Course details

A Levels AAB Other entry requirements
UCAS code F902
Duration 4 years
Fees and additional costs Home students Overseas students Fee status help
Related subjects Biology Environmental Science Geography

Any questions?

Undergraduate Programmes Officer
Department of Geography
Telephone +44 114 222 7900

Course description

Environmental issues are a pressing concern for governments, businesses and societies and there is a high demand for environmental specialists in all these areas. This has led to the growth of environmental science as a major international discipline helping to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our planet.

Environmental science is taught jointly by the Department of Geography and the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences. Both departments undertake international research at the frontiers of the discipline, so you'll be taught by experts in their fields. You'll have the opportunity to tailor your degree to suit your interests, studying modules that span the environmental sciences.

You'll also have the opportunity to focus on research specialisms such as global environmental change, biosciences, geoscience, and environmental quality and technology.

The first three years follow the BSc course structure. In the first year you'll study modules on topics including geography, earth science and biology. These modules explore the range of physical environments and ecosystems, and provide the foundation for the rest of your course. In the second and third years, you'll build on what you've learned with more specialised study of environmental science. In the third year, you'll carry out an extended research project in the lab or in the field.

The fourth year provides more advanced research training of which a major part is an independent and original research project.

All compulsory field trips and classes are free. We also offer some scholarships for optional field classes and independent research. You'll have the chance to take part in field classes in the UK, Europe, Africa and North America.

This course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES). Students on this are eligible to become student members of the IES - the first step toward achieving Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) status.

Modules: what you study and when

About dual honours and major/minor degrees

Financial help from the University - bursaries

If you're a UK student, you could be entitled to a University bursary. A bursary is the same as a grant - you don't have to pay it back.

How our bursary scheme works

Entry requirements

Qualification Grades
A Levels AAB, including Geography or another relevant science subject
A Levels + additional qualifications ABB, including Geography or another science subject + B in EPQ; ABB, including Geography or another relevant science subjects + B in Core Maths
International Baccalaureate 34, 5 in Higher Level Geography or another relevant science subject
BTEC DDD in a relevant subject
Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher AAABB + B, including Geography or another relevant science subject
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AA, 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
  • Science subjects include Biology/Human Biology, Geology and Environmental Science/Studies, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths, Physics or Statistics
  • GCSE Maths grade 4 or grade C
  • You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification
  • Equivalent English language qualifications
  • Access Sheffield - find out if you're eligible for additional consideration or an alternative offer
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department

Modules - what you study and when

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department direct.

Department of Geography website

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences website

First year

Core modules:

Earth, Wind, Ice and Fire
Skills for Environmental Scientists
Ecosystems and Environment Field Course
Ecosystems, Climate and Environmental Change
Global Biogeochemical Cycles
How Plants Work: Physiology, Reproduction & Development

Optional modules:

Environmental Change and Society
Exploring New Horizons in Geography
Population and Community Ecology 1
The Environmental Challenge

Second year

Core modules:

Environmental Pollution and Quality
Research Design and Fieldwork for Physical Geography
Animal and Plant Science Tutorials
Data Analysis
Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing

Optional modules:

Atmospheres and Oceans
Earth Surface Processes
Glaciers and Ice Sheets
Past Environmental Change
Conservation Principles
Ecosystems in a Changing Global Environment
Environmental Biology Practicals
Plant Habitat and Distribution
Plant, Cell and Environment
Population and Community Ecology 2

Third year

Core modules:

Professional Skills for Environmental Science
Issues in Environmental Science

Optional modules:

Dissertation for Geography& Environmental Science
Research Project
Advanced Geospatial Analysis
Advances in Cryosphere Science
Applied Volcanology
Coastal Systems: Processes and Management
Conservation Issues and Management
Environmental Policy and Governance
Independent Extended Essay (L3)
Lake District Fieldclass
Landscape Evolution
MATLAB Coding for Geoscience
New Zealand Fieldclass
Planetary Geoscience
Biology and Ethics
Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems
Evolutionary Ecology
Future Plants: From Laboratory to Field
Global Change
Sustainable Agro-Ecosystems

Fourth year

Optional modules:

Research Project
Research Project
Research Dissertation
Research and Communication Skills in Biology
Current Issues in Geography and Environmental Science
Independent Extended Essay (L4)
Key Issues in Environment and Development
Managing Climate Change
Research Design in Physical Geography and Environmental Science
The Science of Environmental Change
Advanced Biological Analysis

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.

