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Undergraduate Courses 2017
Applying through clearing?
Clearing applicants and others planning to start in 2016 should view Environmental Social Sciences for 2016 entry.

Environmental Social Sciences - BA (Hons)



Our Environmental Social Sciences degree programme focuses on the environment from the perspective of the social sciences and humanities.  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.

In addition to compulsory modules covering social science approaches to environmental issues and environmental politics, policy and practice, you can also choose modules covering biodiversity and ecological sciences, the foundations of human culture, creative conservation and environmental law. You can also develop practical skills (for example biodiversity monitoring in Borneo) and can choose to do an independent research project on a subject largely of your choice in the UK or overseas.

Independent rankings

In the National Student Survey 2015, Kent gained the 5th highest score in the UK for student satisfaction.  Kent is ranked in the top 20 of UK universities in The Guardian University Guide 2016.


Course structure

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.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes offered by the University in order that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas of interest to you or that may further enhance your employability.

Stage 1

You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 3

You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Teaching & Assessment

Teaching is through a combination of lectures, seminars, field trips and laboratory-based practicals. There is also an opportunity to conduct a special research project in your final year. This gives you the opportunity to use a range of research methods in a variety of contexts to explore key environmental issues and participate in the advancement of knowledge. 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 deploying the skills taught during the course.

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.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • produce competent and flexible social scientists with an understanding of the social, economic and political processes affecting the environment
  • to equip students with the skills, knowledge and abilities needed to contribute to understanding processes affecting the environment whether or not they are currently labelled as ‘environmental problems’
  • to help students to understand the role of theories and values in research on processes affecting the environment.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the changing meaning of ‘environment’
  • 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 the environment
  • the process by which environmental policy is made at all levels and the role of pressure groups
  • why some issues are defined as environmental while others (often equally serious) are not
  • the main concepts and theories used in understanding environmental problems
  • how and why some places have more attractive environments and others less
  • 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 citizen action to exert pressure for tougher action on the environment
  • the rise in environmental consciousness and its main types.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • problem solving and the knowledge to seek solutions to urban 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
  • to undertake an investigation of an empirical issue, either alone or in a group.

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 word process, 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 team work skills to enable students to work collaboratively, negotiate, listen and deliver results.


The conservation and environmental sector is an expanding area for employment opportunities. This programme aims to secure graduates with employment in high level policy and practice positions, as well as more technical posts involving habitat management and species conservation, working with local people. 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 also go on to postgraduate studies.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications, typical requirements are listed below, students offering alternative qualifications should contact the Admissions Office for further advice. It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level



Mathematics Grade C

Access to HE Diploma

The University of Kent will not necessarily make conditional offers to all access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. If an offer is made candidates will be required 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.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF;OCR) on a case by case basis please contact us via the enquiries tab for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 overall or 16 at HL including Mathematics 4 at HL or SL

International students

The University receives applications from over 140 different nationalities and consequently will consider applications from prospective students offering a wide range of international qualifications. Our International Development Office will be happy to advise prospective students on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about our country-specific requirements.

Please note that if you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes through Kent International Pathways.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. Our funding opportunities for 2017 entry have not been finalised. However, details of our proposed funding opportunities for 2016 entry can be found on our funding page.  

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. Details of the scholarship for 2017 entry have not yet been finalised. However, for 2016 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications as specified on our scholarships pages. Please review the eligibility criteria on that page. 

Enquire or order a prospectus



Related schools


T: +44 (0)1227 827272


The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas

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.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

The University of Kent intends to increase its regulated full-time tuition fees for all Home and EU undergraduates starting in September 2017 from £9,000 to £9,250. This is subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise by 2.8%.

Key Information Sets

Full Time

Part Time

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills or Research Council UK) they will be increased up to the allowable level.

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The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000