BSc (Hons) Environmental Science

With study abroad and sandwich year options

Attend an open day How to apply
Attend an open day How to apply


The world around us is changing – and our Environmental Science degree will let you understand how. You’ll learn the skills and knowledge to measure, model and assess environmental change and its impact. Developed with employers, including environmental agencies and private businesses, this is a programme with real-world relevance, built around developing the techniques and expertise you’ll find in the workplace.

The course combines aspects of physical and life sciences, helping you build an understanding of environmental issues today. You’ll also gain a wide range of practical and analytical skills, working in the lab and the field. By the time you graduate, you’ll be able to collect, process, and analyse data from a range of sources across different scientific disciplines – giving you the understanding to make informed recommendations in a professional context.

Our Environmental Science degree also provides the option of spending an extra year expanding your horizons, either studying with one of our partner universities overseas, or working on a placement in industry.

This course is also available with a Foundation Year.

Features and Benefits

  • We've been ranked in the top three of the People and Planet University League of most sustainable universities for six years running
  • We are fully accredited by professional bodies such as the Institution of Environmental Sciences, with all students eligible for free membership and associated benefits.
  • We offer free Carbon Literacy training to our students, to build their understanding of sustainability and to enhance their employability.
  • The Department has been awarded Green Hero Status for Excellence in Environmental Education and Practice from the Green Organisation.
  • The four-year study abroad route gives you the opportunity to study overseas during your third year in North America, Australia or in Europe.
  • Alternatively, the four-year sandwich route allows you to spend your third year on an employment placement, enhancing your career opportunities on graduation.
  • Residential fieldwork opportunities in the UK or overseas are available during each year of the Environmental Science degree.
  • Our laboratories and facilities are state-of-the-art and will give you first-hand experience of a wide range of manual and instrumental lab skills and techniques.
  • Our practical facilities include a dedicated instrumentation laboratory with an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) spectrometer and ion chromatograph (IC) for environmental measurements, a GIS laboratory and a field store with the equipment for sampling and assessing a wide range of environments.
  • Read our Geography and the Environment student blog:
“In today’s changing climate, Environmental Science is a vital discipline that is needed to better understand the relationship between humankind and the planet that we live on. Students that study this programme at Manchester Met are taught by experts in the field, and have many opportunities to put theory into practice, from visiting unique filed sites to learning how to be carbon literate.” Dr Sam Illingworth, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science

Accreditations, Awards and Endorsements

"My sandwich year placement with Natural England helped my learning immensely. It cemented the skills I had already developed, allowed me to view my final year lectures knowing how the knowledge and skills could be applied in the workplace, and gave me a foundation for my final year project." 

Morgan Smith, BSc (Hons) Environmental Science

Career Prospects

Environmental science graduates may go on to a variety of subject specific careers in the environmental and sustainability industries, in consultancies and environmental services, or in teaching or research. Recent graduates have found employment across a wide range of sectors including environmental consultancies, public utilities, local authorities, industrial research laboratories, and conservation organisations. Our Environmental Science course is designed to equip you with transferable skills that may also be applied to non-subject-specific career pathways such as in management, local government, teaching or the civil service. For those who wish to continue their studies, there is a range of environmental and conservation postgraduate programmes here at Manchester Met.

Learn more about graduate careers


of Natural Sciences graduates go straight into employment and/or further study.*

*DLHE survey 2017

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points/grades required


A levels ­– BCC-BBC, to include grade C in Geography, Geology, Environmental Science, Mathematics or a Science subject

Equivalent qualifications will be considered in combination with A level Geography at grade C or above.

UCAS Tariff points from Extended Project (EPQ) will be counted towards overall points score when achieved at grade C or above. Other AS levels (or qualifications equivalent to AS level) are not accepted.

Please contact the University directly if you are unsure whether you meet the minimum entry requirements for the course.

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE grade C/4 in English Language or Level 2 Functional Skills English


GCSE grade C/4 in Mathematics or Level 2 Functional Skills Mathematics


GCSE grade C/4 in Science or BTEC Level 2 in Applied Science with grade merit

The level 2 requirements may also be met through the level 3 course requirements for the course; please contact the University directly if you require further information.

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Pass Access to HE Diploma in Science with a minimum score of 106 UCAS Tariff points

International Baccalaureate points

26 IB Diploma Points including HL 5 in Geography or a Science subject

IELTS score required for international students

6.0 overall with no individual element below 5.5

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Course details

Your first year involves set modules to get everyone up to speed. We’ll introduce key concepts and you’ll develop your academic and research skills.

Your second and third years are quite flexible. You can choose modules based around your interests. These build on the skills you’ve already learned and grow your knowledge in specialised areas.

