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BSc Environmental Science / Course details
Year of entry: 2021
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We are one of the largest Earth and Environmental Sciences departments in the UK, with global reach.
This creates excellent learning, research and employment opportunities for our students.Mike Burton / Head of Department, Professor of Volcanology
Our 3 year BSc degree in Environmental Science applies a broad interdisciplinary perspective to understanding how the world works. This approach enables us to tackle pressing problems, such as ensuring that human needs are met in a sustainable way, so that everyone has access to clean water and air, and the resources required for agriculture and industrial activity.
Environmental Science is focussed on a holistic understanding of Earth systems in order to learn from the past, comprehend the present and influence the future. It is the study of how physical, chemical and biological processes maintain and interact with life, and includes the study of how humans affect nature. As Environmental Science is at the cross-roads of the natural sciences, it provides an enriching alternative to a single-subject honours degree, and can open the door to an exciting range of career options.
During your time with us you will be a part of a dynamic community trying to answer some of the most pressing global issues that we all face. Your work could make a contribution to solving some of the world's greatest challenges.
Our BSc in Environmental Science is a three year degree which offers you the flexibility to tailor your interest in environmental science to one of three pathways:
- Pollution and environmental processes;
- Atmospheric science;
- Ecology, evolution and conservation biology.
We are a Department of environmental scientists, geologists, chemists, mathematicians, biologists, physicists and computer scientists, who work together to study the Earth and planets. Our degrees cover the full breadth of earth and environmental sciences, reflecting the main research themes that are fundamental to the work we do in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
The reputation of Earth and Planetary Science at The University of Manchester's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences rests on our world-leading interdisciplinary research into processes operating on, within and beyond the Earth. This research incorporates biological, chemical, physical and environmental aspects of the world and solar system we live in. The close alignment between our teaching and research ensures that units are delivered by scholars who are at the forefront of their disciplines.
Our course will equip you with an armoury of skills to take into the world of work, including the ability to analyse problems, to work collaboratively as part of a team, and to develop field, laboratory, numeracy and communication skills.
- Study in one of the largest departments of Earth and Environmental Science, giving access to a wide range of specialisms;
- An integrated natural science first year, tailored to the Earth, planets and their environments, allows you to discover where your interests lie;
- Develop knowledge and practical skills to address matters of significance to the economic and environmental wellbeing of society;
- Our flexible course structure allows you to customise your studies to your interests, following one of three pathways after Year 1, providing an ideal gateway to your career;
- Field trips are a key component of our undergraduate degrees, providing you the opportunity to travel to fascinating locations in the UK and abroad in every year. Fees include all compulsory, taught field courses. Previous locations include: Spain; France; Guatemala; Italy; Montserrat; Nicaragua; Scotland; USA and Wales;
- Transfer onto a 4-year MEnvSci to gain significant research experience, with the option to incorporate a year in industry , complete a research placement or study at an international university .
Teaching and learning
How will you learn?
We take pride in our excellent teaching standards, our distinguished lecturers and research staff ensure that you have all the support available to develop your learning, skills and employability prospects.
You will benefit from a wide range of teaching and learning methods that suit the content and aims of each course unit, including:
- Formal lectures;
- Laboratory classes;
- Field classes;
- Small-group tutorials.
Two-thirds of your contact time will be focussed on the development of practical skills. Teamwork, problem-solving and field work play a key role in integrating all the elements of your subject, and will also develop transferable skills across areas of specialisation, enabling you to succeed in your future career.
Field work is a key component of our undergraduate degrees and is an essential part of all our courses and provides a unique learning experience:
- Field work gives you the chance to apply knowledge learned in lectures and practical classes to real settings, allowing you to develop the skills of a professional earth and environmental scientist, such as observing, collecting, recording and interpreting a range of data;
- Venues vary from classic areas of the British Isles to locations across the globe. Field courses are tailored to meet the needs of each pathway;
- Most field courses are residential and provide a great chance to form friendships with staff and your fellow students in an informal setting, and to travel and experience different cultures.
Lecturers and world-leading researchers
Our department has a diverse mix of respected lecturers and research staff who are at the forefront of their fields. Find out more about our lecturers, researchers and support staff in the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, including information about their specific areas of interest and research, qualifications and publications.
Personal Academic Advisor
Throughout your degree course, you'll be assigned an Academic Advisor, who is there to support you and give advice about any academic issues throughout the duration of your course. Your advisor will be able to help you with the transition from school or college to university, and can help you get to grips with studying and learning more independently. They'll also be able to help you develop your skills in academic writing or research, making presentations, or any other skills that are specific to your degree programme.
