School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc (Hons) Environmental Management and Sustainability

This progressive degree focuses on Environmental Management and the broader topic of global sustainable development, including the study of the physical, biotic and cultural environments involved in the solution of environmental problems. Emphasis is placed on the human, societal and cultural solutions to environmental issues - e.g. considering ecosystem services and monetising their value. Develop leadership and facilitation skills, and gain the tools and confidence to lead and inspire change.

You will study policy, legal and geopolitical frameworks surrounding issues such as climate change and the growing importance of sustainability in business in driving good environmental practice. You will gain a thorough understanding of concepts such as the waste-free ‘circular economy’, the business advantage of sustainability in the supply chain and the importance of human ethics, values, attitudes and behaviours in resolving environmental issues.

Careers with this subject

With the range of skills acquired, graduates have excellent career prospects in industry, consultancy, management, environmental protection, local and central government, the media, international organisations, teaching, research and academia.

Key features

  • Access to a wide choice of modules taught by a core of environmental science staff and sustainability champions from across the University.
  • Work with scientists, business, educators and engineers to help build a more sustainable future by exploring environmental challenges and proposing management solutions.
  • Learn about the latest actions and renewable energy developments in the struggle against climate change .
  • Take part in overseas expeditions to Malaysia or Malta to experience challenges and solutions to sustainable development.
  • The opportunity to develop your employability via a placement year, leading to the University’s Certificate of Professional Practice, and opportunities to study abroad, through exchange programmes.
  • Teaching and learning that focuses on fun interactive, experiential and participatory learning and authentic tasks that mimic professional practice.
  • Be a part of a University with an international reputation for sustainability education, recognition as outstanding in the People and Planet Green League and Green Gown Awards .

Course details

  • Year 1
  • The first year will establish solid foundations across a range of scientific, legal, social and economic areas in order to explore environmental
    challenges and propose solutions. Field and laboratory work are key, and our residential field course promotes team building and allows you to gain practical experience.

    Core modules
    • ENVM1001 Environment and Society

      This module examines the role of human society, organisations and individuals in environmental management and sustainability, through case studies in the local area. We will examine the concepts of environmental narratives, environmental consumption and behaviours, agency and change leadership and show that environmental management can be addressed on scales from the global to the local and from the present to the future.

    • ENVS1001 Carbon in Environmental Systems

      Students are introduced to environmental systems and the carbon cycle, and undertake preliminary training in the skills of environmental investigation by way of field and laboratory work.

    • ENVS1002 The Physical Environment

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

    • ENVS1003 The Biosphere

      This module will describe, illustrate and explain principles, processes and concepts relevant to understanding life on Earth and human impacts upon it.

    • ENVS1005 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.

    Optional modules
    • FREX100PP French 1

      This module is designed for beginners in French, or those whose previous qualification/experience is not equivalent to GCSE grade B. It develops communicative competence at a basic level, enabling students to establish and maintain adequate social relations with speakers of French, negotiate everyday needs in France / a French speaking country, and communicate using spoken and simple written language in a limited social or work setting.

    • GEES1001PP Natural Hazards

      This module examines the major short-term natural hazards that affect the contemporary Earth. The various different hazards will be covered ranging from geohazards including landslides, volcanoes, earthquakes as well as weather related hazards such as tropical cyclones, extra tropical storms. Emphasis is placed upon natural hazard processes, identification, risk potential and hazard mitigation.

    • GEES1002PP Climate Change and Energy

      This module provides a scientific evaluation of climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It introduces climate change policy, renewable energy options and societal challenges over GHG reduction measures. Students engage in literature searches and review climate change policy options.

    • GEES1003PP Sustainable Futures

      This module explores the concepts and principles of sustainable development and critically examines their application to a range of real-world contemporary issues. The module provides opportunities to enhance knowledge and understanding and develop key skills by exploring an aspect of 'sustainability in practice' through student-led research.

    • GERX100PP German 1

      This module is designed for beginners in German, or those whose previous qualification/experience is not equivalent to GCSE grade B. It develops communicative competence at a basic level, enabling students to establish and maintain adequate social relations with German speakers, negotiate everyday needs in a German-speaking country, and communicate using spoken and simple written language in a limited social or work setting.

    • MATH1608PP Understanding Big Data from Social Networks

      The amount of data from questionnaires and social networks has grown enormously. Computer tools are needed to understand what these data are telling us. Students will gain valuable experience in questionnaire analysis, and in the use of software for understanding and reporting the underlying messages from data sources such as social networks. They will also meet appropriate high performance computing techniques.

