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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

F900 BSc (Hons) Environmental Science (3 years)

This three-year interdisciplinary course covers core environmental science topics with the opportunity to specialise in a diverse and exciting range of subject areas.

Apply nowThis course has places available in Clearing.

Introducing your degree

This challenging degree takes an interdisciplinary view of the environment, embracing and integrating a wide range of subject areas. The course is structured so that you can develop specialist skills in either biodiversity and conservation, environmental change, aquatic environments and resources, or sustainable environmental management.

Photo of Leah Line
The course has a focus on employability that is incomparable to courses at other universities. Everything is designed to make you feel more prepared for the workplace.
Leah Line, BSc Environmental Science, 2017
BSc Environmental Science

What is this? (More Information) This information is based on historical data and may have been aggregated. Find out more.

We will develop your core environmental science knowledge through a series of compulsory modules each year. You will also be able to specialise in one of four pathways, giving you control over your degree and career route:

The pathways focus on the major environmental challenges of the twenty-first century. You choose your pathway at the start of your degree, but there is flexibility to change pathways at the end of your first year. You will develop a portfolio of knowledge and experience around your specialised pathway.

There are plenty of opportunities for practical work on the course, including practical modules, field courses and a research project. You will learn to apply quantitative analysis and field research techniques.

In your final year, you will also undertake an independent research project, bringing together the skills and knowledge gained during your degree. This will be focused on environmental issues associated with your pathway.

The course places a large emphasis on employability and industrial engagement to prepare you for your career. You also have the opportunity to take the Year in Employment, which includes a work placement between your second and third year, as part of your degree.

View the programme specification for this course for 2019/20 entrants

View the programme specification for this course for 2020/21 entrants


To Apply

All undergraduate applications to study BSc Environmental Science should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Find out how to apply and get further details about UCAS' website, phone and contact details. Specific application deadlines are available on the UCAS website.


CHES logo

This programme is accredited by the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences (CHES), the education committee of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES). CHES is the collective voice of the environmental sciences academic community and serves to enhance the quality of environmental education worldwide. A programme accredited by CHES is assured to meet high standards, contain a strong component of practical, field and theoretical activities, and has excellent opportunities for training, work experience and links to the professional environmental sector. Students enrolled on CHES accredited programmes can apply for free Student Membership of the IES and for a fast-track route to membership once they graduate, starting you on a route towards becoming a Chartered Environmentalist or Chartered Scientist.

Programme Structure

The full-time course lasts for three years and leads to the degree of BSc Environmental Science with honours.

During your first year, you will develop a broad overview of the key areas of environmental science. In your second and third years, you will be able to choose optional modules to suit your own interests. You will also be required to undertake an individual project in your final year.

The first two years of the BSc and MEnvSci run in parallel. You may apply to transfer across to the four-year undergraduate course during year 1, subject to meeting requirements.

Key Facts

  • Nationally recognised sustainability programme.
  • Learn from award-winning academics.
  • Our Environmental Science courses integrate theory-based learning with field and project work.
  • 6th in the Russell Group for Geography and Environmental Science student satisfaction (Complete University Guide, 2019).

The National Student Survey 2019

  • 96% of Physical Geography and Environmental Science students agreed that staff have made the subject interesting.
  • 95% of Physical Geography and Environmental Science students were satisfied or very satisfied with the teaching on their course.
  • 95% of Physical Geography and Environmental Science students were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of their course.
Beach litter survey
Students conducting a beach litter survey as part of a field course
Forestry profiles
Students doing forestry profiles after a day of field work on Dartmoor

Using drones for remote sensing

First year students get hands-on experience of a wide range of field work techniques

Watch the video

Harry Smith, graduate 2016

Find out about Harry Smith's time studying Environmental Science.

Watch the video
Photo of Lydia Butler
What I learned was how to truly apply the theory I had learnt during my degree, and know how it would be used in a real future employment situation. I really believe that is the strength of the course here at Southampton and sets it apart from other courses as it has great emphasis on how to apply the theory from lectures and give you really important career development skills.
Lydia ButlerBSc Environmental Sciences

