• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 4 years
  • School: Social Sciences
  • Study Abroad: Yes
  • Study Mode: Full Time

Growing pressures on scarce resources and concern over the effects of climate change mean there has never been a better time to be an environmental science professional.

Employment prospects are high and the interdisciplinary nature of our degrees will give you both a wide-ranging and a solid scientific base of knowledge.

Why study this course at Dundee?

Studying Environmental Science at Dundee provides you with the opportunity to explore the problems associated with the interaction of humans and the natural environment, focusing on topical and relevant issues such as climate change, pollution of land and water and the management of natural resources.

Our programme is interdisciplinary with teaching staff drawn from a wide range of academic areas. This means that you will benefit from exposure to methods, facilities and research agendas that span the environment – from life sciences including chemistry and biology, through hydrology, remote sensing, geology, geomorphology, oceanography and physics, to environmental planning and management. This provides a firm and rigorous foundation for your career in the environment.

Our staff operate an open-door policy for all students and students are encouraged to approach staff as and when they wish for help and support.

What is so good about this course?

Professional Links

We have strong links to employers nationally, reflected by research and consultancy work undertaken by teaching staff and by the rising numbers of direct approaches we receive for graduates, including opportunities for work experience and summer placements. Guest lecturers from environmental employers address key environmental issues throughout the programme.

Application has been made for professional accreditation for the environmental science degree from the Institute of Environmental Sciences. This will further develop the already excellent links between our courses and employment opportunities.

Erasmus Exchanges

Active exchange links enable you to study for a semester or year at Umea (Sweden), Lausanne (Switzerland), Dresden (Germany), Rey Juan Carlos (Madrid), Vigo (Portugal) and Flinders (Australia). Visit our Erasmus website for more information.

Geography and Environmental Science Society

Environmental Science students and staff quickly get to know each other through field classes and group project work, creating a friendly and informal atmosphere. In addition to this, the student-run Geography and Environmental Science Society (GESS) provides a lively and informal focus for social activities, which include talks, dinners and an annual ceilidh.


Environmental Science students, together with Geography students, regularly organise expeditions to different parts of the world. In recent years groups of students have successfully raised funds and sponsorship to travel to Iceland and the European Alps, where they have carried out scientific research projects into glacier hazards, environmental change and human impacts on the environment.

The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.

You have to obtain your qualifications at the first sitting of examination.

Courses starting 2016
Qualification Level 1 Entry Advanced Entry to Level 2
SQA Higher/Advanced Higher BBBB (minimum) - AABB (typical) at Higher including biology or chemistry or physics. Please see requirements for other Joint Honours subjects. AB at Advanced Higher including biology or chemistry or physics, plus BB at Higher in different subjects. Please see requirements for other Joint Honours subjects.
GCE A-Level BCC (minimum) - BBB (typical) including biology or chemistry or physics. Please see requirements for other Joint Honours subjects. ABB including biology or chemistry or physics. Please see requirements for other Joint Honours subjects.
Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC) AABB at Higher including biology or chemistry or physics. Please see requirements for other Joint Honours subjects. Level 2 entry is not possible with this qualification
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma 30 points at Higher Level grades 5, 5, 5 to include biology or chemistry or physics. Please see requirements for other Joint Honours subjects. 34 points at Higher Level grades 6, 6, 5, to include biology or chemistry or physics. Please see requirements for other Joint Honours subjects.
Graduate Entry
BTEC A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDD
SQA Higher National (HNC/HND) A relevant HNC with B in the Graded Unit A relevant HND with BB in the Graded Units
Scottish Baccalaureate Pass with CC at Advanced Higher Pass with BB at Advanced Higher
SWAP Access Relevant subjects with ABB grades to include English Literature/Language at SCQF Level 6 and Communication 4 plus Literature 1 Level 2 entry is not possible with this qualification
Advanced Diploma Grade B with ASL-A Level at B Grade A with ASL-A Level at B
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A Levels at BB Pass with A Levels at AA
European Baccalaureate 70% overall 75% overall
Other Qualifications Entry to BSc degrees requires a Science component equivalent to SQA Higher Entry to BSc degrees requires a Science component equivalent to SQA Higher

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

For non EU students

IELTS Overall 6.0
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

How you will be taught

We believe that students progress most effectively through a stimulating and diverse range of teaching methods, including active participation in laboratory and computing practical classes, seminars, small group discussions, fieldwork, guided independent study, coursework and lectures.

