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Aims to develop an understanding of environmental sciences through the integration of theoretical, practical and field based approaches.


Environmental science is a multidisciplinary academic field that integrates many of the sciences taught at secondary school (including Geography) and applies to the study of the environment, and to the solution of environmental problems. This three or four year course offers an integrated, quantitative and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems. This includes processes and management issues related to the hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere. Strong transferrable skills are developed during the degree, especially in the use and application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

BSc (Hons) Environmental Science (Marine) -Marine science is an interdisciplinary academic field dedicated to the study of the ocean. It covers a wide range of topics, including marine organisms and ecosystems, ocean currents and waves, plate tectonics and marine geology, fluxes of chemical substances, and the physical properties of the ocean and atmosphere. From 2016 we will teach marine science as a formal and specific pathway through the BSc (Hons) Environmental Science course. Similar three or four year opportunities are available to this pathway and there is a similarly strong emphasis on laboratory and field-work, including residential field-schools. Students opt for this pathway on registration and will graduate with a BSc (Hons) Environmental Science (Marine).

International Students

If you don't meet our entry requirements for this course you may want to consider our International Foundation Programme (IFP)

The International Foundation Programme (IFP) will prepare you for studying an undergraduate degree at Ulster.

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About this course

In this section


In Year 1 students start with a residential field school and then study modules related to sustainability, measuring environmental processes, environmental systems (biosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere) and a range of data analysis skills.

In Year 2 students study GIS and remote sensing, ecology, environmental impact assessment, employability and professional skills, freshwater systems (for environmental scientists) and coastal and marine systems (for the marine science pathway), and attend a residential overseas field school.

In the final year students undertake modules on research skills and a research dissertation. GIS and remote sensing is continued as a transferrable skill and other modules focus on environmental change and environmental conservation. The BSc Environmental Science students undertake a final module relating to applications of water science with a residential field school. The marine science pathway students study oceanography also with a residential field school.

Students also have the option to extend their academic studies by electing to study abroad for a year or by working in industry/business. This additional year spent away from Ulster University is taken in the third year. See details below.

Associate awards

Diploma in Professional Practice DPP

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Find out more about placement awards


You are on campus five days per week. The contact time average is 16 hours per week, 24 hours per week average independent study including academic assessment.

Start dates

  • September 2018
How to apply


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

An introduction to education

Year: 1

This module provides an orientation to central educational concepts and values with the intention of providing a critical foundation for later reflection and learning.

Educating Citizens in a Changing World

Year: 1

This module provides a thorough introduction to the nature and scope of education for citizenship, and its practice, in promoting democratic values in local and global contexts.

EGM Skills Toolbox

Year: 1

This module is designed to introduce level 4 students of environmental science and geography to a range of practical skills related to investigative work in these areas of science. This encompasses data gathering (particularly related to mapping, questionnaires, interview techniques, and focus groups), data summary and analysis, and the use of software packages for data display and analysis (Excel and SPSS). The module also provides study and writing skills, data presentation, report writing, and the use of information resources.

Environmental Systems

Year: 1

This module is designed to introduce students to the theory of environmental systems and provide an understanding of systems behaviour using various environmental systems as examples. The theoretical component of the module will be provided by lectures, which will cover a contemporary thinking into concepts of environmental systems and the practical part of the module will consist of a laboratory exercises.

The Lithosphere

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module is an introduction to general geological and geomorphological processes and concepts. Students will learn about the structure of our planet, learn to identify rocks and minerals, read maps and interpret geologic and geomorphological processes and features in the field.

The Biosphere

Year: 1

This module is optional

The biosphere provides an overview of the constituent parts of the living component of the planet, beginning at the level of the individual organism. Starting with an introduction to the history of life on earth and several general concepts, this material will move into the diversity of form in plant divisions and animal phyla in light of taxonomic classification, systematics and phylogeny. These concepts will be outlined with reference to specific case studies and the current state of scientific literature on the subject. These concepts will be demonstrated through a series of practical exercises which will give an appreciation of the diversity of external and internal anatomical form of a range of different organisms and their approaches to life.

