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Taking care of our planet for future generations is one of our most important responsibilities.

By studying environmental Science at Ulster you will gain the knowledge and skills to address issues such as climate change, conserving animal and plant diversity, environmental impacts of development and the management of water and air pollution. If you enjoy science or geography and have an interest in environmental issues, this course is for you.

3 Year BSc (Hons) | Optional Year Industrial Placement (DPP) | Optional Year Study Abroad (DIAS)


- By studying Environmental Science at Ulster you will gain the knowledge and skills to address issues such as climate change, conserving animal and plant diversity, environmental impacts of development and the management of water and air pollution. If you enjoy science or geography and have an interest in environmental issues, this course is for you.

- We teach with a cross-disciplinary approach, so that you will learn to understand the complex behaviour of environmental systems. Our degree in environmental science has diverse ranges of practical applications; from assessing drinking water quality, studying processes that cause coastal erosion, investigating agricultural pollution sources, to mapping shrinking glaciers and ice sheets from space.

- At this time of unprecedented environmental change on planet Earth, society is having to adapt to processes and hazards that are poorly understood. Now, more than ever, society needs STEM graduates with an inter-disciplinary understanding of the complexity and uncertainty of Earth systems, and with the skills to observe, measure, model and manage these systems. Our environmental science degree at Ulster spans biology, chemistry, geology and physics of the terrestrial, atmospheric and freshwater systems. 

BSc Environmental Science
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In Year 1 you begin with a residential field school and then study modules related to sustainability, environmental processes, environmental systems and a range of data analysis skills.

In Year 2 you will study GIS, remote sensing, environmental impact assessment and planning, the atmosphere, freshwater systems, ecology and biogeography and attend a residential overseas field school.

In final year you will undertake modules on research skills and an independent research project. GIS and remote sensing is continued as a transferrable skill and other modules focus on environmental change and management. The freshwater theme is further developed in a module relating to water resource management, including lab-based toxicity testing and field visits to the water quality industry. Investigation of pollutants such as pesticides and radioisotopes is further explored.

Contact hours​ Typically 15 hours per week

Independent learning Typically 25 hours per week 

Assessment Typically 15% by exam and 85% by continual assessment   

Degree classification 30% contribution from second year and 70% from final year modules


Year 1: The Fundamentals

Skills Toolbox

Environmental Systems

Society and Environment

The Hydrosphere

The Biosphere

The Lithosphere

Year 2: Processes and Skills

Ecology and Biogeography

The Atmosphere

GIS and Remote Sensing

Sustainable Planning
Freshwater Systems

Environmental Science Field School

Final Year: Applying Knowledge

Water Resource Management

Environmental Change

Advanced GIS and Remote Sensing

Research and Professional Skills

Environmental Management



Duration: 3 years for BSc + 1 year for optional placement or study abroad.

Study abroad options: You will have the opportunity to study for a year at a university abroad. Options include a range of European countries, North America and partner universities in Australia and French Polynesia. On successful completion you will be awarded an additional diploma (DIAS).

Industrial placements: The industrial placement scheme gives you the opportunity to work for 10 months within an organization developing skills and applying knowledge. On successful completion you will be awarded an additional diploma (DPP). We have strong links with industry and government agencies, and a dedicated placement co-ordinator to help and advise. 


What are the asking grades? 

BCC at A-level (or equivalent). No specific subjects are required, although a science subject is preferred for the environmental science degree.

What happens if I don’t get the grades?

We offer a one-week bridging module for students who may not have obtained the necessary grades. The bridging module is held in late August on the Coleraine campus and involves field and laboratory exercises. On successful completion of a linked assignment, students may be offered a place on their chosen undergraduate course. 

How do I apply?

Through UCAS. Course codes and additional information available on the UU Prospectus.

Can I chat to someone about the degree?

Please get in touch with our Course Director Dr. Joerg Arnscheidt who will be happy to chat:


Our environmental students find fulfilling and successful careers as geospatial analysts, soil scientists, freshwater scientists, hydrologists, environmental impact assessors, planners, surveyors, environmental policy makers and more. 

Some of our recent graduates are now working as: Teacher, GIS Consultant, Mining Engineer, Exploration Geologist, Scientific Officer NIEA, Mapping Officer LPS, Strategic Analyst, Aerial Surveyor, Hydrographic Surveyor, Urban Development Officer, Geospatial Analyst MOD, Clean Neighbourhood Officer, Environmental Officer, Data Technician, University Lecturer, Environmental Consultant, R&D Scientist, Lab Analyst

Environmental Analyst, Geo-Environmental Engineer, Soil Sampling Technician, Entomologist, Oil Spill Remediation, Fisheries Development Officer, Environmental Monitoring, Laboratory Technician, Forester, Environmental Engineer, Quality Control Analyst, Campaign Officer, Geologist, Waste Water Inspector, Freshwater Scientist, Environmental Impact  Assessor, Biology Teacher, Science Teacher, Water Sampler, Planner, Hydrologist, Hydrogeologist, 

Meteorologist, Soil Scientist, Offshore Geophysicist.

Check out our careers blog​ to see what types of jobs and placements are available to our students, and read about the career paths of some of our graduates below.



GIS Consultant
DAERA, Belfast

During my time at Ulster I successfully applied for a place on the Marine Institute’s summer bursary program and completed a work experience year. During my placement I gained valuable professional experience using GIS within conservation. This was augmented during my final semester when I took part in the iMap project where I developed my presentation and project management skills.

After graduating, I was employed as a Mapping and Charting officer with Land and Property Services before starting as a GIS Consultant with DAERA



Government Scientist
DAERA, Belfast

I’m currently employed as a Principal Scientific Officer in DAERA’s Marine Division. In this role I manage the Conservation and Reporting team which has responsibility for marine nature conservation and archaeology. I previously worked for NI Environment Agency as an ecologist working on the lake monitoring programme and a year in the Strategy Group where I had the opportunity to be involved with policy development.

The skills that taught as part of the environmental science degree have proved to be very valuable in preparing me for the various roles I have had within Government.



Golder Associates, Melbourne

After graduating I began a career as a hydrogeologist at an engineering consultancy in Belfast; White, Young and Green. I then moved to Melbourne to project manage the assessment and remediation of large-scale contaminated sites with large international engineering consultancy Golder Associates.  

I really enjoy the diversity of work and mix of people I get to interact with. No two projects are ever the same and I get to visit and work in some amazing locations.

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