Environmental Science

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How to Apply

Apply on UCAS's site

This course enables you to gain both biological and geographical perspectives of the environment.

Why study Environmental Science?

Climate change, pollution impacts, conservation of biodiversity, environmental management, energy use, wastes management, sustainability, and protection of natural systems are amongst the planet’s most pressing issues.

Whilst we can’t guarantee that this course will enable you to solve all of them, we can promise that you will be taught by an enthusiastic, committed, and supportive team of professionals who will help you to understand these issues and develop the skills to do something about them.

Fieldwork Opportunities

A rich variety of terrestrial and aquatic environments and habitats (many available on site at our wonderful Newton Park campus!) are studied in day-long and residential field trips in the UK and further afield. Fieldwork is a very important aspect of the Environmental Science programme and is well supported.

Course structure

Environmental Science is a vast subject embracing many disciplines; at Bath Spa it is studied from primarily two related perspectives – biological and geographical. Whilst some topics, such as ecology and environmental management/sustainability (embedded within the 2nd year Environmental Science module), are compulsory, there are many optional topics to choose from, e.g. marine biology, climatology, sustainable development, river and costal management, environmental hazards, environmental consultancy, and biodiversity assessment.

The course is flexible and you will design a programme of study to suit your interests and career aspirations. Along with flexibility is the opportunity to specialise in a particular area of environmental science; for example aquatic environments, environmental protection and conservation, or earth systems. Particularly exciting is the opportunity (new from 2014/15) to develop a science communication specialism within your award via our Science Publishing, Digital Imaging, and Plants and People modules at Levels 4 and 5, all of which have a coursework emphasis on presenting science topics to a non-specialist audience. Alternatively, you can maintain a broader interest in the subject; at Bath Spa the choice is yours.

Throughout the course there is an emphasis on practical work: in our well equipped laboratories, on campus – with its rich variety of terrestrial and aquatic environments – and further afield in the UK and beyond (though we are mindful of our carbon footprint in selecting locations).


At each Level you will take a mix of 40- and 20-credit modules to the value of 120 credits; modules' credit weightings are indicated in the programme summary below.

Year 1 (Level 4)

You take the core modules in Geography and Biology (marked *); you also take the Biodiversity and Conservation module (marked **). Although you can choose your remaining 20 credits from the full range of Level 4 modules available throughout the university, particularly relevant and recommended are those indicated below. Appropriate choice of modules in the first year can help you to develop a particular specialisation in the overall environmental science area.

    • Introduction to Biological Sciences (40)*;
    • Environment, People and Place (40)*;
    • Biodiversity and Conservation (20)**;
    • Global Food Issues (20);
    • Global Development (20);
    • Investigating Earth Environments (20).

Year 2 (Level 5)

In addition to the compulsory modules below (marked *), you choose a further three 20-credit modules from those within the Environmental Science programme (listed below), which allows you to continue to develop specialisation, or keep your programme more general.

    • Environmental Science (40)*;
    • Research Skills (20)*;
    • Biodiversity Tools and Techniques (20);
    • Applied Microbiology (20);
    • Epidemiology and Public Health (20);
    • Work Placement (20);
    • River and Coastal Systems (20);
    • Environmental Hazards (20);
    • Climate Change and Sustainability (20);
    • Geographical Fieldwork (20);
    • Science Publishing (20).

Year 3 (Level 6)

In addition to the compulsory 40-credit dissertation, you must take four of the 20-credit modules from the following selection. The choice of optional modules available permits a high degree of specialisation within the subject. Modules indicated by # represent an  either/or choice, you cannot take both of them.

    • Animal Behaviour (20);
    • Marine Biology (20);
    • Environmental Consultancy (20);
    • Nature Conservation in Context (20);
    • Plants and People (20);
    • Digital Imaging (20);
    • Coastal and River Management (20);
    • Climatology (20);
    • Development and Disasters (20);
    • Advanced Geographical Fieldwork (20);
    • Science Publishing Project (20);
    • Enterprise: Creating Your Own Business (20)#;
    • Successful Freelancing (20)#;
    • Managing Sustainability (20).

Course assessment

Generally a mixture of coursework and examination.

Environmental Science with a year in professional practice (UCAS code: K923)

Subject to approval, if you join the programme in 2016, you can opt to take a year in professional practice ('sandwich year') between your level 5 (year 2) and level 6 (year 3) studies.

This placement will enable you to put theory into practice, build professional networks and meet and work with potential employers. It will also help with work management and give you experience to bring back to your studies in your final year.

Your degree title will include the phrase “with a year in professional practice”, so it is clear to all employers that you have this experience as part of your degree.


Class sizes are small – typically 23; staff and students are on first name terms, and each student is assigned a Personal Tutor from day one. All this helps to create an excellent learning environment. Expect to ‘get your hands dirty’; we get you out of the classroom and into the environment as much as possible. Employers greatly value the practical skills you develop.

A recent internal review of teaching commented:

“We were impressed with the range and scope of field-based teaching and the extent to which this expertise benefits student learning.”


Teaching methods

Teaching and learning activities are intended to be relevant, challenging and interesting and include lectures, laboratory practicals, seminars, simulations of professional practice, fieldwork-based projects, tutorials, and interpretation exercises. Practical work is an extremely important part of the course, and a wide range of analytical instruments, field equipment, staff expertise, and ICT resources is available to support this work.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

Please contact our Admissions team (see above) for information about this course.

Typical offer range for UK / EU applicants

260–300 UCAS Tariff points, with minimum 80 points from a science or geography-related subject preferred.

Career opportunities

The knowledge and skills that you develop during the course are valued by employers and our graduates have gained employment in a wide variety of organisations. Examples include: environmental consultancies, water companies, public sector bodies (for example the Environment Agency), and not-for-profit organisations (such as the Soil Association). Many graduates have gone on to postgraduate programmes at Bath Spa and elsewhere, leading to a teaching qualification (PGCE), MSc or PhD.

Since 2010, employers such as Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Ecosulis, Natural England, Office of National Statistics, NERC, and The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Assistant Ecological Consultant, Land Management and Conservation Adviser, Policy Adviser at Defra, and Waste Awareness Officer.

What students say...

Heather Selwyn-Smith, graduated 2014:

“I wanted to study Environmental Science at degree level as it appealed to my interest in the sciences and my wish to help protect and sustain the natural environment for the future.

During my first year, the options of both geography and biology modules really allowed me to build on the knowledge I had already gained at A-level. I enjoy putting into practice the theories learnt during lectures, through various field trips around the UK and experiments that we are able to undertake in the labs at the University. 

Studying Environmental Science at Bath Spa University has opened my mind to the many different areas which I could pursue as a potential career and has provided excellent grounding for my future employability prospects.”

Sara King, graduated 2009:

“I am an Ecological Consultant with an ecological consultancy in Bath. This job involves ecological survey for protected species, including badgers, bats, dormice, great crested newts and reptiles, project management, reporting, European Protected Species Licensing and mitigation. My role involves a variety of practical ecological surveys and office-based reporting.

My course at Bath Spa gave me the knowledge and skills to undertake my current job, particularly the Ecological Assessment module (material from which now features in the new Environmental Consultancy and Biodiversity Assessment modules) in my third year. I loved the field trips and group activities at Bath Spa – they taught us a lot and we had a lot of fun at the same time!”