Peer Support scheme
Our peer support scheme is one of the largest in Europe. Peer mentors are higher-year students on the same degree programme as you, who will help you find your feet when you arrive here and adjust to student life. As they'll have already been a student at Manchester for at least a year, they should be able to help you with anything you might be worried or unsure about.
You'll also undertake an independent project in Year 3 that is tailored to your chosen pathway.
Coursework and assessment
This course is assessed by a variety of methods, including:
- Essays and written assignments;
- Oral and written presentations;
- Field assessment.
We place a strong emphasis on practical skills and project work. Around one-third of your assessment in Year 3 will be based on independent research projects.
Course unit details
Our Environmental Science course covers all major aspects of the earth system. The course has a common first year, allowing you to choose your degree pathway based on your experience during year 1. In years 2 and 3 you'll follow your choice of pathway. Each pathway is defined to ensure you develop core knowledge alongside a choice of optional units.
Course content for year 1
Our first year will introduce you to the modern way we study the Earth. The emphasis in the first year is on building foundational knowledge in the natural sciences, tailored to the Earth, planets and their environments, and on developing practical and transferrable skills.
During this year you will study the principles that underlie all our pathways and will receive one-on-one advice to help you choose your preferred pathway at the end of the first year. Every first year student will be supported by our peer mentoring schemes and small group work with an academic tutor.
The first year units will develop your theoretical knowledge, your numerical, field and laboratory skills, and aid your professional development.
Course units for year 1
|Understanding the Earth||EART11100||40||Mandatory|
|The Natural Scientist's Toolkit||EART11200||40||Mandatory|
|Practical and Professional Skills Development||EART11300||40||Mandatory|
Course content for year 2
In year 2 you will tailor your studies to your own academic interests by focusing on a particular aspect of the Earth's environmental system. Each pathway consists of a series of core units and extends topics from your first year, introducing new areas in your area of specialisation.
For a full list of the course units for each pathway, please click on the links below:
Pollution and Environmental Processes - On this pathway you'll study climate change, biodiversity and environmental management, pollution and control, population dynamics, ecosystems and urbanisation, tackling some of the global grand and pressing problems that will ensure human needs are met in a sustainable way.
Atmospheric and Climate Science - Understanding the atmosphere allows us to address a wide range of societal and environmental issues, including weather forecasting, urban air quality, pollutant transport and climate change. On this pathway you'll focus on the atmosphere and its relationship to the Earth system, as well as to society.
Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology - The Earth is the only known planet supporting life. The history of the Earth is intertwined with the history of life, and the world is both shaped by, and shapes, the organisms alive today. This pathway focuses on understanding those relationships.
Course content for year 3
In your final year, you can choose from a wide range of course units made up of core units from within your own pathway specialization , units from other pathways offered within the Environmental Sciences degree, as well as units from our other degree in Earth and Planetary Science. A range of units are offered which have an applied focus to help you prepare for your future career.
Alternatively, you may choose to study a course from the University's College for Interdisciplinary Learning , including our innovative Leadership in Action course, which combines study with volunteering and personal development.
You'll undertake a research project that is tailored to your degree pathway specialisation. You will collect data in the field and laboratory to answer a scientific question of your choice.
Scholarships and bursaries
The University of Manchester is committed to attracting and supporting the very best students. We have a focus on nurturing talent and ability and we want to make sure that you have the opportunity to study here, regardless of your financial circumstances.
We teach our practical sessions in custom-designed, well-equipped laboratories with enough space for you to have your own microscope and work comfortably on your own or in a group.
All our courses are driven and inspired by the latest research in the department, so we also give you access to our most advanced and sophisticated research facilities:
- Innovative, research-led, eLearning tools to enhance your understanding;
- A well-equipped, dedicated undergraduate study area providing a place for relaxation and somewhere to work with your fellow students within the Department;
- Close supervision and pastoral care by an academic staff member during the whole degree course.
World-leading research facilities
- Analytical geochemistry unit, for analysing water and solid geological matter;
- Scanning Electron Microscope - for imaging a wide range of samples, from polished rock sections to bacteria to Egyptian mummies;
- Cameca electron probe - used for the quantitative analysis of a wide variety of geological samples In-situ and remote sensing instrumentation for the study of clouds, aerosols, radiation and dynamics;
- Advanced isotope geochemistry and cosmochemistry suite.
The Manchester Museum
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences has close links with the Manchester Museum and its extensive geological collections.