Environmental Science

Environmental Social Sciences - BA (Hons)
with a Year in Professional Practice

How does human behaviour affect our environment? What pressures do we face in managing scarce resources? Can technological innovation offer solutions? You will develop an understanding of the ecological and social crises of the 21st century while developing the practical skills that you need to bring about change.

Overview

Explore environmental issues from a range of perspectives, drawing on subjects as varied as anthropology, politics and economics. You will explore the relationships between people, place and environment with staff who are active in the field. Gain insight into pollution, climate change, urbanisation and broader social and spatial dynamics.

Shape your degree outside the classroom with our thriving student led societies. EcoGeog Society works closely with local charities on action programmes, and aims to create a close community for those in human geography and environmental social sciences. The ECS Society brings students together to share thoughts and possible ideas for solutions addressing current issues in Canterbury.

Reasons to study Environmental Social Sciences with a Year in Professional Practice at Kent

  • Choose from a wide selection of optional modules to tailor your degree to your interests.
  • Apply your learning on field trips in the UK and continental Europe. (Optional and residential trips may require support funding from attendees).
  • Be part of a community engaged in ecological projects around the world, including members of the Kent Interdisciplinary Centre for Spatial Studies (KISS).
  • Join the supportive and welcoming community on our Canterbury campus, set among green and tranquil open spaces, with access to the world-class resources of our Templeman Library.
  • Access state-of-the-art study resources including an ecology laboratory, a field trials area, conservation genetics laboratories, a visual anthropology room and an ethnobiology laboratory.
  • You’ll benefit from ongoing support in your studies through our excellent staff-student ratio, regular workshops and alumni talks as well as dedicated academic advisors and peer mentoring scheme.

What you'll learn

You’ll consider how environmental issues are framed and managed by different societal stakeholders, such as, policy makers and the media. Choose to specialise in areas such as social anthropology, tourism and conservation, and geographies of people and place. Our wide range of modules allows you to tailor your degree to support your particular career ambitions. For example, you can choose modules that prepare you for a career in pursuing community-based conservation projects.

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.

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.

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Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. All applications are assessed on an individual basis but some of our typical requirements are listed below. Students offering qualifications not listed are welcome to contact our Admissions Team for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

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    A level

    BBB

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University welcomes applications from Access to Higher Education Diploma candidates for consideration. A typical offer may require you to obtain a proportion of Level 3 credits in relevant subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    Distinction, Distinction, Merit

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    30 points overall or 15 points 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).

  • medal-empty T level

    The University will consider applicants holding T level qualifications in subjects closely aligned to the course.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. 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 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £13500
  • International full-time £18000
  • Home part-time £4625
  • EU part-time £6750
  • International part-time £9000

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.

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

Funding

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

Search scholarships

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

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.

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.

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.

Apply for Environmental Social Sciences with a Year in Professional Practice - BA (Hons)

If you are from the UK or Ireland, you must apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can apply through UCAS or directly on our website if you have never used UCAS and you do not intend to use UCAS in the future.

Find out more about how to apply

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Apply now for part-time study

Environmental Social Sciences with a Year in Professional Practice - BA (Hons) - part-time at Canterbury

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

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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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