School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc (Hons) Environmental Geoscience

We are in a climate emergency, with issues such as rapid environmental change and industrialisation requiring interdisciplinary scientists to investigate, mitigate and remediate environmental issues. This degree combines an understanding of earth materials and planetary change on geological timescales with environmental science concepts. You will explore complex issues around the transition to a low carbon economy, zero waste construction, carbon capture and storage, and sustainable development.

Scholarships for outstanding applicants

The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences’ scholarship scheme recognises and rewards students joining our degree courses who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement. 
Scholarships of £1,000 will be awarded to the two applicants in earth sciences who achieve the highest grades in their A level or equivalent exams. The scholarship will be awarded during their first year of study at the University of Plymouth.

Key features

  • Develop a range of knowledge and skills essential to a range of careers in the Earth and environmental sectors.
  • Learn from the experience and expertise of our highly qualified staff. The varied teaching practices range from seminars and tutorials to practical classes and workshops.
  • Develop your confidence with a personal tutor, providing you with weekly guidance throughout your first year.
  • Progress your skills in our open access laboratory, LABplus.
  • Take the opportunity to spend your second year studying abroad in Canada, Australia, USA or elsewhere through our direct exchange, Erasmus or ISEP programmes. Plymouth is currently the only UK institution to offer exchanges through ISEP, giving our students the greatest range of Earth science exchange opportunities available.
  • Accreditation with the Geological Society pending.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • Laying the foundations with modules that build core knowledge, your first year provides you with an introduction to essential laboratory and field skills. You'll learn about key Earth processes, take a practical approach to the study of minerals and rocks, develop your understanding of core concepts in sustainable geoscience. Our tutorials will help you gain effective study techniques and computing skills with a personal tutor, providing you with weekly guidance throughout your first year.

    Core modules
    • ENVS1002 The Physical Environment

      Introduction to the earth's lithosphere and hydrosphere and investigation of geochemical cycles.

    • ENVS1008 Environmental Management and Protection

      Introductory aspects of environmental sustainability. Critical evaluation of social, environmental and economic aspects of the environmental issues faced by our planet and how they may be solved by using regulation, the law, corporate social responsibility, specific European Union directives, impact assessments and environmental management systems.

    • ENVS1010 Global Environmental Challenges

      Students will consider contemporary global sustainability challenges in the context of social, economic and environmental systems. Within this inter-disciplinary framework, students explore and formulate solutions to a range of complex problems and consider the role of environmental sector professional operating across a variety of scales.

    • GEOL1001 The Dynamic Earth

      This module introduces a dynamic view of how the Earth operates as a series of inter-related systems and provides students with the factual and conceptual basis required to begin to understand these systems. It integrates different geological sub-disciplines via an introductory field excursion, where the basics of mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, stratigraphy and geological map-work will be put into practice.

    • GEOL1002 Earth Materials

      This module provides an introduction to the origins and properties of Earth materials including the common rock forming minerals, and the igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock groups.

    • GEOL1007 Sustainable Geoscience

      This module introduces key concepts in environmental geosciences with a focus on sustainable geoscience and interdisciplinary issues. Themes such the energy transition, renewable energy, geo-resources, carbon-capture and storage will be investigated allowing key geological understanding to be developed alongside an appreciation of the application of geology to a low carbon future.

  • Year 2
  • Year 2 consolidates the knowledge and skills developed in year one, with an emphasis on practical skills. You'll develop observational, analytical and interpretive skills and the ability to use them to answer fundamental questions. You'll also learn how to use a GIS and develop new field skills during a field course in the UK. You’ll also have the opportunity to spend your second year studying abroad in Canada, Australia, USA or elsewhere through our direct exchange, Erasmus or ISEP programmes. 

    Core modules
    • ENVS2003 Environmental Management and Sustainability

      The module covers areas of knowledge essential for all environmental science graduates: ecological economics, life supporting resources and environmental law.

    • ENVS2004 Environmental Issues and Communication

      Through immersion in contemporary environmental issues, this module develops the knowledge and skills necessary to locate, analyse, evaluate and communicate scientific information in a range of contexts and to a range of audiences. Students develop their professional skills, as well as the skills to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and decision makers, from scientific experts to the general public.

    • GEOL2004 Stratigraphy and Earth History

      This module provides learners with an understanding of the theory and concepts for of the elucidation of Earth History, including litho- bio- and chronostratigraphy, geochemical correlation and isotopic dating methods, sequence stratigraphy and basin evolution. It also provides training in the use and application of key techniques using real-life scenarios.

    • GEOL2007 Landscape Evolution

      This module examines the concepts and techniques for reconstructing landscape development over Quaternary or longer timescales. The geomorphological landforms within fluvial, coastal, glacial and planetary settings amongst others are considered and how such landscapes change in space and time when subjected to tectonic, climatic and human related perturbations.

    • GEOL2013 Environmental Sedimentology & Structural Analysis

      This module provides a practical (field and laboratory) understanding of how sedimentary and structural processes and their products can be applied in the (i) paleoenvironmental analysis of sedimentary rock successions; (ii) understanding of how porous rocks can be used in management of subsurface fluids and (iii) how rock type and deformation control the strength and stability at the Earth surface in contrasting geological settings.

