BSc single honours Environmental Science with Foundation Year 2018/19

Year of entry

This course is no longer accepting applications for September 2018. We will open for September 2019 applications later this year.

A number of our degrees are also offered with an additional foundation year (Year 0). Whether you are a school-leaver or someone considering returning to study but don’t have the entry requirements for your chosen subject, a foundation year course may be just what you’re looking for.


A foundation year is the first year of a four year programme which:

  • provides an introduction not only to study at University but also to your chosen subject
  • offers you a highly supportive environment where you can develop the self-confidence, knowledge, skills and understanding for further study.

Following the Foundation Year you will go on to explore areas including:

  • science of the environment
  • impact of human activity
  • function of ecosystems.

94% of School of Human and Life Sciences graduates were in employment or further study six months after completing their studies.

DLHE 2013-14

Managing the threats to our environment is one of the greatest challenges facing humankind. As a society we need professionals who understand the science behind our impact on the environment and have the skills to apply this knowledge for environmental management. Canterbury Christ Church University, based in the heart of Kent with access to a range of rural, urban and coastal environments is the perfect place for you to study the science of the environment.

Top reason to choose this course

We are a close-knit community of academics, researchers and students dedicated to the study of the environment. You will be taught by passionate staff whose goal is to see you achieve your potential in Environmental Science.

This course is for students with a passion for the natural environment. It will equip you with knowledge of how the natural world functions and how we can take steps to manage our impact on it. It will suit those who wish to pursue a career in environmental management or research. We also develop a wide range of graduate skills that will benefit you in your future career.

You will study a range of topics in environmental science – such as the ecology of conservation, coastal geomorphology and the chemistry of pollution. You will also be taught about how this knowledge is applied in environmental policy and management.

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

more info

Work experience

The final year dissertation project (‘Individual Study’ module) offers an excellent avenue for conducting practical research in your area of interest that can be carried out in collaboration with local or international partners and organisations. For example, a recent dissertation project conducted an on-farm investigation of the effect of land management choices on insects that could sustain grey partridge chicks. Other students have investigated wildflower strips as management tools for biodiversity or have compared bird and butterfly populations in rural and urban environments.

Other information

The Ecology Research Group hosts an annual conference at which students are welcome to present their research or attend as guests to listen to speakers from conservation organisations, research institutions and environmental agencies as well as network with potential employers.

Follow us on Twitter ( @CCCU_LifeSci ) and in our blog.

Dr Joseph Burman’s primary interest is insect ecology, and how insect science can be used to solve problems in agriculture and biodiversity conservation. He has recently been working towards the world’s first implementation of insect pheromones to monitor rare and endangered insects.

Year 0 - Foundation Year

Biological concepts

This module aims to aims to introduce students to the central principles of biology, namely the basic structure, function and variety of living organisms and how they reproduce. It also aims to give students the basic transferable skills needed to understand scientific reasoning and to undertake scientific investigations.

Advancing biology

The aim of this module is to build on material learned in the module ‘Biological concepts’. Elements of genetics and molecular biology are extended and you will be introduced to various facets of the environmental sciences, including ecology and conservation, agricultural science, and pollution science. The module also aims to extend your practical skills within the life sciences.

Principles of chemistry

This is an introductory module that aims to develop your familiarity with fundamental chemical concepts such as atomic structure, chemical nomenclature, bonding, stoichiometry and a range of chemical reactions. The module also aims to develop your basic chemistry laboratory skills.

Advancing chemistry

This module aims to build on the knowledge acquired in Principles of Chemistry and to explore different fields within the subject of chemistry (physical chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry and environmental chemistry). The module will also further develop your laboratory skills.

Physical laws of the natural world

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the physical concepts that underpin all of science and how physics are studied in the natural sciences. You will develop an understanding of how physical laws are used to describe natural phenomena and how they may be applied to gain a deeper knowledge of particular systems and processes.

Study skills

The course aims to give you the basic transferable skills needed to understand and practice scientific reasoning, to undertake scientific investigations and to communicate effectively scientific ideas and outcomes.

