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BSc (Honours) Environmental Science - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This is a broad-based environmental science award that aims to provide you with:

  • a lifelong interest in environmental science through modules that are accessible to people of all educational backgrounds
  • an understanding of the contributions of different scientific disciplines to environmental science
  • an appreciation of the social, political and economic contexts within which environmental science operates
  • an enthusiasm for the study of science through understanding of how scientific knowledge develops, an appreciation of the limits of scientific knowledge and an awareness of its impact in society
  • support and guidance to develop as an independent learner.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • terms, classification systems, conventions and units of measurement appropriate to environmental science, with a foundation in the disciplines of biology, chemistry, earth sciences and physics
  • the underlying concepts and principles associated with environmental science, combining depth and breadth of study across disciplines, and taking account of current thinking
  • appropriate methods of acquiring, interpreting and analysing scientific data and information
  • the contribution of environmental science to informed debate about environmental issues
  • an ability to recognise and evaluate different lines of evidence and appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of current scientific knowledge.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this degree you will be able to:

  • use and apply knowledge and understanding of essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to environmental science
  • apply such scientific knowledge and understanding to address familiar and unfamiliar situations, and to plan and carry out project work
  • work with scientific data and information and comment on particular aspects of current research
  • evaluate information from a range of sources and engage with some of the current developments in environmental science, including applications and the philosophical and ethical issues involved
  • use conceptual models to understand, develop and apply scientific principles.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this degree you will be able to:

  • conduct practical and investigative work in a responsible, safe and ethical manner, and be aware of risk assessment and relevant health and safety regulations
  • initiate, design, conduct and report on investigations, which may involve primary or secondary data
  • obtain, record, collate and analyse data derived from laboratory and/or field investigations, and interpret and report their significance in the light of underlying theory, practical issues and relevant information from other sources
  • plan your own learning, and become more adept at time management and organisational skills so that you can work independently in a way appropriate for continuing personal and professional development.

Key skills

On completion of this degree you will be able to:

  • locate, deal with and respond to a variety of information sources (e.g. textual, numerical, graphical and computer-based), including reviews and primary sources
  • communicate scientific information accurately and effectively using written, visual and numerical forms in a style that suits purpose and audience
  • cite and reference works in an appropriate manner
  • prepare, process, interpret and present data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques, including the use of statistics
  • appreciate issues of quantity and quality during the recording and analysis of data and design of experiments, including accuracy, precision, uncertainty, sampling, replication and repeatability
  • use ICT for enhancing your own learning, data analysis and communicating scientific information with others
  • work with others to explore aspects of environmental science
  • improve your own learning and performance.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You’ll acquire knowledge and understanding through specially prepared teaching materials, created referencing the most recently available scientific research, and using a variety of learning approaches, which could include:

  • web-based resources
  • computer-aided learning packages
  • online forums
  • reference texts
  • directed reading
  • self-assessment questions and in-text questions

You’ll work independently with the teaching materials, supported by your tutor in a variety of ways, which could include optional face-to-face tutorials and field trips. You’ll also be encouraged to form study groups with fellow students, where you can talk in online forums, over the telephone, by email, or face-to-face.

You’ll further develop your understanding of the acquisition, interpretation and analysis of data through fieldwork and laboratory work at two UK-based residential schools, through project work, and in some cases by means of specimens and equipment provided in kits for home use. Fieldwork is an especially important component of environmental science – you’ll receive training in a range of field-based methods, including:

  • ecological sampling
  • hydrological studies
  • surveying
  • geomorphology

Assessment will be by a combination of tutor-marked assignments (with answers ranging from short to essay-length and to project reports), tutor appraisal at residential schools, and computer-marked assignments (multiple-choice questions). Written tutor feedback on assignments will provide you with individual tuition and guidance. Each module will conclude with a final examination or end-of-module assessment.

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