In Year 1, you will gain a broad grounding in environmental science through areas of study including ecology and environment, geosystems science, global environmental issues and natural resources. Typical units of study include:

  • Ecology
  • Geosystems Science
  • GIS Essentials for Environmental Science and Ecology
  • Global Environmental Issues
  • Investigating the Environment
  • Natural Resources
  • Society and Environment

Please note that the following list of units is indicative and may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Geosystems Science

In this unit, you will gain an overview of geological and atmospheric systems including Earth history, Earth structure, global tectonics (including hazards), Earth materials (including resources), and weather.


This unit will introduce students to the study of ecology, the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment. Themes covered in this unit will typically include; the organisation of life in natural systems, variations in conditions (eg pH) and resources (eg light, nutrients) and their effects; functional classifications, indicators; geological, edaphic, climatic and chemical influences on habitats and ecosystems; biogeochemical and nutrient cycling; energy flow; primary productivity; trophic interactions; food webs.

Global Environmental Issues

This unit adopts an interdisciplinary and topical approach to introduce and discuss contemporary environmental issues and illustrate key concepts related to the natural environment and human perturbations of natural systems, alongside the development of key academic and professional skills. The unit will consider some of the most pressing environmental challenges facing the world today in the context of sustainable development. Potential topics include: population increase, resource limitations, biodiversity loss, water quality and security, energy demand and production, land use (food, fuel and fibre), environmental pollution, ocean acidification, climate change, urbanisation, transport, natural hazards, and technological risks

GIS Essentials for Environmental Science and Ecology

The unit introduces the fundamentals of working with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for environmental and ecological applications. The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the use of GIS, and develop their critical spatial thinking skills and understanding of how environmental and ecological processes vary in time and space.

Investigating the Environment

In this unit students are provided with the opportunity to develop key academic, professional and investigative skills for environmental scientists, including laboratory and field based techniques and data analysis, supported by workshops and tutorials.

Natural Resources

This unit reviews key finite and renewable natural resources (with an emphasis on energy), evaluating their nature and distribution, exploitation, and future sustainability.

Society and Environment

This unit explores the interrelationships between society and the environment and the implications for environmental management and sustainability.

In Year 2 you will study core units including:

  • Environmental Research Design and Fieldwork
  • Earth System Science
  • Environmental Pollution

You will also be able to direct your own study choice from a range of options, which typically include the below. You will choose one from the following:

  • Ecosystem Services and Evaluation
  • Sustainability of Organisations

You will also choose between two and three units from:

  • Climate Change, Impacts and Responses
  • Earth Observation
  • GIS and the Workplace
  • Reconstructing Quaternary Environments
  • Professional Practice
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Plant & Soil Ecology

Please note that the following list of units is indicative and may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Ecosystem Services and Evaluation

This unit introduces the concept of ecosystem services and its implications for environmental science and management. The ecosystem services framework is critically explained and discussed. 

Environmental Pollution

This unit introduces environmental pollution assessment, and follows a practical approach to the study of air, water, and land (soil) pollution.

Environmental Research Design and Fieldwork

 This unit provides practical experience in the design and implementation of field-based (or equivalent) research and training for the Level 6 Environmental Research Project.

Sustainability of Organisations

In this unit, students will explore the challenges to organisations that arise from the need to shift to more sustainable patterns of operation. This unit will introduce students to the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and how the approach is adopted by organisations in an attempt to manage and communicate their contributions to sustainable development. It will examine how organisations can deliver against the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) framework by acknowledging the benefits of improving environmental and social performance alongside traditional models of profit maximisation. 

Earth System Science

Earth system science is an integrative science discipline that has emerged in response to the need to develop and apply basic science to the broad policy issues of global change.

Option Units

Ecology and Biodiversity

This unit examines climate change drivers, evidence for recent and long-term past climate and environmental changes and implications for the future.

Plant & Soil Ecology

Students will be introduced to plant and soil ecology, with a focus on the importance of the soil environment in influencing plant performance and distributions, where the content of this unit has direct relevance for agriculture and food security, pollution mitigation and climate change.

Landscape Ecology

Landscape ecology is the study of structure, function, and change in a heterogeneous land area composed of interacting ecosystems. While landscape ecology also deals with the interactions of organisms in their environment, it differs from traditional ecology in its interdisciplinary nature that deals with spatially explicit data over generally larger scales. Landscape ecology is also defined by its focus on the role of humans in creating and affecting landscape patterns and processes. 

Professional Practice

An employability based skills unit with opportunities to work with both internal and external partners. The unit encompasses employability skills development workshops including cover letter and C.V. construction, job search strategies, interview techniques, and placement preparation. 

