International Environmental Science BSc


Fact file - 2019 entry

BSc Hons International Environmental Science
UCAS code
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
at least one of the following preferred subjects at A level; biology, chemistry, physics, geography, geology, maths, environmental science or equivalent
IB score
34-32 including 5 in two science subjects at Higher Level
Course location
University Park Campus
Course places
10 across BSc and MSci International Environmental Sciences


Our flexible applied science degree enables you to understand the mechanisms and processes underlying our interactions with the natural environment, whilst building life skills by studying abroad for a year of the programme.
Read full overview

The environment is one of the most important and exciting areas for scientific enquiry today. To understand the interplay between humans and the environment, identify and solve problems arising from damage to ecosystems and deliver a sustainable future, we need scientists with the right skills. 

  • Study a wide range of subjects including geography, biology, maths and geology to develop your scientific understanding, and discover the ways in which living organisms interact with their environment and how air, soil and water pollution can be monitored, modelled and remediated.
  • Combine extensive fieldwork options and research with the flexibility to specialise in your area of interest, at Nottingham you will build a solid foundation in biological and environmental applied science.
  • Study at one of of our highly ranked international partner universities in your second year. 
  • Be taught by subject specialists who are active researchers in the most rapidly developing areas of environmental science, incorporating the latest research into their teaching.
  • Fieldwork is an important aspect of the course, allowing you to put your learning into practice and experience various communities and ecosystems including Devon, Malaysia or the Czech Republic.
env science wide

Some optional modules on this degree are taught at Sutton Bonington Campus.


Put into practice the skills and knowledge learned in the laboratory and lecture theatre. Gain hands-on experience directly related to skills required in the environmental sector.

Devon and Malaysia (year two)

Both of these courses are residential and involve studying various communities and ecosystems, using a range of field techniques.

  • The Devon field course is based in a coastal habitat in south Devon and the Malaysia field course is based on Tioman Island, which is off the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
  • You will learn how abiotic and biotic factors determine the distribution and function of living organisms.
  • On the Devon course, particular focus is on understanding the impacts of local agriculture and tourism, and the strategies used to manage a national nature reserve and SSSI (site of special scientific interest).
  • Activities in Malaysia include the deployment of camera traps to describe the community of terrestrial mammals in a tropical forest.

env bio field 1

Czech Republic (year three)

The Environmental Pollution Field Course involves one week’s field study in the Czech Republic and takes place in September between years two and three.

  • The aim is to provide you with practical experience of a range of environmental pollution issues in a region which was formerly one of the most polluted areas in the world.
  • The focus is on the mining and utilisation of brown coal and the environmental impacts of these activities, past and present.
  • On return to Nottingham, laboratory classes provide analytical data from samples collected in the field.

Sweden (year three)

The Arctic Ecology Field Course involves one week’s field study in Sweden at Abisko and takes place in July between year two and three.

  • Under the midnight sun, you will put ecological methodology into practice in projects that analyse landscape patterns and processes.
  • The course will also address the impact of climate change on arctic ecosystems. You will gain practical experience in ecological methodology, experimental design, data collection and analysis, interpretation and presentation.

env bio


Yearly overviews

Year one 

You will gain a strong grounding in biological and environmental sciences. Core modules will cover the major domains of life (animals, plants, microbes). You will also be introduced to underpinning environmental processes such as nutrient cycling and the ecology and evolution of organisms. Key study skills include tutorials and an introduction to experimental design.

Year two

Your second year will be spent studying at one of our international university partners or campuses building your knowledge of international environmental science. The School of Biosciences works closely with research-intensive universities around the world in countries such as Australia to deliver an international programme which includes a full academic year studying abroad.

Year three

You will carry out an experimental or literature-based research project during this year.  Working closely with a member of academic staff you will design and deliver your project, which can be lab, field or literature based.. 

