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BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and Outdoor Education

UCAS Code FX99

Environmental Science and Outdoor Education is our unique course blending academic science with practical teaching on running outdoor activities. Be the difference outdoors!

Environmental Science and Outdoor Education

Mountain Training Association logo

Key facts

  • Award BSc (Hons)
  • Start date September
  • Duration 48 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based
  • Accreditations Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA), Mountain Training Association

If you want a sound science degree that also takes you teaching and guiding outdoor activities, this unique degree has been designed for you.

The University of Stirling is a superb place to study Environmental Science, with our history of innovation in environmental research and study. This course blends the academic elements of our Environmental Science degree with practical training in navigation and outdoor safety. You’ll learn how to design, lead and deliver outdoor programmes with environmental and ecological learning outcomes.

You’ll explore global environmental issues, contemporary environmental science, landscape evolution, and scientific techniques.

Our leading mountaineering instructors and outdoor specialists will teach you outdoor leadership, mountain skills and environmental education.You'll have the opportunity to gain the Mountain Leader Award, endorsed by the Mountain Training Association. This is a physically demanding course requiring a certain level of health, fitness and mobility.

This is a unique degree that offers a solid grounding in environmental science complemented with outdoor experience and leadership –balancing scientific training with broad career opportunities.

Daniel Souto, BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and Outdoor Education

  • Top reasons to study with us
  • Professional accreditation

    The Mountain Leader Award is recognised by the Mountain Training Association and the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA).

Entry requirements for your country/region

  • Year 1 entry – Four-year honours

    SQA Highers
    AABB - by the end of S5
    AAAB - by the end of S6

    GCE A-levels

    IB Diploma
    32 points

    BTEC (Level 3)

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

    Widening access students
    Widening access students may be eligible for an adjusted offer of entry. To find out if this applies to you go to our widening access pages.

  • Year 2 entry – Three-year honours

    Year 2 entry is possible but subject to approval of individual qualifications and experience. 

  • Other Scottish qualifications

    Scottish HNC/HND
    Year one minimum entry - Bs in graded units.

    Access courses
    University of Stirling access course - for mature students only. You must pass the course with 50% or above.

    SWAP access course - for mature students only. Please check the SWAP progression routes document for details.

    Email our Admissions Team for advice about other access courses.

    Foundation Apprenticeships
    Considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B

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

  • Other qualifications

    English, Welsh and Northern Irish HNC/HND
    Merits and Distinctions

    English, Welsh and Northern Irish access courses
    Access to Higher Education - 60 credits, minimum 45 at QCF Level 3, pass at 60% or above.

    Email our Admissions Team for advice about other access courses.

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

  • Advanced entry

    Entry may also be possible with an HND in a Science based subject and experience in outdoor setttings.

  • Additional information

    General entrance requirements apply

    If you’ve taken exams over two sittings, repeated an exam, or been upgraded, the entrance requirements may be higher.

  • Other routes of entry

    If you’re an international student and don’t meet the academic and English-language requirements for entry onto this degree, there are other options. You could take our International Foundation in Science, Computing and Engineering which prepares you for entry onto our degrees. Delivered by INTO University of Stirling on our Stirling campus, you can benefit from excellent teaching and supportive English language training.  Successful completion of the International Foundation in Science, Sport Computing and Engineering or Maths 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 C1 Advanced (CAE) 169 with minimum of 162 in each skill
    • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 with minimum 162 in each skill
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
    • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

    Pre-sessional English language courses

    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.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses

We blend lecture-based teaching, substantial field-based learning about the environment and practical training in navigation, mountain hazards and outdoor safety. We’ll also train you to design and deliver outdoor courses with environmental and ecological learning outcomes.

We’ve strong links with conservation and environmental management employers, giving you the opportunity to get hands-on experience working with industrial partners during your degree.

In the outdoor education components you’ll learn from some of the UK’s top mountaineering instructors and outdoor educators. The optional but included Summer Mountain Leader Award requires you to complete a minimum of 40 quality mountain days.

This degree requires a high level of health, fitness and mobility and a commitment to outdoor pursuits (in particular, mountain walking).

We’ve a proud history of innovation in Environmental Science. University of Stirling was one of the first universities to establish a degree course in Environmental Science in 1980 and we are still committed to training graduates with the skills valued by employers today. We offer the only Environmental Science MSci course in Scotland, which is accredited by the Institution for Environmental Sciences (IES).


The module details given below are subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes. The modules outlined below represent those offered in 2019/20 on this course of study.

Course details

  • Teaching

    We've been awarded five star excellence for our teaching by the QS World University Rankings 2018.

    You'll be taught through a mix of lectures, field and laboratory practical exercises and tutorials. You'll have the opportunity to gain work-based experience as part of your degree, which will count towards your degree progression.

  • Fieldwork

    You’ll spend a considerable amount of time out in our exceptional Scottish landscapes, both on fieldtrips and gaining experience for your Mountain Leader Award.

    The course includes an optional five-day fieldtrip in the UK in Year 2, and the option for field classes in Spain or Iceland in Year 3. Costs for these are subsidised, but a financial contribution is required.