GIS and the Workplace

This unit provides the fundamental theory and practical techniques of GIS (Geographical Information Systems) used to solve real-world environmental and geographical problems. It will incorporate a range of social and environmental issues, which will typically include: wildfires, air pollution, ecosystem services, retail, tourism, transport, crime, and animal/plant species.

Earth Observation

In this unit, students will study electromagnetic spectrum, energy-matter interactions, satellite platforms and sensors, applications of remote sensing, digital image processing, spectral signatures, image enhancement and image classification.

Reconstructing Quaternary Environments

This unit examines climate change drivers and evidence for climatic and environmental changes at global, regional and local scales during the Quaternary period.  Students will be introduced to key internal and external drivers of climatic and environmental change, their causes and their effects. 

Climate Change, Impacts and Responses

This unit investigates recent and future climate change, examining impacts and the responses needed to avoid dangerous climate change and adapt to future climate conditions.

GIS and Earth Observation

This unit introduces the fundamental concepts, theories and techniques of GIS and remote sensing. It also illustrates their application and problem-solving capabilities in addressing environmental and geographical problems.

If you opt for the four-year sandwich route your third year will be spent on placement. If you opt for the four-year study abroad route your third year will be spent overseas.

In your final year, you will study core units of:

  • Environmental Research Project
  • Coastal and Marine Pollution
  • Urban Environmental Assessment 

You will also choose four optional units, which typically include:

  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Sustainable Resource and Waste Management
  • Applied Climatology
  • Environmental and Climate Modelling
  • Environmental Remote Sensing and GIS
  • The Undergraduate Consultancy
  • Impacts of Global Change on Ecosystems
  • Coastal Ecology and Ecosystem Services
  • Temperate Conservation and Habitat Management
  • Specialist Field Investigation
  • Tropical Field Course

Please note that the following list of units is indicative and may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Urban Environmental Assessment

This unit examines a range of urban environmental issues, with a focus on brownfield sites, ecosystem services, contaminated land, and pollution assessment, tracking, and remediation. 

Coastal and Marine Pollution

This unit considers the impacts of different types of pollutants on coastal and marine environments, including inter-tidal settings, shelf seas and the open ocean.

Environmental Research Project

In this unit, you will undertake an independent research project completed on an environmental topic, involving a critical literature review and the collection, analysis and interpretation of primary and/or secondary data. The project may take a number of approaches and may include, but is not limited to, a combination of laboratory, fieldwork or secondary data collection and analysis and will consider any health and safety issues, and ethical issues as well as developing scientific communication skills.

Option Units

Tropical Field Course

The tropic field course will provide experience of tropical habitats and the biodiversity that they support. There will be an emphasis on identification skills, the methods needed to study and carry out research in tropical habitats and also assess human impacts on these ecosystems. An integral element will be learning the skills to identify key plants, animals and habitats, and particularly those which require conservation management.

Sustainable Resource and Waste Management

This unit explores the role of consumption, production and waste management in driving the transition from a linear (take-make-use-dispose) to a circular economy.

Temperate Conservation and Habitat Management

The unit will critique the conservation of biodiversity in temperate habitats, evaluating and contextualising the management of local, regional and national biodiversity.

Coastal Ecology and Ecosystem Services

This unit will explore contemporary issues in coastal ecology, conservation and restoration, and examine the unique organisms that live where the land meets the sea. Example topics will include methods of coastal management and restoration, the basis of coastal ecosystem services and the links between coastal community livelihoods and coastal biodiversity. 

Impacts of Global Change on Ecosystems

In this unit, students will develop a detailed understanding of ecosystem science and the changes in ecosystems and biodiversity that have occurred in the past, and that may take place in the future, under the influence of a changing environment. Paleoecological approaches to study of past environments will be examined with typical examples from the study of tree rings and peat cores. The analysis of ecosystem functioning will be explored, principally through investigation of the means by which ecosystem processes are monitored and measured and through examination of various ecosystem manipulation experiments and national monitoring networks. 

Applied Climatology

This unit investigates sensitivity to weather and climate in natural and socioeconomic contexts, applying the latest scientific tools to evaluate the impacts of climate change.

Environmental and Climate Modelling

This unit explores and critically evaluates key themes related to climate modelling and the science and techniques of environmental modelling. 

Environmental Remote Sensing and GIS

This unit explores advanced Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing approaches to problem-solving in different environmental settings and applications.

Specialist Field Investigation

Students will undertake fieldwork (typically an overseas residential field course) including field-based research design and implementation, and analysis and presentation of field-based data.

The Undergraduate Consultancy

This unit challenges students to deliver high-quality outputs from live projects to address the needs of professional clients.