    • SPNX100PP Spanish 1

      This module is designed for beginners in Spanish, or those whose previous qualification/experience is not equivalent to GCSE grade B. It develops communicative competence at a basic level, enabling students to establish and maintain adequate social relations with speakers of Spanish, negotiate everyday needs in Spain / a Spanish speaking country, and communicate using spoken and simple written language in a limited social or work setting.

  • Year 2
  • Year 2 covers the themes of economics and resources, global sustainable development and environmental law and policy. Your research skills will be developed through a residential field course in Malaysia, Malta or Cornwall.
    You'll also have the opportunity to study options from Geography, Environmental Science, Business and Education.

    In Year 2 you have the option of studying overseas on one of our many university exchange programmes.

    Core modules
    • APIE215 Placement Preparation for Environmental Science

      This module is designed to assist students in their search and preparation for a work placement and careers. It is aimed at students who would like to undertake the work placement to enhance both programme specific and employment-related skills during Stage 3 and preparation for future careers.

    • ENVM2001 Environmental Data Management

      This module develops students¿ understanding of the research process as well as competence in research skills at all stages of investigation, from formulating a research questions to deriving insights from results. The module also introduces professional tools of environmental management, such as life-cycle assessment. Skills are practised in application to a range of environmental management issues.

    • ENVM2002 Environmental Management and Sustainability in Practice

      Students engage in the full cycle of a project in environmental management - literature research, hypothesis development, experiment planning and risk assessment, field/laboratory work, data analysis and communication. Personal development planning and professional skills are advanced in preparation for and during field work through contact with professionals in the environmental sector.

    • 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.

    Optional modules
    • EDST513 Sustainability and Environmental Education

      Teaching and learning about sustainability and environmental issues is crucial at all levels. Through direct experience in the natural world this module explores the central notions of education for sustainable development, ecological literacy and the practicalities of interpretation, teaching and learning outdoors.

    • 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.

    • ENVS2006 Natural Ecosystems and Their Conservation

      This module introduces students to natural ecosystems, including (but not limited to) biological adaptation, diversity, conservation, restoration and management.

    • GGH2203 Nature and Society

      This module critically evaluates relationships between nature and society, through the consideration of a range of historical and contemporary examples in Britain and beyond. The core premise of the module is that `nature¿ is inseparable from the realms of culture, politics, economy and science.

    • GGP2201 Catchment and River Environments

      Catchment and river processes shape and integrate physical and human landscapes. Almost all human-environment interactions take place within river basins which are the fundamental unit for environmental management. Geographical knowledge of land and water processes, i.e. how catchment and river systems work and respond to human impacts, is essential to underpin management decisions that support food and water security.

    • OS205 Managing Human Impacts in the Marine Environment

      This module will introduce how human activities (such as fisheries, energy supply and mineral extraction) can impact the marine environment, including through pollution and biodiversity loss. The concepts of marine management and conservation will be introduced and methods of preventing and managing anthropogenic impacts will be introduced and evaluated and their role in marine conservation discussed.

    • STO206 Shaping the Future: creating sustainable organisations

      This interdisciplinary module develops students¿ ability to assess how organisations can adapt, innovate and thrive in response to the macro social, economic and environmental forces impacting society and organisations. The module develops an awareness of the key physical, structural, social and moral challenges faced and encourages students to develop innovative systems thinking approaches to how organisations can adapt to, mitigate against and capitalise on this unprecedented period of intense and unpredictable change.

  • Year 3
  • Placement year (optional)

    An optional placement year is available, providing an opportunity to gain work experience through our extensive network contacts with our alumni employers and research links with institutes, companies and government organisations.

    Optional modules
    • APIE317 Work Placement in Environmental Science

      This module provides 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 environmental science is used in the workplace, be able to apply their environmental knowledge and expertise, and learn further skills and relevant techniques.

  • Final year
  • You will apply system thinking to sustainability and environmental management, and learn the principles and practice of environmental management and its role in promoting sustainability. You will examine the complex issues behind a single UN Sustainable Development Goal and select an environmental issue as an individual research project; where possible projects are carried out with partner organisations and research groups. 

    Core modules
    • ENVM3001 Systems Thinking and Change Leadership in Sustainability

      This module develops and applies holistic or systems thinking to environmental management and sustainability, showing how this approach can help individuals and groups engage with global challenges and identify change leadership opportunities. Students will develop concepts and methods of systems thinking and apply these in complex and uncertain contexts, so that more sustainable solutions can be envisioned and developed.

    • ENVM3002 Systems Thinking in Sustainability: Independent Investigation

      This module provides an opportunity for students to experience professional practice in environmental management and sustainability. Students will undertake a minimum of 100 hours service with a professional organisation (private, public or third sector). You will investigate the organisation¿s practice in environmental management and sustainability and further develop professional attitudes and behaviours.

