BSc single honours Environmental Science 2020/21

Year of entry

This course allows you to develop a sound understanding of the science of the environment, from the formation of soils and landscapes, to the communities of plants and animals that live on them. You will learn about rivers and oceans and the atmosphere, how ecosystems function and how they are modified. All this provides a firm foundation for understanding how human activity impacts on these systems. You will gain the tools and skills you need to explore these interactions and understand how we can manage our impacts.

You will explore areas including:

  • Science of the environment
  • impact of human activity
  • functions of ecosystems.

Managing the threats to our environment is one of the greatest challenges facing humankind. As a society we need professionals who understand the science behind our impact on the environment and have the skills to apply this knowledge for environmental management. Canterbury Christ Church University, based in the heart of Kent with access to a range of rural, urban and coastal environments is the perfect place for you to study the science of the environment.

Top reason to choose this course

We are a close­knit community of academics, researchers and students dedicated to the study of the environment. You will be taught by dedicated staff whose goal is to see you achieve your potential in Environmental Science.

Who is this course for?

This course is for students with a passion for the natural environment. It will equip you with knowledge of how the natural world functions and how we can take steps to manage our impact on it. It will suit those who wish to pursue a career in environmental management or research. We also help you to develop a wide range of graduate skills that will benefit you in your future career.

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

more info

You will study a range of topics in environmental science – such as the ecology of conservation, coastal geomorphology and the chemistry of pollution. You will also be taught about how this knowledge is applied in environmental policy and management.

Emphasis is placed on transferable skills in oral and written communication, information technology and use of statistics, as well as specialist subject knowledge. Core modules consolidate the knowledge and principles relating to environmental science, as well as the laboratory, computational and communications skills needed for employability.

Work experience

At level 5 you can undertake a placement module which entails undertaking a voluntary position in an area of environmental science or management within a public, private or third sector organisation, either through your own contacts and initiative or with the support and help of the placement team.

The final year dissertation project (‘Individual Study’ module) offers an excellent avenue for conducting practical research in your area of interest that can be carried out in collaboration with local or international partners and organisations. For example, a recent dissertation project conducted an on­farm investigation of the effect of land management choices on insects that could sustain grey partridge chicks. Other students have investigated wildflower strips as management tools for biodiversity or have compared bird and butterfly populations in rural and urban environments.

Other information

The Ecology Research Group hosts an annual conference where students are welcome to present their research or attend as guests to listen to speakers from conservation organisations, research institutions and environmental agencies as well as network with potential employers.

Core modules

Year 1

Basic Cartography and GIS (20 credits)

This module introduces students to practical and theoretical aspects of mapping, including cartographic design and geographical information systems (GIS). It utilises a range of relevant case studies to explain the principles, techniques, and applications of mapping and GIS. A substantial component of the module is the provision of 'hands ­on' experience in cartographic design and in building a GIS with industry standard hardware and software.

Chemistry (20 credits)

This module aims to give students the necessary theoretical and practical background in Chemistry which will be essential for their study of environmental sciences. Wherever possible, concepts are related to the students' own experience of the world. During practical sessions, students will develop their skills in the chemistry lab, as well as see in action some of topics studied in the theory sessions.

Introduction to Environmental Issues (20 credits)

Beginning with the place of humans in the environment, the module aims to explore the relationship between people and nature and how environmental values have changed over time. This will include an examination of how the ‘environment’ has been conceived in Geography and consider evidence for the rise of humans as a driver of change in the global environment. Key concepts such as nature, place, sustainability and resilience will be introduced.

Introduction to the Physical Environment (20 credits)

This module aims to develop understanding of a selection of environmental processes, ranging from land­-based processes to those controlling the oceans and the atmosphere. The module will consider how these may be applied to sustainable management of the environment.

Science Skills and Introduction to Statistics (20 credits)

This module examines aspects of the analysis of biological data, including statistics and experimental design, and how to understand scientific publications and write scientific papers. In the statistics element of the module students will learn how to correctly apply and undertake statistical tests. The other part of the module focusses on scientific methodology where students will learn how to plan an experiment and how to consider statistical analysis and sampling.