Recent students have given talks on their project work at undergraduate research conferences and as poster presentations to MPs in the Houses of Parliament. Recent projects include studies on:

  • carbon capture and storage
  • sustainable management of high-level nuclear waste
  • climate change in the Arctic

Optional modules include the Arctic Ecology Field Course (Sweden) where you will focus on the function of arctic ecosystems, and the Environmental Pollution Field Course (Czech Republic) where you will gain practical experience of environmental pollution and its long term effects in a heavily polluted area in central Europe.


Student stories

int env sci profile
Kaviya Selvamanickam
BSc International Environmental Science
"My year abroad at The University of Sydney was an amazing experience; daunting at first, but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t go! My 2nd year abroad taught me skills such as resilience, adaptability and self-reliance, skills I know will be very valuable throughout university and in life."


env sci profile matt b
Matt Bridgman
MSci Environmental Science
"I graduated from Nottingham in 2015 with an MSci in Environmental Science. After spending a few months working as an assistant ecologist at a micropropagation company, I was offered a job with an environmental services company based in Dubai as Production/R&D Manager. My primary responsibilities were overseeing the production of our commercial kitchen drain line maintenance chemicals and microbial-based agricultural inputs. Our clients are mostly hotels, malls and restaurants. I’ve been involved in designing new products, identifying and meeting our suppliers for things like water saving aerators, LED lighting and water filters.Recently I’ve taken on more of an operational role and I’m now looking after the operations of our environment and facilities management divisions."

Inspiring academics

matt ashfold profile small
Matthew Ashfold
Course Director Environmental Sciences, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
Matt’s research encompasses atmospheric and climate sciences, often with a focus on tropical Asia, and employing a combination of computer models and observational datasets. Recently he has highlighted the rapid long-range transport of atmospheric pollution from East Asia towards the tropics with important implications for regional air quality and for the stratospheric ozone layer. He is course director for the environmental science programme at the Malaysia Campus and teaches Global Environmental Change and Environmental Modelling.

Additional year in Computer Science

Boost your degree even further by studying computer science for a year between years two and three of your degree, extending your degree to a four year programme.

A year spent in the University's School of Computer Science will give you training in software development and computing skills relevant to your final year research project and benefit you in your future career.

You can decide to transfer into this programme from your BSc course when you start your degree (subject to progression criteria).


Entry requirements

A levels: ABB-BBB, at least one of the following preferred subjects at A level; biology, chemistry, physics, geography, geology, maths, environmental science or equivalent

Citizenship studies, critical thinking, general studies and leisure studies not accepted.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.


If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications

For details please see alternative qualifications page

Foundation year - a foundation year is available for this course.

Science Foundation Certificate

International students only

International students (non-EU) who do not have the required qualifications or grades to go directly onto an undergraduate degree course, may be interested in the Science Foundation Certificate delivered through The University of Nottingham International College. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met. 

Science with Foundation Year

Home, EU and international students

If you have achieved high grades in your A levels (or equivalent qualifications) but do not meet the current subject entry requirements for direct entry to your chosen undergraduate course, you may be interested in our one year science foundation programme. Applicants must also demonstrate good grades in previous relevant science subjects to apply. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met.  

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.

Notes for applicants

Our modular courses are flexible and offer the opportunity to combine your main studies with modules in other subject areas (please note that all modules are subject to change).  



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.

Typical year one modules


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.
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. 
The Ecology of Natural and Managed Ecosystems
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.
Environmental Geoscience
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. 


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.
Plant Science
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.

Typical year two modulesInternational Year)

 Core modules include:

  • The Soil Resource
  • Land and Water Ecochemistry
  • Introductory Statistical Methods
  • Contemporary Field and Lab Soil Science

Optional modules include:

  • Economic Environment of Agriculture
  • Plant Form and Function
  • Microbes in the Environment
  • Environmental GIS
  • Introductory Hydrology
  • Ecological Sustainability
  • Fluvial and Groundwater Geomorphology
  • Soil Properties and Processes
  • Agro-ecosystems in Developing countries
  • Advanced Hydrology and Modelling  

Typical year three modules 


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.

