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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Environmental change pathway

"It's coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It's not just climate change; it's sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde." David Attenborough

There is a strong scientific consensus that we have changed the global climate since the industrial revolution; and a human population of over seven billion puts huge pressures the natural resources that provide our food, water and energy.  A ‘Perfect Storm' is brewing: environmental scientists can shape humankind's response.

Students following this pathway examine past and present environmental change from the local level through to the global scale. Students can develop scientific understanding with an emphasis on the drivers and impacts of environmental change. Thus, this pathway considers human induced developments such as climate change, rising sea levels and ozone depletion in conjunction with natural climatic changes and long term change. Analysing these issues helps students to gain a deeper understanding of the magnitude of contemporary and predicted changes and strategies for mankind to mitigate or adapt. Techniques used to monitor environmental changes, such as field data, geographic information systems and satellite image analysis, can be explored and applied in student research work.

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, with opportunities to apply the science you learn.

Year 1

Core Programme Modules (on all pathways)

Environmental Science: Concepts and Communication

Environmental Science: Research and Applications  (field/practical module)

Quantitative Methods

Environmental Field Techniques and Applications

Compulsory pathway modules 

Earth and ocean systems

Earth Systems

Dynamic Landscapes

Ecology & Evolution

Year 2

Core Programme Modules (on all pathways)

Environmental Pollution

Environmental Impact Assessment

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Environmental Scientists

Environmental Practice and Issues

Compulsory pathway module 

Global climate change: science, impacts and policy

Optional modules:

Environmental Chemistry 1: Aquatic Chemistry

Remote sensing for earth observation

Coastal and estuarine oceanography 1

Coastal and estuarine oceanography 2


Quaternary environmental change

Geohazards and earth resources

Introduction to energy in the environment

Population in developing societies

Freshwater ecosystems

Population and Reproductive Health

Business skills for employability

Management of risk and uncertainty

Environmental Instrumentation


Year 3

Core Programme Modules (on all pathways)

Environmental Law and Management

Environmental Field Studies (MEnvSci Only)

Individual Project (BSc only)

Advanced Quantitative Methods (MEnvSci only)

Compulsory pathway modules:

Optional modules:

Biogeochemical cycles in the earth system

Environmental and Engineering Geology

Teaching and Communication and the UG Ambassador Scheme

Global Change Biology: from molecule to ecosystems

Environmental field studies

Complex socio-ecological systems: Past, present and future

Sustainable resource management

Coastal sediment dynamics

Advanced Quantitative Methods

The Sustainability Professional

Glaciers and Glaciation

Adapting to Climate Change and Weather Hazards

Palaeoclimate Change

Air Quality and Environmental Pollution

Year 4

Core Programme Modules (on all pathways)

Advanced Research Project

Work Based Learning (work placement)

Optional modules: 

Biogeochemical cycles in the earth system

Waste resource management

Energy resources and engineering

Modelling Coastal Processes

Transport, Energy and the Environment

Global climate cycles

Environmental radioactivity and radiochemistry

Freshwater ecosystems

Microfossils, environments and time

Coastal and maritime engineering and energy

Water and waste water engineering

Water Resources Planning and Management

Environmental Management Systems

Photo of Emma-Louise  Staughton
I now work for the Met Office as a military weather forecaster at RAF Benson.
Emma-Louise  StaughtonBSc Environmental Sciences
Photo of Jennifer Warhurst
Each summer I was able to gain work experience all of which helped to ensure a consultancy career was for me.
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