BSc Environmental Management / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Applied Environmental Science

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN10101
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Environmental science is a multi-disciplinary field that seeks to understand the delicately balanced systems that support all life on Earth, the causes and receptors of environmental impacts and the potential solutions to environmental problems. Environmental systems have been altered to some degree by human activities for thousands of years, but in the past two centuries, exponential growth in the human population and the industrialisation and mechanisation of human activities have resulted in significant environmental harm. This damage has led to an increasing focus on understanding how environmental systems function and how their harm is now undermining the provision of ecosystem services that humans depend upon.


This course unit provides an introduction to many of these concepts and issues, but fundamentally, it does so in an applied setting, to foster an understanding of how we can measure and understand environmental phenomena and how we can use this information to inform environmental management, through policy and practice.   Contemporary research and practical field visits are used to introduce a wide range of principles, methods and applications of environmental science and to understand their implications for society. During the course unit you will begin to apply this knowledge through case studies to gain an understanding of different career paths in the environmental discipline.


  • To understand the relationship between humans and the natural environment
  • To introduce the principles, methods and applications of environmental science;
  • To understand how the application of this knowledge can inform appropriate management of the environment;
  • To acquire practical skills in the collection and analysis of scientific data.



Week 1 - Lecture/seminar: Introduction and age of the Anthropocene

Week 2 - Lecture/seminar: Anthropogenic climate change – causes, impacts and management

Week 3 - Seminar: War on Waste (Film: Trashed)

Week 4 - Workshop: Managing Waste in Litterborough

Week 5 - Lecture/seminar: Water Pollution

Week 6 - Field Visit: Measuring water quality of two rivers

Week 7 - Lab Session: Analysing water samples

Week 8 - Lecture: Soil – importance and characteristics

Week 9 - Field Visit: Analysing soil characteristics at Delamere Forest

Week 10 - Lecture/seminar: Nutrient-cycling and ecosystem enrichment

Week 11 - Field Visit: Measuring nutrient levels at Etherow Country Park

Week 12 - Workshop: Conclusions and Exam Preparation


Teaching and learning methods

The course unit will be taught through online lectures and seminars, workshops, and field visits 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Have an understanding of the key physical and biological systems and processes which provide our life support;
  • Have knowledge of the environmental impacts caused by humans and how environmental change can affect human systems;

Intellectual skills

  • Understand a range of environmental impacts and the variation in thresholds and resilience of different environmental systems/features
  •  Recognise key concept s in our understanding and framing of the environment
  • Be able to use scientific data to interpret implications for the environment and its management

Practical skills

  • Be able to collect, analyse and interpret a range of environmental data
  • Understand and apply a range of practical skills to collect and analyse scientific data

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Develop skills in group working
  • Demonstrate skills in data collection, analysis and interpretation
  • Be able to use scientific information to inform decisions about environmental management 

Assessment methods

2 hour online exam 

Feedback methods

Students able to request meeting to discuss exam paper

Recommended reading

Botkin, D and Keller, E. (2007) Environmental Science – earth as a living planet (6th edition), John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Hadjibiros, K. (2014) Ecology and applied Environmental Science. CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Kneale, P.E. (2011) Study Skills for Geography, Earth and Environmental Science Students (3rd edition), Hodder Education, London.

O’Riordan, T. (2000) Environmental Science for Environmental Management (2nd edition), Prentice Hall, Harlow.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 15
Lectures 11
Tutorials 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 63

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Carys Jones Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Breakdown of learning hours

Lectures 11 hours

Tutorials/Seminars/Workshops 11 hours

Private Study 37 hours

Directed reading 22 hours

Field visits 15 hours

Other activities (e.g practical/laboratory work 4 hours

Total 100 hours

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