Typical entry requirements

For 2020 entry

View 2019 entry requirements

GCSE Applicants must hold GCSE English language (or GCSE English) (minimum grade 4/C) and mathematics (minimum grade <4/C)
GCE A-Level ABB including two acceptable science subjects
GCE A-Level with Extended Project Qualificiation (EPQ) If you are taking an EPQ in addition to 3 A levels, you will receive the following offer in addition to the standard A-level offer:
BBB including two acceptable science subjects and grade A in the EPQ.
GCE A-Level with Contextual offer We are committed to ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data allows us to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Applicants who are highlighted in this way will be made an offer which is lower than the typical offer for that programme, as follows:
BBB including two acceptable science subjects.
A- level additional information Offers typically exclude General Studies and Critical Thinking.
Welsh Baccalaureate offer AB from 2 acceptable science subject A levels and Grade B from the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate.
International Baccalaureate Diploma
Pass, with minimum 32 points overall with 16 points at Higher Level to include two acceptable science subjects at Higher Level scoring a minimum of 5 in each. Applications where Higher Level subjects have been studied without the full Diploma, will also be considered on a case by case basis.
International Baccalaureate Career Programme (IBCP)
Offers will be made on the individual Diploma Course subject(s) and the career-related study qualification. The CP core will not form part of the offer. Where there is a subject pre-requisite(s), applicants will be required to study the subject(s) at Higher Level in the Diploma course subject and/or take a specified unit in the career-related study qualification. Applicants may also be asked to achieve a specific grade in those elements. Please see the University of Southampton International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme (IBCP) Statement for further information. Applicants are advised to contact their Faculty Admissions Office for more information.
Access to HE Diploma offer Considered on a case by case basis. Acceptable science qualifications are also required
Scottish Qualification offers Offers will be based on exams being taken at the end of S6. Subjects taken and qualifications achieved in S5 will be reviewed. Careful consideration will be given to an individual’s academic achievement, taking in to account the context and circumstances of their pre-university education. Please see the University of Southampton’s Curriculum for Excellence Scotland Statement for further information. Applicants are advised to contact the Admissions Office for more information.
Cambridge Pre-U offer D3 M2 M2
Level 3 BTEC (QCF) offer (unreformed) D in the BTEC Subsidiary Diploma plus A B in two acceptable science A-level subjects
Level 3 BTEC (RQF) offer (reformed) D in BTEC National Extended Certificate plus grades A B from two acceptable science 'A' levels. BTEC qualifications must be accompanied by two acceptable science 'A' levels
European Baccalaureate offer 80% overall to include two acceptable science subjects
International qualifications Find a list of accepted international qualifications listed by country. This is a list of the international qualifications that are recognised by the University of Southampton. If you are not sure that your qualifications meet the requirements of this course please contact our Admissions Teams.
English language requirements All applicants must demonstrate they possess at least a minimum standard of English language proficiency. Applicants requiring a visa to study in the UK who do not offer GCSE English language (or GCSE English) at the required level will need to meet the following English language proficiency requirement. Find out more about the University’s English Language requirements. Band B IELTS 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in all components.

For 2019 entry

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at Grade C or above.
 GCE A-level ABB (including two Sciences, Two science subjects from geography, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology, geology and environmental studies, with a pass in the associated science practical) GCE A-level and EPQ BBB (including two Sciences, Two science subjects from geography, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology, geology and environmental studies, with a pass in the associated science practical) with grade A in the Extended Project Qualification.
International Baccalaureate requirements 32 points overall, 16 at higher level including 5 in two higher level sciences.
Equivalent qualifications
Qualification Entry criteria
Scottish Advanced Highers

Scottish Advanced Highers - ABB including two Sciences, Or Scottish Advanced Highers – AB (two Sciences) and Scottish Highers BB (non-compulsory subjects)

Welsh Baccalaureate (2014) + A Levels Grade A in Skills Challenge Certificate, AB in GCE A Levels, two Sciences with a pass in the associated practical
Cambridge Pre-U D3M1M1 including two Sciences
BTEC applicants will be assessed on individual merits
Access to HE Diploma Not acceptable – refer to Science Foundation Year (F903)
European Baccalaureate

75% overall, minimum of 75% in two Sciences (acceptable subjects are,geography, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology, geology and environmental studies)

Irish Leaving Certificate AABBB including A in two Sciences

If you have professional experience, or credit through prior learning at another institution, you may be eligible to use this experience against some of the course entry requirements for period of study. You will need to present evidence that you have met the learning outcomes of the course. Full details can be found in the University’s Policy on the Recognition of Prior Learning. If you think this may apply to you, please contact the Faculty Admissions Manager:

English Language requirements

If your first language is not English, we need to ensure that your listening, written and spoken English skills would enable you to enjoy the full benefit of your studies. For entry onto our programmes, you will need an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.5 or an equivalent qualification.

Contextual offers

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students who are recognised in this way will be made an offer which is lower than the typical offer for that programme.

A typical contextual offer is BBB (including two sciences, with a pass in the science practical (if applicable)) from three A levels or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Please see our contextual admissions pages for more information.



Selection process:
45-55 in total for Environmental Science undergraduate degrees
Average applications per place:

The selection process involves consideration of all aspects of your application. We also look for a range of personal attributes in our students, such as enthusiasm, commitment and an interest in the environment. You should have an active willingness to develop your knowledge beyond what you have learned at school or college, and to acquire analytical and practical skills.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Science Foundation Year

Science Foundation Year

Don't have the right qualifications to meet our entry requirements? You could still get a place by doing a foundation year.

Find out more

Typical course content

In each year on this course, you must complete certain compulsory modules, plus a further number relating to your chosen pathway. Some modules may have pre-requisites (i.e. modules taken in previous years, or specific A- levels), so you can become more specialised as you progress.

