Environmental Science

BSc (Hons)


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 the natural environment. Today’s environmental scientists are challenged to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as climate change, pollution, loss of biodiversity and the sustainable provision of energy, food, and clean water. Our course provides the necessary grounding in the science and the technical training needed 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

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.

Key information

EU Applicants
The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2018 and 2019 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.

  • UCAS: F900
  • Qualification: BSc (Hons)
  • Study methods: Full-time, Part-time, Campus based
  • Course Director: Dr Christian Schröder
  • Faculty: Faculty of Natural Sciences
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Dr Christian Schröder

University of Stirling

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What makes us different?

This course will equip you with the analytical, field and laboratory skills to understand the complex interactions between people and the environment. Research-led teaching ensures you are up-to-date with the latest knowledge. 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. Core knowledge is taught in years 1 and 2, and you can select from more specialized modules in years 3 and 4. In year 4 you will embark on an independent research project (your dissertation).

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 offered in Year 2 in the UK and in Year 3 in southern Spain or Iceland. 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.


World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Life at Stirling

Of the many reasons students come to Stirling, such as academic reputation and research standards, one factor is always cited: the outstanding beauty of the University's Stirling campus. View our online films to get a picture of what it's like to live and study on our beautiful campus.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Four-year Honours degree

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

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points

BTEC (Level 3):

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.

Foundation Apprenticeships

considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B

Essential subjects:
As listed above or equivalent.

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply.
Mathematics Standard Grade (2), National 5 (B), Intermediate 2 (C), 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.

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.

Fees and costs

Fees 2018/19

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 14,460
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £9250 – with a generous package of scholarship options

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for overseas undergraduates will be held at the level upon entry.

If you plan to commence your studies at the University of Stirling in January 2018, please note you will be subject to our 2017/18 fees. Please contact us for 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. 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.

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware 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.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

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

Delivery and assessment

We use a wide variety of methods to assess your skills broadly. Modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and examinations that include written assignments such as essays and reports, field sketches, presentations, group and individual projects.

Students must pay a contribution towards costs of travel , accommodation and subsistence for the Scottish field course in 2nd year and the optional field course in 3rd year.


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

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.)

Learn more about studying these subjects

Related degrees

MSci Environmental ScienceConservation Biology & Management; Ecology; Environmental Science and Outdoor Education; Geography; Education (Primary); Education (Secondary).

Modes of study

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

Find out more


Why Stirling?

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes applications from all countries.

Study abroad opportunities

As well as the exchange opportunities available to all Stirling students, Environmental Science has a well-established exchange programme with the University of Guelph in Canada. There are also Erasmus agreements in place for the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), the University of Tübingen (Germany) and the University of Wageningen (The Netherlands). You 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.


Professional accreditations

The Environmental Science BSc (Hons) 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.

Our students

“Environmental Science at the University of Stirling is a course filled with widely varying, engaging and thoroughly interesting material, delivered enthusiastically and professionally by expert academics. As an undergraduate I was given the opportunity to work in first class laboratories at the University as well as conduct fieldwork throughout Central Scotland, Southern Spain and undertake dissertation work in Kathmandu. My time spent at Stirling has helped me realise my potential and I am delighted to be returning to the Biological and Environmental Sciences department in October 2017, as a PhD student.”

David McCaughie

(BSc Hons Environmental Science, 2013-2017)


“The Environmental Science course offered a broad range of sciences that allowed me to try a lot of new disciplines in my first 2 years before I could specialise into my chosen field of sustainable energy and the environmental impacts of radioactivity. I really appreciated the conversations with and guidance I had from lecturing staff and PhD students throughout my 4 years at Stirling as they undoubtedly helped shape my time there and guided me to my current career decommissioning of the UK's first generation of nuclear reactors.”

Euan Burt

(BSc Environmental Science, 2011-2015)


“I chose to study at Stirling because of the beautiful campus surrounded by nature. This became one of the best features of the science courses, all the field work was literally on our doorstep meaning I gained additional exposure to practical side of working in the science field. The international field trips were one of the best things I’ve ever done. I got the chance to work personally with many of the lecturers and learn from their expertise one on one, not at a distance in a lecture room. The diversity of modules offered, gave me a broad understanding of many biology and environmental science topics but also allowed me to focus in on things I really enjoyed in my last years. Stirling gave me the opportunity to move on directly to a masters course. When undertaking my dissertation, I was encouraged to take part in one of the ‘Making the Most of Masters’ projects. This was a fantastic opportunity to work on a real live project and gain work experience. Upon graduating I joined a large consulting firm now known as AECOM as an environmental scientist. I have since moved on to Arcadis as an environmental consultant and currently live in Qatar. I have many of the lecturers at Stirling to thank for the knowledge they imparted to me and their passion and enthusiasm for the subjects they teach and research. Choosing Stirling to study was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

Lois Campbell

(BSc Biology and Environmental Science, 2009-2012; MSc Environmental Management 2012-2013)


“I highly recommend studying Environmental Science at the University of Stirling as the degree is taught with the perfect balance of theory and practical application. Throughout my four years, I was provided with hands-on experience through laboratory and field classes that built on what I was taught each week in lectures. The wide range of modules allowed me to focus on the areas which interested me the most and, as the staff members were all experts in their field, I was provided with high quality teaching. In fourth year, with the support of my honours dissertation project supervisor, I was able to carry out new, cutting edge research myself. I was able to evaluate the potential of data from satellites for tracking changes in algal blooms in lakes throughout the world. I can honestly say that I loved every minute of my time in studying at Stirling and I am now equipped with the skills and confidence to embark on postgraduate study in the environmental science field.”

Raeannon Sinclair

(BSc Hons Environmental Science, 2012-2016)

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.

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

Previous graduates have gone on to enjoy successful careers in areas such as environmental consultancy, transport planning, waste management, education and ecotourism.

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.



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