Environmental Science BSc
Year of entry 20242023 course information
- UCAS code
- Start date
- September 2024
- 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
Environmental science is at the forefront of tackling global challenges, from the conservation of species and combatting climate change, to developing renewable technologies and creating a sustainable future.
Our Environmental Science degree offers a thorough understanding of fundamental physics, chemistry and biology of the Earth’s environmental systems across a range of scales and will equip you with the knowledge and tools required to identify and solve the key environmental issues facing humankind.
Our wide range of expertise allows us to offer interdisciplinary insights into real-world environmental problems.
You’ll be trained in field and laboratory skills, including data collection and analysis. You'll be taught by practicing experts and will get the opportunity to engage in frontier science through an independent research project during your final year.
Our graduates are well placed to enter employment or postgraduate education, with deep knowledge and valuable transferable and environmental skills.
Why study at Leeds:
- This course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences.
- Our globally-renowned research that tackles complex global challenges such as climate change, energy security and natural hazard management feeds directly into your course and shapes what you learn at Leeds with the latest thinking.
- Experience expert teaching delivered by a programme team made up of leading specialists with extensive industry experience from across the breadth of environmental science areas.
- Put theory into practice by undertaking fieldwork activities, where you’ll advance your research skills and gain hands-on experience highly valued by employers in industry.
- Access specialist facilities, including lecture theatres, seminar rooms and computer clusters fully equipped with the latest technology to support your learning.
- Enhance your career prospects and give your CV that competitive edge before you graduate with our exciting study abroad programmes and work placement opportunities.
- Join one of our societies, such as SusSoc, where you can meet like-minded people at events such as socials and sports.
Join our online taster course
Our two-week course introduces you to the processes of the hydrosphere, the geosphere, and the biosphere and explore the impact of human activity and climate change on our planet. Join today on Futurelearn.
Accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences
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 Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) so you can be assured that it meets high standards, contains a strong component of practical, field and theoretical activities, and has excellent opportunities for training, work experience and links to the professional environmental sector.
You'll also be eligible for free student membership of IES and for a fast-track route to membership once you graduate, starting you on a route towards becoming a Chartered Environmentalist or Chartered Scientist.
This course covers a broad range of environmental issues covering the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere, allowing you to tailor your degree to your interests.
Discovery modules are available in all years of your degree, as long as you're not required to take all the foundation science modules in year 1 and that you're taking enough credits of your own subject each year.
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. The Environmental Science programme at Leeds includes a variety of field course destinations in the UK during years 1, 2 and 3 that are an important part of the programme and are very closely integrated with lectures and module coursework.
We offer local day trips and longer residential fieldwork opportunities at each level of study, giving you the chance to study a fascinating subject in contrasting environments away from the University. In year 1, you’ll use Leeds as your ‘laboratory’, carrying out group work around the city you live in as well as a residential trip to Shropshire and in years 2 and 3 you’ll have the option to undertake international and national fieldwork.
During field trips, you’ll learn essential fieldwork and team working skills and transferable skills that will prove invaluable to your future career.
Each academic year, you'll take a total of 120 credits.
You’ll explore all the principles that underpin the broad subject matter of the environmental sciences. The core level 1 environmental science modules will form the basis of your degree studies and cover the fundamentals of the biosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere and the geosphere and how society interacts with each.
Alongside these core topical modules, you’ll also undertake training in academic and fieldwork skills, which includes academic writing, presentation, experimental design and coding skills. You’ll also undertake fieldwork in every year of your study at Leeds.
You’ll continue to develop your key academic skills with the continuation of the fieldwork and tutorials modules as well as further refining your skills via core modules focusing on environmental measurements in the field and data analysis and visualisation using computer coding and GIS.
The second year gives you a greater degree of freedom when it comes to topical modules. At this point, you can choose to specialise in one of two broad areas for the rest of your studies; Applied Environmental Science or Earth System Science.
Applied Environmental Science focuses on regional scale issues of human interaction with the environment with a clear solutions-based approach to dealing with land contamination and remediation as well as atmospheric pollution and managing biodiversity.
The Earth System Science pathway focuses on the Earth’s natural cycles and how humans influence them on a global scale. You’ll cover topics from climate change and meteorology to oceanography. The modules from each pathway are not mutually exclusive and it is possible to pick and choose from each pathway.
You’ll specialise further with more optional module choices. The only core module focuses on a continuation of your academic and field skills. You can then choose from a range of optional modules on either pathway from environmental risk assessment and practical weather forecasting to ice in the Earth system and biogeochemical cycles.
