Environmental Science BSc
Department of Geography
School of Biosciences
Explore this course:
You are viewing this course for 2022-23 entry.
Environmental Science is a broad and multidisciplinary subject exploring processes that control and have an impact on the wide range of habitats, ecosystems and environments on planet Earth.
The course at Sheffield was one of the first degree programmes of its kind to be established. In recent years, awareness about the complexity of the natural environment and the impacts of human activity has accelerated. 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 issues represent a pressing concern for global government, businesses and societies and there is a high demand for environmental specialists in all these areas. Sheffield remains at the forefront of the discipline. This is demonstrated by our graduates who are pursuing careers in industry, research, conservation, ecology and many other sectors across the world.
This course is taught jointly by the Department of Geography and the Department of Biosciences. 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 and study modules that span the environmental sciences and focus on research specialisms such as global environmental change, biosciences, geoscience and environmental quality and technology.
The first year of the BSc includes modules in 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.
Practical work and field classes are an essential part of the course. Third year students typically carry out an extended research project in the lab or in the field.
This course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) and the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences (CHES). The IES is the leading professional body for environmental science professionals in the UK. Accreditation confirms that this course is of high quality and provide excellent standards of professional development. Students on this course are eligible to become student members of the IES - the first step toward achieving Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) status.
A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.
Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:
UCAS code: F900
Years: 2022, 2023
- Ecosystems and Environment Field Course
This field-based module introduces the study of ecosystems in relation to the environment, at sites in the Sheffield region. It provides training in Phase 1 and Phase 2 habitat surveys. This is combined with studies of environmental variables (geology, soils, climate, hydrology, grazing, management) that control the distribution of different plant communities, taught through introductory lectures to the sites to be visited, together with training in the field in observing, recording and interpreting how these factors affect vegetation stands. The final part of the course involves small groups conducting a research project that investigates an aspect of environmental controls on species or communities. The core field and reporting skills taught in this module are particularly relevant to careers in habitat conservation and restoration, and environmental consultancy.10 credits
- Principles of Ecology and Conservation
This course is an introduction to the principles of ecology and conservation. It covers ecological concepts about the abundance and distribution of species and key ideas about conserving populations, communities and habitats.20 credits
- Climate Change and Sustainability
This course introduces the core scientific issues required to understand climate change and sustainability. Students will learn the causes of climate change, its impacts in natural and agricultural ecosystems, the influence of biogeochemical cycles in these ecosystems on climate, and strategies for sustainably managing ecosystems in future. Learning will be achieved via lectures and videos, practicals and independent study.20 credits
- Skills for Environmental Scientists
The Skills for Environmental Scientists module introduces students to the fundamentals of scientific writing, presentation skills, practical skills, experimental design and data analysis, information technology, the role of science in society and career development. Research skills will be introduced in a series of lectures and seminars that students will then develop through practical sessions and independent study using printed and online module material and activities. Key communication skills will be developed and integrated using small group tutorials.20 credits
- Global Biogeochemical Cycles
This module provides fundamentals of environmental sciences with an emphasis on biogeochemical cycling. Challenges in loss of biodiversity, access to clean water, climate change and provision of food for a quickly growing population are best approached centred in sustainability (recycling, reducing consumption) and citizen engagement. The module aims to cover the main earth system approaches that underpin our understanding of environmental challenges using a systems approach. The contents focus heavily on global environmental cycles including climate, air and water resources, pollution, biological communities, geology and energy.10 credits
- Earth, Wind, Ice and Fire
This course is intended to provide an introduction to the general principles of physical geography for students with diverse backgrounds.20 credits
Part I will aim to give students an understanding of the origin and history of the Earth. It will include explanations of tectonic, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic activity, the history of crustal processes as well as reviewing the development over geological time of the evolution of the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere.
Part II will use a systems-based approach to physical geography to examine several other key environmental systems, including the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the cryosphere. It will include explanation of key interactions between physical systems and discussion of the impacts and consequences of system perturbation, such as climate change, over time and space.
Part III of the course will introduce concepts of geomorphology as a means to investigate the landforms of the earth; mountains, valleys, slopes, river beds and dunes. It will include explanation of fundamental principles of landscape and landform development considering issues such as temporal and spatial scale, equilibrium and interaction between different landscape processes and components.