Year 1

Core modules

Basic Cartography and GIS

This module introduces students practical and theoretical aspects of mapping, including cartographic design and geographical information systems (GIS). It utilises a range of relevant case studies to explain the principles, techniques, and applications of mapping and GIS. A substantial component of the module is the provision of 'hands-on' experience in cartographic design and in building a GIS with industry standard hardware and software.


This module aims to give students the necessary theoretical and practical background in Chemistry which will be essential for their study of environmental sciences. Wherever possible, concepts are related to the students' own experience of the world. During practical sessions, students will develop their skills in the chemistry lab, as well as see in action some of topics studied in the theory sessions.

Introduction to Environmental Issues

Beginning with the place of humans in the environment, the module aims to explore the relationship between people and nature and how environmental values have changed over time. This will include an examination of how the ‘environment’ has been conceived in Geography and consider evidence for the rise of humans as a driver of change in the global environment. Key concepts such as nature, place, sustainability and resilience will be introduced.

Introduction to the Physical Environment

module aims to develop understanding of a selection of environmental processes, ranging from land-based processes to those controlling the oceans and the atmosphere. The module will consider how these may be applied to sustainable management of the environment.

Science Skills and Introduction to Statistics

This module examines aspects of the analysis of biological data, including statistics and experimental design, and how to understand scientific publications and write scientific papers. In the statistics element of the module students will learn how to correctly apply and undertake statistical tests. The other part of the module focusses on scientific methodology where students will learn how to plan an experiment and how to consider statistical analysis and sampling.

Soil Science and Plant Nutrition

The aim of this module is to introduce the basic concepts of soil science, focussing on the physical properties of soil, the fundamentals of soil chemistry and hydrology, and the way in which soils and plants are inextricably interlinked.  This module prepares students for further study in more advanced aspects of soil science, plant physiology and land management.

Year 2

Core modules

Chemistry of the Environment

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental theoretical concepts and practical applications of environmental chemistry.  The students are introduced to the chemistry underlying the aquatic, terrestrial and atmospheric environments. It will also aim to make the students familiar with some of the different chemical analytical methods that can be used in the monitoring of these environments. In addition to becoming familiar with the natural chemical processes in soil, water and air, the students will also be encouraged to critically analyze and discuss environmental issues, such as smog, acid rain, global warming, ozone depletion and water pollution.

Data Handling

This module aims to develop the techniques necessary to handle quantitative biological data analysis. Central to this aim will be introducing the powerful statistical programming language, R. This module will enable students to become comfortable with the console-based software and to use it for their statistical and data display needs.

Field investigation in Environmental Science

The module provides an invaluable opportunity for students to undertake structured field investigations in an unfamiliar international setting. This residential course introduces good field work practice and a range of field survey techniques.

Optional modules

Biogeography and Landscape Ecology

This module examines the distribution of organisms and soils in space and time, and the environmental factors that determine or limit these distributions. It introduces landscape ecology and its importance in conservation management. The module introduces the world’s major biomes and draws on a range of areas within the geographic and life sciences such as geology, climatology, palaeontology, plant and animal systematics, evolution and ecology. 

Coastal and Glacial Geomorphology

This modules develops students' understanding of the principles of process geomorphology. Understanding such principles is a prerequisite for any sustainable environmental management. The module aims to examine the processes that operate within two core geomorphological systems (coastal processes and glacial processes) and shows the relationship between process and landform within a modern conceptual framework.

Geographic Information Science and Visualization

The aim of the module is to develop students’ understanding of the practical and theoretical aspects of geographical information systems (GIS) and remote sensing. By adopting an integrated approach, the module introduces students to a range of techniques for spatial analysis in GIS and for image processing and analysis in remote sensing. Knowledge of the issues surrounding how geographical data can be captured, explored and visualized is combined with hands-on practical skills for communicating the results of geospatial analysis effectively.


This module aims to give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge of environmental science in ‘real world’ contexts. It will enable students to synthesise and consolidate their learning and to apply that to environmental problems. Students are expected to improve their verbal/written communication and problem solving skills. This module gives students the opportunity to research, identify and negotiate a placement, further reinforcing their key skills and employability when entering the graduate job market.

