School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc (Hons) Environmental Science with Foundation Year

Environmental scientists are critical to addressing global environmental challenges. Your degree will provide you with the knowledge and skills to identify and develop solutions to a wide range of environmental challenges on land and in our oceans, including climate change, biodiversity loss, conservation and sustainability. Applying the latest techniques in the laboratory and the field – you will graduate ready to shape the future of fields from ecosystem management to environmental monitoring.

Amazing cable bridge over the tropical rainforest island landscape in Langkawi, Malaysia. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022*

The University of Plymouth has been named among the top 5% of universities globally in 2022 for its contribution to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals*, in particular, work on marine issues and on climate change. In the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, sustainability is at the heart of our research and teaching. From sustainable cities, affordable and clean energy, to climate policy, biodiversity, and natural hazards, our academic staff work with partners locally and overseas to help understand, communicate and solve fundamental and pressing sustainability challenges.
Find out more in our press release 

Careers with this subject

Our graduates have excellent career prospects; currently they work in over 50 countries e.g. UK, China, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, North America and South East Asia. Your core skills, subject specialisms and transferable skills equip you for a wide range of occupations, for example in industry using environmental management to mitigate climate change impacts or environmental consultancy working on projects ranging from habit surveys, air pollution, water quality, contaminated land, flood defence through to impact assessments of renewable energies or being involved with Crossrail in London.
Other potential work areas could include marine/terrestrial conservation with, for example, Natural England, a local Council environment officer, the Environment Agency, media, the UN, universities, teaching, research and many other sectors.

Key features

  • These four year degrees incorporate a foundation year and the chance to progress into either BSc (Hons) Environmental Science or BSc (Hons) Environmental Management and Sustainability. Great if your current qualifications don’t allow you direct entry to the course or if you have been out of education for some time.
  • Benefit from enthusiastic, supportive staff and teaching informed by our renowned research.
  • Take part in fieldwork in the UK and/or overseas in a variety of locations.
  • Experience in-depth coverage of natural sciences in the context of social, cultural and economic systems.
  • Learn about the latest actions and technological developments in the struggle against climate change.
  •  Take the opportunity to spend your second year studying abroad in Europe, Canada, Australia, USA or elsewhere through our bilateral and ISEP exchange programmes.
  • Hone your skills and knowledge with a wealth of facilities, including our marine research vessel Falcon Spirit, high specification laboratories and analytical facilities, LABplus and our new Marine Station.
  • Qualify as a professional diver (HSE SCUBA) as part of your third year of study.
  • LABplus is a unique open access laboratory and resource centre designed for students studying science and engineering courses. The lab provides a flexible workspace, computing facilities, specialist software, access to microscopes, microscope cameras and bespoke resources.
  • Work placements – enhance your employability by gaining work experience via an optional 6 week or 6–12 month work placement in the UK, EU or further overseas such as Australia, Madagascar, Costa Rica, Ecuador, choosing from exciting opportunities in e.g. consultancy, conservation, NGO’s, EA, marine sectors.
  • Benefit from an Environmental Science Careers Fair to build your all-important employer networks and share career success stories from our graduates.
  • Our tutorial programme provides invaluable transferable skills, small group and one-to-one support. Our externally recognised Peer Assisted Learning ( PALS) scheme helps increase your confidence with support from student mentors.
  • A diverse and respectful place in which to work and study is fundamental to everything we do. Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science.

Course details

  • Foundation year

  • We'll provide you with an introduction to environmental science and an overview of key issues and solutions. You'll also develop independent, reflective and self-managed approaches to study, being taught for example, scientific writing, time management and mathematical skills as well as other key soft skills that enhance your employability. You will study the two core modules Environmental Science and Study and Mathematical Skills for Science and also choose two of the optional module pathways, these being biology, chemistry, physics or mathematics and statistics for science with the requirement that to study e.g. Chemistry 2 in semester two you will need to have taken Chemistry 1 in semester 1. 

    Core modules

    • Becoming a Successful Global Scientist (FYM001)

      This module will introduce learners to some of the major global environmental challenges facing society today and how science has a role in tackling them. It will help enable learners to adapt to the Higher Education Learning Environment by the development of a more independent, reflective and self-managed approach to study, learning, scientific writing, time management and mathematical skills for the study of science.

    • Essentials for Physical and Environmental Sciences (FYM002)

      This module introduces learners to the study of physical and environmental science. It covers the very small scale from atoms to large scale global systems. This module teaches the fundamental concepts and analysis methods for chemical, environmental and earth system sciences. No prior knowledge is assumed. Emphasis is placed on building understanding of core principles and confidence in essential practical techniques.

    • Our Changing Planet - Chemical and Geo-environmental Processes (FYM004)

      This module builds on the core ideas introduced in its partner module in the first semester (FYM002), introducing a range of additional physical, earth and environmental concepts. There will be a strong emphasis on applying scientific principles to a wide range of topics in earth, environmental and chemical sciences.

    • Sustainable Development Project (FYM006)

      This module will introduce the learners to group work. As part of a group, they will investigate one of the global environmental challenges facing society today. Each global environmental challenge will be investigated through its impact(s) in and around SW England. The learners will be guided in their investigation and present their findings at an end of year conference. This will be followed by an individual reflection upon the group work process.

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 Science With Foundation Year Programme Specification September 2024 5475

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

32 - 48

A level: 32 to 48 UCAS tariff points.
BTEC: 18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma PPP in a science 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.
Access: pass an Access to HE Diploma (e.g science/combined studies/natural sciences).
T level: Pass or above. Any subjects related to science or technology.
International Baccalaureate: 24 points overall to include Pass in a Higher Level subject. English and maths accepted within.
GCSE: English and mathematics grade C/4 or above.
For all admission information and queries please contact our admissions tutor John Bull who will be pleased to discuss options.
Applications from students with non-standard qualifications, including those without science qualifications at Level 3, are welcomed and are assessed on an individual basis. This course is also suitable for those returning to study who can offer work or other related experience in place of formal qualifications and who have the equivalent of basic mathematical, English and science skills (i.e. the equivalent of a grade C at GCSE level).
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £16,300 £18,100
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 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. More information about fees and funding.

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.

Tuition fees for optional placement years

The fee for all undergraduate students completing any part of their placement year in the UK in 2023/2024 is £1,850.
The fee for all undergraduate students completing their whole placement year outside the UK in 2023/2024 is £1,385.
Learn more about placement year tuition fees

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 admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Environmental science fieldwork

Fieldwork is an important part of studying the environmental sciences. Our programme of residential and non-residential fieldwork enables students to immerse themselves in different environments where they can experience and investigate environmental challenges in a range of national and international locations. 
Fieldwork may be subject to change due to staffing and external factors.
Environmental science fieldwork at the Marine station

Academic staff

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