The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.
Global Environmental Processes
Through a two hour weekly lecture, you’ll be given a general understanding of the physical, chemical and biological development of the Earth since the start of the Universe, as well as of the cyclical movement of the major materials such as carbon and nitrogen between biological and non-biological forms.
Environmental Science and Society
This module introduces you to the role and limitations of environmental science within the context practical environmental decision making. The three themes of the module which will be illustrated through a series of environmental case studies are: 1) General scientific methods. 2) The limits and assumptions of science 3) The social context of science based decision making. You’ll have a two hour lecture each week to study for this module.
Through lectures and practicals, the aim of this module is to provide you with basic geological skills and the capacity to understand and interpret geological information. It also aims to provide knowledge of geology in the context of environmental science. Topics covered include bulk properties of the earth, minerals, igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks, metamorphic rocks, geological time, tectonics, geological structures, map interpretation, geological hazards and resource geology.
The Ecology of Natural and Managed Ecosytems
Pollinator species are hugely important for natural systems and for managed systems like agriculture, but there is concern that numbers are declining. What physical, chemical or biotic factors are limiting these species’ distribution? What other species are they in competition with? How diverse or stable is the ecological community overall? This module introduces you to the principles of ecology and looks at how organisms have evolved to interact with their environment. You’ll also cover population (such as competition and predation) and community ecology (such as the diversity and stability of communities, patterns of species richness). You’ll explore the various definitions of biodiversity and look at the loss of species and habitats, particularly in semi-natural and managed habitats such as woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and agricultural land. You’ll have lectures from current researchers in the field and the opportunity to apply your learning in the laboratory and through field visits.
Tutorials in Environmental Science
This module will enable you to study effectively at University. Through lectures, practical's and tutorials you will develop your written presentation and data handling skills. You will learn how to use the library and other sources to retrieve information; read, understand and synthesise primary literature, producing a literature review on your chosen topic.
On Earth and Life
This module explores the deep historical co-evolution of Earth and Life and emphasizes uniqueness of place and historical contingency. The module leads on from and complements Physical Landscapes of Britain in exploring geological, plate tectonic and palaeoenvironmental ideas and research, but at the global scale. It emphasizes the role of life in creating past and present planetary environments, and conversely the role of environment and environmental change in the evolution and geography of life.
Managing Tourism & the Environment: Conflict or Consensus?
In this module you’ll examine and explore: the interactions between and the management of tourism and the environment from the perspective of key stakeholders; debates surrounding the environmental and economic impacts of tourism and the role played by pressure groups in influencing tourism development. You’ll have a 90 minute lecture and spend two hours in seminars each week to study for this module.
How can mutant plants be used to improve crop yield? In this module you’ll be introduced to plant evolution and the cellular structure of plants, in particular seeds, leaves, flowers and roots, and how these multicellular tissues are constructed. You’ll become familiar with the techniques used to study plant science, including genetics and the use of mutants. Using model plants, such as Arabidopsis, you’ll look at the development of modern plant biology and genetics and then explore the applications of biotechnology in plant science. You’ll also examine the importance of plant nutrition and how the interaction with pathogens is crucial to plant growth and production. You’ll have a mix of lectures and practical laboratory sessions to apply your learning.
This is an introductory module which provides a basic understanding of the nature and properties of soil and the application of soil chemistry, biology and physics to land management and environmental science. Broadly, the topics covered include: soil formation; clay mineralogy; soil organic matter (microbiology and chemistry); soil texture and structure; characteristic soil reactions (acidity, redox); the major and minor plant nutrients (chemistry and microbiology); soil fauna and flora; water relations (irrigation and drainage). You’ll spend around five hours in lectures each week to study for this module.
Climate Change Science
This module presents a broad overview of the science behind climate change and its effects. These topics are: historical climate change; the principles of climate forcing; the role of modelling; responses of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, including impacts on humans; the political environment; and options for climate stabilization. You’ll have a two hour lecture each week to study for this module.
The module will focus on the processes that govern terrestrial ecosystem function. We will identify key ecosystem drivers and processes and explore how these have shaped the biosphere. Students will gain an understanding of the mechanisms that control changes in the physiochemical environment and their impact upon communities. Particular topics will include primary productivity, decomposition, herbivory, biodiversity and human impact on ecosystems. Classes comprise a mix of lectures, laboratory practicals, a computer practical, a seminar and fieldwork.
Environmental Science in Practice
This module (autumn semester) will help you prepare for your final third year project and start thinking about possible future careers. The module will focus on developing your communication and project management skills you will undertake a variety of tasks working as a group to solve problems, design experiments, collect, analyse, interpret and present information.
