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Environmental Science

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Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Science (BSc) is a bachelor’s degree awarded for an undergraduate programme in the sciences.

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Course overview

Our Environmental Sciences BSc (Hons) degree focusses on real-world issues such as climate change, pollution, and resource exploitation and will prepare you to play your part in tackling those challenges.


Understanding the complex interactions between the physical and biological environment and how humans influence them both is essential if we are to find solutions to the increasing global environmental challenges that face us today.

Our degree is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences and will give you an in-depth understanding of both natural and human-induced environmental problems. All of our modules centre on real-world issues and application including climate change, pollution, and natural hazards.

The key strength of our programme is the unique breadth of staff expertise in the School of Environmental Sciences. This allows you to choose from an extensive range of modules delivered by experts in their field using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques. Your choices are guided by one of five module pathways themes: digital environments, ecology, oceans, society, sustainability, and the environment, and earth and surface processes.

These pathways ensure that our students graduate with the specialist skills and knowledge needed for their future careers, while also having the benefit of a wide-ranging education in Environmental Science.

From your first week to your final year, field classes are an integral part of your learning, giving you a chance to experience the environments that you are learning about and practice using industry-standard sampling and surveying approaches. In addition to making the most of Liverpool’s coastal location, you will also have the opportunity to undertake fieldwork in locations such as Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire, and the Peak District as well as options in Portugal.

A number of the School’s degree programmes involve laboratory and field work. Fieldwork is carried out in various locations, ranging from inner city to coastal and mountainous environments. We consider applications from prospective disabled students on the same basis as all other students, and reasonable adjustments will be considered to address barriers to access.

What you'll learn

  • Small tutor groups (typically six-eight students) through all years
  • High levels of field and lab-based teaching within the School of Environmental Sciences and in Europe’s most advanced teaching laboratories
  • An emphasis on active, problem-based learning (learning by doing)
  • Hands-on experience with cutting-edge laboratory technologies
  • Opportunities to study abroad throughout your course
  • Supervised independent and group project work, including a final year independent research-based dissertation supervised by a dedicated expert in the field.


Our Environment Sciences BSc (Hons) course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences.

Accreditations in detail

Teaching Excellence Framework 2023

We’re proud to announce we’ve been awarded a Gold rating for educational excellence.


Our Environment Sciences BSc (Hons) course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences.

Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Year one

Year one is based on five core modules that provide key skills and knowledge across the School of Environmental Sciences in the classroom, online, field and laboratory. These are supported by two optional modules to allow you to begin to explore what interests you most.

Compulsory modules

Experiments in Physical Geography (ENVS120)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

The module uses laboratory experiments to allow students to gain first-hand experience of some fundamental physical, biological and chemical processes underlying physical geography, aimed primarily at interactions between people and their physical environment. It is designed to provide a foundation for environmental modules in the second and third years. This module comprises multiple whole-day practical sessions, each designed to give students first-hand experience of a topic important in understanding our changing environment. Dedicated computer practicals are also run to provide training in use of EXCEL, MINITAB, and basic inferential statistics. Students get formal feedback in each assessed week (one poster per group). However, perhaps most valuable is the feedback obtained informally via discussions during the sessions.

Laboratory and Field Techniques for Ecologists (ENVS171)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This varied practical module will provide training in a range of ecological skills through a series of field and lab exercises, either in person, or through online equivalent exercises, as necessary. Fieldwork will expose you to diverse and beautiful natural environments where you will learn to develop identification and sampling skills for both terrestrial and marine animals and plants. The skills used will have a wide application to many fields of environmental science including biology, ecology, and physical geography. You will learn quantitative skills in field ecology and use these to solve fundamental and applied problems. Assessments include a mix of MCQ tests and practical portfolios.

