- 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
Many aspects of modern life are unsustainable, either environmentally, economically, or socially. Why is this? What can we do about it?
Our Sustainability and Environmental Management degree explores why unsustainable practices develop, from underlying drivers to the behaviours of individuals, and will provide you with the knowledge and skills to tackle these problems.
To do this you'll combine environmental and social science approaches. Environmental sciences will allow you to build an understanding of the fundamental environmental basis of sustainability. Perspectives from politics, economics, policy and law will then allow you to explore the social dimensions of sustainability and develop pathways towards more sustainable societies.
You’ll be trained in a wide range of data collection and analysis methods and will refine your research skills through research projects and hands-on field training.
Sustainability is an increasingly important area for business, public sector organisations, research, and non-governmental organisations. This degree will provide you with the skills and knowledge to work in a huge range of sectors and to make a real difference to the world.
Why study at Leeds:
- This course is accredited by The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment.
- Our globally-renowned research spans the world— from low-carbon cities in the UK to resource governance in sub-Saharan Africa and conservation in Patagonian rainforests. This research feeds directly into your course, shaping your learning with the latest thinking.
- Experience expert teaching delivered by a programme team made up of specialist academics working at the forefront of their fields
- Access excellent specialist facilities including lecture theatres, seminar rooms and computer clusters fully equipped with the latest technology to support your learning.
- Put theory into practice with our fieldwork activities, 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 by undertaking a work placement. Our close industry links have given previous students the chance to work at — and build professional relationships with — organisations such as E.ON, Starbucks, Hilton, Ramboll, Johnson & Johnson 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.
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), a major professional body for everyone working in environment and sustainability.
This BSc degree guarantees your eligibility for free student membership of IEMA and starts you on a fast-track route towards practitioner membership when you graduate.
Throughout the degree, you’ll cover core content in environmental natural and 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.
Fieldwork will also be integral to your course, with opportunities to explore many different environments first-hand.
Each academic year, you'll take a total of 120 credits.
Years 1 and 2
You’ll explore the fundamental principles that underpin sustainability, covering both natural and social science dimensions. A variety of case studies of environmental management and contemporary sustainability issues will be introduced, and 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 skills in sustainability science, research skills, and employability. You'll also begin to explore specific themes in more detail, depending on your interests. Examples could include sustainability economics; sustainable business; energy; transport; food systems; or conservation science.
We will help you build a career plan, and you'll 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.
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
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.
Ask any of our students and they will tell you that taking part in fieldwork is one of the most enjoyable and memorable aspects of the course. We offer a range of sustainable fieldwork opportunities, giving you the chance to study a fascinating subject in contrasting environments away from the University.
It’s integrated with lectures and module coursework, giving you the opportunity to:
- Practice the skills you have learnt in class in real-life situations.
- Gain first-hand experience of collecting and analysing data.
- Build valuable individual research skills – vital for your final year research project.
- Develop professional skills sought after by employers like project planning, communication and teamwork.
- Get to know your lecturers and fellow students even better.
You could also undertake fieldwork as part of your third-year project, conducting your own research in a topic of your choice with the benefit of expert academic guidance.
Our field trips are designed to be as sustainable as possible and balance their carbon footprint with the learning outcomes of the trip.
The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.
Sustainable Development, Politics and Policy – 20 credits
This module looks to answer questions surrounding the origins of environmental concern, the link between the environment and the political arena, and the compatibility of environmental sustainability and global development by drawing on both theoretical and applied debates.
Skills for Environmental Social Science – 20 credits
This module aims to develop a foundation of key academic skills for you to build on during your degree. You’ll start to consider how to develop skills associated with employability and implement research in the environmental social sciences through fieldwork.
You'll learn how to tell the difference between green PR and sustainability innovation in enterprises small and large. Critical company corporate responsibility strategies, ethics, barriers and opportunities will be covered. An essential module for future business managers or concerned consumers.
