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Environmental Sciences

The Faculty offers two environment degrees: Environmental science and Environmental Management and Technology. We recommend that you explore both descriptions before choosing the one that is right for you.

Environmental sciences is a vital and vibrant subject, exploring the complexities of the natural environment and our relationship with it. Our environment is fascinating – but it’s under threat from climate change, biodiversity loss and resource depletion. Environmental sciences explores the consequences and implications of environmental change for sustainability from a scientific perspective, looking at the processes, links and interactions operating in different environments. It combines aspects of biology, ecology, geography, chemistry, technology and social science using a holistic approach to help understand the whole picture.

CIWEM logoCHES logo

Our BSc (Hons) Environmental Science degree is accredited by The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) .

In addition, the Natural Sciences degree programme allows you to study an Environmental Science pathway and your specialism will be included in the name of your degree BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Environmental Science)

How we teach Environmental sciences

Compton scattering apparatus

Our long established, quality distance-learning methods use innovative technologies to provide a modern, blended learning experience. We’re designing our new Science modules with on-screen delivery in mind, taking advantage of year-on-year developments in new technologies to make students studies with us even more engaging and flexible - on computer, mobile and tablet devices.

Students will be immersed in interactive activities, using a mix of high quality text, graphics, audios and videos to support their learning.

Meet some of our Academics

Dr Tamsin Edwards is a lecturer in Environmental Sciences looking at past, present and future climates. In this interview she discusses why Antarctica is a significant source of uncertainty for climate modelling and how our courses cover issues of uncertainty and public awareness of science issues. Read about Tamsins research.
Listen to Tamsin being interviewed by Roger Harrabin for 'Stories of change'

Professor Vincent Gauci's research is looking globally at how eco-systems interact with the atmosphere. He discusses how his research informs our Environmental Science courses.

Teaching underpinned by research

The Open University doesn’t just teach: it’s a global leader in research and innovation too, with OU research and development ranking in the top third of UK universities. The Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics has a long and distinguished record of conducting high quality, internationally leading research. These researchers contribute to our state of the art curriculum material ensuring our teaching is up to date, informed by scientific research.

You can get a flavour of our published research in Environmental sciences through our Open Research Online (ORO) website

Meet some of our Students

Image Vicky Bowskill

I’m definitely not the same person I was when I started – you learn as much about yourself with the OU as you do about your subject.

Vicky Bowskill
Environmental Science student
Read more

Explore some of our Environmental Science resources


Have a look at our free OpenLearn unit 'Eutrophication' (12 hours of study).

The oceans

Have a look at our free OpenLearn unit 'The oceans' (15 hours of study).

Minerals and rocks under the microscope

Have a look at our free OpenLearn unit 'An introduction to minerals and rocks under the microscope' (8 hours of study)

Meet our Academics

Head and shoulders of male OU academic

In addition to teaching on Open University modules our academics are engaged in ground breaking research that benefits individuals and society.

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