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 investigate widely accepted ethical principles and apply your insights to contemporary ethical issues in agricultural, food and environmental sciences. You’ll explore the ethical dimensions of prominent issues raised by the agricultural practices (including the use of biotechnology and GM crops) designed to meet the nutritional needs of the global population. You’ll also learn about how ethical theory can inform professional choices and public policies related to food production and environmental management. You’ll have a mix of lectures, tutorials and team-based exercises to develop a sound understanding of ethical principles.
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.
Plants and the Soil Environment
What happens below the ground that affects the water and nutrient uptake by plants? In this module, you’ll examine the acquisition of water and nutrients by plants in both agricultural and natural systems, and how plants interact with the soil environment. You’ll learn about the evolution of root adaptations which enable plants to thrive in environments with limited or excess water and nutrients. In an agricultural setting, you’ll explore how water and nutrient uptake by plants can be used to improve crop productivity and resource management, and use the practical study component to investigate new methods and technologies for below-ground phenotyping of roots. You’ll have a mix of lectures and computer-based practicals to gain a fundamental understanding of how water and nutrients are acquired by plants from the soil environment, and their influence on plant growth and development.
Computer Modelling in Science: Applications
The use of computer-based models has become widespread in the biological and environmental sciences. This module aims to show the range of techniques for these models using appropriate examples including pollutant transfer and fate, population dynamics, protein synthesis, molecular switches and epidemics of humans and animals. Practical work is undertaken using modelling software to illustrate key aspects of the module. The module is designed for students with relatively little mathematical or computing experience and is an ideal opportunity to develop a knowledge of applying mathematical skills in an environmental science context.
Environmental Biotechnology
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.

Industry placement year

The optional year in industry takes place between years two and three of your degree, extending your degree to a four year programme. Students apply for a placement during year two of the degree programme.

A year in industry can help you:

  • Gain the opportunity to put your learning into practice, giving you a better understanding of your studies and the chance to solidify your knowledge in an industry setting. 
  • Stand out from the crowd as a graduate: many students secure a graduate job as a direct result of their placement year.
  • Learn about what you enjoy doing, and your strengths and weaknesses, putting you in a strong position when considering your future career.

The school has excellent links with a wide range of businesses and research institutes, examples of relevant companies include the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, ADAS, Delta-Simons, Mott Macdonald, PepsiCo and Gatwick Airport.

The dedicated School Placement Team work with you to help you search for, apply and secure a placement, as well as supporting you prior to, during and after the placement.

It is possible to do a year in industry as part of this international degree programme. You would need to apply for your year in industry whilst studying at your international university during your second year. Depending on the company, it can be possible for the recruitment process to take place remotely, without requiring a return to the UK. The School Placement Team will support students through the process and will advise on key issues to be aware of when undertaking an international programme and a year in industry. 

Student placement stories



You will have developed understanding of the environment through taught modules, private study, laboratory classes and a range of field courses both in the UK and abroad. You will also have an awareness of the challenges to be overcome in ensuring a sustainable future, and knowledge of possible solutions to environmental problems.

In addition to providing a solid academic and practical grounding, our emphasis is on teaching realistic and transferable skills. For example, you gain experience in writing research papers, reports, and public speaking.

Our graduates are widely regarded as being well-trained and of high quality, and are in an excellent position to obtain rewarding and well paid jobs. They are ideally suited for employment in environmental consultancies, local authorities, government agencies and industry. 
Careers pursued by recent graduates include:

  • environmental consultancies
  • agricultural and rural loss adjusters
  • engineering consultants
  • alternative energy companies
  • hydrology
  • waste recycling
  • research degrees 

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers
(Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2017, High Fliers Research).


Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 93.1% of first-degree graduates in the School of Biosciences, who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,597, with the highest being £30,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates who were available for work, 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK. 

Careers support and advice

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Explore career options


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment.

How to use the data

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


tailoring your degree to your interests
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 Dr Ruth Blunt 

Student Recruitment Support Hub

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