Soil Science and Plant Nutrition (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to introduce the basic concepts of soil science, focussing on the physical properties of soil, the fundamentals of soil chemistry and hydrology, and the way in which soils and plants are inextricably interlinked. This module prepares students for further study in more advanced aspects of soil science, plant physiology and land management.

Year 2

Biogeography and Landscape Ecology (20 credits)

This module examines the distribution of organisms and soils in space and time, and the environmental factors that determine or limit these distributions. It introduces landscape ecology and its importance in conservation management. The module introduces the world’s major biomes and draws on a range of areas within the geographic and life sciences such as geology, climatology, palaeontology, plant and animal systematics, evolution and ecology.

Chemistry of the Environment (20 credits)

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental theoretical concepts and practical applications of environmental chemistry. The students are introduced to the chemistry underlying the aquatic, terrestrial and atmospheric environments. It will also aim to make the students familiar with some of the different chemical analytical methods that can be used in the monitoring of these environments. In addition to becoming familiar with the natural chemical processes in soil, water and air, the students will also be encouraged to critically analyse and discuss environmental issues, such as smog, acid rain, global warming, ozone depletion and water pollution.

Data Handling (20 credits)

This module aims to develop the techniques necessary to handle quantitative biological data analysis. Central to this aim will be introducing the powerful statistical programming language, R. This module will enable students to become comfortable with the console­ based software and to use it for their statistical and data display needs.

Field investigation in Environmental Science (20 credits)

The module provides an invaluable opportunity for students to undertake structured field investigations in an unfamiliar international setting. This residential course introduces good field work practice and a range of field survey techniques.

Year 3

Individual Study (40 credits)

This module provides you with autonomy in your learning as you pursue in depth the study of a topic of your own choice. In doing so, you will gain practice at organising your thinking in a scientific context and will increase your confidence in dealing with scientific problems and issues. With a broad scope, this module allows you to work with external businesses and partners and to potentially produce work that can be either published as a peer reviewed article or that may be of real world value to a partner organisation.

Environmental Policy and Planning (20 credits)

The module aims to equip students with an understanding of the principles behind environmental policy, the instruments available to policy­makers to influence environmental behaviour and the institutional framework behind key global environmental policy initiatives. The module will also introduce students to environmental controls within the UK planning system.

Likely optional modules

Year 2

Coastal and Glacial Geomorphology (20 credits)

This modules develops students' understanding of the principles of process geomorphology. Understanding such principles is a pre-requisite for any sustainable environmental management. The module aims to examine the processes that operate within two core geomorphological systems (coastal processes and glacial processes) and shows the relationship between process and landform within a modern conceptual framework.

Geographic Information Science and Visualization (20 credits)

The aim of the module is to develop students’ understanding of the practical and theoretical aspects of geographical information systems (GIS) and remote sensing. By adopting an integrated approach, the module introduces students to a range of techniques for spatial analysis in GIS and for image processing and analysis in remote sensing. Knowledge of the issues surrounding how geographical data can be captured, explored and visualized is combined with hands­-on practical skills for communicating the results of geospatial analysis effectively.

Placement (20 credits)

This module aims to give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge of environmental science in ‘real world’ contexts. It will enable students to synthesise and consolidate their learning and to apply that to environmental problems. Students are expected to improve their verbal/written communication and problem solving skills. This module gives students the opportunity to research, identify and negotiate a placement, further reinforcing their key skills and employability when entering the graduate job market.

Regions of Risk: Human and Environmental Security (20 credits)

The aim of the module is to introduce students to a critical component of the people­environment relationship, namely the variability of vulnerability to environmental hazards and to the processes of change driving contemporary trends in disaster risk. This module aims to examine the ways in which events in geophysical or biological systems interact with human systems in a chain of causes in disasters and the varying strategies employed to reduce disaster risk.

