On our BSc Environmental Science course you will study the environment from a scientific perspective and discover how to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the Earth today.
This course will enable you to explore the Earth’s natural systems and their physical, chemical and biological interactions. This knowledge can then be used to create strategies for solving major environmental issues, including pollution and climate change. Taught by the Department of Geography and Environmental Science, the course has a strong practical basis and you will learn the essential skills needed by today’s professional environmental scientists. Furthermore, you will have the option to work as an environmental consultant for a real client. You will be assigned a stretch of the River Loddon and will carry out assessments, liaise with key stakeholders, and report your findings to the Environment Agency.
Our staff are actively engaged in research and will tailor their teaching to reflect changing trends and emerging technologies within the sector. You will also benefit from small class sizes, enabling staff to support you better through your studies.
Fieldwork is a major part of this degree, and you will benefit from regular local trips and longer residential visits. The University of Reading’s award-winning campus is home to over a thousand different animal species and is extremely useful for learning fieldwork skills. It offers multiple habitats for study, including lakes, hay meadows and woodlands, and allows you to step straight from the classroom to the field. Meanwhile, the University's large farms provide access to hedgerow, marshland and the Thames.
During the first year you will visit Somerset to study topics such as flooding, geology and soil formation. In your second year you will be able to visit Almeria in Spain, which is the driest area in mainland Europe. Here you will visit a solar research station and examples of greenhouse horticulture, and investigate issues such as pollution and water supply. In the final year, there is an optional field trip to Iceland.
The structure of this course enables you to pursue your own interests and even allows you to study modules from other subjects, such as biological sciences or meteorology. You can decide to pick and choose options for yourself or can stick to specialist pathways in water resources and quality, conservation and sustainability, climate and palaeoclimate change, and pollution and remediation.
During your final year you will complete a dissertation on a topic of your choice, such as water quality, carbon budgets or soil. You may have the chance to run it in conjunction with an outside society and gain experience of completing research for a major organisation. In the past, students have worked alongside Natural England and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. There may also be the chance to spend a term studying abroad in areas such as Svalbard, Norway and Rhode Island, USA.
This course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES).
You can choose to carry out a short placement, which will involve working on a small project for a local company or organisations. This will provide you with valuable experience of professional work, as well as enabling you to develop your research, survey, data analysis and presentation skills. Our department has a dedicated member of staff in charge of placements, who can provide you with advice and support.
Alternatively, you can opt to take the four-year version of this course, incorporating a year in industry.
During the final year you may also have the chance to spend a term studying abroad. We have numerous links with universities in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, and you may have the opportunity to study at one of them, depending on your course. Additionally, field trips will enable you to travel to a variety of locations to carry out research.
I have always been fascinated by the immense power and complexity of the natural world. I wished to study Environmental Science to further my understanding of how natural processes act together to create Earth as we know it. I find it interesting to learn how seemingly small processes or changes have the capability to influence humans, organisms and the physical landscape on such a large scale.