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Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses>Environmental Science (Extended Degree) (BSc)

Overview Understand and manage human impacts on the environment using a multi-disciplinary approach

UCAS code


Typical offer

Decided by interview (full entry requirements)


4 years full-time

There has never been greater need for scientists who understand how the Earth system functions and responds to human activities, and who can apply this knowledge in the broader social and economic context of managing the environment to ensure a sustainable future.

Research-led teaching with a multi-disciplinary focus will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to address complex environmental problems such as climate change, air pollution and energy transitions.

Environment building: interior. Photo by David Rippin a lecturer in the department
Photo by David Rippin

Our state-of-the-art building contains purpose-built labs, lecture theatres and seminar rooms.

Course content What you’ll study


You'll build a strong foundation in the physical sciences, providing the background knowledge you need to make informed judgements about environmental issues. You will also study the broader social, political and economic aspects of managing the environment. 

Foundation year

This year is taught at York College and all modules are compulsory:

  • Academic Skills
  • Environmental Study Techniques
  • Maths and Statistics
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Living Organisms and Environment
  • Physical Geography
  • Human Geography - Sustainable Development
  • Individual Project

These modules are designed to provide a foundation for students with non-A-level backgrounds (or equivalents) so that they are able to engage with the BSc and MEnv programmes offered by the Environment Department.  

Year 1

The first year modules give you an introduction to the fundamentals of environmental science, providing you with a foundation for more advanced material in the following years. 

All first year modules are core. 

  • Concepts in Environmental Science 
  • Data Analysis for Environmental Research 
  • Dynamic Earth 
  • Ecological Principles for the Environment 
  • Environment, Development & Society
  • Environment Field Project for Environmental Geography & Environmental Science 
  • Frontiers in Environmental Research

Full listing of the degree structure and modules

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.

This module will:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.

Year 2

You'll take a range of core modules to develop your knowledge of environmental science. You can then begin to tailor your degree to your own interests with a choice of optional modules.

Core modules:

  • Ecosystem Processes
  • Environmental Geochemistry
  • Climate Change: Science, Observation and Impacts
  • Environmental Systems Project
  • Residential Field Trip

Optional modules:

  • Earth Processes and Landforms
  • Energy and Environment
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Biogeography
  • Ocean Management and Conservation
  • Environmental Ecology

You can also replace some optional modules with electives from other Departments

Full listing of the degree structure and modules

Year 3

You specialise further in Year 3 with your independent research project, and a range of core and optional modules.

Core modules:

  • Research Project
  • Atmosphere and Ocean Science
  • Pollution Monitoring, Assessment and Control

Optional modules:

  • Land Use Change and Management
  • Environmental Hazards
  • Biodiversity and Society
  • Environmental Politics
  • Glaciology and Volcanism in Iceland

Or you can replace some optional modules with electives from other Departments.

Full listing of the degree structure and modules

Study abroad

York has exchange agreements with a number of other universities across the world. Typically one or two students from the Environment Department study abroad every year in places such as Australia, Canada and the US. 

For me, the most important thing at York has been the community. You always feel like you’re part of a family.
Chloe, second year student. Read more on Chloe's blog.

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

Teaching format

You'll be taught through a combination of field-based learning, research-led teaching and a more traditional combination of lectures, tutorials, and seminars. Practical work is a key feature, both in individual projects and in groups.

Field trips form an important part of your course, with excursions (residential and non-residential) each year.

  • You'll participate in residential field trips to the North York Moors (Year 1) and to Tenerife (Year 2)
  • In Year 3 there's an optional field trip to Iceland


Each module will be assessed either by coursework or closed examination or a combination of both. Coursework can include:

  • Practical write-ups
  • Oral presentations
  • Data analysis exercises
  • Essays

In your final year, you'll complete an independent research project based on your interests and career aspirations.

Careers Where you’ll go from here

The BSc in Environmental Science will equip you with practical, applied skills for both environment-related employment and more general career opportunities. The department has a track record of providing a springboard to a wide range of careers and postgraduate research.

Career opportunities

  • Research and Development
  • Environmental management
  • Policy formulation
  • Environmental consultancies
  • Public sector such as the Environment Agency, DEFRA
  • Conservation bodies

Transferable skills

  • Project management
  • Feasibility studies
  • Data analysis
  • Research skills
  • Time management
Having a supervisor at York was invaluable. The pastoral care that the University offers helps with applications and interview skills. York also allows you to be independent and work at your own pace, which really helps when you start doing your own projects in a work environment.
Carmel Parry
Network Asset Strategy Planner
Yorkshire Water

Entry requirements How to get here

Course entry

All applications must be made through UCAS. This degree with foundation year at York College is for mature students from a non-traditional A-level background and offers are made on an individual basis, after interview.

How to apply

Unistats for this course

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions