Sustainability and Environmental Management BSc

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
ABB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Students talking in sustainable garden

Our Sustainability and Environmental Management degree explores the environmental, economic and social implications of our decisions and attempts to find sustainable solutions to environmental problems.

Drawing on environmental science and ecology, you will develop your knowledge and skills in the science underpinning environmental issues. At the same time, learning opportunities in politics, economics, policy and law help you to evaluate societies' role in, and interaction with, changes in the natural world.

You’ll be trained in data collection and analysis and will refine your research skills in a research project and through hands-on field training.

Why study at Leeds:

  • Take advantage of our world-leading research which shapes your course and spans across the globe — from low-carbon cities in the UK to resource governance in sub-Saharan Africa and conservation in Patagonian rainforests.
  • Experience expertise teaching delivered by a programme team made up of internationally renowned academics working at the forefront of their fields and part of the School’s research institutes and groups.
  • Benefit from excellent specialist facilities, including lecture theatres, seminar rooms and computer clusters housed in the School’s state-of-the-art building, fully equipped with the latest technology to support your learning.
  • Put theory into practice with our extensive fieldwork activities located across the world, where you’ll advance your research skills and gain hands-on experience highly valued by employers in industry.
  • Enhance your career prospects and give your CV that competitive edge before you graduate with our paid industrial work placement opportunities. Our close industry links have given previous students the chance to work at — and build professional relationships with — major organisations such as E.ON, Starbucks, Hilton and PepsiCo.
  • Gain invaluable life experience and advance your personal development with our exciting study abroad programmes, spanning across many universities worldwide.
  • Join one of our societies, such as SusSoc, where you can meet like-minded people at events such as socials and sports.


Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA)

Accreditation is the assurance that a university course meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students.

This course is accredited by The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA), the professional body for everyone working in environment and sustainability. Enrolling on this programme means you can apply for free student membership of IEMA and for a fast-track route to membership once you graduate, starting you on a route towards practitioner membership.

Course details

Throughout the degree, you’ll cover core content in environmental social sciences, as well as learning research and practical skills, and enhancing your employability. As you progress through years 2 and 3, there will be increasing scope to pursue individual interests and more emphasis will be placed on building independent research and critical thinking capabilities, and this will culminate in your final year with an independent research project.

Years 1 and 2

You’ll explore the fundamental principles that underpin environmental social sciences. A variety of case studies of environmental management and contemporary sustainability issues will be introduced.

You’ll have the opportunity to learn and practice relevant research methods.

In your second year, you’ll build upon these foundations. You’ll continue to develop core competencies in environmental social science, research skills, and employability. You’ll also begin to explore themes of environmental politics and policy; sustainability economics; sustainable business; energy, transport, and food systems; conservation science and ecology; contaminated environments; and atmospheric science.

Through optional modules, there are opportunities to begin to specialise in one or more of these themes.

Through a career skills module in year 2, you’ll receive advice about career planning, develop approaches for enhancing your employability, and learn about employment opportunities. This is purposefully included in year 2 in order to support students intending to find short internships or undertake a work placement.

Year 3

During your final year, you’ll have further opportunities to specialise in specific areas of interest.

You’ll also undertake a research project, which gives you the opportunity to follow your interests and put your acquired research skills and critical thinking capabilities into practice. You’ll work collaboratively with your supervisors throughout the project, who’ll be experts in your particular research area.

One-year optional work placement or study abroad

To advance your skill set and boost your experience, you can apply to take up an industrial placement or study abroad at one of the many universities we’re in partnership with worldwide.


Fieldwork will be an essential element of your degree, and is one of the most enjoyable and sociable parts of the course for students and staff alike. We offer opportunities for fieldwork during all years of study, both in the UK and abroad.