Your third year also involves your research dissertation which accounts for a considerable proportion of your third-year mark, allowing you to become immersed in the research culture of the School. You are given the freedom to select a topic that interests you and devise a research project in collaboration with an academic expert within the school who will act as your mentor and supervisor.
One-year optional work placement or study abroad
During your course, you’ll be given the opportunity to advance your skill set and experience further. You can apply to either undertake a one-year work placement or study abroad for a year, choosing from a selection of universities we’re in partnership with worldwide.
The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.
Fieldwork and Tutorials 1 – 20 credits
You’ll acquire study, practical and field-based skills suitable for the School of Earth and Environment, as well as learning academic writing and presentation skills and skills in computing for data analysis and visualisation.
Earth – 10 credits
You’ll receive an introduction to the Earth Sciences, placing importance on fundamental geological concepts and processes (dynamic Earth; plate tectonic theory; basic mineralogy and petrology; Earth history and palaeontology) and the fostering of basic geological skills (rock and mineral identification; geological maps).
Ecology – 10 credits
Understand some of the key principles and theories of population, community and ecosystem ecology and will have explored those in relation to case study ecosystems.
Atmosphere – 10 credits
Be introduced to some fascinating phenomena in Earth's atmosphere from the origin of life-sustaining air itself to present-day climate change. The module aims to present a diverse range of topics that are all related to Earth’s atmosphere.
Resources – 10 credits
You’ll learn about the variety of natural resources that are obtained from the Earth system and are essential to the functioning of society. The module will cover methods of extraction, exploitation and sustainable practise as well as the many negative effects associated with the extraction of natural resources from the natural environment.
Water – 10 credits
Learn the basic properties of water as a substance and explains why these make it a unique and important part of the terrestrial environmental system. By the end of the module, you'll have an understanding of the major components of the environmental system in which water plays a key role: the atmosphere, oceans, ice and land surface.
Weather – 10 credits
This module is a general, non-mathematical, introduction to meteorology and weather forecasting. The course emphasises the basic physical concepts and processes that underlie our weather, explaining the nature of important features such as warm and cold 'fronts', depressions, cloud types, and the weather associated with them.
Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
- Foundation Chemistry – 10 credits
- Foundation Physics – 10 credits
- Foundation Mathematics 1 – 10 credits
- Advanced Mathematics 1 – 10 credits
- Natural Hazards – 10 credits
Fieldwork and Tutorials 2 – 20 credits
Building on skills developed at Level 1, this module aims to provide you with coherent and consistent training in skills needed for research project writing, as well as skills in employability relevant to pursuing a career in the in the environmental sector or with general graduate employers.
Environmental Measurements – 20 credits
Prepare for a significant research activity such as their Level 3 research project. This module will present techniques and theory behind experimental planning, sampling, measuring, analysing and interpreting data. The aim is to give coherent training all the way from experimental design through to presentation of findings.
Data Analysis and Visualisation – 20 credits
This module aims to provide you with a core set of transferable computing and analytical skills to make them highly competitive in the pursuit of your subsequent careers and to facilitate your transition from Higher Education study to the workplace.
GIS for Environmental Scientists – 10 credits
You'll cover the role of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in mapping and analysing environmental data and will allow you to develop skills with GIS techniques and software through examples of relevance to the environmental sciences. Such skills are valuable for you both for final year projects and in the workplace. GIS software is widely used by many consultancy companies and other agencies for environmental mapping and modelling.
Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
Applied Environmental Science Pathway
- Contaminated Environments – 20 credits
- Atmospheric Pollution from Local to Global Scales – 10 credits
- Managing Biodiversity – 10 credits
- Soil – 10 credits
Earth System Pathway
- Meteorology – 10 credits
- Introductory Oceanography – 10 credits
- Climate Change: Science and Impacts – 10 credits
- Palaeoenvironmental Analysis – 20 credits
Environmental Research Project – 40 credits
On completion of this module, you’ll have developed original subject-specific knowledge in your chosen area and written it up in the form of a research-based dissertation. You should be in a position to contribute to related critical debate.
Fieldwork and Tutorials 3 – 20 credits
You’ll be trained in advanced practical environmental field skills and their expert application in research and industry. It involves both a residential field course and a component of independent research that allows you to examine the observations made in the field in further depth, critically valuate your findings from an ethical perspective.
Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
Applied Environmental Science Pathway
- Tropical Forests and Sustainable Development – 20 credits
- Environmental Risk: Science, Policy and Management – 10 credits
- Groundwater – 10 credits
- Atmospheric Pollution: Causes, Impact and Regulation – 10 credits
- Reconstructing Past Environments – 10 credits
Earth System Pathway
- Earth System Science – 10 credits
- Climate Change Processes: Oceans and Atmosphere – 10 credits
- Ice in the Earth System – 10 credits
- Atmospheric Physics – 10 credits
- Terrestrial Biosphere in the Earth System – 10 credits
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
Most modules combine lectures with practicals, workshops or seminars, depending on the subject. These are enhanced with skill-focused classes, field trips and small group academic tutorials. 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. Our School is located in the centre of the campus and provides an ideal working environment, offering quiet study and coffee areas when you are not in class.
We offer research-led teaching across the breadth of our environment and natural science 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 worldwide, and who will incorporate this expertise into their teaching.
You’ll have a designated personal tutor throughout your studies at Leeds, who will be an academic member of staff. You’ll have fortnightly academic tutorials with your tutor throughout your first two years, in your tutor group (of typically 5 students), as well as one-to-one meetings twice per semester. 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. You'll also receive support from fellow students through our peer mentoring scheme.
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, specifically designed to help you learn, whatever your preferred learning style. We use both coursework and exams, but with a general progression from an emphasis on exams in year 1 towards an emphasis on coursework in your final year.
A-level: ABB including two from: Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Geography, Environmental Science, Mathematics, Physics; one of which must be in Mathematics or a science subject.
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.
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.
D3, M2, M2 including two relevant subjects, one of which must be in mathematics or a science subject.
16 points at higher level to include 6,5,5 with at least 5 points in two relevant subjects, one of which must be in mathematics or a science subject.
Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)
AAABBB/H2H2H2H3H3H3 in two relevant subjects, must be in mathematics or a science subject.
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers
AABBB overall with BB in 2 Advanced Highers (AH). For non-AH applicants AABBBB. To include 2 relevant subjects one of which must be in a mathematics or a science subject.
Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.
Were 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 each section.. 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: To be confirmed
International: To be confirmed
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
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 are available on individual course pages.
Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 will be available on individual course pages from September 2023.
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. However, you must pay for incidental or personal expenses.
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.
University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2023
This course is taught by
School of Earth and Environment
School of Earth and Environment Undergraduate Admissions
A degree from Leeds and the experience you'll gain here will give you the edge to find the career you want. Your course will give you the experience and knowledge that employers are looking for to help you secure a graduate job.
Plus, University of Leeds students are among the top 10 most targeted by top employers according to The Graduate Market 2023, High Fliers Research, meaning our graduates are highly sought after by some of the most reputable companies in the field.
Studying Environmental Science at Leeds opens the door to a wide range of careers. The solid science basis of the programme and the fieldwork associated with it add value to your degree in areas including environmental monitoring, consultancy, land remediation and environmental protection. The transferable skills you gain will also help you to succeed in the wider graduate employment market.
Our graduates have secured positions including:
- Air Quality Consultant, TRL Ltd
- Operational Meteorologist, Met Office
- Environment Officer, Environmental Agency
- Research Scientist, ITM Power
- Wildlife Specialist, Athens International Airport
- Senior Ecologist, British Waterways
- Research Engineer, Cranfiled University
- Senior Sustainability Consultant, DPP
- Environmental Scientist, Fugro Survey Ltd
- Senior Planner, Leeds City Council
- Environmental Compliance Advisor, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
- Project Lead, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Our strong research tradition means that our graduates are also found working as researchers in government organisations and universities around the world.
Read our alumni profiles to find out more about where our students are working.
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'll 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'll also have full access to the University’s Careers Centre, which is one of the largest in the country.
Study abroad and work placements
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.
This programme offers you the option to spend time abroad as an extra academic year and will extend your studies by 12 months.
Once you’ve successfully completed your year abroad, you'll 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.
A placement year is a great way to help you decide on a career path when you graduate. You’ll develop your skills and gain a real insight into working life in a particular company or sector. It will also help you to stand out in a competitive graduate jobs market 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
- 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'll 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:
- Meteorological Assistant, WeatherNet Ltd
- Weather Data Analyst, Arcus
- Project Officer, National Environment Agency Singapore
- Environmental Support Assistant, Green School, Bali, Indonesia
- Environmental Research Placement, CEH – Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
- Environmental Placement, CPW Services Limited
During your industrial placement, you'll have an industrial supervisor from within the company, plus an academic supervisor who will keep in touch throughout your placement.
Find out more about Industrial placements.
Rankings and awards
Student profile: Hazel Mooney
I decided to study at Leeds because I visited the University in year 12 and completely fell in love with the University, and the School of Earth and Environment.Find out more about Hazel Mooney's time at Leeds