Regions of Risk: Human and Environmental Security

The aim of the module is to introduce students to a critical component of the people-environment relationship, namely the variability of vulnerability to environmental hazards and to the processes of change driving contemporary trends in disaster risk. This module aims to examine the ways in which events in geophysical or biological systems interact with human systems in a chain of causes in disasters and the varying strategies employed to reduce disaster risk.

Understanding Past Climate Change

Climate change is a critical concern these days, but many argue that to understand today’s climate change fully we have to understand how climates have changed in the past. This module examines the methods used by scientists to reconstruct past climates and environments and examines the theories proposed to explain the changes identified. It provides a geological context for understanding present day environmental problems and develops an awareness of the interaction between oceanic, atmospheric and cryospheric systems in explaining change.

Year 3

Core modules

Individual Study

This module provides you with autonomy in your learning as you pursue in depth the study of a topic of your own choice. In doing so, you will gain practice at organising your thinking in a scientific context and will increase your confidence in dealing with scientific problems and issues. With a broad scope, this module allows you to work with external businesses and partners and to potentially produce work that can be either published as a peer­ reviewed article or that may be of real world value to a partner organisation.

Environmental Policy and Planning

The module aims to equip students with an understanding of the principles behind environmental policy, the instruments available to policy-makers to influence environmental behaviour and the institutional framework behind key global environmental policy initiatives. The module will also introduce students to environmental controls within the UK planning system.

Optional modules

Arctic and Arid Environments

The aim of this module is to examine the interactions between human and physical processes in two extreme environments: Arctic and arid. The module aims to investigate key issues affecting these environments from both a human and physical geography perspective, with a particular emphasis on recent and future climate change and how this may affect the functioning of these environments. Furthermore, the impact of changing Arctic and arid environments on both ecosystems and human activity will be outlined. 

Climate and Society

The module aims to develop your understanding of the reciprocal relationship between the physical and human environments by examining how human activity uses, alters and is altered by climatic processes. Since scientists believe that increasing use of the atmospheric system is likely to increase future climatic change, and that this may increasingly threaten human societies, the module aims to examine the possible environmental impacts and critically evaluate issues associated with managing the environment sustainably.

Coastal Environments

This module aims to utilise coastal environments to critically evaluate the complex interactions between nature and society associated with the evolution and management of environmental systems. It will explore examples drawn from a wide range of coastal settings (e.g. arctic to tropics) and highlight the importance of placing current management approaches into the context of longer term evolution. It will also utilise data drawn from a coastal setting to develop skills in data presentation and analysis.

Conservation Biology

The module investigates the techniques, approaches and issues associated with plant and animal conservation. Topics covered include issues associated collection maintenance in zoos, botanic gardens and gene-banks and the population genetic implications of using this material. The management of natural systems is explored as are the environmental and human pressures placed on these systems. The role of international treaties and conservation law as a driver of policy is discussed.

GIS and Remote Sensing for Environmental Management

This module considers the specific role of GIS and remote sensing in environmental management and places a particular emphasis on open-source software and its applications. Environmental management requires the increasing use of spatial data and associated analysis tools, the skills developed on this module will be valuable to any student wishing to pursue a career in the environmental sector. 

Soil Science and Land Management

An understanding of soil science is fundamental to the management of ecosystems at all levels, whether it is for crop and livestock production, preventing erosion and land degradation, the maintenance of biodiversity or the management of urban open space and sports turf.  This module aims to equip students with the knowledge and understanding required to manage, maintain and improve soil quality and productivity in the context of crop and animal production, conservation management or for recreational use. 

Former students have found our emphasis on transferable skills to be particularly valuable in their first appointments. The multidisciplinary nature of the course is well suited to anyone seeking opportunities in environmental consultancy, government agencies and science­based industry in technical, managerial or public relations roles. The scientific literacy developed is also valuable in non­scientific areas of industry, commerce and the media. Graduates may progress to study for higher degrees either by research or a taught programme. 