In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Learning and assessment

These figures give an indication of how you'll learn and be assessed. They're a combined average of all the years of the course. The learning and assessment percentages could vary depending on the modules you choose. Our courses combine theory and concepts with hands-on, practical experience. Fieldwork is at the heart of our courses. Multiple fieldwork opportunities allow you to design, conduct and present your own research projects. Our lectures and seminars are structured to ensure a varied learning experience that is driven by our research expertise. In addition to lectures and seminars, we use tutorial-based teaching to support your university journey. You'll also have the opportunity to develop your laboratory and research skills.

Scheduled teaching 22%
Independent study 78%
Placement 0%

Exams/tests 34%
Coursework 53%
Practical 13%

Department of Geography

The Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield is a world leader in teaching and research. We're ranked as one of the top 50 universities in the world for geography according to the QS Rankings 2019.

As well as group study areas, we have our own computer suites that are equipped with the latest remote sensing, GIS and modeling software packages. We also have state-of-the-art laboratories, as well as a field centre in Tanzania.

Department of Geography website

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

The Times Good University Guide 2019 puts Sheffield in the UK top 10 for biosciences. We think this means we're doing something right.

We combine lectures with small group tutorials. You'll also take part in cutting-edge field and lab research, giving you an exceptional breadth of experience. We're a close knit community where every student gets the support and encouragement needed to achieve their best work. Our staff are world leaders in their fields and much of what we teach is based on our own world-leading research.

Our state-of-the-art facilities include controlled environment chambers that simulate natural climates around the world. We also have experimental gardens and glasshouses, artificial stream and pond systems, leading equipment for DNA analysis, biomolecular and elemental analyses, and extensive computing resources.

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences website

What our graduates do

Our courses will develop your ability to analyse global problems from a range of perspectives and at different scales. Our students gain geographical and transferable skills that are highly valued by employers.

Ninety-three per cent of our geography and environmental science graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduation (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2017).

Human geography
Graduates from our BA Geography course develop the ability to understand and address complex social, political and cultural challenges. Working at the intersection between people and place, our graduates typically go on to careers in policy and government, education, international development, journalism, social research, business and consultancy.
Recent graduate destinations have included the Department for International Development, Deloitte, The Guardian, Transport for London and the British Red Cross.

Physical geography
Students on our BSc Geography and MGeogSci Geography courses develop the scientific skills to monitor the physical and environmental processes that shape our world. These practical skills are highly sought after by employers in fields as diverse as sustainability, meteorology, environmental consultancy, GIS analysis, business, policy and government.

Recent graduate destinations have included the Environment Agency, npower, the Met Office, Jacobs and Natural England. Graduates from our physical geography courses also secure positions on postgraduate and research programmes.

Environmental science
Graduates from our BSc Environmental Science and MEnvSci Environmental Science degrees are valued by employers for their environmental science skills and in-depth knowledge. Recent graduates have gone on to careers in environmental consultancy and policy, sustainable energy, land remediation and conservation.

As well as specialist skills and knowledge, our degrees provide you with transferable skills that are valued by graduate employers, such as handling data, communicating complex issues, and managing projects from start to finish. Other environmental science graduates have used these assets to secure employment in teaching, law, patenting, finance and banking.

Careers and employability on the Department of Geography website

Student profile

"We've just got back from a field class in California where we were in the Mojave desert looking at the landscape...we went with three lecturers who were extremely knowledgeable on drylands."

Bryony Smith

This course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) and the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences (CHES) Accreditation Scheme.

The IES is one of the leading professional bodies for environmental science professionals. Accreditation confirms that our courses meet high standards of professional development.

Our students are eligible to become student members of the IES - the first step towards Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) status.

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Contact us

Undergraduate Programmes Officer
Department of Geography
Telephone +44 114 222 7900

Department website >

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