Welcome to Environment and Sustainability at Keele

Here you can find up-to-date information about your environment and sustainability course at Keele and the pre-arrival process for new environment and sustainability students.

Ian Oliver
Dr Ian Oliver

Welcome to 2018 students!

I hope you’re looking forward to starting your degree at Keele in September.  These Environment & Sustainability Welcome pages aim to help you prepare to come to Keele and help you settle in quickly when you're here.

One thing to note is that there will be a compulsory field course on Saturday 29 September, 10:00 - 4 pm to help you to get to know us and each other and to find out more about what the Environment and Sustainability degree at Keele is all about. Make sure you have boots and waterproofs for this day!

I look forward to welcoming you to Keele and the Environment and Sustainability degree programme in September.

If you have any queries about the degree please don’t hesitate to contact the programmes director, Dr Ian Oliver (email: i.oliver@keele.ac.uk, Tel: 01782 734956).

As part of the university's Welcome Festival there will be a "Green Zone". Make sure you pop along and introduce yourself to the students there, many of whom will be studying the same degree as you. This will also highlight all the exciting opportunities there are to get involved with.

You can also follow us on our Keele Environmental Twitter account.

Although we don’t expect you to have been doing preparatory reading for the degree programme, if you are keen to get started and do some background reading and start thinking about environment and sustainability issues, we would recommend the following books, which will prove useful throughout your degree:

  • Mulligan, M. (2014) An Introduction to Sustainability. Environmental, Social and Personal Perspectives. Earthscan.
  • Kopnina, H. and Shoreman-Ouinet, E. (eds) 2015. Sustainability: Key Issues. Routeledge.

To help you in your transition to university and the development of your study skills at university we would also recommend:

  • Kneale, P. (2011), Study skills for Geography, Earth and Environmental Science Students. Hodder Education.

You don’t have to buy these books as they (along with a large number of other relevant texts) will be available in the library at Keele.  You will be directed to further reading throughout the course when you arrive at Keele.

You might also like to have a look at some recent "environmental" films, if you haven't already seen them. Try:

  • The 11th Hour
  • The Age of Stupid
  • An Inconvenient Truth
  • The End of the Line

To give you a good background in the variety of cutting edge research being carried out by Environmental Researchers I would recommend looking at the ‘Planet Earth’ publication of the Natural Environment Research Council.  You can look at it on line

Other things to bring with you include:

  • A diary (academic year), or access to an electronic diary (e.g., Google Calender)
  • A scientific calculator (calculators approved by the University for use in exams include:  Aurora SC582 series, Casio FX-83 series, Casio FX-85 series, Casio FX-350 series, Sharp EL-531 series and the Texas Instruments TI30 series)
  • A good stock of stationary

The University will provide you with Enrolment Information about arriving and registering at Keele. Make sure you check those before looking at the details below, which relate just to your sessions with Environment and Sustainability.

Week 1 is 'Welcome Week' during which you will complete your official registration with the university alongside attending a number of welcome and induction sessions relating to Environment and Sustainability. During these sessions you will receive important information about the E&S degree programme so it is important that you attend.

During Welcome Week there are four important sessions relating to your E&S course that you are required to attend:

  1. Monday 24 September, 2-4pm (Room William Smith WS0.11) – ‘Welcome and Introduction to Environment and Sustainability at Keele
  2. Monday 24 September, 4pm ( William Smith Building) – ‘Meet and Greet’ reception and opportunity for new students to meet existing students and staff
  3. Tuesday 25 September, 9-11am (Room WS0.11) – Interactive field and laboratory activity (come prepared to work outside and in the laboratory!)
  4. Thursday 27 September, 10-1pm  (meet at the Sustainability Hub reception) - Tour of the Sustainability Hub, followed by film (Message in the Waves) and discussions/debate about key environmental issues raised by the film.

During Welcome Week you will also meet with your personal tutor. Details on this will be confirmed at the Introductory Session.

Fieldwork and data collection  is an essential part of your Environment & Sustainability degree, and throughout your degree you will learn many essential field skills from ecological identification to water sampling and geochemical analysis to interview techniques and questionnaire design.  You will work in a wide range of locations and habitats and will need to be prepared for all weathers.

During your Environment & Sustainability degree you will attend several compulsory residential fieldcourses, including around the local area, North and Mid-Wales and the Lake District, or an overseas alternative, in  your second year.  You will be informed of the exact dates as soon as these are finalised.

Your first fieldcourse will be a day trip to a local site, highlighting the diversity of the Environment & Sustainability programme, and providing an opportunity to get to know the local area and the other students and the staff teaching on the Environment & Sustainability degree programme.  This will take place on Saturday 29 September 2018, 10:00 - 4 pm. 

We often end up carrying out fieldwork in less than ideal weather conditions, therefore you must ensure that you have a good set of outdoor equipment at the beginning of your degree.  This should include:

  • Walking boots
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • A small rucksack
  • Hat and gloves
  • Clipboard

Your next fieldcourse to the Centre of Alternative Technology in Mid Wales will take place over a weekend in November (exact dates to be confirmed).

Fieldwork Costs:  For new students commencing their studies in 2018, there are no charges to students taking compulsory field courses as part of their environment and sustainability degree programme. The University pays for these costs. In Year-1, this covers a one-day day local area field course, the five-day residential field course to North Wales and a two-day residential field course to the Centre for Alternative Technology. In Year-2 this covers a one-day field excursion to Brown End Quarry, Staffordshire (students taking ESC-20037: Geoscience and Society only) and a week-long residential field course to EITHER France OR the Lake District, UK.

If you have any queries or concerns about coming to Keele or starting your Environment and Sustainability degree, please feel free to contact the E&S Programme Director:

Dr Ian Oliver (email: i.oliver@keele.ac.uk; Tel: 01782 734956).

The University also offers new students the opportunity of having a Keele Mentor. Keele Mentors are current undergraduate students whose aim it is to welcome and help settle new students into the University. Having a Keele Mentor is a fantastic way to aid your transition into Keele and is a great way of finding out more about studying at Keele from someone who has experienced this themselves. 

Additional information which you may find helpful:

For the latest updates about Environmental and Sustainability at Keele you can also follow us on Twitter @KeeleEnvProgs.

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*Accreditation is dependent on the degree route and modules taken