Environmental Science

Environmental Social Sciences - BA (Hons)

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 at Kent

  • It is ranked 7th in The Guardian University Guide 2022 and placed 9th for graduate prospects in The Complete University Guide 2022
  • You’ll be inspired by academics at the forefront of their fields including biological, environmental, evolutionary and social anthropology
  • You can stand out by applying your skills and knowledge to a Year in Professional Practice
  • You can live, study and be immersed in a different culture when you add a Year Abroad
  • 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

If you want to stand out from other graduates in today's global job market, spending time in the work place as part of your degree is invaluable. It demonstrates your ability to adapt to new situations, your sensitivity to other cultures (intercultural competence) and your desire to stretch yourself.

You can extend your degree into a four-year programme by adding a work placement between the second and final years. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent, but certain conditions apply. See our Environmental Social Sciences with a Year in Professional Practice - BSc.

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
  • Ashford Community Woodland, local nature reserve
  • forestry management on the North Downs.

Students on the Tropical Ecology and Conservation module spend two weeks at the Danau Girang Field Centre in Borneo. The Centre is located in an area where huge swathes of jungle have been removed and replaced by plantations, so you are working 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.

Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology

This degree programme is taught by academic staff 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

Make Kent your firm choice – The Kent Guarantee

We understand that applying for university can be stressful, especially when you are also studying for exams. Choose Kent as your firm choice on UCAS and we will guarantee you a place, even if you narrowly miss your offer (for example, by 1 A Level grade)*.

*exceptions apply. Please note that we are unable to offer The Kent Guarantee to those who have already been given a reduced or contextual offer.

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.

  • medal-empty

    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: 3 years full-time, 6 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 2022/23 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £13000
  • International full-time £17400
  • Home part-time £4625
  • EU part-time £6500
  • International part-time £8700

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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 you to work collaboratively, negotiate, listen and deliver results.

Independent rankings

Anthropology at Kent was ranked 4th for student satisfaction and 9th for graduate prospects in The Complete University Guide 2022.

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.

Apply for this course

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 choose to apply through UCAS or directly on our website.

Find out more about how to apply

All applicants

Apply through UCAS

International applicants

Apply now to Kent

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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