Soil and Water Science
The aim of the module is to provide a sound understanding of important physical and chemical processes that take place within soils and fresh water systems. This includes providing a basis for the understanding of more applied aspects of the behaviour of these systems (eg plant-soil interactions, pollution and its remediation). You will take lectures, two practicals and two computing sessions.
Economic Analysis for Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
The module aims to equip you with an understanding of economic ideas and principles and to show how these can be used to explain a range of economic problems of interest to Agricultural Scientists. You’ll cover this module through a three hour lecture each week as well as a farm visit to further aide learning.
Environmental Science Field Course
This residential field course module involves studies of various communities and ecosystems using a range of field techniques to investigate factors which determine the distribution and function of living organisms. The residential component takes place in June at the end of the first year.
Tropical Environmental Science Field Course
This residential tropical field course module is based on Tioman Island of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and involves studies of various tropical communities and ecosystems using a range of field techniques to investigate factors which determine the distribution and function of living organisms in tropical ecosystems.
Biological Photography and Imaging 1
Through practical sessions, you will learn the techniques of biological image production and manipulation, including the ability to generate biological images of the highest technical quality and scientific value. You'll spend around 6 hours per week in lectures studying this module.
Patterns of Life
This module focuses on patterns in the distribution of organisms in space and time, and the theories proposed to explain these patterns. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures studying for this module.
Computer Modelling in Science: Introduction
The aim of this module is to introduce you to the use of computing models in the biological and environmental sciences for simulation and data analysis. You’ll have a two hour lecture and two hour computer class each week to study for this module.
We will consider the principles underlying the structure and higher organisation of natural systems. This encompasses diversity theory, community ecology, ecosystem functioning and biogeography. As this is a rapidly developing area, much of the material is recent and often controversial, so the content is updated every year to keep track of new findings. You’ll have a weekly three hour lecture to cover material for this module.
Modern ecology has never been a more important subject than now, a result of our major environmental problems. Through lectures, this module introduces the study of the ecology of populations and communities from an evolutionary point of view, and considers critically the extent of our understanding of ecological ideas.
Research Project in Environmental Science
You will undertake detailed research on a chosen topic after discussion with a supervisor. Each project will involve collection of data by means such as experiment, questionnaire or observation, as well as the analysis and interpretation of the data in the context of previous work.
Working closely with an academic supervisor, you develop and undertake a research project in your third year. You will present your results orally to your peers and in the form of a concise scientific paper. The project encourages critical thinking and involves a detailed literature survey, data collection, analysis and interpretation.
Recent projects include:
- Phytoremediation of contaminated soil
- The effect of phosphogypsum on soil development
- Reduction of atmospheric pollutant concentrations by hedgerows
- Hazard assessment of heavy metal uptake to plants
- Ecological impacts of veterinary drugs
- Forest carbon storage and its role in mitigating CO² emission
Read BURN the Biosciences Undergraduate Research at Nottingham web pages to find out more about undergraduate research projects. BURN is a freely accessible e-journal which showcases final-year research projects undertaken by biosciences students.
Environmental Pollution Field Course
Through a one week field course you’ll gain practical experience of environmental pollution and its long term effects in a heavily polluted area in central Europe. You’ll gain practical experience of foreign field work, working in teams, chain-of-custody issues concerning field samples, in situ and ex situ analysis of samples, oral presentation techniques and report writing.
Arctic Ecology Field Course
This module focuses on the function of arctic ecosystems. You’ll identify key terrestrial ecosystem drivers and processes in order to gain a broad understanding of arctic areas. During the field course, you’ll put ecological methodology into practice in projects that analyse landscape patterns and processes in different habitats.
Biological Photography and Imaging 2
This module extends and develops your skills of creative and critical biological photography. You’ll continue to develop the practice and experience gained in Biological Photography and Imaging 1. You are encouraged to demonstrate increasing expertise in selected subject areas and/or specialist photographic techniques such as digital imaging and manipulation (using Photoshop CS software), digital video photography and editing, ecological and environmental photography, landscapes, macro and long lens photography and specialist lighting. Field and studio work continue to be essential elements of the module. You will have around 6 hours of lectures per week studying this module.
Environmental Pollutants: Fate, Impact and Remediation
This module is concerned with the behaviour and effects of pollutants in terrestrial and aquatic environments and how their impacts can be ameliorated and managed. The focus is on both the scientific understanding of environmental pollutants and on the intervention strategies currently available. Topics covered include study of the common water and soil pollutants: heavy metal contamination of land; radionuclide behaviour in the environment; persistent organic contaminants and pesticides; nitrate pollution of groundwater; pollution of surface waters by agriculture; eutrophication of lakes; acidification of soils and freshwaters; biological monitoring of rivers; ecotoxicology and environmental epidemiology; quantitative risk assessment; land reclamation, including landfill sites. You will have lectures, tutorials, a field visit and laboratory work and demonstrations.
