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Environmental Science BSc(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time F900 2017
4 years full time including sandwich year F901 2017
4 years full time including foundation year F908 2017
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2017

Why choose this course?

If you are interested in the challenges associated with climate change, development pressures, water resources and environmental pollution, this course is ideal. You will learn to understand, monitor and evaluate the Earth's environmental systems, and predict, manage and respond to environmental challenges on global, regional and local scales.

Kingston University course director Stuart Downward talks about the environmental and sustainable development programmes:

What you will study

Year 1 introduces the concepts of environmental science, environmental systems and methods of scientific investigation. You will study the processes that operate within environmental systems and cause their change. You will gain an understanding of the ways in which people have interacted with the environment; and you will examine sustainability challenges for the future. You will also learn to make accurate observations of the environment in the field and the laboratory, and will evaluate your findings.

Year 2 builds your knowledge and experiences. You will expand your portfolio of skills through the analysis of environmental data, and will develop a practical understanding of the techniques used to investigate our environment. You will also learn how to design and manage an environmental research project, and will put theory into practice in an overseas fieldwork setting.The optional sandwich year between Years 2 and 3 includes a work placement or international exchange. The work placement gives an opportunity to undertake paid work and gain valuable experience in an environmental or sustainable development field. We will keep in touch with you throughout your placement, ensuring the skills and training you receive translate effectively to Year 3, and to your career aspirations.

In Year 3 specialist option modules will allow you to apply your knowledge to investigate contemporary environmental challenges. Your independent research project will reflect your own environmental science interests and builds towards your career. You can also select an optional advanced-level fieldwork module to apply your skills as an environmental scientist in a developing-world setting.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1

  • This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the basic principles and processes that operate and cause change in environmental systems and show how this knowledge can be applied to sustainably manage environmental problems. The importance of a holistic, 'top-down' approach to problem solving will be introduced along with material on key underpinning scientific disciplines including environmental chemistry and genetics. Practical and fieldwork sessions are designed to develop observation and recording skills.

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  • Spatial analysis introduces and develops the fundamental geographical skills of data collection, analysis and presentation and the solving of spatial problems using GIS. It concerns data types, representations of reality and key spatial analysis techniques.

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  • This core module introduces techniques of fieldwork and the principles that form the basis of successful investigations within this, including statistics and subject specific to geographical, geological and environment degrees.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • prepare for and perform basic fieldwork techniques;
    • produce a field report in the appropriate format; underpinned by field observations and records;
    • undertake elementary data analysis;
    • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the fundamental scientific (and other) principles and techniques that are pertinent to the course; and
    • apply undergraduate-level academic skills.

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  • Environmental Chemistry

Year 2

  • This module introduces the theory and practice of environment and sustainable development in meeting the challenges of the future as they affect society, business and the economy.  Sustainable development considers the theoretical basis in economic, social and environmental factors  including economic theory, natural resource usage and globalisation. In addition, economic mechanisms are explored and the theory of externalities and their control through regulation, market-based incentive, property rights, economic behaviour and macroeconomic issues of sustainable development.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of environment-society interactions including the interplay of local and regional issues within a framework of globalisation.
    • Demonstrate an awareness of the theory of externalities and their control through regulation and through economic instruments such as market-based incentives and property rights.
    • Apply the fundamental economic analysis to issues of environmental concern.
    • Appreciate the governance environment in which modern  practices of environmental management operate.
    • Understand the key issues for business and industry in relation to the environment and sustainability agenda, including environmental management systems.
    • Be able to carry out and /or evaluate an environmental audit, a simple waste management/minimisation programme and an environmental impact assessment.

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  • This module develops an understanding of the fundamental principles of soil science whereby the various soil properties and processes, including storage and transport of water in soil, are explained. This provides a good underpinning to developing an understanding of hydrology. Core principles of hydrology are explored both as theoretical physical science of hydrology and practical hydrological skills, which students gain through hands-on experience and investigations. This knowledge of soil and water sciences forms the essential base for introducing and explaining environmental pollution, including the impact of pollutants on environmental systems (soil, water, plants and air) and human health. It also discusses pollution mitigation and control strategies.

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  • Choose from the following:

    • This module develops an understanding of the fundamental principles of soil science whereby the various soil properties and processes, including storage and transport of water in soil, are explained. This provides a good underpinning to developing an understanding of hydrology. Core principles of hydrology are explored both as theoretical physical science of hydrology and practical hydrological skills, which students gain through hands-on experience and investigations. This knowledge of soil and water sciences forms the essential base for introducing and explaining environmental pollution, including the impact of pollutants on environmental systems (soil, water, plants and air) and human health. It also discusses pollution mitigation and control strategies.