- Living with Environmental Change
This module will introduce students to a wide range of critical environmental issues facing the world today from physical science and social science perspectives. Using a range of environmental problems evident in the Global North and Global South (such as climate change, habit loss, water resources, land-use change, agriculture), the physical and social processes implicated will be examined. Drawing on a range of examples, students will critically explore the causes, consequences, management and solutions to environmental issues and learn how to question assumptions about environmental processes.20 credits
- Why Geography Matters
Geographers actively contribute to intellectual debates across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the modern world, from climate change to food security, informing policy and practice. The module provides a challenging but accessible insight into the origins of the discipline and how these translate into the cutting edge of contemporary geographical research, and how this helps us understand our changing world. Serving as a bridge between the general introductory modules, and the more specialist modules taught at levels 2 and 3, this module provides an opportunity for students to engage with topical issues in contemporary human and physical geography led by academics actively engaged in cutting edge research on those subjects.20 credits
- Animal and Plant Science Tutorials
This module provides training in the generic and subject-related skills necessary to undertake research in biology and communicate biology effectively. Students will learn: different forms of scientific writing (including essays, abstracts and scientific papers); experimental design; analysis and evaluation of biological information; synthesis of material from a variety of sources including the primary literature; and presentation of scientific information (seminars and debates). Teaching will be in small-group tutorials, during which students will discuss key topics and recent developments in biology. Evaluation will be based on continual assessment of written work, exercises and presentations. Tutors will provide both academic and pastoral support.10 credits
- Data Analysis
This course provides training in the analysis and presentation of biological data through the application of computers for word processing, statistical analysis and graphical presentation. The course uses self-teaching material involving individual use of computers, together with project work assignments. The application of a wide range of statistical techniques which are commonly used by biologists is illustrated using the MINITAB statistical program with data drawn from botanical, zoological and ecological studies.10 credits
- GIS and Earth Observation
This unit introduces both Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) – both important tools to aid in our understanding of the earth system. GIS are computer systems for the storage, display and manipulation of geographical data. Remote Sensing (RS) refers to the science of identification of earth surface features and estimation of their geo-biophysical properties through the detection of electromagnetic radiation. The module will cover the main concepts related to handling RS/GIS data on a computer and introduce a range of practical applications of RS/GIS in research, industry and commerce.10 credits
- Putting Physical and Environmental Geographies into Practice
The ability to design, conduct, analyse and present meaningful findings from fieldwork is an essential part of degree-level Physical Geography and Environmental Science, and enhances employability. This module addresses the philosophical background to, and the process of designing and conducting fieldwork. The module introduces the principles of research design and provides practical experience of fieldwork to facilitate immersive learning and engagement with earth surface processes. The module is delivered through lectures, small-group teaching, and a residential fieldclass. Assessments provide ongoing feedback linked to the experience of designing, conducting and reflecting upon the research journey, culminating in dissertation proposal.20 credits
- Environmental Pollution and Quality
This module aims to introduce the students to the origins, pathways and consequences of pollutants in the environment, their control and remediation. Pollutants are released into the environment through anthropogenic activities that include domestic, leisure and industrial practices. These pollutants are potentially harmful to the ecosystem and human health. Therefore, an understanding of the physical, chemical and biological processes involved during the contamination of water and soil is essential to protect the environment. This module provides an introduction on how to assess and quantify pollutants by using laboratory techniques for the determination of contamination in water and soil.20 credits
- Plant, Cell and Environment
Plants differ from many other organisms in that their growth and development is highly tuned to the environment. This course examines how plants respond to diverse environmental factors (focussing on light, water, temperature and disease) integrating developmental, biochemical and physiological studies. We explore the processes that control photomorphogenesis from seed germination through to flowering, responses to extremes of temperature and defence responses to pests and disease.Plants differ from many other organisms in that their growth and development is highly tuned to the environment. This course examines how plants respond to environmental factors.10 credits
- Environmental Biology Practicals
In this practical module students will examine the effects of environmental factors on plant growth and development. Students will work in small groups to design, set up and execute an investigation of aspects such as growth and the carbohydrate and protein content of plants (using gel electrophoresis), in plants grown under different conditions, including among others, light intensities and nutrient regimes. The practical write-up will be aided by a group discussion of the interpretation of the results obtained by the whole class.10 credits
- Ecosystems in a Changing Global Environment
Human impacts on the world¿s ecosystems are profound and without precedent in Earth's history. The urgent need to understand the impacts of overexploitation, land-use change and anthropogenic climate change has meant that ecosystem science has become one of the most important biological disciplines. This module will introduce students to the fundamental principles of ecosystem science by exploring human impacts on key marine and terrestrial ecosystems and their feedbacks on global climate. In doing so, it will cover the interacting roles of (1) climatic tolerance, trophic interactions, carbon sequestration and fire on land, and (2) biodiversity, energy, nutrients and extinction in the sea.10 credits
- Plant Habitat and Distribution
This course will: provide experience of work in the laboratory and in the field; provide an introduction to the techniques employed in the study of plants in relation to their habitats and the vegetation in which they occur; develop skills in record keeping, observation, sampling, identification, problem solving, task-oriented team work, data interpretation, communication and the application of biological principles; and help develop an understanding of aspects of the plant environment and the importance of environmental variables and plant traits in controlling species distributions. This course consists of an integrated series of 12 sessions which include lectures and practical work relevant to understanding controls on plant distributions and community composition. The course includes 2 field excursions (soil and vegetation sampling), 7 practical classes (soil chemical analysis, experimental ecology, vegetation data analysis and vegetation processes), 8 lectures and 1 session for synthesis, interpretation and presentation of the data for the module as a whole.10 credits
The task of palaeobiology is to provide greater integration between palaeontology and biology. This course examines recent developments in the field of palaeobiology, and demonstrates how fossils are used to generate testable theories about pattern in the history of life. This course will begin with 9 lectures outlining modern concepts in palaeobiology, and demonstrated using examples from all aspect of palaeontology, but concentrating on dinosaur palaeobiology. These same principles will then be explored using human evolution as a case study (9 lectures).10 credits
- Conservation Principles
This module will introduce students to the fundamental principles of conservation biology that influence conservation programmes around the globe. Following a brief examination of the rationales for conservation the course discusses some of:(i)the fundamental issues in conservation planning, such as selecting appropriate units for conservation and priority assessment(ii)the research tools commonly used by conservationists, such as population viability analysis(iii)the ways in which ecological theory guides conservation action. These topics are illustrated using case studies of animal and plant conservation in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems from temperate and tropical regions.10 credits
In this module, we will explore the nature of symbiosis between plants, animals, bacteria and fungi. We will investigate the 'continuum of symbiosis' from parasitism to mutualism using specific examples drawn from natural and agricultural ecosystems to demonstrate how symbionts regulate the structure and function of host communities and the challenge their control poses. We will investigate methods of controlling parasites as well as how symbionts may be harnessed to regulate host communities in restoration ecology, for biological control and ecosystem service provision (e.g. pollinators) using an integrated teaching approach employing lectures and guest seminars from specific experts in the field.10 credits
- Population and Community Ecology 2
This unit will examine major themes in population and community ecology, across plants, animals and their interactions with each other and their environment. It focuses on cross-cutting themes in ecology and evolution including life history, predation, competition, disease and biodiversity. It builds deep, conceptual and theoretical understanding of life cycles, population growth, and species interactions. It provides insight into common patterns and unique properties among plants and animals of the factors that determine the abundance, diversity and distribution of species. It provides insight into the role of species interactions and the environment in controlling biodiversity and ecosystem function.10 credits
- Understanding the Climate System
This module will give students an understanding of the global climate, focusing on the atmospheres, the oceans, and their interaction. The first part of the module will consider the main characteristics of, and processes behind, climate from the global to the local scale. The second part of the module will examine the physical characteristics of the oceans and their geographical variation, and the role of the oceans in the climate system.20 credits
- Unlocking Past Environmental Changes
The landscape we live in is a dynamic place and has been in the past as well. Huge changes at a global, regional and local scale have occurred in the last 2.6 million years of the earth's history (Quaternary period). These changes are ongoing with implications for both present and future environments. Methods and techniques to investigate past environmental changes from proxy data are outlined and illustrated. The module also looks at how palaeoenvironments have responded to past climate changes thereby putting a context for present day climate changes and predicting future changes.20 credits
- Glacial Processes and Hazards
This module examines glaciers and ice sheets of the World focussing on how they are believed to function and with some consideration of their historic and future changes.20 credits
We examine how glaciers and ice sheets come into existence through an understanding of climate and the concept of glacier mass balance. We then consider how glaciers work including on topics such as ice flow, hydrological drainage, ice streams, ice shelves, glacial lakes, and icebergs. Hazards to humankind are also explored. How glaciers modify the underlying landscape is dealt with via a section on glacial geomorphological processes and landforms, and we consider how landscapes evolve under the influence of ice.