Plants and the Light Environment
This module provides a wide-ranging, detailed and modern training extending from the cellular to community level, for those with interest in plant physiology, environmental biology, agronomy and horticulture. The module focuses on the influence of the light environment on the physiology of native and crop species. It considers how this knowledge contributes to an understanding of the causes of variations in crop yields and may be used to assist in the search for improved varieties and increased productivity in agricultural systems. You’ll spend around four hours per week in lectures studying for this module.
Applied Bioethics 1: Animals, Biotechnology and Society
Animal-human interactions raise some prominent ethical issues. In this module, you’ll examine the ethical dimensions concerning animal agriculture, modern biotechnologies and research in the biosciences, in relation to both humans and non-human species. You’ll learn about the ethical frameworks used to analyse specific dilemmas raised by the human use of animals. Using specific animal and biotechnology case studies, you’ll interpret the main ethical theories and principles and apply them to the case studies to inform professional decision-making. You’ll have a mix of lectures and seminars to explore these concepts.
Applied Bioethics 2: Sustainable Food Production, Biotechnology and the Environment
You’ll be given a sound understanding of widely accepted ethical principles and encourage the application of these insights to the analysis of contemporary issues in the agricultural, food and environmental sciences. You’ll have two hour lecture and two hour seminar each week to study for this module.
Geobiology explores the relationship between life and the Earth's physical and chemical environment over geological/evolutionary time. The module will focus on the geological consequences of evolution and how life has influenced physical and chemical environment. Topics covered will include: origins and evolution of life; evolution of the atmosphere and biosphere; geobiology of critical intervals and palaeobiology and evolutionary ecology.
In a series of lectures, this module provides training in environmental biotechnology, with particular emphasis on the interaction between microorganisms and the environment. The main topics covered will be wastewater treatment, bioremediation of organic and inorganic pollutants, microbes as indicators of risk factors in the environment, microbes in agriculture (biocontrol and biofertilisers) and the role of microorganisms in bioenergy production.
Plants and the Soil Environment
Through a weekly three hour lecture, this module provides a detailed study into below-ground biological processes which influence the uptake of water and nutrients by plants. The module considers the acquisition of water and nutrients by plants in both agricultural and natural systems, and how plants interact with the soil environment. Consideration is given to using this knowledge to improve crop productivity and resource management and to understanding how resource capture by plant roots has influenced plant evolution over wider timescales.
Statistics and Experimental Design for Bioscientists
This module should give you an overall grasp of the major analytical techniques available, and how they relate to each other, as well as develop your abilities in experimental design, data analysis using appropriate software and presentation of results. You’ll have a three hour lecture each week to study for this module.
MSci Research Project in Environmental Science
This module will train you in the planning, execution and reporting of an independent advanced level research project. The module will help develop the skills associated with: planning, recording and executing an individual research project; presenting research both orally and visually to an audience of peers; writing scientific papers; effective time management and assimilating new research skills associated with a specific project.
Writing and Reviewing Research Proposals
The module aims to develop your skills in analysis and writing of research proposals. Specific areas covered include: communicating with awarding bodies (how to develop a research idea and write a grant application) and peer review of research proposals. You’ll spend around four hours per week in lectures studying for this module.
Communication and Public Engagement Skills for Scientists
This module considers:
• The importance of engaging publics with cutting edge research
• Methods of engagement that are suitable for varying audiences
• How to write for varied audiences
• How to engage with policymakers and industry
• Public speaking skills
• The planning, development and delivery of an engagement event for the public/policymakers
Project management skills are a highly transferable skill directly relevant to employment sectors.The module will cover project lifecycles, leadership in project management, managing risk in projects, analysis of project successes and failures and project management software. Students will produce a professional presentation and project management report tailored to their research project to identify the key constraints, bottlenecks and milestones. This will be supplemented by the production of appropriate project management visualisation diagram, i.e. a Gantt or PERT chart.
Syndicate Exercise: MSc Law and Environmental Science & MSci Environmental Science
This module covers the preparation of a group presentation and individual report on an environmental subject. You’ll have a one hour lecture and three hour practical each week to study for this module.
Environmental Management in Practice
The module will introduce the student to a range of approaches to environmental management and their use in practice within Government and Non-Governmental agencies and the private sector. Indicative approaches covered:
• Tendering for projects in the context of environmental consultancy
• Environmental management practices
• Participatory approaches to environmental policy and planning
Advanced solution structural techniques: Sedimentation analysis, diffusion analysis, x-ray scattering. Solution modelling of structures. High resolution structural techniques: molecular graphics, x-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance and electron microscopy.
Plant Cell Signalling
The module deals with the production and perception of plant signalling molecules. The ways in which these signals are integrated to ensure appropriate responses to environmental conditions or plant pathogen attack are discussed.