Understanding Past Climate Change (20 credits)

Climate change is a critical concern these days, but many argue that to understand today’s climate change fully we have to understand how climates have changed in the past. This module examines the methods used by scientists to reconstruct past climates and environments and examines the theories proposed to explain the changes identified. It provides a geological context for understanding present day environmental problems and develops an awareness of the interaction between oceanic, atmospheric and cryospheric systems in explaining change.

Year 3

Arctic and Arid Environments (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to examine the interactions between human and physical processes in two extreme environments: Arctic and arid. The module aims to investigate key issues affecting these environments from both a human and physical geography perspective, with a particular emphasis on recent and future climate change and how this may affect the functioning of these environments. Furthermore, the impact of changing Arctic and arid environments on both ecosystems and human activity will be outlined.

Climate and Society (20 credits)

The module aims to develop your understanding of the reciprocal relationship between the physical and human environments by examining how human activity uses, alters and is altered by climatic processes. Since scientists believe that increasing use of the atmospheric system is likely to increase future climatic change, and that this may increasingly threaten human societies, the module aims to examine the possible environmental impacts and critically evaluate issues associated with managing the environment sustainably.

Coastal Environments (20 credits)

This module aims to utilise coastal environments to critically evaluate the complex interactions between nature and society associated with the evolution and management of environmental systems. It will explore examples drawn from a wide range of coastal settings (e.g. arctic to tropics) and highlight the importance of placing current management approaches into the context of longer term evolution. It will also utilise data drawn from a coastal setting to develop skills in data presentation and analysis.

Conservation Biology (20 credits)

The module investigates the techniques, approaches and issues associated with plant and animal conservation. Topics covered include issues associated collection maintenance in zoos, botanic gardens and gene ­banks and the population genetic implications of using this material. The management of natural systems is explored as are the environmental and human pressures placed on these systems. The role of international treaties and conservation law as a driver of policy is discussed.

GIS and Remote Sensing for Environmental Management (20 credits)

This module considers the specific role of GIS and remote sensing in environmental management and places a particular emphasis on open­ source software and its applications. Environmental management requires the increasing use of spatial data and associated analysis tools, the skills developed on this module will be valuable to any student wishing to pursue a career in the environmental sector.

Soil Science and Land Management (20 credits)

An understanding of soil science is fundamental to the management of ecosystems at all levels, whether it is for crop and livestock production, preventing erosion and land degradation, the maintenance of biodiversity or the management of urban open space and sports turf. This module aims to equip students with the knowledge and understanding required to manage, maintain and improve soil quality and productivity in the context of crop and animal production, conservation management or for recreational use.

Environmental scientists work in a range of professions concerned with environmental management in both business and government. We will equip you with a range of technical skills for problem solving and environmental analysis. Career paths include nature conservation, water quality management, environmental consultant, environmental education, and environmental policy officer. The scientific literacy developed is also valuable in non-scientific areas of industry, commerce and the media. Graduates may progress to study for higher degrees either by research or a taught programme.


Tuition Fees for 2020/21 have not yet been finalised. Course webpages will be updated with Tuition Fee information once these have been agreed.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs

Learning Materials Textbook “Biology: How Life Works, by Morris et al”, ISBN-13: 978-1464138263. Currently £39.99. Includes one year’s access to Launchpad, an interactive web e-book which is integrated into some of the modules.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.


You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practicals. In year one (level 4) you will typically have 14-16 contact hours per week. In year two (level 5) you will typically have around 14 hours. In year three (level 6) you will undertake independent work on your Independent Study (dissertation) and contact hours will typically be 8-10 plus tutorials with your supervisor. The actual contact hours will depend on the option modules you select.

Seminars will enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures. Laboratory practicals and field work will enable you to get hands-on experience of methods and techniques in environmental science.  In addition, you will meet with your academic personal tutor. All programmes are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2020.

You will use industry-standard software. You will have access to specialist facilities throughout your course.

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, workshops or other timetabled sessions you will continue learning through self-study. Typically, this involves reading journal articles and books, undertaking research in the library, working on projects, and preparing for coursework assignments/examinations, workshops and seminars.