    • GGX2203A Geographical Information Systems

      Module provides grounding in theory and practical techniques of GIS. Lectures are on theory, methods and spatial literacy. Practical work covers stages of handling geospatial data, construction of GIS models and automation, provides exposure to a range of techniques in spatial analysis and visualisation, and gives context and experience to spatial literacy concepts. Knowledge and skills are developed in project work.

  • Optional placement year
  • Take advantage of our optional placement year, giving you the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills in the workplace gaining valuable experience.  Find your perfect placement with the help of our employability service and benefit from specialist workshops and tutorials in your second year, helping you prepare for your year in industry.

    Core modules
    • APIE316 Placement in Earth Sciences

      This module aims to provide an opportunity for professional training of at least six months duration with an approved company or host organisation between stage 2 and 4. While on placement, students will gain experience of how Earth Science is used in the workplace, be able to apply their Earth Science knowledge and expertise, and learn further skills and relevant techniques.

  • Final year
  • Your third year gives you the opportunity to develop specialised knowledge and skills through selecting optional modules from the Earth and environmental science courses. Optional modules include engineering geology, global environmental solutions, climate change: adaptation and mitigation. You may also undertake advanced fieldwork and will complete an independent research project, which will develop your professional skills.

    Core modules
    • ENVS3012 The Environmental Professional

      A series of real-world scenarios, which typical professionals in the environmental sector are exposed to, will be considered in an objective, scientific and interdisciplinary manner, taking into account a range of stakeholders. The material and professional development will be supported with guest speakers, seminar and workshops.

    • GEOL3002 Earth Science Independent Research Project and Professional Skills

      An independent research project on an Earth science topic, normally involving field and/or laboratory work on a topic relevant to the degree programme. Independent work is linked to skills development appropriate to the management of the project and entry and success in the professional workplace.

    Optional modules
    • ENVS3011 Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation

      The module introduces climate change adaptation and mitigation. Biotic and technological mitigation will be explored and evaluated in the context of different geographical settings.

    • ENVS3013 Global Environmental Solutions

      In this module students will take an interdisciplinary solution-based approach to contemporary global environmental issues employing both ecological economics principles and environmental law.

    • ENVS3014 Contaminant Risk Management

      The module covers all aspects of contaminant risk management, including policy and regulation, and centres on the EU Waste Framework Directive, technology used to treat wastes and contaminated land and their long term sustainability. Critical evaluation of today¿s contaminant risk management practices are provided taking account of statutory, voluntary and economic measures, drawing on case studies from the UK, EU and the rest of the world.

    • GEOL3008 Advanced Geological Fieldwork

      A residential fieldtrip centred on the analysis of the geological evolution of a region, where students will integrate their own field observations with published work from a variety of locations in developing and understanding of the geological history of that region and its wider significance to the Earth Sciences.

    • GEOL3010 Engineering Geology

      This module examines the application of earth science techniques and knowledge to civil engineering. Includes desk studies, remote sensing interpretation, database analysis, UK and European Codes of Practice, site investigation design, ground model development, engineering geology in a range of construction situations, and technical reporting.

    • GGP3207 Desertification and Dryland Change

      Drylands comprise 47% of the world’s land surface, and are home to well over 2 billion people. Although there tends to be a perception of drylands as barren, dead landscapes, these environments are environmentally dynamic, complex and highly sensitive to change on a very diverse range of timescales. This module focuses on the physical dynamism of desert landscapes through the lens of land degradation in the 21st century.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Environmental Geoscience programme specification 6961

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

112 - 120

IB
28 - 30 points overall to include science related subjects.

A level
112-120 points including a minimum of 2 A levels, relevant subjects Biology, Mathematics/Use of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Science/Studies, Applied Science, Geography, Geology, Design Technology. Excluding General Studies.

BTEC QCF Extended Diploma/RQF National Extended Diploma: DMM to DDM – science related subject. You are encouraged to contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk if you do not meet this criteria.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

Access:
Pass an Access to HE Diploma (science based) with at least 33 credits at merit. You are encouraged to contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk if you do not meet this criteria.

GCSE
All applicants must have GCSE (or equivalent) English and Mathematics at grade C / 4 or above.

English language requirements.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2020 2021
Home/EU To be confirmed To be confirmed
International To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Additional fieldwork and equipment costs.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

@EarthSciPlymuni

in our conversation on Twitter:

@EnvPlymUni

in our conversation on Twitter:

Centre for Research in Earth Sciences (CRES)

Our world-class research keeps staff at the cutting edge of recent scientific developments within the field.

Explore the interdisciplinary research carried out within Earth sciences.

Find our more about our research

Sustainable Earth Institute 

The Sustainable Earth Institute is about promoting a new way of thinking about the future of our world.

We bring researchers together with businesses, community groups and individuals to develop cutting-edge research and innovative approaches that build resilience to global challenges. We link diverse research areas across the University including science, engineering, arts, humanities, health and business.

Find out more about the institute

People

Additional fieldwork and equipment costs

This course includes residential fieldwork. Typically, where the fieldwork is a compulsory part of the course, transport, accommodation and the majority of food costs are paid by the Faculty.

Some courses offer alternative or optional field courses with an additional cost.

Find out more information