- Understanding Dynamic Landscapes
This module on the earth surface processes looks at the relationship between processes and landforms at a variety of scales in space and time. It examines endogenic processes originating within the earth, exogenic processes occurring at the earth/atmosphere/ocean interface and the way they interact to create landforms. The module discusses geomorphological concepts, frameworks and monitoring techniques and will elucidate a range of quantitative modelling approaches, where numerical expressions are introduced. Case studies drawn from staff research (e.g. aeolian/fluvial/volcanic) alongside practical classes and an appreciation of the importance of new measurement techniques to process understanding, will directly support learning.20 credits
- Issues in Environmental Science
The course is based around a programme of seminars focussed on important current issues in environmental science, natural resources, sustainability and human-environment interactions. A central aim of the module is to develop a forum for Environmental Science students to consider some of the most important, often controversial, aspects of human impacts upon the environment and the sustainability of the planet. Many of these themes will cross traditional disciplinary boundaries, encompassing environmental science, human geography and geopolitics. Introductory seminars by staff will outline subject areas and teaching methods, and provide example seminars and accompanying abstract, discussion points and starter references.10 credits
- Professional Skills for Environmental Science
Environmental science graduates require an appreciation of the needs of professional statutory and regulatory bodies (PSRBs). Employers appreciate the study and research skills developed at university but want graduates that understand the tools in use by environmental science practitioners. This course describes those tools and guides students through the production of their own environmental consultancy report. The module uses lectures, seminars, problem solving sessions, and independent learning to provide professional skills/knowledge. These skills are applied to field visits and laboratory analyses with particular emphasis is given to risk assessment, environmental impact assessment, environmental management and field skills.20 credits
- Research Project
In this module students will consolidate the skills and knowledge they have gained in earlier levels of study and apply these in a research project. Students will work in small groups, guided by a member of staff, to identify and plan a biological study. They will collect and statistically analyse data, interpret their results and set them in the context of related studies identified from the literature. They will then present their project in the format of a scientific paper. The project may be lab, field or computer based.30 credits
- Dissertation for Geography & Environmental Science
This module requires the student to prepare, organise, research and report a piece of original work on a geographical topic under guidance by a staff mentor. The student will decide on the topic and will either be expected to collect original material in order to investigate it, or to perform secondary analysis on information drawn from existing sources. The finished product is presented in the style, and at the length, associated with academic journal articles.40 credits
- Human Planet
This course examines the historical, social, cultural and political dimensions of sustainability, focusing on food production and natural resource management on the land and in the oceans. Students will learn how key historical developments led to sustainability issues, how geopolitics perpetuates these in the modern world, and how an understanding of these issues can help us to develop more sustainable ways to live in future. Learning will be achieved through lectures and videos, independent study and classroom discussion sessions.10 credits
- Biology and Ethics
As the pace of biological research continues to increase, society and scientists are continuously faced with ethical issues which, in many cases, we are ill-prepared to consider. This course examines areas where biology and ethics interact using a series of topical examples including medicine, agriculture, industry and the environment. In each case ethical concepts will be examined and discussed in the context of the right to privacy, ownership, current regulation, historical perspectives and the public understanding of science.10 credits
- Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems
This module examines the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems, from the invasion of the land by plants and animals in the Ordovician (475 million years ago) up to the present day. All of the major events will be covered: the origin of land plants; the invasion of the land by invertebrate animals (worms, insects, etc); the first forests; the origin of amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds; beginnings of phtogeographical differentiation; origin of the flowering plants etc. Throughout the course the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems will be considered in light of: (i) the interrelationships between global change and evolving terrestrial ecosystems; (ii) plant-fungal-animal interactions and coevolution.10 credits
- Evolutionary Ecology
Why do some organisms weigh a fraction of a milligram and others many tons? Why do some organisms mature in a few days and others need several years? Why make a myraid of tiny eggs rather than few large offspring? This module will address these, and other questions in life history evolution, using a range of modern approaches. All the main approaches of studying evolutionary ecology will be taught (optimality models, evolutionarily stable strategies, quantitative genetics, comparative methods) and their strengths and weaknesses explored. Equal weight will be given to plant and animal systems.10 credits