Study Skills and GIS (ENVS100)

Credits: 30 / Semester: whole session

This 30-credit module will provide the bedrock for your degree, and comprises five main elements. Firstly, pastoral and study support, provided via a series of regular one-to-one and small-group tutorials with an allocated academic tutor/adviser; secondly, development of core study skills, including essay writing, lecture-note taking, critical thinking, presentation skills, and bibliographic searching and referencing; thirdly, a hands-on introduction to the fundamentals of Geographical Information Systems, helping you learn how to combine spatial data from different sources to create maps that address real-world problems; fourthly, a fieldwork experience designed to help you develop data collection and analysis skills, to enhance your academic understanding and to provide you with an opportunity to get to know the other members of your degree cohort better; fifthly, employability training designed to help you better understand what graduate employers are looking for, how to apply for summer work and/or volunteering opportunities, and how best to use your time at University to maximise your employability upon graduation.

Theory and Laboratory Experiments in Earth Surfaces Processes (ENVS165)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

The module uses a lecture and laboratory-based problem-solving approach to explore some of the fundamental physical and chemical processes underlying physical geography. It is designed to provide a foundation for environmental and physical geography modules in the second and third year. This module comprises multiple whole-day practical sessions, each designed to give students first-hand experience of a topic important in understanding our changing environment. Students get formal feedback in each assessed week (one poster per group). However, perhaps most valuable is the feedback obtained informally via discussions during the sessions.

Quantitative Skills for Ecology and Marine Biology (ENVS128)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module will help students to develop the quantitative skills needed for ecology, marine biology and related subjects, including basic mathematics, statistics and computing. It will be delivered via a series of lectures, practical classes and problem-solving sessions. No mathematical knowledge above GCSE level will be assumed.

Optional modules

Climate, Atmosphere and Oceans (ENVS111)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Climate, Atmosphere and Oceans provides an understanding of how the climate system operates. The module draws on basic scientific principles to understand how climate has evolved over the history of the planet and how the climate system is operating now. Attention is particularly paid to the structure and circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, and how they both interact. The course emphasises acquiring mechanistic insight and drawing upon order of magnitude calculations. By the end of the module students will understand how the oceans and atmosphere combine to shape Earth’s climate. Students gain quantitative skills by completing a series of coursework exercises and a final exam. Students address the Net Zero carbon goal via group work involving digital storytelling.​

Ecology and Conservation (ENVS157)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

The zone of life on Earth, or the ‘biosphere’, is a highly dynamic system responding to external pressures including changing human activities. The biosphere obeys a numbers of simple natural principles, but these often interact to create complex and sometimes unexpected responses. Using a wide range of examples, we will explore these interactions between organisms and the environment. We will examine how species organise into communities, and how energy and other resources flow through ecosystems. We will explore how ecosystems respond to change, including gradual environmental shifts, sudden disturbance events and the effects of human activities. We will also learn how the key principles of ecology can be applied to conservation. We will assess the current state of the biosphere and evaluate the major current threats. We will also look towards the future of ecosystems, including whether we can restore degraded habitats, and recreate ‘natural’ landscapes.

Environmental Chemistry (ENVS153)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module will give students an understanding of the fundamental properties of elements and matter, either solid, liquid or gas, in the context of the environmental sciences. It will introduce the fundamentals of atomic structure, elements and molecules from simple inorganic to large organic ones and the bonding forces that hold them together. It will look at the basics of chemical reactions such as the processes of oxidation and reduction, the solubility of solids and gases in water and acid-base properties. Students will learn how to make quantitative predictions, for instance on the amount of products that will be produced based on balanced chemical reactions, and will see how basic chemistry can be used to explain many environmental properties. The module is taught through lectures, tutorial sessions and online formative quizzes with automated feedback. Assessment is through online tests and an open book final exam. This module is largely an introduction to chemistry and might therefore not be well suited for students who did A-level chemistry or equivalent.

Sedimentary Rocks and Fossils (ENVS118)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module provides a basic introduction to sedimentology and palaeontology. Students learn about the origin of sediment, sedimentary processes and structures and the ways in which sediments are converted into solid rock. The course outlines the importance of sedimentary rocks for hydrocarbons, water and as construction materials. Students learn how to describe and interpret sedimentary deposits. The palaeontology component introduces students to the major fossil groups and to the ways in which organisms can be preserved as fossils. It covers the importance of fossils for the study of evolution, environmental change and Earth history. Students learn how to describe fossils and how observations contribute to a broader understanding. Students will be assessed by means of two practical tests and a theory examination.