    The Outdoor Education modules are taught primarily via residential field classes, which take place in some of Scotland’s most stunning locations.

  • Assessment

    Coursework assessments include outdoor education lesson planning, landscape interpretation and preparing environmental consultancy reports. This’ll give you highly relevant training for employment as you study for your degree.

  • Study abroad

    In addition to the exchange opportunities available to all Stirling students, Environmental Geography has a well-established exchange programme with universities including the University of Guelph in Canada and the University of Fairbanks, Alaska.

    There are also options for an Erasmus exchange to universities in Sweden and Germany. During Year 3 you can spend one or two semesters abroad where you study courses equivalent to those taken at Stirling and have the opportunity to broaden your environmental and cultural experience.

    Find out more about studying abroad.

  • Contact

    Dr Colin Bull, Faculty of Natural Sciences

    01786 467869

  • Fees and costs

    Fees shown are per year (Fees are different for each course)

      2019/20 2020/21

    Scottish/EU Students

    Although you’re liable for annual tuition fees, students domiciled in Scotland or the EU will be able to apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government on their behalf. If you’re unsure of your fee status, you can check your eligibility online.

    You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. Please note if you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    Important note for EU students

    The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2019 and 2020 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland. EU students will retain that status for the duration of their four year degree. The future fee status of EU students enrolling in UK universities will depend on the timing and terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union. The University will make decisions on fee levels for EU students enrolling in 2021 when further guidance is available from the Scottish and UK governments, and will publicise information about fee levels and financial support available on our University and Europe information pages.

    While students should be aware this may mean a change from the current position where EU students are treated with equivalence to Scottish students, it is also important to note that any changes would also require changes to existing UK and Scottish legislation. Current indications are that the UK would leave the EU at the earliest in 2020, so any changes would not take effect before the academic year 2020/21.


    *This tuition fee is set by the Scottish Government, and may be subject to change.


    Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland

    If you’re domiciled in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you’ll be able to apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of your tuition fees, from your relevant funding body.

    You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. Please note if you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    If you successfully complete Years 1-3 of your course, you will also be eligible to receive an Honours Year Scholarship valued at £9,250 to cover the tuition fee costs of your fourth and final year of study. Learn more about the Honours Year Scholarship.

    There is additional funding available for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland – please see Funding opportunities below.


    *This tuition fee may be subject to change depending on guidance provided by the UK Government.


    Overseas (Non-EU) Students

    You will be liable to pay fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. Please note if you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    £14,820 £15,600

    You should expect to pay fees for every year you attend. Fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

  • Funding opportunities

    See what funding opportunities and loans are available to help you with tuition and living costs.

    Students domiciled in Scotland and the EU

    The University of Stirling offers undergraduate funding opportunities for students domiciled in Scotland or the EU. To find out if you’re eligible to apply for an award, use our scholarship finder.

    Students domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (RUK)

    The Undergraduate Choice Scholarship provides a £1,000 cash award to all students from England, Wales or Northern Ireland who meet the conditions of their offer and select the University of Stirling as their Firm or Insurance choice on UCAS.

    The University also offers the Undergraduate Merit Scholarship, which is awarded to selected students and provides a £1,000 cash award per year for years 1-3 of study. To be considered for the Merit Scholarship, students require a minimum of AAB at A-level or equivalent.

    In addition, students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland who enter in year 1 and progress successfully through years 2 and 3 will receive our Honours Year Scholarship, which covers the cost of undergraduate tuition fees in the Honours year of study.

    You don’t need to apply for the awards listed above - we'll automatically identify your eligibility as part of the admissions process.

    To explore other scholarships and learn more about funding opportunities, use our scholarship finder.

    Students domiciled overseas

    The University of Stirling offers generous undergraduate funding opportunities for overseas students. To find out if you're eligible to apply for an award, use our scholarship finder.

  • Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

    We subsidise costs for fieldtrips, but you’ll be required to make a financial contribution.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling.

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay.

What jobs can you get with an Environmental Science and Outdoor Education degree?

Our combined approach for this degree will allow you to enter a wide range of relevant careers, from outdoor instructor through to environmental consultant or ecologist. Graduates have found work as countryside rangers, guides and environmental science or geography educators (raising public awareness of environmental issues), and other careers specific to outdoor education.

In addition, students will be prepared for employment in the same professions as our standard Environmental Geography and Environmental Science graduates, such as education, conservation and the environment, science and technology, travel and related occupations, and sports and fitness.

Our course will give you the foundation for graduate entry to postgraduate taught and research degree courses in the environmental field.

This course is not designed to train you to become an outdoor instructor. However, you may wish to gain additional qualifications independently (e.g. SPA or BCU awards) or undertake a suitable postgraduate programme in outdoor education which would qualify you for this type of career.

  • Stirling is ranked in the top 5 in Scotland for Geography and Environmental Sciences (Guardian University Guide 2020)
  • The University of Stirling consistently earns five QS Stars for employability, with more than 97% of our students in employment or further education within six months of graduating. (HESA DLHE 2016/17)
Studying Environmental Science and Outdoor Education at the University of Stirling has been fantastic for meeting like-minded people who love the outdoors as much as I do.
Rebecca Davies
BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and Outdoor Education
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