Studying environmental sciences involves understanding the science that explains how the world works, how environmental challenges arise as a result of human activities (and sometimes natural processes) and how we can address them.
Subject matter is topical, absorbing and wide-ranging. Teaching is supported strongly by both practical work and fieldwork, enabling you to develop the field skills required by the sector.
This course is broad-based with an emphasis on the interdisciplinary nature of environmental sciences, so that environmental challenges (such as climate change, desertification and loss of biodiversity) may be understood and interpreted within the context of the underlying natural processes.
In Year 1, the core modules will introduce you to some of the earth's natural systems. In particular, you will learn about the diversity of living things, their relationships with the environment and their significance in terms of the cycling of substances on local and global scales. You will also cover environmental geography and environmental sustainability. In addition there are modules that give you a good science grounding and help you with the quantitative features of a science course.
A feature of your first year is a series of tutorials with your academic adviser (a member of the teaching staff who is responsible for overseeing your academic progress). Tutorials are designed to help you to adjust to academic life at university and establish good study habits.
Areas of particular interest that you can follow in Years 2 and 3 include wildlife conservation, animal behaviour, climate change, environmental management, geoarchaeology, ethics and threatened species.
As courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown below.
Module titles marked with * in the lists below are those that need to be taken in order to benefit from accreditation by CIEEM (see 'Why choose this course?', above).
Module titles in bold are compulsory core modules.
Years 2 and 3
- Advanced Topics in Wildlife Conservation*
- Animal Behaviour*
- Enterprise Skills for Life Scientists
- Environmental Change: Fieldwork and Research (double)*
- Environmental Consultancy
- Environmental Decision Making
- Environmental Hazard Management
- Environmental Processes, Pollution and Climate Change (double)*
- Field Course: Surveys and Licensing*
- Geographical Information Systems
- Independent Study in Life Sciences*
- Plant Science*
- Project (double)*
- Research Methods for Biology and Environmental Sciences*
- Science and Humanity*
- Special Study in Life Sciences
- The Ethical Geographer (double)
- Threatened Species*
- Work Experience
Our work experience module usually takes place during part of your summer vacation. It not only gives you a fantastic opportunity to gain some professional experience in an area of interest to you but also enables you to develop links with environmental organisations, which will enhance your career prospects.
You can also take your degree as a sandwich course with a full year in industry (minimum 9 months) gaining extensive experience in laboratory, fieldwork or related environmental skills and various aspects of the sector.
Students have worked for ADAS, the UK’s largest independent provider of environmental consultancy, rural development services and policy advice, and have opportunities to work with our research groups, including our Environmental Information Exchange and the Freshwater Habitats Trust.
There are also opportunities to gain real-life experience of environmental consultancy. For example, one of our students worked for Oxfordshire Highways looking at the effects of salt on roadside verges.
The course includes three field courses, which reflects our emphasis on learning through actively applying theory in both practical classes and the field.
Field course: Identification and Methodology
Students will undertake a one-week trip to the Cévennes in the south of France - a most spectacular and diverse landscape that is rich in natural history. You will identify animals and plants in the field and apply a wide range of field techniques learned in the classroom.
Field course: Surveys and Licensing
Students visit a range of local environments to gain field techniques for assessing key habitat types and species for UK flora and fauna.
Environmental Change: Fieldwork and Research
Students go to South Devon for a week to investigate environmental change using experimental design and advanced data analysis.
Field trip costs: your course tuition fee covers the cost of all the mandatory field trips (currently the three listed above). The cost of any optional field trips such as going overseas to carry out your research project is not included in your course tuition fee, and a separate fee will apply.
Study abroad Great opportunities to study or work abroad
You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year.
Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your studies by:
While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.
- increasing your employability within an international market
- boosting your language skills
- building your confidence in adapting to new situations
- improving your knowledge of different cultures.
We have more than 100 partner universities around the world. Funding is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via some international programmes such as the Santander Student Awards.
There is also a European work placement programme which gives you the chance to work abroad as part of your studies.
For more information, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges.
Free language courses for students - the Open Module
Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.
Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.
Additional costs All students are required to have a lab coat which you can bring with you from home or buy once you get to Brookes. There will also be additional costs for learning resources such as books, stationary and for the production of some coursework.