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    • This module explores the ecological concepts using a hierarchical approach; population, community and ecosystem levels of ecology, highlighting the interactions between man and nature. A research-led approach is used to emphasise the models by which ecologists attempt to explain complex biological systems.

      On successful completion of the module you should be able to:

      • Describe the models used to explain fundamental ecological processes that govern populations, communities and ecosystems.
      • Discuss and evaluate the processes that modulate distribution and abundance of organisms in ecological systems.
      • Critically discuss the mechanisms that lead to change in ecological systems.
      • Analyse ecological data and interpret results in the context of appropriate ecological theory and discuss its implications for the management of environments.

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    • This module develops the themes of analysis and practical procedures (with an emphasis on analytical and organic chemistry) that were introduced in previous modules. It incorporates both a more rigorous approach to laboratory work, coupled with developing the research skills required to devise experiments and then objectively assess results, followed by preparing high-quality reports and presentations.  he analytical methodologies and experimental techniques are those used routinely in academia, industry, and other laboratory research – spectroscopy; organic syntheses; molecular modelling; inorganic and physical chemistries; and the uses of applied separation technologies in common use. The modes of obtaining and evaluating findings, by use of electronic databases (eg Reaxys®) in addition to conventional printed literature sources.  The ability to write coherent, evidence-based, yet succinct reports is a component. 

       On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

      • Discuss the practices of separation science, chemical manipulation, and using these methods to purify a range of compounds.
      • Show how the role of validation of procedures is vital to rigorous scientific methods.
      • Define the various stages in problem solving, understanding the value of viable experimental results in statistical testing.
      • Perform more advanced chemical experiments, in analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry fields, but with an emphasis on experimental organic chemistry.
      • Compile an accurate and critical account of experiments undertaken, typically as an abstract, that integrates previous learning and peer-reviewed reference material.

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Optional sandwich year

Year 3/4

  • This module provides experience in the design, execution and preparation of an independent but approved programme of research. Students will be required to identify and analyse a significant research problem and demonstrate an understanding of relevant arguments by presenting a coherent critique of the available research literature and materials, rigorous research methodology, data manipulation, analysis and interpretation.

    On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

    • identify and formulate research questions within an appropriate academic subject;
    • demonstrate the ability to develop a detailed, coherent and logical argument;
    • develop and implement an appropriate research methodology, including evaluation of safety and ethical considerations relevant to the proposed project;
    • demonstrate skills in the collection, analysis and interpretation of geographical data;
    • show an ability to organise a work programme effectively and independently, with support from a supervisor;
    • through the Personal Tutorial System, reflect on the variety of employability skills applied and further developed through their research project as a foundation for the consideration of further study and their professional/work place development.

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  • The module examines the relationship between land and water management, global challenges associated with the management of land and water, and sustainable options to seek their resolution. The module will develop an understanding and critical evaluation of these challenges from several perspectives, ie through the systematic investigation of land-use practices; the applications of soil science and linking practices to processes and patterns of land degradation; the interface between land management and water management; global concerns for water security; land use impacts on the wider environment, including climate, physical and socio-political drivers; plus an examination of the regional land-water management issues.

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  • Choose from the following:

    • This module introduces you to critical issues of development including cross-cutting themes of poverty, exclusion, inequality, famine, HIV/AIDS, natural hazards, gender and conflict. In addition, the module explores relations between developed states and the developing world contexts to explore some of the challenges of inequality and globalisation. The module will include a substantial fieldwork element.

      On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

      • Critically assess contemporary approaches to development.
      • Explain the geographies of developing countries, including a critical assessment of the importance of the representation of places and the ways different  societies relate to them.
      • Explain contemporary problems in, and future prospects of, developing countries; including current geographical and region-specific issues affecting development.
      • Undertake field research on critical issues relevant to the study of development.
      • Demonstrate skills in sourcing and evaluating information and data on development issues from a variety of media sources.

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    • This module tackles the key issues relating to climate change in the three main subject areas of science, policy and society. It aims to provide you with an understanding of the key concepts and processes of climate change and the various ways in which societies can respond. Fieldwork sessions are designed to complement the lecture series and give further practical demonstration of policy and practice complexities.

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    • This module examines the importance of historical and contemporary land use practices in shaping current biotic communities. Current issues in biodiversity and conservation are explored through a lecture and seminar programme. Fieldwork supports the lectures and assignments which are designed to introduce students to important aspects of practical conservation work, such as funding bids, species conservation strategies, and communicating to non-specialists/decision makers.

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You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Study abroad as part if your degreeMost of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

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Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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Contact us

Admissions team

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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