- Sustainable Agro-Ecosystems
This module highlights the threats to global sustainability, with a particular focus on food production and ecosystem functioning, being caused by human impacts on the environment. The module considers how we have got into the present unsustainable mess ¿ of poor land and natural resource management, under valuing of farmers, life-threatening soil degradation causing flooding, pollution of fresh water and soil insecurity, as well as large numbers of people overconsuming and wasting food whilst others don¿t have enough. It shows that how we sustainably manage agro-ecosystems now, and in the immediate future, will determine the fate of humanity. Soils are the foundations of terrestrial ecosystems, food and biofuel production, but are amongst the most badly abused and damaged components of the ecosphere. Climate change, agricultural intensification, biofuels and unsustainable use of fertilizers and fossil fuels pose critical threats to global food production and sustainable agro-ecosystems - and their impacts on soil ecosystems are central to these threats. The module considers soil ecosystems function in nature and the lessons that we can then apply to develop more sustainable agriculture and ecosystem management.10 credits
- Conservation Issues and Management
This module aims to provide the opportunity for students to develop (i) their knowledge of topical issues in conservation, (ii) their ability to identify potential solutions to real-world conservation problems and assess the likely effectiveness of these (iii) their skills in accessing, interpreting and synthesising the primary scientific literature in the field of conservation and (iv) their ability to think independently. This will be achieved by introducing students, through lectures and independent reading, to a range of topical issues in conservation biology, by showing how research can inform the development of action plans and by illustrating how the success of applied measures to mitigate conservation problems can be assessed. Students will then apply their learning by developing action plans for specific conservation problems.20 credits
- Future Plants: From Laboratory to Field
This module explores current research themes in plant biology, examining how fundamental plant science, often using model organisms, can be translated into real-world applications. The course will highlight different research areas encompassing plant development and productivity, responses to environmental stresses and interactions with other organisms (beneficial or pests and diseases). Students will be introduced to the science that underpins these processes in plants and how this knowledge can be exploited to address problems such as food security, sustainability and environmental change.10 credits
- Advanced Geospatial Analysis
This module will give students the opportunity to extend their knowledge of geospatial systems and software through detailed instruction and targeted case studies. The course will be taught in three parts, and will involve a mixture of lab-work and lectures. The three key themes are: (a) Digital Terrain Models (DTM) from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Structure from Motion (SfM) Photogrammetry, (b) Mapping of glacial bedforms from DTM data. Lab sessions will enhance software, coding and quantitative skills. Where possible, lab-work sessions will include student-led components and formative peer-peer assessment elements which will provide the opportunity to develop a range of generic analytical skills.20 credits
- Applied Volcanology
Volcanoes are an enigmatic force of nature. Understanding the way they behave and how they are monitored is a key aspect in hazard assessment. The module will cover a range of topics related to volcano monitoring, underpinned by an overview of the current state-of-the-art in volcanic science. In particular, the module will combine a theoretical basis of understanding for ground-based and satellite-based volcano monitoring capabilities with practical applications. Via lectures, lab practicals, and field-based activities, students will benefit from hands-on operation of monitoring equipment through to processing and interpretation.20 credits
- Lake District Fieldclass
The ability to apply knowledge of physical processes and research approaches to understand a particular environment is a key geographical skill. This module will provide experience in process interpretation, focusing on the physical processes that have shaped the environment. The module will comprise a 5-day UK residential field class to the Lake District National Park and will cover a range of topics that complement and extend knowledge acquired on the BSc Physical Geography programme, including glaciology, climatology, landscape dynamics and environmental science. Evening lectures during the field-trip will provide relevant background. Small group follow-up sessions will be used to support the presentation of research findings in a science piece.20 credits
- Landscape Evolution
The complex distribution and form of Earth’s topography is the product of both surface and tectonic processes, including interactions with climate at local, regional and global scales. Geomorphological processes and rates are influenced by interactions between these factors, as are the geological and geomorphological hazards in different regions. Informed by on-going research by department staff, this module will deepen understanding of (i) the nature and geomorphological implications of global physical processes that has been developed at levels 1 to 2, (ii) the chronological processes used to constrain contemporary and past landscape evolution, and (iii) the landscape development over a range of timescales and hazard implications of these processes. The module will involve consideration of a range of landscapes and the key controls on their evolution and development.20 credits