The programme is designed to build your knowledge and understanding successively at each level of a four-year degree, developing both transferable skills in information technology and communication and subject specific skills in laboratory analysis, remote sensing and site investigation. Great emphasis is placed on learning through fieldwork, both independently and in group work. Throughout Level 1, special study skills sessions are provided to support the transition to independent study which underpins most university learning.

How you will be assessed

We pride ourselves on a diversity of assessment methods which reflect student performance in a range of tasks, and avoid excessive reliance on exams.

Assessment is through a combination of coursework, comprising all laboratory and fieldwork reports, class tests, essays and verbal presentations, and end-of-year examinations.

Coursework counts for 75% of the overall assessment at Level 1, 50% at Level 2 and between 50% and 100% of the modules at Levels 3 and 4.

What you will study

Honours Degree

An honours degree normally takes four years, full time, you study levels 1-4, as described below.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

It is possible to study for most of our honours degrees in three years if you have the required grades and subjects as listed in the Entry Requirements section. You study levels 2-4 below. There are definite advantages to considering this route as the time needed to study is reduced by one year which enables you to start working and earning earlier.

Typical Degree Programme

Visit the MA overview page for general information on our MA degree programme, and the BSc overview page to learn more about our BSc programme.

Level 1

The Level 1 modules provide a thorough grounding in the principal areas of Environmental Science. You will develop competence in a range of practical and IT skills, and in written and verbal communication. Your studies will be structured in two half-year (semester) modules:

The Physical Environment: EV11001
Semester 1, 20 credits
The foundation of environments in all parts of the globe is a physical one, determined by geological and terrestrial processes, and flows of water and energy. These processes provide the habitat in which all species live and evolve, and provide the baseline against which change resulting from human agency can be measured. As the pace of human change accelerates in all parts of the world, an appreciation of how these influences control the nature and evolution of environments is increasingly valuable.

Environments for Life: EV12002
Semester 2, 20 credits
Earth as a planet is experiencing change which, in many respects, is unprecedented on a geological timescale. Many of these changes are truly global in scale and have diverse impacts on living systems. Global warming, ozone layer destruction, the pollution of air and water and loss of species due to land and marine management policies are just some of the issues causing worldwide concern. Managing all these issues requires a knowledge of the scientific principles and processes that maintain a sustainable environment. 

The Environments for Life module aims to provide this basic understanding in a range of accessible formats, through a programme of lectures, tutorials and practical classes focussing on environmental chemistry, atmospheric processes, weather and climate, terrestrial ecosystems, biodiversity, aquatic science and urban green space management.

  • 4 other modules including at least 2 appropriate science-based modules for BSc degrees.

Level 2

You will develop more detailed understanding in key areas of Environmental Science combined with skills in site investigation and laboratory analysis. Your studies will be supported through regular field excursions in the local area. Your knowledge and understanding of Environmental Science will be developed through two half-year modules:

Management and Monitoring: EV21001
Semester 1, 20 credits
Environmental resource management is described as an essential process of decision making incorporating the setting of environmental objectives, monitoring and assessment of current environmental conditions and the prediction of future change. Students will study resource management issues in relation to Mineral Resources and in a wider context, the protection of Scotland's natural resource base as a whole. The design of environmental monitoring programmes is considered in terms of supplying information required for management. In particular, the use of Remote Sensing techniques is examined in this module.

Mechanisms and Measurements: EV22002
Semester 2, 20 credits
This module serves as an introduction to the science of aquatic, atmospheric and terrestrial processes and emphasizes physical, chemical and biological mechanisms and their measurement. The range of topics taught in the module gives students their first opportunity to study oceanography, incorporating ocean circulation and global heat transfer and leading in to the productivity of the marine environment. Of equal importance are terrestrial processes. Terrestrial ecology is studied through exploration of vegetation adaptation, land reclamation and restoration. Finally, the chemistry of atmospheric pollution, water pollution and water treatment are examined.

  • 4 other modules, including at least 2 appropriate science-based modules for BSc degrees; one of these will be chemistry for Advanced Entry to Level 2 for students who do not have a good pass at Higher or A-Level in chemistry (or an equivalent qualification)

Level 3

Your studies will provide more specialised understanding of specific areas of Environmental Science in addition to further developing your skills in laboratory analysis, remote sensing and site investigation.