Living with Environmental Change (ENVS119)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module examines a number of global ‘grand challenges’ facing humans on the planet earth related to climate and environmental change. It will introduce students to core concepts of sustainability and human impacts upon the environment, as well as exploring the range of proposed solutions and mitigation strategies which are available to understand climate and environmental change. The module thus provides a core knowledge base for social and natural scientists who wish to understand environmental change.

Life in the Seas and Oceans (ENVS121)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module is designed to deliver an introduction to the diversity of life in the marine environment. You will be introduced to the range of living organisms in the oceans from microscopic plants and bacteria to whales through a blended learning approach that combines e-lectures with a series of interactive workshops, practical activities and field visits. You will have the opportunity to examine marine organisms in our award-winning teaching facilities and during field visits, which will allow you to explore some of the diverse adaptations marine organisms have adopted to meet the challenge of survival in the marine environment. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed via online tests, a group project in which you will create a guide to a specific group of marine organisms, and a practical workbook.

Marine Ecosystems: Diversity, Processes and Threats (ENVS122)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module is designed to deliver an introduction to the diversity of marine ecosystems across the globe. Each week during in person lectures you will be introduced to a new ecosystem and will learn about this habitat, specifically the main organisms, key processes, and human threats to each ecosystem described and explored. Central to this module are interactive discussion sessions (workshops) that will build an understanding of how marine ecosystems are expected to respond to the human-induced changes of the anthropocene. During these workshops you will learn to critique a piece of scientific research in small group discussions guided by academics. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed via open-book online tests, and a group project in which you will create an infographic outlining the threats a particular ecosystem faces.

Introduction to Climate Change and Mitigation (ENVS189)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module will introduce you to the concept of Earth System interactions as a framework for understanding the causes and consequences of climate change. The module will cover the key features of the earth, atmosphere and ocean, and their interactions. alongside the drivers and consequences for perturbing part of the Earth System. Past, contemporary and projections of climate change will be discussed, as well as the toolkit tools deployed by environmental scientists to detect climate change and show attribute it to be a consequence of human activities. The module will discuss also measures to mitigate against climate change, drawing on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) efforts .

Earth Materials (ENVS185)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module will introduce and develop understanding of rock-forming minerals and critical raw materials in terms of their environments of formation, occurrence, and abundance. The module will focus on exploring the uses and societal significance of a range of Earth materials, especially those critical to sustainable and renewable energy resources and various societal infrastructure. The key practical skills of mineral description, identification and interpretation will be developed and applied throughout the module to equip students with appropriate skills for many later geoscience modules and for future employment.

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Course options

Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.

Global Opportunities

University of Liverpool students can choose from an exciting range of study placements at partner universities worldwide. Choose to spend a year at XJTLU in China or a year or semester at an institution of your choice.

What's available on this course?

Year in China

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture on an optional additional year at Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University in stunning Suzhou.

  • Learn Chinese
  • Study in a bustling world heritage city
  • Improve employment prospects
  • Study Chinese culture
  • 30 minutes from Shanghai
  • Learn new skills

Read more about Year at XJTLU, China

Language study

Every student at The University of Liverpool can study a language as part of, or alongside their degree. You can choose:

  • A dedicated languages degree
  • A language as a joint or major/ minor degree
  • Language modules (selected degrees)
  • Language classes alongside your studies

Read more about studying a language

Study as part of XJTLU 2+2

Students studying Environmental Science BSc at XJTLU can study this course at the University of Liverpool. Read more about Environmental Science BSc (Hons) as part of the 2+2 programme.

The natural next step for ambitious XJTLU students who want to build a brilliant career.

  • Spend two years at the University of Liverpool campus
  • Improve your prospects of progressing to postgraduate study at a top 100 university
  • Receive two degrees: one from XJTLU, one from the University of Liverpool
  • Get support with visas, accommodation and your career.

Read more about the 2+2 programme.