    • ENVS3004 Interdisciplinary Approaches to Environmental Science

      This module provides an introduction to the process of environmental impact assessment, including planning and best practice guidance. It provides critical evaluation of political and legislative aspects of EU environmental policy. It examines the fate and regulation of chemicals in the environment and provides an insight into selected aspects of environmental economics.

    Optional modules
    • EDST604 Global Education: Teaching and Learning for an Interconnected World

      Global education is based upon the interconnectedness of everything. It asks the learner to explore contemporary global issues ¿ development, environment, human rights, social justice, peace and conflict ¿ within the framework of the world as a system. This module offers an introduction to global education theory and practice.

    • ENVM3003 Professional Practice in Sustainability

      This module provides an opportunity for students to experience professional practice in environmental management and sustainability. Students will undertake a minimum of 100 hours service with a professional organisation (private, public or third sector). You will investigate the organisation¿s practice in environmental management and sustainability and further develop professional attitudes and behaviours.

    • ENVS3005 Global Environmental Perspectives

      A series of contemporary issues in environmental science will be considered in an objective, scientific and interdisciplinary manner with opposing viewpoints being debated by the learner. The material will be supported with guest lectures, seminars and workshops.

    • 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.

    • GGH3203 Global Environmental Politics

      This module investigates the processes, actors and policies associated with the evolution of global environmental politics. Using key examples of issues such as tropical deforestation, climate change or desertification, the module analyses the factors shaping, and difficulties facing, global environmental policy formulation and implementation in various geographical and actor scales.

    • GGP3200 Restoring Freshwater Environments

      This module develops a critical understanding of how humans have impacted natural catchment processes and the techniques available for sustainably restoring degraded environments where a legacy of historical mismanagement has degraded the environmental value of freshwaters, destroying the aquatic habitat and increasing flood and drought hazards.

    • GGP3204 Biological Conservation

      This module examinee the pursuit of biological conservation. Drawing on a wide range of case study material, in temperate and tropical, terrestrial and aqueous environments, the module examines the drivers and rationales for biological conservation, and the role of stakeholders, policies, legislation and practices in achieving it.

    • OS307 Marine Conservation Policy and Planning

      This module explores issues surrounding the maintenance of a healthy marine environment. It will develop an understanding of marine governance, including policy frameworks and agencies responsible for implementing marine conservation strategy. Topics include the range of measures and approaches for successful marine conservation and the importance of taking holistic approaches to management, including policy and planning

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

112 points, minimum of two A levels (or equivalents), normally to include grade C from a Science subject. AS levels may contribute to points offer.
GCSE: Grade C or above in English and Mathematics.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £12,500 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) Check with School To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

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.



Sustainable Earth Institute

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 Sustainable Earth Institute.

Marine Station

Boasting lecture facilities overlooking the sea, a wet lab for sample examination and analysis, a seawater aquarium, and field equipment storage and changing facilities.

The Marine Station is a landmark £5 million development; a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility on the shores of Plymouth Sound.

Discover more about the Marine Station

Potential High Achievers Scheme

In the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences we recognise that our students are the future leaders in our subject disciplines and core to the development of a sustainable planet. We know that our applicants will thrive in the environment we can provide, and we want to ensure our best applicants become our future.

The scheme is now open for students who have applied to study, from September 2017, any full-time undergraduate course within the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, including chemistry. We will be contacting applicants who are not only on course to achieve top marks but who have an outstanding personal statement, in order to offer them a chance to receive an unconditional offer immediately.

Find out more about the scheme.

Steph Rooke – BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and MSc Environmental Consultancy graduate

During Steph's time at Plymouth she chose the Environmental Management pathway, which has since been replaced by our BSc (Hons) Environmental Management and Sustainability programme.

Steph Rooke talks to us about the importance of attending career fairs, networking, and gaining practical experience on placements.

Steph Rooke's profile

Laura Blake – BSc (Hons) Environmental Science graduate

The nature of the course and the enthusiasm of all of the academics gave me the motivation, aspiration, and encouragement to […] achieve my ambitions.

Find out more about Laura

Malaysia field trip

You couldn't pick a more appropriate place for an environmental scientist because the challenges are enormous, and the whole issue of sustainability is at the forefront of the field trip.

Watch this video to find out more about the main residential field trip to Malaysia.

Liam Eslick - BSc (Hons) Environmental Science

BSc (Hons) Environmental Science student, Liam Eslick, shared some footage of his field trip to Malaysia. Watch what he has been up to.

Liam spent an additional two weeks travelling around Vietnam and Bali.

People