Core module:

Option modules:

  • BI32028 - Ecology and Conservation Biology (Sem 2)
  • EV31003 - Environmental Remote Sensing (Sem 1)
  • EV31004 - Biogeography (Sem 1)
  • EV32001 - Reconstructing Past Environments (Sem 2)

Students can also choose from a selection of Geography modules. Typical modules on offer include:

  • Population Geography
  • Hydrology and Water Resources
  • Glacial Processes and Environments
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Level 4

In addition to completing your own research project you will be able to choose the areas of Environmental Science you specialise in from a range of modules offered.

Core module:

  • History, Culture and Politics of the Human Activity.

Option modules:

In addition to these modules, Level 4 Environmental Science students can also choose from several 'advanced' Geography modules which develop material introduced at Level 3. Typical modules on offer include:

  • Population Geography
  • Hydrology and Water Resources
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

As a graduate in environmental science you will have high employment prospects. You will have a solid scientific base knowledge together with valuable interpretative skills much sought by prospective employers in many fields such as environmental protection, environmental consultancy and the water industry.

Our focus on skills emphasises both transferable skills (e.g. in numerical problem-solving, communication and team working) and discipline-specific skills (e.g. flood risk assessment using industry-standard hydrological models) which are endorsed by employers as relevant to the needs of the employment marketplace.

Staff have especially strong working relationships with the UK environmental regulatory agencies. Typical examples of recent graduate destinations include the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, consultants (e.g. Enviros, MWH, Environmental Resources Management, W A Fairhurst) and local authorities.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fee categoryFees for students starting 2016
Scottish and EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2015 entry). Fees for September 2016 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2016.
Rest of UK students £9,000 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants.
Overseas students (non-EU) £12,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants.

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students are guaranteed for the length of your course. This means that the tuition fee you pay in your first year (shown above) is the same fee you will pay for each year of your course. We guarantee that this will not increase while you are studying with us. The only exceptions to this are our MBChB Medicine, BSc Medical Sciences and BDS Dentistry degrees which charge a different tuition for the clinical years.

The Dundee MA degrees follow the distinctive pattern of many Scottish universities by offering a broad-based education that requires you to study a number of different subjects in Levels 1 and 2 (Level 2 only for the Advanced Entry Honours degrees). You do not have to finalise your choice of degree course until you are better able to appreciate both the nature of the subjects you are studying and the relationships between them. However, you must make an initial choice of course on the application form and we would expect you to provide some evidence of your enthusiasm for your chosen course and details of any relevant experience.

We use a range of learning methods at Dundee: you will be expected to respond to the information and advice provided by academic staff, especially in lectures; to prepare for and participate in tutorial discussion or to work in practical classes; to work individually or in groups on set assignments such as essays and projects; and to 'read round' the subject. Consequently, we are looking for evidence that you are capable of working systematically, of responding to the guidance of your teachers, and that you have both the ability and enthusiasm to successfully complete a degree programme.

A degree in Environmental Science helps you develop a wide range of complementary skills designed to support you in a career as an environmental professional. We place emphasis on basic skills of numeracy and literacy, but teach our courses in a way which makes them accessible to students from a wide range of academic backgrounds. Indeed, that diversity adds to the value of our students' learning experiences.

No prior environmental experience is required. Good students have an enthusiasm to learn about the environment and how our understanding of it affects its management. Many have gained their own insights into environmental issues through travelling abroad or through conservation projects. Basic IT skills and some breadth of basic grounding in the sciences are an advantage.

What is important to us, in your application, is the evidence provided by the grades you have attained, or are predicted to attain, in your examinations, along with whatever you and your referee can point to indicating both your special interest in any of our subject areas, and your general liveliness of mind.

Your personal statement is an opportunity to say why you should be offered a place to study in Dundee. We are looking for applicants with an ability to express opinions clearly with reasoned support and evidence, who are open to critical guidance, and who have a commitment to high standards of achievement in all they do. These qualities can be demonstrated through academic attainment, paid or voluntary work, and extra-curricular activities of all kinds.

Referees should concisely indicate your analytical abilities, communication skills, capacity for academic work, and commitment to your studies. We will be interested to hear about examples of initiative, leadership, and any evidence of organisational skills. Indicators of a positive outlook and engagement with social and cultural activities will be welcome, as will an assessment of your potential to develop in the university environment.

We will consider applications to one or more MA courses at Dundee: each application will be considered on its merits. We are looking for applicants who either have achieved, or will achieve, the published requirements in terms of Highers, Advanced Highers, A-Levels or acceptable alternative qualifications.

  Degree UCAS Code KIS Data
Apply NowEnvironmental Science BSc (Hons)F750
Apply NowEnvironmental Science and Geography MAFL77
Apply NowEnvironmental Science and Geography BScLF77