Environmental Science BSc (Hons)

UCAS code F900

What is special about this course?

If you are passionate about understanding the processes that shape our natural environment and keen to develop the scientific and analytical skills you need to work in this field, the BSc (Hons) Environmental Science degree is exactly what you are looking for. 

You won’t find a better classroom in which to study than in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.  We have what is undeniably one of the world’s best ‘living laboratories’ in the spectacular natural habitats of the Scottish Highlands.

Here you will develop core scientific and analytical skills through course work in college laboratories and access to specialist analytical equipment across the university network. You will also have the opportunity to undertake a residential field module each year at locations throughout the region, which will help develop your field skills while working in some of the most outstanding habitats.

Special features

  • Study in one of the world’s best ‘living laboratories’
  • Undertake a residential field module each year at locations throughout the region
  • You can study full-time or part-time to suit your personal circumstances 
  • You can also study individual modules for personal or professional development
  • Practical lab work is a key part of the course


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade C or above (these must include science at grade C or above) OR
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above (these must include science at grade C or above)
  • PLUS National 5, Standard Grade Credit or Intermediate 2, Chemistry at grade C or above, or equivalent
  • Alternatively, Foundation Apprenticeship Scientific Technologies (Laboratory Skills) PLUS an additional Scottish Higher at Grade C or above and National 5 in Chemistry at Grade C (or equivalent) or above
  • We also accept candidates without the standard entry requirements, but with considerable professional experience in science-based employment

Access routes

Students eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP) will be able to apply for entry to BSc (Hons) Environmental Science with a grade profile of CCC in one of the below courses and 8 units passed at SCQF level 6:

  • Access to: Biological Science (West Lothian College)
  • Access to: Health and Life Sciences (Fife College)
  • Access to: Life Sciences (Dundee & Angus College)
  • Access to: Life Sciences (Edinburgh College)
  • Access to: Physical Sciences (Dundee & Angus College)
  • Access to: Physical Sciences (Edinburgh College)

Year 1 - CertHE

  • Principles of biology
  • Chemistry 1
  • Science lab skills
  • Ecological principles: biodiversity and ID skills (including a 1-day residential)
  • Collecting and analysing data
  • Plus 1 option in semester 2

Year 2 - DipHE

  • Freshwater environments
  • Environmental conservation
  • Marine environments
  • Introduction to geographic information systems
  • Ecological and statistical methods (including a 5-day residential)
  • Plus 1 option in semester 1

Year 3 - BSc

  • Environmental analysis (including a 5-day residential)
  • Management of the marine resource
  • Research skills project
  • Strategic environmental monitoring
  • Microbial ecology
  • Plus 1 option in semester 1

Year 4 - BSc (Hons)

  • Engaging with external agencies (including a work placement)
  • Science and society
  • Plus 1 option in both semester 1 and semester 2

You must also complete a dissertation

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will learn through a combination of practical laboratory work, field trips, face-to-face and video conference lectures and tutorials, and online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years @ 20 hours per week
  • Part-time (unstructured): variable @ 10 hours per week

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

  • Inverness College UHI
  • Moray College UHI
  • North Highland College UHI
  • Perth College UHI

Start date

  • September
  • January (part-time study only)


For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £645
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £215

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

    Full-time Full-time
Year 1 CertHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 2 DipHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 3 Degree £9,000 £9,000
Year 4 Honours free** free**

**4th year free only for students studying full-time who have paid for the previous 3 years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Part-time (per 20 credit module) -  £1,500 (2018-19 and 2019-20).

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living whilst studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Full-time per year (120 credit modules) per year £12,200 £12,800
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year** £6,100 £6,420
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)** £2,034 £2,140

**There is no part-time study option for Tier 4 sponsored international. students.

Further information on international course fees.

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time RUK and International undergraduate students for continuous and contiguous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact your enrolling college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed your BSc (Hons) Environmental Science course, you might like to consider a career with:

  • Scottish Natural Heritage (area officer, research projects, interpretation)
  • Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (ecologists, soil or microbial scientists, hydrologists, marine scientists)
  • Local authorities (biodiversity workers, environmental project work including flood alleviation, coastal zone protection, wildlife protection)
  • Forestry Commission (biodiversity, native woodlands, species, GIS)
  • Ecological consultancy work
  • National (e.g. RSPB) or local (e.g. Scottish Wildlife Trust) NGOs and charities

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress from the BSc (Hons) Environmental Science degree to the following postgraduate courses:

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I did initially look at universities in Aberdeen and Glasgow, however studying with the University of the Highlands and Islands meant that I could stay much closer to home. Also, the highlands provide the best place to study environmental science: you are so close to all the major environmental systems, such as freshwater and marine environments. Fieldtrips are by far my favourite part of the course as they allow me to use the knowledge learned in lectures.The trips are always a good laugh, they also make you realise the amount of knowledge the tutors have.

Cornelius Pelka, third year BSc (Hons) Environmental Science student.

Andrea Goddard is in her second year of our BSc (Hons) Environmental Science at Inverness College UHI. She was nominated for the Reid Environmental Fieldwork prize by Donna Clark, Programme Leader for the course.

Andrea was nominated after producing an excellent report for a first year statistics module, looking into the distribution of treecreeper roosts on giant sequoia trees. The data collection process involved a considerable amount of fieldwork and application on Andrea’s part, far in excess of what we would usually look for from a first year student.

Apply for Environmental Science BSc (Hons)

I want to start in Jan/Feb 2020 or Aug/Sep 2020 or Jan/Feb 2021

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). UHI operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.