The Hydrosphere

Year: 1

This module is optional

The hydrosphere provides an overview of important basic physical, chemical, hydrological and ecological concepts and processes in aquatic environments. They are introduced through lectures which also provide the context for applications. Concepts and processes are demonstrated and explored through a series of practical exercises in laboratory and field.

Year two

Research Methods and Field School - Environmental Science

Year: 2

This two-part module is compulsory and allows students to practise, in the field, a range of methods appropriate for work in many areas of Environmental Science. This will take place within the context of an integrated 8-day residential field course in Portugal. The second part is a detailed preparation for the dissertation module, which is undertaken in the final year.

Enterprise, Business and Employability

Year: 2

Through a variety of teaching methods this module provides students with a range of environmental, geographical and generic employment-orientated skills and practices to help them enhance their employability potential and to integrate more effectively into the workplace. Students will gain an understanding of the various professional and career opportunities in the marketplace for Geography and Environmental Science students and have the opportunity to experience the full job application and selection process.

Environmental Planning

Year: 2

Continued development of regions and the expansion in the use of the environment and its resources requires planning and management of often complex and diverse issues and stakeholders. This module examines the relationship between society, planning and environment and explores a range of decision making approaches and the wider social implications of these. It considers the concepts and requirements of environmental impact assessment and outlines the methodology of planning an EIA.

Introduction to the application of ICT in education

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module will equip students with the skills and understanding to collaborate online with other students, focusing on the application of ICT in teaching and learning at macro and micro levels. They will be required to assess their own personal style of learning and discuss the implications for online learning. They will also develop their research and information seeking skills, as well as their written and communication skills, enabling them to present assessed work to an appropriate standard.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module explores the main themes, practices and policies relating to effective Early Years Provision. The module will also investigate theory relating to child development, learning and emotional well-being. The importance of the partnership model between a child?s home and their Early Years setting will also be considered. A key over-arching theme of the module is, therefore, the role of the effective practitioner. In the exploration of this content, students will be provided with opportunities to engage with practical examples of activities and resources appropriate to pre-school and Foundation Stage environments.

Advanced Tutoring in Schools

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module offers students a placement in a school where they contribute to a class project. They work closely with the class teacher in planning and helping to deliver the project and assessing its value for children and young people. The module helps to develop communication and team working skills and has potential value for all students not just intending teachers.

Working with Children & Young People with Special Educational Needs

Year: 2

This module is optional

At the core of this module is the aim to develop in the student a better awareness and understanding of SEN through study of the historical context of the subject, recent developments in legislation and policy and teaching and learning theories. Course participants will study the varying needs of different learners with a range of special educational needs, and the incumbent good practice that is required for their care and facilitation.

Freshwater Systems

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module provides a general introduction to the physical, chemical and biological processes occurring in freshwater, including water balance processes, their management and relevance to society.

The Atmosphere

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module is designed to allow students to gain a good understanding of weather phenomena, atmospheric circulation and our climate. In addition, impact of human activity such as pollution and climate change on the atmospheric conditions and circulations will be explored.

Ecology and Biogeography

Year: 2

This module is optional

Ecology is a broad discipline involving biology, chemistry and physics of the environment, geography and human impacts. Concepts of ecology, including the interactions between individuals and populations, and the structure and resilience of communities and ecosystems, will be examined with reference to specific case studies and in the context of the biosphere as a whole. A range of different ecosystems will be studied in terrestrial, freshwater, marine and microbial environments, from which case studies will be drawn. These case studies will include the key production processes in each ecosystem, in addition to model organisms at a range of trophic levels and relevant publications detailing the current state of knowledge for each system. The role of applied ecology, in relation to conservation and environmental management will also be emphasised.

Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module offers students the opportunity to study the principles and applications of terrestrial and underwater remote sensing, and develop links between remote sensing and GIS. Students are expected to become familiar with theoretical foundations and to demonstrate technical principles through a series of software-based practical exercises and projects.

Year three

Children, Young People and the Law

Year: 3

The module will attempt to provide a legal perspective for course participants in a variety of areas, ranging from the human and legal rights of pupils and young people to the development of clear health and safety policies.