Field classes are closely integrated with lectures and module coursework in order to offer an excellent opportunity to get hands-on experience and develop practical research skills. A project in year 3 offers you the chance to undertake research in a topic of your choice with the benefit of expert academic guidance.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Sustainability and Environmental Management BSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Sustainable Development 10
Ecology 10
Atmosphere 10
Skills for Environmental Social Science 20
Introduction to Business, Environment and Corporate Responsibility 20
Environmental Politics and Policy 10
Environmental Science for Environmental Management 20
Challenges in Transport and Mobility 10

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Natural Hazards 10
Foundation Chemistry 10
Water 10
Foundation Mathematics 1 10

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Personal Development for Careers in the Environmental Sector 10
People, Sustainability, and the Environment 30
Research in the Environmental Social Sciences 30

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Ecosystems: process, pattern, and change 20
Climate Change: Science and Impacts 10
Contaminated Environments 20
Tools and Techniques for Business, Environment and Corporate Responsibility 20
Economics and Sustainability 10
GIS for Geoscientists 10
Managing Biodiversity 10
Transport Land Use and Development 10
Transport, Energy and Environment 10

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Environmental Research Project 40
Change for Sustainable Development 20

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Advanced Topics in Conservation Science 20
Environment, Conflict and Policy 20
School and Educational Placements 20
Environmental Law 20
Environmental Risk: Science, Policy and Management 10
Atmosphere and Ocean Climate Change Processes 10
Atmospheric Pollution: Causes, Impact and Regulation 10
Strategic Energy Issues 10
Terrestrial Biosphere in the Earth System 10
Public Transport Policy and Practice 10
Travel Activity Analysis 10
Social Analysis and Social Psychology for Transport 10
Healthy Cities: Transport and Health 10

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Teaching on the programme is designed to integrate theoretical principles of sustainability with real world environmental management challenges. You’ll explore case studies and apply your understanding through a variety of practicals, workshops and seminars. Skills classes, fieldtrips and small group academic tutorials also provide hands-on experience. You can expect to study in a variety of settings, from large lecture theatres to computer clusters, seminar rooms, tutorials, laboratories and out in the field.

We offer research-led teaching across the breadth of our disciplines, from specialists in their field. As Leeds is a research-intensive Russell Group University, you’ll be studying amongst staff who are at the cutting edge of research world-wide, and who will incorporate this expertise into their teaching.

This course is provided through the Sustainability Research Institute in the School of Earth and Environment, one of the leading UK Centre's for Environmental Social Sciences.

You’ll have a designated personal tutor throughout your studies at Leeds, who will be an academic member of staff. You'll have academic tutorials through tutor groups and one-to-one meetings during your studies. In addition, our excellent student support team is based close to where you’ll work and study to help with anything from academic advice to timetabling and project submission enquiries.

Our Virtual Learning Environment will help to support your studies: it’s a central place where you can find all the information and resources for the School, your programme and modules.

You can also benefit from support to develop your academic skills, within the curriculum and through online resources, workshops, one-to-one appointments and drop-in sessions.

Watch our taster lecture to get a flavour of what it’s like to study at Leeds:

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


You'll be assessed through a variety of methods, including coursework, exams and practical exercise. There is a general progression towards more independent project work in your final year, through which you’ll apply the skills and understanding that you have developed throughout the course.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB including two from Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Economics, English, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Mathematics, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Sociology.

Where an A-Level Science subject is taken, we require a pass in the practical science element, alongside the achievement of the A-Level at the stated grade.

Excludes A-Level General Studies or Critical Thinking.

GCSE: English and Mathematics at grade C (4) or above, or an appropriate English language and Mathematics qualification. We will accept Level 2 Functional Skills English in lieu of GCSE English.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ): We recognise the value of this qualification and the effort and skills required to undertake it, where an applicant is taking the EPQ this may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. The EPQ taken with A-Levels, for example, could be BBB with an A in the EPQ.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass 60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, 30 credits with Distinction and the remaining 15 credits with Merit or above.


DDM in National Extended Diploma/3 National Extended Certificates in two relevant subjects. We will accept a combination of BTECs and A-Levels. Please contact the School's Undergraduate Admissions Team for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, M2, M2 including two relevant subjects.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall, with 16 points at higher level to include 5 points in two relevant subjects.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

AAABBB/H2H2H2H3H3H3 in two relevant subjects.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AABBB overall with BB in 2 Advanced Highers (AH). For non-AH applicants AABBBB. To include 2 relevant subjects.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds A Level offer: BBC plus a pass in the Access to Leeds scheme.

For alternative qualification offers please contact the admissions team.