One of our Environmental Science graduates, Philip Rogers, stayed with us to complete a PhD in Ecology with the Ecology Research Group at Christ Church. He then worked for AMEC International (Growth Regions), an international engineering and project management company which designs, delivers and maintains strategic and complex assets for its customers across the global energy and related sectors. He is currently working with Jacobs Consultancy, a specialised management, technical and consulting division of Jacobs Engineering, one of the world’s largest and most diverse providers of technical, professional and construction services.

Each taught module is typically be composed of a combination of lectures, seminars, practical work, labs, workshops, field based activity, tutorials, feedback on assignments. 

Academic input

All of the modules you will study are led by experienced academic staff and all lectures are delivered by staff with PhDs and who have, or are studying for, a higher education teaching qualification or membership of the Higher Education Academy. Within this framework, modules may feature guest lectures by subject specialists undertaking research on a specific topic, or from those working in that particular field. 

Assessment of the modules is varied. Some modules are assessed entirely by coursework and some by a combination of coursework and examination. Coursework will include one or more of essay, calculation and problem solving exercises, practical write ups, portfolios, log books, group and or individual work, group projects, oral presentations, assessed practical, laboratory work, graph drawing exercises, (group) poster presentation, computer based assessment, group presentation, data handling exercises, multiple choice questionnaire, seminar presentation, paper presentation, seminar papers, case study (involving the analysis of biological data) audio or video presentation.

You will often be able to use modern, research-grade equipment.

1st October 2015 saw the launch of the Life Sciences Industry Liaison Laboratory at Discovery Park. Discovery Park, the enterprise zone based at Sandwich, is a fabulous site with well over 100 companies now based there. The potential of the Liaison Laboratory lies in the work we and our students will do with the businesses based at Discovery Park. The Liaison lab will allow all of our students to have the chance to experience an industry environment and will, for those seeking to work in the field, allow them to do research or to study in that environment for a substantial period.

We have established numerous links with local and regional wildlife parks and organizations (e.g. Wildwood, Howletts (Aspinall Foundation), The Powell-Cotton Museum, Natural England, Kent Wildlife Trust) that either collaborate with our researchers or provide opportunities for research projects for our students. 

Especially applicable to our Environmental Science students is the Ecology Research Group (ERG), part of the section of Life Sciences. The ERG aims to deliver user-defined solutions through research and consultancy. In the ERG we believe that our activity must be relevant to, and should directly involve, the non-academic community. We also believe that we should prioritise stewardship of the environment and that our research should facilitate social, cultural and economic prosperity. A wide range of non-academic user groups benefit from the work of the ERG. In recent years these have included government agencies such as Canterbury City Council, the Environment Agency and Natural England. We have also worked with charities including the Aspinall Foundation, Kent Wildlife Trust and The Donkey Sanctuary, and commercial companies such as Algaecytes and Quex Park.

We aim to increase general engagement and involvement with science and the environment. As such the group contributes to a significant range of activities designed to achieve such broader impact and community involvement. For instance, we are involved with the Kent Mammal Group, Kent Bat Group, provide expertise and materials to support local BioBlitz days, and work closely with a number of local schools and Further Education colleges to support and promote Science.


The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £6,165 N/A
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £11,500

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

* The tuition fee of £9,250 relates to 2018/19 only. Please read the 2018/19 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2018/19 tuition fees and mid-course year on year fee increases.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs

Learning Materials Textbook “Biology: How Life Works, by Morris et al”, ISBN-13: 978-1464138263. Currently £39.99. Includes one year’s access to Launchpad, an interactive web e-book which is integrated into some of the modules.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • F855 Environmental Science with Foundation Year

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 4 years full-time


  • September 2018

Entry requirements

  • Candidates without formal qualifications are usually interviewed and they need to demonstrate an interest in Science.

    Candidates should be sufficiently motivated to benefit from study at this level and should be able to work co-operatively



Last edited 30/08/2018 11:18:00

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Last edited: 30/08/2018 11:18:00