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Environmental Science BSc (Hons)

Start your career as an environmental scientist on this degree accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences. Use industry-standard lab equipment, study abroad, and learn power boating or diving.

University of Portsmouth Connected Degree - 3 year course with 4th year placement

Key information

UCAS code:



This course is Accredited

Typical offer:

112-120 UCAS points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 32 UCAS points from a specific Science subject

See full entry requirements
Study mode and duration
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Environmental scientists deal with the big questions facing humanity.

If you want to tackle climate change and preserve Earth's natural resources, this BSc (Hons) Environmental Science degree, accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), will prepare you for the challenges ahead.

If you want to tackle climate change and preserve Earth's natural resources, this BSc (Hons) Environmental Science degree, accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), will prepare you for the challenges ahead. You'll gain an understanding of the human threats to the natural world and develop the skills to reduce impacts and find solutions needed for a sustainable future.

Course highlights

  • Work in our labs using the same technology as the world's leading environmental researchers – including plasma spectrometry and electron microscopy
  • Boost your professional experience by doing a work placement
  • Acquire key environmental monitoring and laboratory skills in our highly equipped analytical labs – including nutrient autoanalysers and heavy metal analysis via ICP-OES and ICP-MS
  • Develop research skills – learning from world-leading environmental science experts
  • Gain essential skills on field trips across various settings, including terrestrial and freshwater habitats in Somerset, rocky shore ecology at Lulworth Cove, island environments in Malta and tropical ecosystems in Malaysia
  • Build experience on a one-year work placement in industry, or study abroad at one of our partner universities in Canada, Australia, Germany, Poland, Spain, Malta, Slovakia, Hungary or France
  • Develop additional practical skills through RYA power boating and PADI-certified scientific and technical diving courses

Earth systems and environmental sciences at the University of Portsmouth is ranked 4th of all post-1992 universities for research quality

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Read more about our amazing earth systems and environmental sciences research

The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES)
Accrediting body

Accredited by:

This course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES).

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements

BSc (Hons) Environmental Science degree entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels - BBB-BBC
  • UCAS points - 112-120 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 32 points from a Science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Geology, Mathematics or Physics). (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit. Acceptable T Level Subjects:
    T Level in Health, T Level in Healthcare Science, T Level in Science 
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM-DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept.

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications.

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be able to join this course after you successfully complete a foundation year.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

Facilities and specialist equipment

Environmental Chemistry Analysis Laboratory

Use the equipment in this lab to identify and analyse chemicals and biochemicals in surface water, groundwater and soil, so you can develop strategies to minimise and remove their harmful environmental effects.

An image of test tubes
Find out more about the lab

GIS and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Discover more about the planet's physical structures and scientific processes, such as glaciers and coastal flooding, using drone data, aerial and satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems.

Aerial view of scenic Greenland Glaciers and icebergs
Explore the lab

Geochemistry Laboratory

Study the ancient properties of the Earth’s surface materials in this lab, using techniques including palynology processing – the study of strewn particles – for acid dissolutions of rock matrices, sample sieving and heavy liquid separation.

A river delta
Explore the lab

Mass Spectrometry and Laser Ablation Laboratory

Investigate the geological and planetary processes that influence environment change and natural resource formation in this lab, using our industry standard spectrometers and laser ablation system.

Burnaby June 2019
Learn more about the lab

Studying Environmental Science at the University of Portsmouth

Dr Sarah Reynolds, the course leader for both the Environmental Science BSc and the Marine Environmental Science BSc, discusses the courses at the University of Portsmouth.

Dr Sarah Reynolds: This course is unique in that it provides you with not only the real strong grounding in the science that makes you confident in what you know, but it's really hands on.

Lots of practicals, lots of lab work and the position that we're in, the coast is literally on our doorstep. We have these fantastic environments in the terrestrial system too to explore, means that you get such a well rounded programme.

Having such a range of analytical capability within our laboratories is a unique opportunity for students to get that really good hands on experience. We can measure nutrients in both freshwater and the marine environment. We have a range of ICPs which are responsible for measuring things like heavy metals. We have a flow cytometer which can look at bacteria and small phytoplankton, and we also have a flow cam which takes images, it's an image analysis, to look at phytoplankton and zooplankton. It's really great for students to use that data in their projects.

