This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with two 60-credit introductory modules – one with a focus on environment and one with a focus on science.
- In Stages 2 and 3, the modules you’ll study or choose from will be determined by the route you choose. You’ll conclude your degree with a 30-credit project module.
Optional Access module – visit Am I ready? to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
You’ll start with an exploration of environmental challenges in the Arctic, Africa, the Amazon and China – developing the key skills and concepts needed to understand our changing world. Next, you’ll study a science module, focusing on some of the key ideas in science.
Next, you’ll choose a route through Stages 2 and 3:
- Environmental science route
- Environmental science (environmental management) route
In both routes, Stage 2 includes an environmental science module – where you’ll gain practical experience at two compulsory UK-based field schools – and Stage 3 takes a closer look at the interactions between organisms and their ecosystems. You’ll complete your degree with a practical environmental science project of your own design.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 19 June 2018.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BSc (Honours) Environmental Science uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- undertaking practical work (including two compulsory UK residential schools) and using an online laboratory
- working with specialist reading material such as scientific journals
- using specialist software
- working in a group with other students
- finding external/third party material online.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BSc (Honours) Environmental Science degree. You may be awarded the BSc (Honours Environmental Science (Environmental Management) if you’ve followed that route.
The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
Recognition in your country
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
Skills for career development
As a graduate of the BSc (Honours) Environmental Science (Q52), you will have gained breadth and depth of understanding in scientific, technical and environmental issues. You’ll be able to think creatively; tackle multifaceted issues; and collect, analyse and interpret complex quantitative and qualitative data. You’ll also develop research, planning and fieldwork techniques as you take part in practical and project work.
You will also gain important transferable skills which will demonstrate your all-round ability and make you more employable. These include:
- problem solving
- digital literacy
- team working.
The broad and specialist skills you will develop during this degree course will equip you to work in a variety of jobs. Environmental science skills are in demand from government and regulatory bodies, the private sector, consultancies and conservation organisations. Careers directly related to the degree include:
- pollution control
- water quality
- energy management
- environmental consultancy
- ecology and nature conservation
- environmental education.
The logical, reasoned approach needed for science study is also relevant to a wide range of non-scientific contexts. Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Science graduates with good communication and interpersonal skills are in particular demand. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):
- science teacher
- water quality inspector
- countryside manager
- environmental engineer
- forensic scientist
- science communicator
- technical consultant
- industrial researcher.