In addition to this, our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers our students the chance to take optional modules outside their core disciplines, and includes interdisciplinary modules relevant to the environment and sustainability This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future.

Please refer to the individual pathway pages to view the modules for the relevant pathway.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Tuition fees

List of tuition fees for this course and it's variations
NameAwardYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
BSc Environmental Science2018Full-time£9,250£20,320
View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved calculator: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentDesign equipment and materials: Standard construction/modelling materials will be provided where appropriate, unless otherwise specified in a module profile. For customisation of designs/models calling for material other than standard construction/ modelling materials, students will bear the costs of such alternatives.
ClothingFieldcourse clothing: You will need to wear suitable clothing when attending fieldcourses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source.
Printing and copyingIn some cases, coursework and/or projects may be submitted electronically. Where it is not possible to submit electronically students will be liable for printing costs, which are detailed in the individual module profile.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Teaching and learning

At Southampton, our students form knowledge and understanding through a combination of lectures, tutorials, classes, field and laboratory work, coursework and projects. We will also work with you to develop transferable skills in areas such as professional reports and effective oral presentations. You can broaden your learning by joining our Environmental Sciences Student Society and by attending guest lectures. You can also become a student member of the Institution of Environmental Sciences. Employability is embedded in all areas of taught classes and assessment, to maximise your opportunity for employment on graduation.

A practical approach

Field and laboratory classes provide opportunities for students working in small groups to gather data or conduct experiments that demonstrate and support the theory taught in lectures. You will attend field trips, complete research projects and learn how to handle and analyse data using statistical methods and spatial tools such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Individual feedback is provided on all work submitted.

Ground-breaking research

Your education will be timely and relevant while you are taught by our world-leading academics who are at the forefront of their field. We also have a global network of partner organisations, shared facilities and expertise to draw on to advance your learning curve.

Assessment and examinations

Assessment is conducted through a combination of unseen written examinations and coursework, such as essays and project reports. You will also complete assessed tasks such as writing impact reports and an environmental policy for a small business. Our students regularly have work from their dissertations published in international research journals.

Student support

You will be assigned a personal tutor from the start of your degree, which will involve regular group tutorials and individual meetings to support you through the course of your studies here.

Course Director

Dr Malcolm Hudson

Breakdown of study time and assessment

Proportion of time spent in scheduled learning, teaching and independent study
Learning, teaching and assessment stage1234
Scheduled learning & teaching study33%27%19%27%
Independent study67%73%81%73%
Placement study0%0%0%0%
Proportion of assessment by method
Learning, teaching and assessment stage1234
Written exam assessment38%66%43%27%
Practical exam assessment0%6%17%0%
Coursework assessment62%28%40%73%


Biodiversity and conservation

This pathway on the BSc degree in Environmental Science examines the diversity of living organisms on earth and their interrelationships with the environment. Key themes include plant and animal diversity and evolution, behaviour, physiology, ecological theory and applications, population ecology, applied biology, pest control, and conservation biology.

Many of these subjects are covered in biological modules but can be supplemented with geographical and marine modules. Modules on this pathway explore the principles of ecology and their application in environmental management for wildlife conservation and sustainable development.

Environmental change

This pathway on the BSc degree in Environmental Science examines past and present environmental change from the local level through to the global scale. It helps students to develop scientific understanding with an emphasis on the drivers and impacts of environmental change. Thus, this pathway considers modern human-induced developments such as climate change, rising sea levels and ozone depletion in conjunction with natural climatic changes. Analysing these issues helps students to gain a deeper understanding of the magnitude of contemporary and predicted changes. Techniques used to monitor environmental changes, such as field and satellite image analysis, are often explored.

This pathway also encompasses the physical aspects of changing environments such as geomorphology, the sedimentary environment, hydrology, ocean circulation and environmental geology. The broad range of options available provides a balance between geology, geography and oceanography.

Sustainable environmental management

This pathway on the BSc degree in Environmental Science provides an insight into the human use of the environment and looks at how scientific principles, theories and methods can be applied to resolve environmental problems in sustainable ways.

The pathway focuses, in particular, on the applications of environmental science theory and its translation into different management approaches. This pathway has a strong vocational element that draws on the biological sciences, geography, geology, oceanography, engineering and law. Students develop specialist skills in a whole range of areas such as sustainability, resource management, conservation, land use and planning, environmental management and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Aquatic environments and resources

This pathway on the BSc degree in Environmental Science focuses on the biological, chemical, physical and management aspects of water in the environment. It also explores the interaction between humans, water and aquatic environments.

Aspects of aquatic environments and water-related resources, and our relationship with them, are covered through a diverse range of modules encompassing hydrology, geomorphology, oceanography, aquatic ecology and river management.

Students can develop their knowledge of both freshwater and marine environments, combined with the study of water as an essential resource.

Study Locations

Waterfront campus

National Oceanography Centre

Marine biology modules are taught by specialists in Ocean and Earth Sc...Find out more

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