Education, Conflict and Peacebuilding

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module focuses specifically on education and conflict amd will draw on concepts and methodologies from earlier modules. It is designed to sensitize students to the central role that education plays throughout the world, in areas of conflict. Students will not only clarify what is meant by education in emergency and refugee education, but will also analyze the development of conflict sensitive education systems. This module will also enable them to have a more accurate understanding of educational reconstruction and reconciliation.

TESOL: Theory and Practice

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module introduces the students to the theory of English language teaching and a range of practical skills for Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages. It provides opportunities for students to develop their skills and apply knowledge of education theory gained earlier in the programme. For example, it builds on Introduction to Education by examining how diverse people (different cultures, different ages) learn; it develops knowledge and skills learnt in the Tutoring in Schools module

Industrial placement - Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP)

Year: 3

This module is optional

An industrial placement is an optional element of the Environmental Science, Geography, and Marine Science Honours Degree Programmes, and it provides a wide range of opportunities for students to experience work in many different fields of the broad subject areas. Students benefit by completing a placement period and improving their knowledge, understanding and practical abilities as well as enhancing their employment prospects.

Diploma in Intern'l Academic Stds (learning in a foreign language)

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module is a requirement of the Diploma in International Academic Studies and is mandatory for those students of Environmental Science, Marine Science and Geography studying in a European or International University or teaching in a foreign language. It is not available to any other students. Students on this programme are required to achieve at least 50 ECTS while abroad and contribute to seminars and a blog concerning their experience while at the host University.

Diploma in International Academic Studies (Learning in English)

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module is a requirement of the Diploma in International Academic Studies and is mandatory for those students of Environmental Science, Marine Science and Geography studying in a European or International University or teaching in English. It is not available to any other students. Students on this programme are required to achieve at least 50 ECTS while abroad and contribute to seminars and a blog concerning their experience while at the host University.

Year four

Geography and Environmental Sciences Dissertation

Year: 4

This module involves the completion of an individual research project conducted on an Environmental Science topic of students? own choice in conjunction with help from an academic member of staff (supervisor).

Research and Professional Skills

Year: 4

Through a variety of teaching methods this module provides students with a clear focus on professional career opportunities and assists them in enhancing their environmental and geographically specific employability skills. Particular emphasis is given to the translation of the specific research skills of project planning, critical literature review and methodological and analytical techniques that they employed in the dissertation project. Students will gain an understanding of the various sources of postgraduate study and professional job opportunities available to Geography and Environmental Science graduates and will provided with the opportunity to experience a full job application, interview and selection process.

Seafloor Mapping

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module outlines the theory behind the acquisition, processing, spatial-integration and interpretation of marine data, concentrating on marine acoustics. Geological, geotechnical, archaeological and biological case studies are used to explore the applications of acoustics to marine sciences. Use is made of world-wide-web for accessing extant and recently acquired digital marine data sets. This strategy reflects the increasing exploitation of the world-wide-web by marine scientists and Government Agencies to catalogue and distribute digital data.

Environmental Change

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module examines temporal and spatial signatures of environmental change with the aim of developing an understanding of landscape evolution at Quaternary to historical timescales. A range of proxy evidence (sedimentary and biological) is used to explore the links within the ice-atmosphere-ocean system in global context.

Applied Water Science and Toxicology

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module applies theory and techniques relevant to current issues in water pollution, toxicology and management.

Advanced Geographic Information Systems

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module offers students the opportunity to study a variety of spatial and statistical techniques relevant to the GI Industry. Techniques from GIS, remote sensing and landscape metrics are applied to the measurement and monitoring of spatial patterns and processes. A number of software programs are available, especially ArcGIS 10.*. Practical experience will be gained using Global Positioning Systems.

Environmental Challenges and Management

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module uses real life case studies to examine how landscapes may be managed and conserved. Examples are drawn from across a range of contexts and challenge the students to consider the complexity of decision making in environmental management. It is available to final year students in Environmental Science and Geography.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

A level

Offer in range BCC to CCD to include grades CC (including 1 science subject).