Your experience

At Liverpool, we place a great deal of emphasis on learning through experience. You will be taught in Europe’s most advanced teaching laboratories and will participate in a strong fieldwork programme that will help to prepare you for solving real work problems. You will have access to excellent resources, including research-level analytical equipment and computing facilities, and will be trained in industry-standard methods using materials donated by companies. Our Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences programmes will provide you with specific scientific training and equip you with a wide range of transferable skills valued by employers. You will graduate as a practical, confident and employable earth scientist.

We have a very active Earth Sciences student society – The Herdman society. The society runs academic and social events from guest lectures and field trips to gala dinners, symposiums and sports events.

Virtual tour

Supporting your learning

From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:

What students say...

I have found that I am learning and understanding ideas in a more in-depth way and linking the theory we are taught about within our modules to everyday situations such as environmental crises on the news.

, BSc (Hons) Environmental Science

Careers and employability

Environmental Science at Liverpool is focused on providing you with the key knowledge and practical skills to be successful within the environmental sector, such as report writing, field and laboratory practical skills, oral presentations, project planning, and coding and modelling skills.

Recent Environmental Science graduates have been employed in roles within the sector such as:

  • Conservation management
  • Environmental consultancy
  • Geotechnical surveying
  • Sustainability consultancy.

Other roles outside of our immediate sector have included Accountancy and Education.

As part of your degree the following work experience opportunities are available:

  • Work-based dissertation in your final year, where you work with a local business on a project applied to environmental sciences
  • Year two semester one: studying abroad with one of our exchange partners across North America
  • ‘Year in China’ option: where you are taught about Chinese language and culture in addition to studying environmental science-related modules at Liverpool’s sister university, XJTLU.

90% of geography and planning students are in work and/or further study 15 months after graduation.

Discover Uni, 2018-19.

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)
Full-time place, per year £9,250
Year in industry fee £1,850
Year abroad fee £1,385
International fees
Full-time place, per year £27,200
Year abroad fee £13,600
Fees are correct for the academic year 2024/25. Please note that the Year Abroad fee also applies to the Year in China.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support. Learn more about paying for your studies..

Additional costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This includes the cost of your dissertation/project, and optional field classes in year three.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This includes the cost of your dissertation/project, and optional field classes in year three.

Students should expect to cover the following costs.

Year three optional field class:

Year three optional field class:

  • Option A: Europe. One-week residential field class (eg to the Algarve). Students will cover the full cost of the field class, including travel, accommodation, food, and the price of the field class (around £800)
  • Option B: North America. Two-week residential field class. Students will cover the full cost of the field class, including travel, accommodation, food, and the price of the field class (around £1,300).

Project/dissertation costs:

The School may provide a budget of up to £200 for specific field / lab-based projects. Desk-based projects receive no budget from the School.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to provide tuition fee discounts and help with living expenses while at university.

Check out our Liverpool Bursary, worth up to £2,000 per year for eligible UK students. Or for international students, our Undergraduate Global Advancement Scholarship offers a tuition fee discount of up to £5,000 for eligible international students starting an undergraduate degree from September 2024.

Discover our full range of undergraduate scholarships and bursaries

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

We've set the country or region your qualifications are from as United Kingdom. Change it here

Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

A levels

ABB including one Science A Level.

You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.

If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be able to complete a foundation year which would allow you to progress to this course.

Available foundation years:

T levels

T levels are not currently accepted.

GCSE 4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics
Subject requirements

We are happy to accept the following A levels: Geography, Geology, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics, Environmental Science/Studies/Environmental Technology*, Applied Science (Double Award), Economics, Computer Science.

*Not in combination with each other.

For applicants from England: For science A levels that include the separately graded practical endorsement, a "Pass" is required.

BTEC BTEC National Extended Diploma: D*DD in a relevant diploma such as Applied Science (Forensic Science is not accepted)
BTEC National Diploma: DD plus grade B in one A level (to include an acceptable science subject)
BTEC National Extended Certificate: Distinction plus BB in two A levels (to include an acceptable science subject)
International Baccalaureate

33 points, with no score less than 4 including 1 Science at Higher Level.

