Environmental Science

Environmental Social Sciences - BA (Hons)

with a Year in Professional Practice

Our Environmental Social Sciences degree emphasises understanding of the cause and consequences of environmental change by looking at consumer and economic behaviour, land management, technological innovation, political influence and the management and planning of critical and scarce resources. You develop an understanding of what led to the ecological and social crises of the 21st century and gain the practical skills needed to bring about change.

Overview

You are encouraged to engage with a variety of environmental understandings from a range of subjects, including: anthropology, politics, economics, philosophy, law, history, literature and the creative arts. You can also develop practical skills (for example, biodiversity monitoring) and can choose to do an independent research project on a subject largely of your choice.

This programme will be of particular interest if you have studied geography, environmental studies or biology.

Our degree programme

During your first year, you gain a solid grounding in the wide range of environmental issues which threaten our world, while also developing field skills essential for work in this discipline. Modules may include People and Nature in the 21st Century, Biodiversity, Environmental Sustainability or Sustainable Land Use Systems. Optional modules allow you to expand on areas of particular interest, which may include Fundamentals of Sociology, The Green Planet, Microeconomics for Business or Social Anthropology.

In your second and third years, you take only two compulsory modules allowing you the flexibility to structure your degree around your personal interests and passions. In your final year, you undertake a research project, choosing your topic with your project supervisor. Students often undertake their field research abroad with some joining our annual expedition to our research vessel on the Peruvian Amazon.

You enjoy a wide and varied choice of optional modules enabling you to expand your perspective or develop a specialism. Modules may include The Anthropocene: Planetary Crisis and the Age of Humans, Conservation and Communities, Creative Conservation, Environmental Law, Environmental Politics, Human Ecology: An Introduction to Social-Ecological Systems, Human Wildlife Conflict and Resource Competition or Inviting Doomsday: US Environmental Problems in the Twentieth Century.

Student view

Environmental Social Sciences student Adele talks about her course at Kent.


Year in professional practice

The year in professional practice is a wonderful opportunity to spend up to a year, between the second and final years, undertaking work placements with organisations relevant to your degree programme. You spend a minimum of 24 weeks on placement at one or more organisations. Placements can be at home or abroad and give you the opportunity to apply your academic skills in a practical context, offering you rare and unique experiences which will set you apart. Previous placements have included: environmental consultancy for Afzelia Limited, Zambia; forest impact surveying a the Danau Girang Field Centre, Borneo; project co-ordination for the Uganda Conservation Foundation; project work for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Germany; wildlife crime mapping for the Freeland India Consultants Private Limited; and small animal and bear monitoring for the Administration of Rodna Mountains National Park, Romania.

Alternatively, you can take our three-year Environmental Social Sciences degree, without a work placement. For details, see Environmental Social Sciences BA (Hons).

Field trips

A number of our modules include opportunities for learning and experiences outside of the classroom through field trips in the UK and abroad. Potential local excursions are:

  • Food and farming systems in East Kent
  • High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Margate
  • Ashford Community Woodland, local nature reserve
  • Forestry management on the North Downs
  • Broadstairs
  • Powell Cotton Museum

Students on the Tropical Ecology and Conservation module spend two weeks at the Danau Girang Field Centre in Borneo. You'll explore the beautiful, picturesque rainforest before venturing deeper into the jungle to the field studies site. The Centre is located in an area where huge swathes of jungle have been removed and replaced by plantations. You work on the front line between managing the needs of the community and the impact on biodiversity.

These opportunities may change from year to year and may incur additional costs. See the funding tab for more information.

Study resources

The School of Anthropology and Conservation has excellent teaching resources including dedicated computing facilities. Other resources include:

  • conservation genetics laboratories
  • ecology laboratory
  • field trials area and field laboratory
  • a state-of-the-art visual anthropology room
  • an ethnobiology lab for studying human-related plant material
  • refurbished computer suite with 32 PCs with HD screens
  • upgraded visual anthropology suite with 16 iMacs
  • an integrated audio-visual system to help provide stimulating lectures
  • student social spaces

Extra activities

The Conservation Society and Anthropology Society are run by Kent students and are a good way to meet other students on your course in an informal way. Student societies also work with local organisations and charities providing lots of opportunities for volunteering, community work and outings.