One of the best things about the course here at the University of Portsmouth is our amazing opportunities with field work. We start right in the first year with a residential trip over in Somerset, where you start to really get some of those basic field skills. In the second year we also have a really amazing field trip to Malta. A week out there learning all different aspects about the environmental science of Malta. In the final year we have some optional field trips, and these include a trip to Portugal or a trip to Malaysia.

We offer a pathway within the degree programme to take a year out and go and work in industry, so we have a placement year. We've had a number of students have some really successful placements and we've had students offered jobs before they've even finished their degree programme. The students that we have on the degree are, they're fantastic. They're passionate students. They come in with that passion already and to watch them grow and develop and head off into some really fantastic jobs, it is, it's the best thing about the job. I'm so proud of them. Their passion gives me hope.

Careers and opportunities

Environmental science is at the forefront of our efforts to preserve and protect the natural world. As our understanding of environmental cause and effect continues to develop, environmental scientists are in high demand, including within the many sectors and industries tasked with reducing their environmental footprint.

In the UK, the number of environmental jobs has increased by 91% compared to 2016, and those entering the environmental field can expect to earn at least 12% above the national average annual wage.

Tackling the environmental challenges our world faces

On this BSc Environmental Science, you’ll explore how the environment is changing and discover new ways to minimise our impact on the planet. You'll examine the physical and social aspects of environmental issues and develop practical skills to carry out your own environmental research, including analysing pollutants, soil structure and water quality.

Once you graduate, you'll be ready to go after jobs in academia, business or government in a wide range of environmental specialties, including conservation, pollution control, waste management, sustainability, climate change and energy resources.

You'll be able to apply for Associate Membership of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) and with more experience, you could work to become a Chartered Scientist (CSci) or Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv). Chartered Membership of the IES is required in many environmental careers.

You could also continue your studies at postgraduate level, such as on our MSc Geological and Environmental Hazards or MSc Environmental Geology and Land Contamination.

Ambassador Profiles; June 2019
We have a second year field trip to Malta and a third year field trip to Malaysia. There are also second year optional units of diving or boating, both are really fun.

Rachel Archer, BSc (Hons) Environmental Science

What jobs can you do with an environmental science degree?

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • environmental chemist
  • environmental technician
  • environment and sustainability coordinator
  • geographic information scientist
  • hydrologist
  • climate change modeller
  • chemical risk advisor
  • marine scientist
  • ecologist
  • conservation officer
  • environmental policy officer
  • waste management manage

Graduate destinations

Organisations our graduates have gone on to work for include:

  • Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS)
  • Alcatel Submarine Networks
  • Rentokil Initial
  • Eurofins
  • Network Rail
  • Portsmouth Water
Female student at computer

Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate

Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.

Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.

I liked that the course is very multi-disciplinary. The lecturers are very helpful and most are still active in their own areas of expertise, providing up-to-date information and support.

Anita Carey, BSc (Hons) Environmental Science

Placement year

After your second or third year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry. Placements give you the opportunity to apply what you've learnt so far in a real workplace, boosting your employability and making you attractive to employers after graduation.

You can work for a company or organisation here in the UK or overseas, or you could go independent by setting up and running your own business with other students.

Students have completed work placements at top organisations, including:

  • Leap Environmental
  • Mott MacDonald
  • Enitial

Whichever route you choose, you'll receive support and guidance. Our specialist team of Science and Health Careers advisors can help you with finding a work placement and improving your employability skills. They'll provide you with a database of placement vacancies, support with your job search – including help with applications and interviews – and support throughout your placement year.

Study abroad

You’ll also have the chance to study abroad at one of our partner universities, including Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain), Universite du Havre, (Le Havre, France) and Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznan, Poland). Studying overseas is a fantastic opportunity to explore a new destination and experience the world as an international student.

Many of our students describe their time spent studying abroad as truly life-changing, as well as an excellent way to stand out to future employers.


Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

What you'll study

Core modules in this year include: 

  • Analysis of the Earth and Environment – 20 credits
  • Ecology, Plants and Human Impact – 20 credits
  • Environmental Processes and Hazards – 20 credits
  • Global Environmental Challenges – 20 credits
  • Introduction to Marine Ecology and Oceanography – 20 credits
  • Planet Earth – 20 credits

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Environmental Chemistry and Monitoring – 20 credits
  • GIS and Remote Sensing – 20 credits
  • Research, Fieldwork and Professional Skills – 40 credits

Optional modules in this year include:

  • Energy Resources and the Science of Zero Carbon – 20 credits
  • Environmental Change – 20 credits
  • Hydrology and Geoenvironmental Risk – 20 credits
  • Introduction to Teaching – 20 credits
  • Institution Wide Language Programme – 20 credits
  • Overseas Study – 60 credits
  • Overseas Study Research and Fieldwork Skills – 20 credits
  • Practical Boating Skills – 20 credits
  • River Processes – 20 credits
  • Scientific and Technical Diving Techniques A – 20 credits
  • Scientific and Technical Diving Techniques B – 20 credits
  • Sustainable Environmental Management – 20 credits
  • Transport and Sustainability – 20 credits

Core modules in this year include: 

  • Dissertation – 40 credits
  • Environmental Assessment and Management – 20 credits
  • Environmental Pollution and Waste Management – 20 credits

Optional modules in this year include:

  • Analytical Methods For Earth and Environmental Sciences – 20 credits
  • Climate Change – 20 credits
  • Conservation Biogeography – 20 credits
  • European Study Tour – 20 credits
  • Tropical Study Tour – 20 credits

On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years, or after your third year, to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • field work or lab notebook recordings
  • reports
  • site surveys
  • computer-based exercises
  • oral presentation and essays
  • posters
  • presentations
  • exams

  • computer labs


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • laboratory work
  • field work
  • workshops

Teaching staff profiles

These are some of the expert staff who’ll teach you on this degree course.

Sarah Reynolds Portrait

Dr Sarah Reynolds

Programme Lead (Geography and Environmental Science)

School of the Environment, Geography, and Geosciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Gary Roland Fones Portrait

Professor Gary Fones

Professor of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry

School of the Environment, Geography, and Geosciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Michelle Sarah Hale Portrait

Dr Michelle Hale

Head of School

School of the Environment, Geography, and Geosciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Mohammad Abdul Hoque Portrait

Dr Mo Hoque

Senior Lecturer

School of the Environment, Geography, and Geosciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

Read more

Environmental Science lecturer, Professor Jim Smith, on developing vodka from crops grown in Chernobyl

Vodka distilled from grain and water sourced in a nuclear disaster zone? Professor Jim Smith explains how his safe, good-tasting and high-quality vodka is the first consumer product to come out of Chernobyl since the 1986 disaster.

External Audio

Life Solved Podcast - Atomik Vodka with Professor Jim Smith

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Environmental Science degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as tutorials, lectures, practical classes and workshops and external visits for about 12-15 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more lab and fieldwork in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting you

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £19,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Your travel and accommodation costs for compulsory fieldwork are included in the course fee, but you’ll need to pay for meals and other subsistence costs

You’ll need to contribute travel, accommodation, and meal costs for compulsory project work, which normally takes place between years 2 and 3. These costs are between £0–£500.

You’ll need to cover the cost of any optional fieldwork that you do, including travel, accommodation, meals and other living cost. These will vary depending on location. For example, the cost of fieldwork in Malaysia is around £1,500, while the cost of fieldwork in Portugal is around £800.

If you haven’t dived before, you can take the Scientific and Technical Diving A module, which includes a PADI Open Water course, Dry Suit course and Scientific and Technical Diving course. This module costs around £860, covering tuition, transport and diving costs.

If you already hold a PADI Open Water certificate (or equivalent), you can take the Scientific and Technical Diving B module, which includes an advanced diving course (e.g. PADI Advanced Open Water), Dry Suit course and Scientific and Technical Diving course. This module costs around £800, covering tuition, transport and diving costs.

The optional Practical Power Boating Skills module will cost in the region of £710.

If you take a placement year or study abroad year, tuition fees for that year are as follows:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £1,385 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £1,385 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £2,875  a year (subject to annual increase)


How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – F900
  • our institution code – P80

 Apply now through UCAS


If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in our international students section

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.