Environmental Science

Study Environmental Science and graduate with a university degree

This course achieved 96% student satisfaction in the most recent National Student Survey.

Environmental Science image

Environmental Science as a discipline has grown out of increasing concern for the environment and the need for a scientific approach to the study of human impacts on natural resources. Today’s environmental scientists are challenged to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as climate change, pollution, energy, loss of biodiversity and lack of food and clean water. Our course provides the necessary grounding in the science and the technical training to investigate these problems and find appropriate management solutions. University of Stirling was one of the first universities to establish a degree course in Environmental Science in 1980 and we are still committed today to training graduates with the skills valued by employers. This focus has created genuine career opportunities with a wide range of organisations including water authorities, research institutes, conservation bodies, businesses, local authorities and government agencies. Previous graduates have gone on to enjoy successful careers in areas such as environmental consultancy, transport planning, waste management, education and ecotourism.

This degree also offers the possibility of transferring onto our integrated masters (MSci) Environmental Science course leading directly to a postgraduate qualification that is tailored to those seeking a career in the environment sector.


Environmental Science image


The BSc Environmental Science Programme is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences and the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences.

Accreditation demonstrates that the programme meets the QAA benchmark statement for earth sciences, environmental sciences and environmental studies, but more importantly for our students it signals to potential employers that the teaching, learning and research is aligned to high quality professional development.

Benefits of accreditation for our students include:

  • Free student membership of the Institution of Environmental Sciences.
  • First steps on an environmental career path that could take them to Chartered Status.
  • Exclusive access to the members area on the IES website, with news about jobs and events.
  • Electronic copies of Environmental Scientist journal.
  • Free or reduced entry to IES events.

Entrance requirements

Four-year Honours degree

SQA Higher:
ABBB - one sitting.
AABB - two sittings.

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points

Essential subjects:
To include one of Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Mathematics or Physics.

Three-year Honours degree

SQA Adv. Higher:

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
35 points

Essential subjects:
To include one of Biology, Environmental Science, Geography or Geology.

Other qualifications

Year one minimum entry
Scottish HNC/D - Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D - Merits and Distinctions.
Advanced entry
Year 2 entry may be possible with HND in a Science based subject.
For information on accepted courses please consult our Advanced Entry pages.

Access courses:
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Essential subjects:
As listed above or equivalent.

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply.
Mathematics Standard Grade (2), GCSE (C) or equivalent required.
If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.

INTO University of Stirling offers an International Foundation programme for those international students who do not meet the required academic and English-language criteria. This course offers a route to study at University of Stirling through an excellent teaching and learning experience located in the high-quality study facilities on campus. Successful completion of the International Foundation in Science, Computing and Engineering to the required standard provides guaranteed progression to this degree.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

More information on our English language requirements

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Modes of study

Full-time (three modules per semester).
Part-time (one or two modules per semester).
January entry also available - see semester dates

Course contact

Dr Peter Hunter University of Stirling
+ 44 (0) 1786 466538 www.sbes.stir.ac.uk/people/hunter/

Course Director

Dr Peter Hunter

Find out more


Degree course

Semesters 1 - 4

Year 1 core course explores the science and policy behind global physical processes and provides training in laboratory and field skills. This is followed in Year 2 by studies of biogeochemical processes and training in data analysis.Environmental Science image

In Years 1 and 2 you will take core modules in:

  • Building Planet Earth
  • Landscape Evolution
  • The Biosphere
  • Ecology
  • Three Practical Skills modules in the Natural Sciences and Quantitative Techniques
  • Aviemore Field Course

A further four modules are chosen from the diverse range of subjects across the University. People and the Environment, Global Environmental Issues, Environmental History, Blue Planet, Aquatic Environments and Biology are popular choices since they offer the flexibility to change into other natural science degrees.

Semesters 5 - 6

In Year 3, you will take two core advanced skills modules:

  • Field and Laboratory Techniques
  • Field Class in Spain

A choose a further four modules from a range of Semester 5 - 8 module options.

Semesters 7 - 8

‌ In your final year you will develop your skills through an independent in depth review essay, an independent research project and a choice of three further advanced modules from a range of semester 5 - 8 options.

Semester 5 - 8 full and half module options currently include:

  • Environmental Policy and Management
  • Soil Quality and Protection
  • Environmental Hazards
  • Drainage Basins
  • Soils, Sediments and Landscape History
  • Agriculture and Food Security in the 21st Century
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Remote Sensing
  • Conservation Management
  • Restoration Ecology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Palaeoecology
  • Glaciers and Landscapes
  • Sustainable Energy
  • Sustainable Water Management

Module titles

Year 1

  • Building Planet Earth
  • Lab Skills
  • Landscape Evolution
  • Field skills

Year 2

  • Ecology
  • Aviemore Field Course
  • Biosphere
  • Statistical Techniques

Year 3

  • Environmental Policy and Management
  • Advanced Analytical Techniques
  • Residential fieldtrip to either SE Spain or Iceland
  • Choice of modules from Semester 5-8 options