Environmental Science for Environmental Management – 20 credits
On completion of this module, you should be able to understand the basics of physical environmental science of the atmosphere, oceans, geosphere and biosphere, and the (typically complex) nature of environmental science issues.
Challenges in Transport and Mobility – 10 credits
This module will introduce you to a range of approaches (lectures, reading, tutorials and place-based case studies) to explore how travel and mobility contribute to quality of life. It also considers how transport activity causes a range of problems for the wellbeing of society and the environment that have moved it up the political and media agenda in recent decades.
Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
- Natural hazards – 10 credits
- Ecology – 10 credits
- Atmosphere – 10 credits
- Resources – 10 credits
- Foundation chemistry – 10 credits
- Water – 10 credits
- Foundation Mathematics 1 – 10 credits
Research in the Environmental Social Sciences – 40 credits
The objective of this module is to prepare you for a significant research activity, such as your final year enterprise project or dissertation.
People, Sustainability and the Environment – 20 credits
This module provides an understanding of the relationships between human needs and the environment, focusing in particular on the energy, food and climate change sectors. It explores different perspectives on the goals of improving human wellbeing and environmental conservation.
Adaptation and Mitigation – 20 credits
We are currently reviewing our curriculum as part of a university-wide process. As a result, we are unable to publish information for this module at this time. We will update this as soon as the changes are confirmed.
Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
- Tools and Techniques for Business, Environment and Corporate Responsibility – 20 credits
- Economics and Sustainability – 20 credits
- Sociology for the Climate Crisis – 20 credits
- Ecosystems: process, pattern, and change – 20 credits
- Managing Biodiversity – 10 credits
- GIS for Geoscientists – 10 credits
- Transport, Energy and the Environment – 10 credits
- Contaminated Environments – 20 credits
Change for Sustainable Development – 20 credits
This module will explore theories, strategies and tools for change that could be used to push economies and societies onto sustainable development pathways. You’ll work through a ‘project cycle’ process widely used in Sustainable Development projects and policy development, applied to research-based case studies from a range of global socio-environmental settings.
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. In addition, you will have developed further skills in self-management (working independently, time management and organisational skills), in working towards academic targets, and in adopting a flexible approach to study and work.
Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
- Geographers into Teaching: School Placements – 20 credits
- Environment, conflict, and policy – 20 credits
- Environmental Law – 20 credits
- Advanced topics in Conservation Science – 20 credits
- Strategic Energy Issues – 10 credits
- Environmental Risk: Science, Policy and Management – 10 credits
- Social Analysis and social psychology for transport – 10 credits
- Atmospheric Pollution: Causes, Impacts and Regulation – 10 credits
- Terrestrial biosphere in the Earth System – 10 credits
- Healthy cities: transport and health – 10 credits
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, 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 active researchers, 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 and you'll have one-to-one meetings throughout your time here. 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 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.
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 4 (C) or above, or an appropriate English language or 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.
16 points at higher level to include 6,5,5 with 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 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 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: £27,500 (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. 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.
This course is taught by
School of Earth and Environment Undergraduate Admissions
Sustainability is the future! All organisations, from small NGOs to transnational companies to local and national governments need experts in sustainability to help them embed sustainability in their thinking and their practices. This course will equip you with the broad knowledge base needed to understand sustainability issues wherever you encounter them and develop clear pathways towards more sustainable behaviour.
Our graduates are changing the world in a huge range of positions, and the transferable interdisciplinary skills you'll gain will set you up for working in almost any industry, civil society or government.
Plus, University of Leeds students are among the top 10 most targeted by top employers according to The Graduate Market 2023, High Fliers Research.
Specific positions that our graduates have secured include:
- Sustainability Consultant, Ramboll Ltd
- Sustainability 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.
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
This programme offers you the option to spend time abroad as an extra academic year and will extend your studies by 12 months.
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'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:
- 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'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.
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