing your professional expertise.

Placements are subject to availability.

Find out more about work placements

Facilities and environment

Facilities

You will be based on campus at the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. As a student of Earth and Environmental Sciences you'll have access to our world-class facilities and analytical laboratories, including:

  • gas chromatography
  • gas chromatography mass spectrometry
  • high pressure liquid chromatography mass spectrometry
  • inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
  • two commercial farms near Newcastle
  • Dove Marine Laboratory on the coast
  • research vessel, The Princess Royal

You'll also have access to two commercial farms near Newcastle.

Our University farms, Cockle Park Farm and Nafferton Farm, will give you an insight into how real-world farms operate, so you're prepared for your future. Our farms are used for research, teaching and demonstration.

You will be taught in the new, and unique, teaching space of the Houston Laboratory: part of a £2m redevelopment of Newcastle University’s Drummond Building.

You'll benefit from the Great North Museum on campus. It's home to over 9,000 geological and mineralogical specimens. The Mining Institute, with one of the world’s most comprehensive collections on mining engineering, is just a short walk away.

The Ridley Building 2

Support

To support you in your studies, all new students entering year 1 or year 2 will receive a tablet. You can download the online learning resources you'll need for your course (helping us to make our campus more sustainable).

You'll have the support of an academic member of staff as a personal tutor throughout your degree to help with academic and personal issues.

Peer mentors will help you in your first year. They are fellow students who can help you settle in and answer any questions you have when starting university.

There's also a staff-student committee, to give you an opportunity to have a say in how your degree works.

Your future

The environmental sector has grown rapidly over the last decade. Increasing environmental legislation means there are many new employment areas in industry and the public sector.

Our graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of organisations including the European Parliament, Meteorological Office and Oxfam.

Graduates from our environmental science course have gone on to undertake roles such as environmental consultancy and environmental engineering, and find employment with:

  • conservation bodies such as Natural England
  • the Environment Agency
  • water companies
  • local government environmental health departments
  • other environmental protection agencies

Employability at Newcastle

96% of Newcastle University graduates progressed to employment or further study within six months of graduating, with 85.5% in graduate-level employment or further study.

Take a look at the most recent data available for our graduates. See what they have gone on to achieve and be inspired to follow in their footsteps.

Statistics are based on what graduates were doing on a specific date, approximately six months after graduation (Destinations of (undergraduate and postgraduate UK domiciled) Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016/17).

Enterprising students

Student discusses the challenge

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Careers support

Our Enterprise Challenge gives students the opportunity to work with industry on a project that tackles real-world issues. Watch the above video to find out more.

Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.

Visit our Careers Service website

Recognition of professional qualifications outside of the UK

From 1 January 2021 there is an update to the way professional qualifications are recognised by countries outside of the UK

Entry requirements and offers

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements and offers below apply to 2023 entry.

A Level
International Baccalaureate

Other UK and the Republic of Ireland qualifications

Contextual Offers

Through one of our contextual routes, you could receive an offer of up to three grades lower than the typical requirements.

What is a contextual offer? Find out more and if you’re eligible for this or our PARTNERS Programme supported entry route.

Qualifications from outside the UK

English Language requirements

Entrance courses (INTO)

International Pathway Courses are specialist programmes designed for international students who want to study in the UK. We provide a range of study options for international students in partnership with INTO. 

Find out more about International Pathway Courses

Admissions policy

This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at Newcastle University. It is intended to provide information about our admissions policies and procedures to applicants and potential applicants, to their advisors and family members, and to staff of the University.

Tuition fees and scholarships

Tuition fees for 2023 entry (per year)

Home Fee Students

£9250

International Fee Students

£26400

The maximum fee that we are permitted to charge for home fee-paying students is set by the UK government.

As a general principle, you should expect the tuition fee to increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation.

Read more about fees and funding

Depending on your residency history, if you’re a student from the EU, other EEA or a Swiss national, with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you’ll normally pay the ‘Home’ tuition fee rate and may be eligible for Student Finance England support.

EU students without settled or pre-settled status will normally be charged fees at the ‘International’ rate and will not be eligible for Student Finance England support.

If you are unsure of your fee status, check out the latest guidance here.

Read more about fees and funding

Scholarships

We support our EU and international students by providing a generous range of Vice-Chancellor's automatic and merit-based scholarships. See our undergraduate scholarship page for more information.

Year abroad and additional costs

For programmes where you can spend a year on a work placement or studying abroad, you will receive a significant fee reduction for that year. 

Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.

Find out more about:

Scholarships

Find out more about:

Open days and events

How to apply

Apply through UCAS

To apply for undergraduate study at Newcastle University, you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). All UK schools and colleges, and a small number of EU and international establishments, are registered with UCAS. You will need:

  • the UCAS name and institution codes for Newcastle University (NEWC/N21)
  • the UCAS code for the course you want to apply for
  • the UCAS 'buzzword' for your school or college

If you are applying independently, or are applying from a school or college which is not registered to manage applications, you will still use the Apply system. You will not need a buzzword.

Apply through UCAS

Apply through an agent

International students often apply to us through an agent. Have a look at our recommended agents and get in touch with them.

Visit our International pages

Get in touch

By phone

Call us on +44 (0) 191 208 3333 and press option 1. Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 10am until 4pm.

Live chat

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You'll find our Ncl chatbot in the bottom right of this page.

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