Your module tutor will direct you towards specific readings and/or activities to complete before class.

For the Independent Study in year three, you will undertake your own research. You will work under the supervision of a member of the course team. You will meet with your supervisor regularly.

Overall workload

Your overall workload typically consists of 14 contact hours per week. You will undertake 15 hours independent learning and assessment activity. In addition, there will be field trips.

For each 20-credit module, your study time is about 10 hours a week.

Academic input

The team consists of highly qualified academics. They have a range of expertise and experience.

All our team members hold doctoral and teaching qualifications. They are research-active. They have experience in delivering research-informed teaching. You can find out more about the current teaching on our Meet the Team webpage. You should note members of the teaching team might change.

Postgraduate students sometimes assist in teaching and assessing some modules. However, experienced academics teach the vast majority of lectures and seminars.


Assessment of the modules is varied. Some modules are assessed entirely by coursework and some by a combination of coursework and examination. Coursework will include one or more of essays, calculation and problem solving exercises, practical write ups, portfolios, log books, group and or individual work, group projects, oral presentations, assessed practical, laboratory work, graph drawing exercises, (group) poster presentation, computer based assessment, group presentation, data handling exercises, multiple choice questionnaire, seminar presentation, paper presentation, seminar papers, case study (involving the analysis of biological data) audio or video presentation.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by coursework is 80 per cent with 20 per cent by written exams in each year.


You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

We aim to provide you with feedback within 20 working days of hand-in (formal coursework assessment).

You will often be able to use modern, research-grade equipment.

1st October 2015 saw the launch of the Life Sciences Industry Liaison Laboratory at Discovery Park. Discovery Park, the enterprise zone based at Sandwich, is a fabulous site with well over 100 companies now based there. The potential of the Liaison Laboratory lies in the work we and our students will do with the businesses based at Discovery Park. The Liaison lab will allow all of our students to have the chance to experience an industry environment and will, for those seeking to work in the field, allow them to do research or to study in that environment for a substantial period.

We have established numerous links with local and regional wildlife parks and organizations (e.g. Wildwood, Howletts (Aspinall Foundation), The Powell-Cotton Museum, Natural England, Kent Wildlife Trust) that either collaborate with our researchers or provide opportunities for research projects for our students. 

Especially applicable to our Environmental Science students is the University’s Ecology Research Group (ERG), part of the section of Life Sciences. The ERG aims to deliver user-defined solutions through research and consultancy. In the ERG we believe that our activity must be relevant to, and should directly involve, the non-academic community. We also believe that we should prioritise stewardship of the environment and that our research should facilitate social, cultural and economic prosperity. A wide range of non-academic user groups benefit from the work of the ERG. In recent years these have included government agencies such as Canterbury City Council, the Environment Agency and Natural England. We have also worked with charities including the Aspinall Foundation, Kent Wildlife Trust and The Donkey Sanctuary, and commercial companies such as Algaecytes and Quex Park.

We aim to increase general engagement and involvement with science and the environment. As such, the group contributes to a significant range of activities designed to achieve such broader impact and community involvement. For instance, we are involved with the Kent Mammal Group, Kent Bat Group, provide expertise and materials to support local BioBlitz days, and work closely with a number of local schools and Further Education colleges to support and promote Science.


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Part-time study

Apply directly to us


Full-time study

Need some help?


For advice on completing your application please contact the Course Enquiry Team:

Email: courses@canterbury.ac.uk
Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000 (0)1227 928000


Contact our International Team

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • F900 Environmental Science

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 3 years full-time

    6 years part-time


  • September 2020

Entry requirements

  • A typical offer would be 88-112 UCAS Tariff points of which 32 UCAS tariff points or equivalent (e.g. GCE A level grade C or BTEC Subsidiary Diploma grade Merit) are in a science subject.



Last edited 29/05/2019 10:49:00

Save, Print or Share this page

Connect with us

Last edited: 29/05/2019 10:49:00