Science subjects may include Geography, Economics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Environmental Technology/Science, PE, Applied Science, IT, Nutrition and Food Science, Life & Health Science

Provided the subject requirements are met you can substitute a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University for one of the A level grades.


Overall profile in range MMM (to include a minimum of 13 merits) to DMM (to include a minimum of 7 distinctions).

Only science-based programmes are acceptable.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Offer in the range H4,H4,H4,H4,H4 to H3,H3,H3,H4,H4 to include one subject from the following: Geography, Economics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Math, PE, IT, Home Economics.

Applicants are also required to have Higher Level English and Maths Grade H6 or above OR Ordinary Level Grade O4 or above.

Scottish Highers

The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is grade range CCDDD to CCCCC to include grade C in one subject from the following: Geography, Economics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Math, PE, IT, Home Economics.

Scottish Advanced Highers

The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is grade range BC to CDD to include grade C in one subject from the following: Geography, Economics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Math, PE, IT, Home Economics.

International Baccalaureate

Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum 24 points to include 12 at Higher Level to include a subject from the following: Geography, Economics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, PE, IT, Home Economics.

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Pass science-based Access course with an overall mark in range 60 - 65% including level 3 modules in range 60 - 65%.


GCSE passes at grade C/grade 4 or above, or equivalent in Maths, English and double award science are required.

Please note that for purposes of entry to this course the Level 2 Essential / Key Skill in Application of Number is NOT regarded as an acceptable alternative to GCSE Maths.

English Language Requirements

The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard as recognised by the University (provided subject requirements as noted above are met). Examples of acceptable combinations include:

2 A Levels and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma.

OCR National Diploma and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma.

2 A Levels and Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma.

A Level and BTEC National Diploma.

For further information regarding combination offer requirements, please contact Faculty Office staff on T: +44 (0)28 7012 4159 or E:

Teaching and learning assessment

Teaching is through a range of methods such as lectures, seminars and tutorials but with an emphasis on practical and field work. Students are assessed through a combination of coursework and examinations, or by coursework only. The assessment methods used in individual modules are specified in the module handbooks. Each module adopts its own assessment strategy and may include one or more of the following: essays; literature reviews/critical reviews; laboratory reports; fieldwork reports; field notebooks; individual and group project reports; problem analysis; research projects/dissertations; individual and group oral and poster presentations; class tests; web-site design and examinations.

Exemptions and transferability

Exemption from the first year is possible if you have obtained a satisfactory grade in a Higher National Diploma in an appropriate subject or in an equivalent qualification.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

An Environmental Science degree offers a broad scientific training and, with transferable and subject specific skills, offers a wide range of career choices. Our graduates have found employment as environmental consultants, environmental engineers, landscape planners, tourist officers, landscape architects, countryside wardens, environmental officers, research scientists, teachers (both primary and secondary), and many others in both the private and public sectors. Additional professional and/or postgraduate training might also be necessary. Many excellent one year postgraduate courses are available in this School and in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Work placement / study abroad

The four-year degree course enables students to undertake a one-year work placement (in Year 3) with an industry partner leading to the award of Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP). Alternatively, students can study in one of our partner universities in Europe in the USA through the Study USA or the International Student Exchange Programme (ISEP) and Australia or Tahiti. All of these international opportunities are available in Year 3 of the programme and lead to the award of a Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS). DPP and DIAS students return to the University for the final year of academic study.

Professional recognition

Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES)

Accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) for the purpose of eligibility to apply for associate membership.


How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications to full-time undergraduate degrees at Ulster are made through UCAS.

Start dates

  • September 2018

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
View Ulster University’s 2017 fees policy

Northern Ireland & EU:
England, Scotland & Wales:
£9,000.00  Discounts available - find out more

Additional mandatory costs

Students will be expected to make contributions to the cost of residential fieldwork. Residential fieldwork takes place in all years of the programme. These costs associated with these trips may vary from year to year depending on destinations but across the three years may total approximately £400.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.


Faculty Office
T: +44 (0)28 7012 4159

Course Director: Prof Phil Jordan
T: +44 (0)28 7012 4193