If you do not have the formal qualifications for immediate entry to one of our degrees, you may be able to progress through a foundation year. We offer a Studies in Science with Foundation Year BSc for students without a science background at A-level and an Interdisciplinary Science with Foundation Year BSc for applicants who meet specific widening participation criteria.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £24,750 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional cost information

Travel, accommodation and subsistence costs associated with compulsory field trips are covered by the university.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

We may consider applications submitted after the deadline. Availability of courses in UCAS Extra will be detailed on UCAS at the appropriate stage in the cycle.

Read our guidance about applying and writing your personal statement.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Earth and Environment

Contact us

School of Earth and Environment Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

Governments, businesses, NGOs and researchers now hold sustainability at the core of their thinking about the environment and our place in it. The environment is important to everyone, but it is under increasing pressure from our demands on natural resources and the waste generated by our lifestyles. This means there’s a demand for literate and numerate graduates with good analytical skills and a thorough understanding of the environmental, economic and social implications of the decisions that we make and the strategies that we use to find sustainable solutions to environmental problems.

Graduates from this course go on to work in environmental consultancy firms; local councils and civil service; in industry roles related to corporate social responsibility and operations; and in third sector organisations and charities.

Our graduates have secured positions including:

  • Sustainability Consultant, WRM Ltd
  • Technical Manager, IPC/Asda
  • Transport Development Officer, Leicester City Council
  • Sustainability Consultant - Fashion Lead, Avieco
  • Sustainability Project Manager, Marks and Spencer
  • Policy Advisor & Analyst, Rail Delivery Group
  • Technical Advisor, Valpak Ltd

Read our alumni profiles to find out more about where our students are working.

Careers support

At Leeds we help you to prepare for your future from day one. Our Leeds for Life initiative is designed to help you develop and demonstrate the skills and experience you need for when you graduate. We will help you to access opportunities across the University and record your key achievements so you are able to articulate them clearly and confidently.

You will be supported throughout your studies by our dedicated Employability team, who will provide you with specialist support and advice to help you find relevant work experience, internships and industrial placements, as well as graduate positions. You’ll benefit from timetabled employability sessions, support during internships and placements, and presentations and workshops delivered by employers.

You will also have full access to the University’s Careers Centre, which is one of the largest in the country.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

This programme offers you the option to spend time abroad as an extra academic year and will extend your studies by 12 months. You will return to Leeds to complete your final year of study.

Studying abroad is a unique opportunity to explore the world, whilst gaining invaluable skills and experience that could enhance your future employability and career prospects too.

From Europe to Asia, the USA to Australasia, we have many University partners worldwide you can apply to, spanning across some of the most popular destinations for students.

Once you’ve successfully completed your year abroad, you will be awarded the ‘international’ variant in your degree title which demonstrates your added experience to future employers.

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

The graduate recruitment market is highly competitive so it’s important that you stand out. An industrial placement could be the opportunity you need to impress potential employers and improve your chances of securing the career you want.

Benefits of a work placement year:

  • 100+ organisations to choose from, both in the UK and overseas
  • All placements are salaried
  • Build industry contacts within your chosen field
  • Our strong connections with industry mean you’ll be in direct contact with potential employers
  • Advance your experience and skills by putting the course teachings into practice
  • Gain invaluable insight into working as a professional in a particular company or sector
  • Improve your employability

If you decide to undertake a placement year, this will extend your period of study by 12 months and, on successful completion, you will be awarded the ‘industrial’ variant in your degree title to demonstrate your added experience to future employers.

With the help and support of our dedicated Employability team, you can find the right placement to suit you and your future career goals.

Here are some examples of placements our students have recently completed:

  • Water & Environment Placement, Atkins
  • Safety, Health and Environment Advisor, E.ON UK Limited
  • Energy & Environment Intern, Hilton Worldwide
  • Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo
  • Assistant Countryside Maintenance Officer, Shropshire Council
  • Energy & Sustainability Intern, Starbucks

During your industrial placement, you will have an industrial supervisor from within the company, plus an academic supervisor who will keep in touch throughout your placement.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Alumni profile: Anna Lawson

I chose the course and Leeds as it offered world-class teaching at a very fun university, with a varied course structure on key sustainability issues.
Find out more about Anna Lawson's time at Leeds