The School of Anthropology and Conservation puts on many events that you are welcome to attend. We host two public lectures a year, the Stirling Lecture and the DICE Lecture, which bring current ideas in anthropology and conservation to a wider audience. We are delighted that these events attract leading conservation figures from around the world.

Each term, there are also seminars and workshops discussing current research in anthropology, conservation and human ecology.

Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology

This programme is taught by members from across the School, including the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) research centre. DICE is a leading international research and training centre dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems around the world.

DICE was founded in 1989 with a clear mission: to conserve biodiversity and the ecological processes that support ecosystems and people. It does so by developing capacity and improving conservation management and policy through high-impact research. That is why DICE is in a School that does research and teaching in anthropology alongside conservation.

One component of DICE’s work is to train a new, interdisciplinary generation of conservationists who think innovatively about the challenges that lie ahead. As undergraduates, you are part of a dynamic and growing community of conservationists whose work spans all major regions of the world.

Flexible tariff

You are more than your grades

At Kent we look at your circumstances as a whole before deciding whether to make you an offer to study here. Find out more about how we offer flexibility and support before and during your degree.

Entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBB

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    Distinction, Distinction, Merit

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    34 overall or 15 at HL

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in LZ045 Life Sciences (1 & 2), 60% in LZ036 Academic Skills, and 50% in LZ013 Maths and Statistics (if you do not hold GCSE Maths at 4/C or equivalent).

International students should visit our International Student website for further specific information. International fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot study part-time due to visa restrictions.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

If you need to improve your English language standard as a condition of your offer, you can attend one of our pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes before starting your degree programme. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 4 years full-time, 7 years part-time

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £12600
  • International full-time £16800
  • Home part-time £4625
  • EU part-time £6300
  • International part-time £8400

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

Field trips

One day trips that are compulsory to a module are financially funded by the School. Optional or longer trips may require support funding from attendees.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

Teaching and assessment

Our teaching is research-led as all our staff are active in their fields. In addition to lectures and seminars, we run laboratory-based practicals and field trips. You also have an opportunity to conduct a field-based research thesis in your final year. This gives you practical experience of developing a research proposal and research questions, finding appropriate methods, conducting research, analysing and interpreting results, writing up a full research project and giving an oral presentation, all with the support of a dedicated project supervisor.

The year in professional practice is assessed by means of a written report and a short presentation, together with an appraisal from your manager. 

We offer you the opportunity to conduct your research project either in the UK or abroad. The type of approach may differ depending on the student’s preferred discipline. For most, it will mean using advanced methods to explore literature and other documents and, in some cases, there may also be opportunities for field research using the skills taught during the course. Some students use this opportunity to take part in our annual expedition to the Peruvian Amazon, one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth.

Most modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and unseen exam. Some modules are assessed only by coursework, which takes a variety of forms, including essays, short answer tests, presentations, advocacy, individual and team projects, and research reports.

Assessment is by means of a manager appraisal (10%), a written report by the student (80%) and a presentation by the student (10%); the manager appraisal is carried out by the manager within the placement host organisation whereas the report and presentation are assessed by SAC academic staff.

