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 and field 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
  • Successful applicants may be required to complete a PVG Disclosure Check and become PVG Scheme Members in order to undertake certain modules on this course

Access routes

SWAP Access courses
If you are eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP), please visit our SWAP access list for further information on grade profiles and available subjects.

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 optional module 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 optional module in semester 1

Year 3 - BSc

  • Applications of analytical chemistry (including a 5-day residential)
  • Management of the marine resource
  • Research skills project
  • Strategic environmental monitoring
  • Microbial ecology
  • Plus 1 optional module in semester 1

Year 4 - BSc (Hons)

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

You must also complete a dissertation

How will I study my course?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We will continue to review government guidance as lockdown measures shift over the next few months and will inform you of any further changes to the information provided below about your course. You will study the course through our blended learning approach. In semester one, September 2020, the theory elements will mainly be delivered online through a combination of video conference seminars, tutor-supported study and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You will also have the opportunity to do an online induction at the start of the course. On-campus activities, practical lab work and residential will be introduced in line with the developing Scottish Government public health measures and guidance, including social distancing, residential most likely in semester two (from January 2021). For continuing students into year 4: As above, the work placement will also be introduced in line with the developing Scottish Government public health measures and guidance, including social distancing.
  • 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:

Study Mode2019-202020-21
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, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term-time address in Scotland the following fees apply:

YearLevel2019-20 Full-time2020-21 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, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Part-time (per 20 credit module) - £1,500.

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 while 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:

Study Mode2019-202020-21
Full-time per year (120 credit modules) per year £12,800 £13,200
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £6,420 £6,600
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £2,140 £2,200

Part-time study is not open to international student requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.

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.

Additional Costs

Students are required to pay for travel, accommodation and subsistence for most of the field trips. Students have the opportunity to claim travel and accommodation costs from the university's Reid Environmental Endowment Fund.

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 have never looked at the shore in this way: we discovered all sorts of marine life as well as a diverse number of

Jacqueline Johnstone is studying on the BSc (Hons) Environmental Science at our
North Highland College UHI campus

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.

Got a question? Send us a message

Got a question? Send us a message

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Got a question? Send us a message


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