School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc (Hons) Environmental Management and Sustainability

This degree is strongly interdisciplinary and practical, and draws on a wide range of well-established modules from environmental science, geography, biology, environmental law, economics and marine subject disciplines. Your studies will provide you with relevant leadership and facilitation skills, and you will gain the tools and confidence to lead and inspire change.

Our teaching team have relevant research and excellent links with environmental consultancies, industry, national and local government.The University of Plymouth is an Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) training centre.

Don’t just sit in Piccadilly Circus

Get the skills and knowledge to really make a difference

Courses that will equip you with the tools necessary to tackle environmental problems and make a better world now and for future generations.

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 environmental science 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.

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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • ENVS1009 Sustainability Science

      Students are introduced to environmental systems and sustainability at a variety of scales. Training in the skills of environmental investigations is delivered through field and laboratory work. Personal and professional development are supported through tutorials and workshops focusing on transferable skills and professionalism.

    • 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.

  • 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
    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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. 

    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. (This module is subject to availability)

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

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 Management and Sustainability programme specification 5845

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

104 - 112

A level: 104-112 points, to include a minimum of 2 A levels and preferably from one of the following subjects: Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Psychology, Geography, Geology, Applied Science, Use of Maths, Applied Science, Biology or Human Biology, Statistics, Science in the Environment, Design Technology. General Studies not accepted.

IB: 26-27 points overall from an International Baccalaureate, to include science/technology related subjects. English and mathematics must be included.

BTEC: 18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DMM preferably from a science/technology related subject.

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.

GCSE: mathematics grade C required. English language grade C or above.

Access: pass an Access to HE Diploma (science based) with at least 33 credits at merit, and to include at least 12 credits in a relevant science units at merit. Including GCSE English and Maths grade C or above or equivalent.

Applications from international students and those with no recent formal qualifications are welcome and will be assessed on an individual basis.
Direct entry to year two or the final year is possible.

Accepted subject include: applied science, animal management, countryside management, forensic science.

The BSc (Hons) Environmental Science course is also available for intercalating students.

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 2019 2020
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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.

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

Assessment breakdown: Coursework 71% Exam 7% Practical 22%

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


in our conversation on Twitter:

Updates and news from our students and staff

Gain insight into what's happening in environmental sciences at the University of Plymouth. Enjoy reading about staff achievements, research, field trips, learning opportunities, placements and more.

Read our latest newsletter

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

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.

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.


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

*These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Unistats is updated annually in September.

The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE) are made available to prospective students and their advisors through the Unistats website.