Contact hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • provide flexibility and a multidiscipline approach to environmental sustainability
  • provide teaching informed by research and scholarship in environmental sustainability
  • meet the lifelong needs of a diversity of students
  • support national and regional economic success
  • build on close ties within Europe and elsewhere, reflecting Kent’s position as the UK European University
  • produce students capable of contributing positively to global environmental sustainability
  • produce graduates of value to the region and nationally, in possession of key knowledge and skills, with the capacity to learn
  • prepare students for employment or further study in the field of environmental sustainability
  • provide learning opportunities that are enjoyable experiences, involve realistic workloads, based within a research-led framework and offer appropriate support for students from a diverse range of backgrounds
  • provide high quality teaching in supportive environments with appropriately qualified and trained staff
  • offer students the opportunity to gain experience of work in a professional environment
  • provide an opportunity to apply knowledge, understanding and skills acquired in stages 1 and 2 of their degree programme in a professional setting
  • develop employment-related skills, including an understanding of how to relate to the structures and functions in an organisation
  • develop the qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the exercise of professionalism, independent thought, personal responsibility and decision-making.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the changing meaning of ‘environment’ and 'sustainability'
  • the role of international and EC treaties, agreements and laws, and national laws and regulations affecting the environment
  • the role of market forces and state action in the production of environmental sustainability
  • the process by which environmental policy is made at all levels and the role of pressure groups
  • the typical conflicts that occur over environmental issues
  • the options available to households, companies and local governments when faced with unsatisfactory environments
  • the role of local governments and national regulatory agencies in shaping local environments
  • the scope for consumers and citizens to exert pressure to enhance environmental quality
  • biodiversity and environmental processes
  • the way that an employee can contribute to the organisation in which they work
  • specific areas of theory, policy or practice relevant to the host organisation(s) and the agreed placement task(s).

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • problem-solving and the knowledge to seek solutions to environmental problems and individual needs
  • research skills, including the ability to identify a research question and to collect and manipulate data to answer that question
  • evaluative and analytical skills to assess the outcomes of policy intervention on individuals, communities and places
  • sensitivity to the values and interests of others and to the dimensions of difference
  • apply some of the above skills from the perspective of your chosen employment sector
  • gain a broader perspective on your individual discipline.

Subject-specific skills

You gain specific skills in the following:

  • to identify and use theories and concepts to analyse environmental issues
  • to seek out and use statistical data relevant to environmental issues
  • application in professional practice of one or more of the above skills.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • the ability to study and learn independently using library and internet sources
  • develop an appetite for learning and be reflective, adaptive and collaborative in your approach to learning
  • make presentations to fellow students and staff
  • communicate ideas and arguments to others in written and spoken form
  • prepare essays and reference the material quoted according to scholarly conventions
  • use IT to wordprocess, conduct online searches, communicate and access data sources
  • develop skills in time management by delivering academic work on time and to the required standard
  • develop interpersonal and teamwork skills to enable students to work collaboratively, negotiate, listen and deliver results
  • the ability to work in a professional setting
  • enhanced communication, teamwork  and interpersonal skills
  • enhanced ability for self-management, focus, and project management.

Independent rankings

Anthropology at Kent scored 90% overall and was ranked 13th in The Complete University Guide 2021.

Anthropology at Kent was ranked 5th for graduate prospects and 10th overall in The Guardian University Guide 2021.

Anthropology at Kent was ranked 13th in The Times Good University Guide 2021.

Careers

The conservation and environmental sector is an expanding area for employment opportunities.  Potential employers include local, regional and national UK government departments, voluntary organisations and the private sector, as well as international conservation and environmental organisations. Many students also go on to pursue postgraduate studies.

Graduate destinations  

Our recent graduates have found work in:

  • ecological surveying
  • habitat management
  • species conservation
  • environmental education
  • conservation planning 
  • conservation policy
  • international consultancy
  • community-based conservation projects

Help finding a job

The School offers an employability programme aimed at helping you develop the skills you'll need to look for a job.  This includes workshops, mentoring and an online blog featuring tips, advice from employers, job adverts, internship information and volunteering opportunities.

The University’s friendly Careers and Employability Service offers advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

As a conservation student, you develop expertise in understanding and managing wildlife and biodiversity in a sustainable way. You'll gain skills in gathering and collecting information, analysing data, exploring and communicating challenging ideas. Alongside such specialist skills, you also develop the transferable skills graduate employers look for, including the ability to:

  • think critically 
  • communicate your ideas and opinions 
  • work independently and as part of a team.

You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Applications

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2021/22 academic year. Please visit the 2022 entry course pages.

Contact us

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

Enquire online for part-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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