Irish Leaving Certificate H1, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, including H2 or above in one science
Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

Not accepted without Advanced Highers at grades ABB, including one science subject.

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate accepted at grade B alongside A level grades AB (including one science subject)
Access 45 Level 3 credits in graded units, including 30 at Distinction and a further 15 with at least Merit. 15 Distinctions are required in one science subject.
International qualifications

Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our entry requirements. Completing your Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, means you're guaranteed a place on your chosen course.

English language requirements

You'll need to demonstrate competence in the use of English language, unless you’re from a majority English speaking country.

We accept a variety of international language tests and country-specific qualifications.

International applicants who do not meet the minimum required standard of English language can complete one of our Pre-Sessional English courses to achieve the required level.

English language qualification Requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no component below 5.5
TOEFL iBT 88 overall, with minimum scores of listening 17, writing 17, reading 17 and speaking 19
Duolingo English Test 120 overall, with no component below 95
Pearson PTE Academic 61 overall, with no component below 59
LanguageCert Academic 70 overall, with no skill below 60
Cambridge IGCSE First Language English 0500 Grade C overall, with a minimum of grade 2 in speaking and listening. Speaking and listening must be separately endorsed on the certificate.
Cambridge IGCSE First Language English 0990 Grade 4 overall, with Merit in speaking and listening
Cambridge IGCSE Second Language English 0510/0511 0510: Grade B overall, with a minimum of grade 2 in speaking. Speaking must be separately endorsed on the certificate. 0511: Grade B overall.
Cambridge IGCSE Second Language English 0993/0991 0993: Grade 6 overall, with a minimum of grade 2 in speaking. Speaking must be separately endorsed on the certificate. 0991: Grade 6 overall.
International Baccalaureate Grade 5 at Standard Level or grade 4 at Higher Level
Cambridge ESOL Level 2/3 Advanced 176 overall, with no paper below 162


Do you need to complete a Pre-Sessional English course to meet the English language requirements for this course?

The length of Pre-Sessional English course you’ll need to take depends on your current level of English language ability.

Find out the length of Pre-Sessional English course you may require for this degree.

Pre-sessional English

If you don’t meet our English language requirements, we can use your most recent IELTS score, or the equivalent score in selected other English language tests, to determine the length of Pre-Sessional English course you require.

Use the table below to check the course length you're likely to require for your current English language ability and see whether the course is available on campus or online.

Your most recent IELTS score Pre-Sessional English course length On campus or online
6.0 overall, with no component below 5.5 6 weeks On campus
5.5 overall, with no component below 5.5 10 weeks On campus and online options available
5.5 overall, with no more than one component below 5.5, and no component below 5.0 12 weeks On campus and online options available
5.5 overall, with no component below 4.5 20 weeks On campus
5.0 overall, with no component below 4.5 30 weeks On campus
4.5 overall, with no more than one component below 4.5, and no component below 4.0 40 weeks On campus

If you’ve completed an alternative English language test to IELTS, we may be able to use this to assess your English language ability and determine the Pre-Sessional English course length you require.

Please see our guide to Pre-Sessional English entry requirements for IELTS 6.5, with no component below 5.5, for further details.

Contextual offers: reduced grade requirements

Based on your personal circumstances, you may automatically qualify for up to a two-grade reduction in the entry requirements needed for this course. When you apply, we consider a range of factors – such as where you live – to assess if you’re eligible for a grade reduction. You don’t have to make an application for a grade reduction – we’ll do all the work.

Find out more about how we make reduced grade offers.

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new UCAS cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

Recent changes to government policy which determine the number of students individual institutions may admit under the student number control also have a bearing on our entry requirements and acceptance levels, as this policy may result in us having fewer places than in previous years.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. For this reason, we consider a range of factors in addition to predicted grades, widening participation factors amongst other evidence provided. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted in the prospectus and on the website.

Alternative entry requirements

Changes to Environmental Science BSc (Hons)

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.

7 June 2022: New course pages

New course pages launched.

9 December 2022: Country field trip visits

Reference to California removed.

5 January 2023: Module update

Year 3 modules updated

Removed: ENVS352