- The Planets
This module introduces the student to the fascinating discipline of planetary geoscience and exploration. By using the principles of Physical Geography to study unfamiliar environments, we will explore problems that touch upon themes from climate, tectonics, geomorphology, hydrology, and life. The module begins with the Solar System but soon focuses on planetary-scale matters, using the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) as main examples because of an explosion of knowledge gathered from their observation. We will consider the new perspectives that such knowledge offers on the Earth's dynamic systems.20 credits
- Our Frozen Planet
This research-led module will examine glacial environments in their broadest sense including both their contemporary and former states. Typical themes include:20 credits
1) Glaciology (processes and phenomena of current glaciers)
2) Ice sheet and glacial modelling (understanding of how numerical models are used in glaciology)
3) Palaeoglaciology (reconstructions of former glaciers)
4) Periglacial environments (cold region processes often close to glacierised regions)
5) Specialist guest research contributions (lectures/seminars on topical cryospheric research).
- Contemporary Geographical Research (L3)
This module requires the student to prepare, research and write up a piece of work based on a geographical topic of their choice. After meeting with a staff member a proposal will be produced (500 words, 10%) that will be marked to give the student feedback before they embark on the essay. An extended essay will then be conducted independently with limited staff support, synthesising and developing a critique on the existing literature available in the Sheffield libraries.20 credits
- Geoscientific Data Analysis using MATLAB
Matlab® is a computing environment and programming language with over one million users worldwide. Matlab® also has many less scientific uses; it can be used to edit digital photos and listen to online music. This module will introduce students to Matlab® by way of specific real-world examples taken from Geoscience topics using freely-available data. Initially the module will gently introduce students to the basics of using Matlab® before focussing on five broad topics relevant to Geoscience. At each stage, theory will be accompanied by easy to understand practical examples, with the code used for the examples made available to students. Assessment will comprise computer practicals and a research project; the focus of which will be chosen by each student, but which must use Matlab® to analyse and present data. This module will equip students with a valuable transferable skill – the ability to use a programming language to obtain/generate, analyse and present geoscientific data.20 credits
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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.
Learning and assessment
Our environmental science programmes provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to understand and solve critical environmental issues. You will study with academic staff whose research expertise is internationally recognised and your learning will take place on field classes and in state-of-the-art laboratories, lecture theatres and libraries.
You will be assessed through a combination of exams, coursework and practical assessment. The proportions of these will vary depending on the modules you choose.
This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.
With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
including Geography or another relevant science subject
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
including Geography or another relevant science subject
A Levels + additional qualifications | BBB, including Geography or another science subject + B in the EPQ; BBB, including Geography or another relevant science subject + B in Core Maths BBB, including Geography or another science subject + B in the EPQ; BBB, including Geography or another relevant science subject + B in Core Maths
International Baccalaureate | 33, with 5 in Higher Level Geography or another relevant science subject 32, with 5 in Higher Level Geography or another relevant science subject
BTEC | DDD in a relevant subject DDM in a relevant subject
Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher | AABBB + B in Geography or another relevant science subject ABBBB + B in Geography or another relevant science subject
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels | B + AB, including Geography or another relevant science subject B + AB, including Geography or another relevant science subject
Access to HE Diploma | 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 credits at Distinction (to include Geography or another relevant science subject units) and 15 credits at Merit 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 24 credits at Distinction (to include Geography or another relevant science subject units) and 21 credits at Merit
Mature students - explore other routes for mature students
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
Relevant science subjects other than Geography include Biology/Human Biology, Geology, Environmental Science/Studies, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths, Physics or Statistics
GCSE Maths grade 4/C
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Department of Geography
The Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield is a world leader in teaching and research. We're ranked within the top 50 universities in the world for geography according to the QS Rankings 2021 and within the top 10 in the world for geography by the ShanghaiRanking Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2021.