Environmental Impact Assessment

This unit provides a practical overview of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process and its requirements under the UK Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations. 

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises of 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

Optional foundation year

Additional information about this course

Students are expected to comply with the Department's codes of conduct and behaviour on field courses, placements and exchanges. Placements and study exchange opportunities are dependent on passing each stage at the first opportunity and being of good standing.

Placement options

All our degrees have been designed to be flexible.

You can opt for the four-year sandwich degree route and spend Year 3 on a professional paid placement with a degree related organisation. This not only gives you the opportunity to develop professional skills and confidence in the workplace, but also shows employers that you’re ready to get to work.

Alternatively, if you opt for the four-year study abroad route, you will spend your third year in Europe, North America or Australia.

There are also residential fieldwork opportunities in the UK and overseas.

Department of Natural Sciences

Our Department of Natural Sciences is a research-rich academic community with a well-established reputation in biology, chemistry, geography and environmental science.

The department works with research institutions, industry partners, national organisations and NGOs worldwide to address the challenges posed by environmental, socio-economic, cultural and political change, as well as health and advanced materials.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


Foundation Year students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £9,250 per year for the foundation year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £16,500 per year. When progressing from the pre-degree foundation year to the linked degree. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study)

UK, EU and Channel Island students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £1,850 to £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £2312.50 per 30 credits studied per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students

Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £1,850 to £16,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international students: Part-time fee: £4125 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

Students often choose to buy a laptop for their degree (costing approximately £300 to £400) and a printer (costing £50 to £100 including print consumables, plus £20 to £40 for print consumables in every subsequent year). However, there are numerous drop-in computer facilities across campus and laptops for loan in the library. Lab coats are provided free of charge in the first year of entry and are expected to last for the duration of the course. Students will have to purchase replacements for lost or damaged lab coats. Estimated cost of textbooks is £70 in the first year and £40 to £50 in the subsequent years).

Placement Costs


1) Students go on residential fieldtrips for core units throughout the degree course. These are subsidised but students can expect to pay a contribution to costs of £60 for a UK-based residential field course at Level 4 and a maximum of £300 for an overseas residential field course at Level 5 (currently Spain, Malta, Tenerife, Berlin). For all field courses, there are non-residential zero-cost to student alternatives for any student who chooses not to go. 2) Students opting to study abroad in third year (SENAA). If you are studying at one of our partner universities on an approved exchange programme, you will continue to pay tuition fees to Manchester Metropolitan University and you will not pay any tuition fees to your partner university. Some partner universities may charge additional fees for mandatory administrative and recreational services, non-mandatory language classes, courses including fieldwork or non-mandatory project costs. If this is relevant to you, the partner university will inform you of any additional costs during the application process. During your study exchange abroad, you will need to budget for the general cost of living as well as additional costs for visas, travel, medical insurance and vaccinations (depending on your destination). Applicants should visit the MMUi web pages for more details including sources of travel funding. 3) Students choosing to undertake a Placement (Sandwich) in third year. The Sandwich Year involves full-time work experience work placement. This lasts for a minimum of 36 weeks and normally attracts a salary/weekly wage but this is not guaranteed. Placements are competitive and based on successful interviews with the placement provider. Students will have to pay travel and accommodation costs (including for interview) plus personal insurance. 4) Students undertaking short placements as part of vocational optional units. Students should expect to pay travel expenses to placements.

Professional Costs

Students may wish to become student members of relevant professional bodies but this is not normally a requirement. Membership of the IES is free. Membership of CIEEM is £10 for students on accredited degrees and £20 for students on non-accredited degrees.

Other Costs


Manchester Met now provides free travel insurance for students when they travel in connection with their programme of study, for example, placements, field trips, exchanges etc. However, students should also take out personal insurance cover for belongings, as items such as mobile phones are not covered by this policy. Our courses are field-based so students are expected to dress appropriately (i.e. purchase waterproof coats and trousers, sturdy footwear/walking boots). Students will be expected to print out assessments (including dissertations (with comb binding) and posters). Travel expenses associated with independent data collection for final year dissertations are not reimbursed by the Department. Students will be advised to undertake low-cost local fieldwork at the design and planning stages of a project if necessary.


Find out more about financing your studies and whether you may qualify for one of our bursaries and scholarships.

Money Matters

Want to know more?

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS.

Apply now

UCAS code(s)

F900 - BSc (Hons) Environmental Science

F904 - BSc (Hons) Environmental Science with Study Abroad

F903 - BSc (Hons) Environmental Science with Sandwich Year

F908 - BSc (Hons) Environmental Science with Foundation Year

Remember to use the correct institution code for Manchester Metropolitan University on your application: our institution code is M40

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
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All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.