Year 4

  • Honours Dissertation Project
  • Environmental Science Review Essay
  • Choice of modules from Semester 5-8 options

Semester 5-8 options

  • Environmental Policy and Management
  • Environmental Hazards
  • Drainage Basins
  • Sustainable Energy
  • Sustainable Water Management 
  • Soils, Sediments and Landscape History
  • Agriculture and Food Security in the 21st Century
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Remote Sensing
  • Soil Quality and Protection
  • Conservation Management
  • Restoration Ecology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Palaeoecology
  • Glaciers and Landscapes

Teaching and assessment

Our teaching methods include lectures, field and laboratory practical exercises, seminars, and individual and group projects. A wide range of natural and human landscapes in the Stirling area are used for field teaching. Residential field classes are currently held in Year 2 in the Scottish Highlands and in Year 3 in southern Spain or Iceland. Modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and examinations.

Combined degrees

Our integrated courses combine Environmental Science modules with Biology modules (Conservation Biology and Management) or Outdoor Education modules (Environmental Science and Outdoor Education). Combined Honours degrees allow Environmental Science to be studied alongside other related subjects.

Environmental Science can be studied with:
CourseUCAS Code
Economics FL91
Mathematics F9G1
Politics FL92
Professional Education (Primary) with Specialism in the Environment XC11

(For a Combined Honours degree the higher entrance requirements of the subjects usually apply.)

Related degrees

Environmental Science image

Biological and Environmental Sciences (BES) within the School of Natural Sciences is a multi-disciplinary department that participates in research and teaching in a broad range of subjects in the biological and environmental sciences. Environmental Science image The principle focus of the research is at the interface between the environment and society. Within BES, staff conduct research in areas as diverse as the reconstruction of past landscapes; conservation, environmental impact assessment and environmental management; evolutionary ecology of plants and animals; and cellular biology and immunology. BES is a friendly, vibrant, and dynamic place in which to learn and research with a great sense of belonging engendered in our students from their very first days at the University.

Research-led teaching is the key to deep learning and understanding. The academic staff in Biological and Environmental Sciences at Stirling are typically world leaders in their respective fields, thus ensuring that research-led teaching is at the core of all of our courses.  Many students work closely with academics throughout their time and benefit from actively participating in research programmes.  We have strong contacts with external conservation and environmental organisations who also contribute to the undergraduate experience. This approach ensures that our students appreciate the transferable nature of a science degree and see how their learning can be applied to the real world.

Study abroad

As well as the exchange opportunities available to all Stirling students, Environmental Science has a well-established programme with the University of Guelph in Canada. Students may spend either one or two semesters during Year 3, studying courses equivalent to those taken at Stirling and have the opportunity to broaden your environmental and cultural experience.

Our students

I entered Stirling, on the Environmental Science degree course, as a mature, Year 2 student, which was extremely daunting.

I chose Stirling as both friends and family had already completed courses at the University and had recommended it. The friendly campus atmosphere along with the supportive staff in Biological and Environmental Sciences made University life an extremely enjoyable experience.

The course has given me the opportunity to learn through lectures and practical labs, while field classes have taken me the Cairngorms, Stornoway and Spain.

I’d recommend studying at University of Stirling to anybody.

Carol Lang Environmental Science, graduated 2010.

Our Staff

Clare Wilson: BSc (Aberystwyth), MSc (Sheffield), PhD (Stirling) has been a lecturer at University of Stirling for the past four years. Clare is a SAGES (Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society) lecturer with research programmes in soil science and geoarchaeology. Recent and current research projects have included investigating the role of soil minerals in sequestering carbon, a study of the effect commercial forestry operations have on soil disturbance, and investigating the pollution legacy of historic whisky production sites in Scotland. She is an elected council member of the British Society of Soil Science, and has been involved in the development of national level soil quality indicators for cultural heritage development with UKSIC (UK Soil Indicators Consortium) on behalf of English Heritage and DEFRA.

96% of our students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating. (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education, 2015)

Career opportunities

Many graduates directly gain employment in research institutes, environmental consultancies, environmental protection agencies, water authorities and conservation bodies. Others take a route via postgraduate study, for example, in environmental management, education, information technology, remote sensing and waste management or research towards the award of a PhD.

We place great importance on teaching subject-specific and transferable skills that enhance your employability; a skills module is included in each semester's course and regular careers sessions are embedded into the core teaching. Our alumni contribute to this, as invited speakers and discussion partners. The school also offers a competitive summer bursary programme to provide students with valuable work and research experience.



Fees 2016/7

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 13,760.00
Scottish and EU students TBC
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Fees 2015/6

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 13,425.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies. View more information


Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.

Please note: Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

Environmental Science
  • Degree award BSc (Hons)
  • UCAS Code F900
  • Type Full-time, Part-time, Campus based
UCAS Application Make an Enquiry Course Directory UG Prospectus