We are experts in the fields of social justice and environmental change. We explore our dynamic, diverse world to address humanity’s greatest problems, from food waste to melting ice sheets. Our innovative research and practice-based learning will equip you with distinct, relevant professional skills.
We have over 30 full-time academic staff in the department. Our high staff-to-student ratio ensures that you receive excellent quality teaching and a high level of pastoral support throughout your studies.
The Department of Geography is housed in an award-winning, purpose-built building on the edge of the beautiful Weston Park, close to the Students' Union and central libraries and lecture theatres.
We have a well-equipped computer teaching laboratory, postgraduate and undergraduate physical geography laboratories, and image processing facilities which provide an important component for teaching and research in remote sensing and geographical information systems (GIS).
School of Biosciences
The School of Biosciences brings together more than 100 years of teaching and research expertise across the breadth of biology. It is home to over 120 lecturers who are actively involved in research at the cutting edge of their field, sharing their knowledge with more than 1,500 undergraduate and 300 postgraduate students.
Our expertise spans the breadth and depth of bioscience, including molecular and cell biology, genetics, development, human physiology and pharmacology through to evolution, ecology, biodiversity conservation and sustainability. This makes us one of the broadest and largest groupings of the discipline and allows us to train the next generation of biologists in the latest research techniques and discoveries.
The School of Biosciences is based at the heart of campus across the interlinked Firth Court, Alfred Denny, Florey, Perak and Addison buildings which house lecture theatres, teaching labs and research facilities. You’ll be over the road from 24/7 library facilities and the UK’s number one students’ union, a short walk from our student accommodation, sports facilities and the city centre, and just a bus ride away from the Peak District National Park.
Biosciences students are based across Firth Court, the Alfred Denny, Florey and Addison buildings. We are at the heart of the University campus, adjacent to the Students' Union and just a 15-minute walk from the city centre.
Our students have access to world-class laboratory and computing resources for biological research and are trained in specialist teaching laboratories. The school is home to state-of-the-art facilities, including the Medical Teaching Unit where our students work alongside trainee medics to gain an excellent foundation for understanding human physiology and developmental biology. We also have the Alfred Denny Museum of Zoology that we use for teaching animal anatomy, biodiversity and evolution.
To further support our research and teaching, we have a world-leading controlled environment facility which allows our staff and students to study the impacts of climate change; multi-million pound microscopy equipment that’s helping us to understand and prevent diseases such as MRSA; and facilities for genomics, proteomics and metabolomics research, Biological Mass Spectrometry, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance imaging.
Why choose Sheffield?
The University of Sheffield
A top 100 university 2022
QS World University Rankings
Top 10% of all UK universities
Research Excellence Framework 2014
No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017
Department of Geography
ShanghaiRanking Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2021
QS World University Rankings By Subject 2021
School of Biosciences
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022
Research Excellence Framework 2014
Graduate Outcomes 2020
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.
93% 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).
In addition to further study, our graduates go on to work for leading scientific organisations like Cancer Research, GSK, RB and Mondelez; organisations linked to ecology and conservation such as the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, Kew Gardens, the Natural History Museum and the Environment Agency; and prestigious graduate schemes like Google, PwC, the BBC, Deloitte, United Kingdom Civil Service, Aldi and the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme.
Fieldwork is central to teaching and research in the environmental sciences. It allows you to apply the ideas and skills from your lectures and lab work, and is vital for developing the analytical and practical skills required by environmental specialists.
You will typically undertake residential field classes funded by the department in both the first and second years of your degree. These field classes currently take place in the UK. Also, some modules include local day trips for fieldwork, which take advantage of Sheffield’s location on the edge of the Peak District National Park. Where possible we run optional residential field classes in the third year. These are closely aligned with the research strengths of our staff, and give you additional opportunities to develop your fieldwork skills.
Additionally, many students conduct fieldwork as part of their research projects and departmental scholarships are available to support ambitious independent fieldwork. Recent scholarships have supported research into glaciology in the Swiss Alps and the reintroduction of beavers in the Scottish Highlands.
Fees and funding
The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.
Funding your study
Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.
Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.
University open days
There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.
At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.
If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.
Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Apply for this course
Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.
The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.
Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.