Other Courses: MEnvSci Environmental Science

BSc Environmental Science 3 Years (F900)


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The BSc provides a solid foundation in environmental science and is suitable both for students with broad interests and those who prefer to specialise.

The first year focuses on essential knowledge and practical skills. From year two, all students follow a specialised pathway or a general pathway.

In the third year you will undertake a research project in either the Department of Geography or the Department of Animal and Plant Science. You may transfer to the MEnvSci course in semester 2 of year 3 provided that certain achievement levels have been attained.

logo of iesProfessionally accredited

Our courses are accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) as part of their provisions for higher education, the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences (CHES). The IES is the leading professional body for Environmental Science professionals. Accreditation confirms that our courses are of high quality and provide excellent standards of professional development. Students on our courses are eligible to become student members of the IES – the first step toward achieving Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) status.

Open days

We offer a wide range of open days throughout the year, where you can attend subject specific talks and meet staff and students.

Open Days

Course structure

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This course allows you to generalise across the environmental sciences or specialise down a specific pathway. Underpinning all our courses is an emphasis on research-based skills and practical knowledge of the subject area.

Your first year will consist of a broad introduction to the key themes of environmental science, allowing you to develop the base of knowledge and skills you will need to progress further into the course.

Your second and third years will allow you to take a generalised approach, blending different areas of environmental science as you see fit, or you can choose to specialise down one of four branches:

Global Environmental Change

This route focuses on contemporary changes in physical and ecological systems, and the large-scale physical and environmental processes that drive them, covering topics such as global warming. There is also the option to address the policy implications that global changes pose, adding a further analytical edge to the course.

Environmental Biosciences

This focuses on the relationships between organisms and their environment, including how organisms function in major ecosystems and drive environmental change. Topics covered include the effects of pollution, disturbance, and management on organisms, and there is the opportunity to study the conservation of organisms and biodiversity, which are key environmental concerns.

Environmental Geosciences

The impact of physical processes upon ecosystems, habitats and organisms forms the basis of this pathway. Strong emphasis is given to the geological and geomorphological processes that operate to shape the physical and biological environment, using state of the art techniques and analysis software. Topics covered include Earth and ecosystem dynamics, glacial processes, and natural hazards.

Environmental Quality and Technology

This new specialism explores applied aspects of Environmental Science to ensure you gain awareness of the tools and technologies available for the responsible monitoring, protection and exploitations of the environment.

Module choices

Year 1

Core modules:

Optional modules:

Unrestricted module choice:

  • Approved Geography or Animal and Plant Science modules
  • Unrestricted modules from other disciplines
Year 2

Core modules:

Optional modules:

Unrestricted module choice:

  • Approved Geography or Animal and Plant Science modules
  • Unrestricted modules from other disciplines
Year 3

Core modules

Optional modules:

Unrestricted module choice:

  • Approved Geography or Animal and Plant Science modules
  • Unrestricted modules from other disciplines

It's great having different lectures and practical sessions from the two departments - you get to look at the same issues like climate change, but from different perspectives

Rachael Osguthorpe, BSc Environmental Science

Degree with Employment Experience


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Environmental Science students take part in core field classes in year 1 and 2 which are taught jointly by Geography and Animal & Plant Science staff. These field classes run for 7 or 8 days and teach essential field skills and research design. There are also two optional field classes in year 3.

All compulsory fieldwork and core field classes incur no extra cost for students.

Year 1

Geoenvironmental Field Skills

Daily excursions around the Peak District landscape and use of the department’s field centre at High Bradfield are used to teach core field and experimental skills in Environmental Sciences. Particular emphasis is given to the local geology and its influence upon ecological and geomorphological processes that operate within the landscape. We also consider the impact of acidification upon the environment through the study of upland water chemistry. In doing this you learn how to make scientific observations and measurements, make and test research hypotheses and present findings either as an individual or as part of a team.

Year 2

Environmental Interpretation

The eight-day core fieldclass, based in the beautiful west coast of Ireland, allows you to learn environmental interpretation and assessment techniques in a unique range of habitats.

You will visit woodlands, bogs, upland and coastal grasslands, limestone pavement and lake-shore habitats to study the botany, geology, geography, history and environmental science of the area. You will take an in-depth look at some important major rock types and landscape processes, as well as learning description, sampling, quantification and data analysis techniques. The field excursions are complemented by lectures, and learning is reinforced by project work, working in small teams to collect, analyse and present data on a specific environmental research problem.

Year 3

Optional field classes

Optional field class - open to all with appropriate prerequisite Geography modules.
Students undertake a number of field exercises investigating the fundamental geomorphology of arid environments and the pressures placed on the environment by human activity. You will also get the opportunity to explore Death Valley and the wider Mojave Desert environment.

New Zealand
Optional field class - open to all with appropriate prerequisite Geography modules.
Students will work individually and in small groups to explore process interpretation in an unfamiliar setting, focusing on the physical processes that have shaped the environment and will influence future changes.

Case study

NguyenChi Nguyen - BSc Environmental Science

"I am really fond of the fieldtrips the department has been providing. I much prefer working outdoors to inside; I have learned a lot on those fieldtrips.

These trips provide opportunities to practise our theoretical knowledge and gain substantial useful research and practical skills. Fieldtrips are also great fun, valuable and good chances to study new exciting things as well as get closer to my course mates."


Environmental Science students


Our Environmental Science degrees provide excellent preparation for a wide variety of graduate employment sectors as well as further study. We have a range of research and industry partners and this ensures that students engage with the applications of environmental science beyond university.

Graduates have been highly successful in securing employment across the environmental sector, due to the much sought after environmental science skills and in-depth knowledge our courses offer. Recent graduates have gone on to careers in environmental consultancies, local government agencies, sustainable energy companies, and conservation bodies such as wildlife trusts and Natural England.

Other graduates have used the transferable skills gained from the course to gain employment opportunities outside of the environmental sciences. A degree in Environmental Science tells employers that you can analyse situations, develop solutions, handle data, communicate complex issues, deploy scientific techniques and manage projects from start to finish. Recent graduates have used these assets to secure employment in teaching, law, patenting, finance and banking.

Studying Environmental Science at Sheffield gave me a great base on which to begin my career.

Joshua, BSC Environmental Science, Environment officer

Visit our careers page to find out more

Entry requirements
Qualification Grades
A Levels or A Levels + EPQ ABB including Geography or another relevant Science subject or ABB including Geography or another relevant Science subject + B
International Baccalaureate 34, 6 in Higher Level Geography or another relevant Science subject
BTEC DDD in a relevant subject
Cambridge Pre-U D3 M2 M2 including Geography or another relevant Science subject
Scottish Highers AAABB including Geography or another relevant Science subject
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B+AB including Geography or another relevant Science subject
Access to HE Entry requirements for mature students
Other qualifications Other UK qualifications
Other EU/international qualifications

Other requirements

  • At least one of your three A Levels should be in acceptable subjects
    Guidance on acceptable A Level subjects
  • GCSE Maths grade 4 or C
  • Science subjects includes: Biology/Human Biology, Geology and Environmental Science/Studies or one of the above + Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths, Physics or Statistics
  • International students need overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or an equivalent English language qualification
    Equivalent English language qualifications