Welcome to Environmental Science at Keele!


Robinson_Zoe I hope you are looking forward to starting your degree at Keele in September.  These Welcome Web pages for Environmental Science students aim to help you prepare to come to Keele and to help you settle in quickly once you have arrived. 

One important thing to note is that there will be a compulsory field day on Saturday 7th October 2017, 10:00 - 4 pm in the local area to help you to get to know us and each other and to find out more about what Environmental Science at Keele is all about. Please ensure that you keep this date free. On this day it is important to make sure you have the clothing and equipment you need to work safely outside (see Fieldwork).

If you are keen to get started with some reading to prepare you for the degree programme then I would recommend purchasing the following books which will be useful throughout your entire degree programme:

Cresser, M.S., Batty, L., Boxall, A. and Adams, C. (2013). Introduction to Environmental Science: Earth and Man. Pearson.

Porteous, A. (2008). Dictionary of Environmental Science and Technology. (3rd edition). Wiley.

In addition, to give you a good introduction to the variety of cutting edge research being carried out by Environmental Scientists I would recommend looking at the ‘Planet Earth’ publication of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). 

I look forward to welcoming you to Keele and to our Environmental Science degree programmes at the end of September.

If you have any queries about our programmes in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact me, Dr Zoe Robinson email: z.p.robinson@keele.ac.uk, Tel: 01782 734303.

Dr Zoe Robinson

Programme Director for Environmental Science

Getting Prepared

Although we do not expect you do have been doing preparatory reading for the degree programme, if you are keen to get started and do some background reading I would recommend purchasing the following books, which will prove useful throughout your course:

Cresser, M.S., Batty, L., Boxall, A. and Adams, C. (2013). Introduction to Environmental Science: Earth and Man. Pearson.

Another useful book to look at is:

Porteous, A. (2000) Dictionary of Environmental Science and Technology (3rd edition).  Wiley

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

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

These books, along with a large number of other relevant texts, are also available in the library at Keele.  You will be directed to further reading throughout the course when you arrive at Keele.

To give you a good background in the variety of cutting-edge research being carried out by Environmental Scientists I would recommend looking at the ‘Planet Earth’ publication of the Natural Environment Research Council to get a feel for some topical environmental issues.

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, including files and folders, a stapler, etc…

Starting Arrangements

The University provides a dedicated central Welcome Web for new students arriving at Keele, including information about enrolment and arriving and registering at Keele. Make sure you check these details before looking at the details below, which relate just to your academic sessions.

Week 1 is ‘Welcome Week’ during which you will complete your official registration and enrolment with the University, alongside attending a number of welcome and induction sessions relating to Environmental Science (and also your other dual honours subject if you are taking our DH programme). During these sessions you will receive important information about your degree programme so it is important that you attend all timetabled sessions. 

During Welcome Week there are four important sessions relating to your Environmental Science course that you are required to attend:

  1. Monday 25th September, 2-4pm (Room WS0.05) - 'Welcome and Introduction to the Environmental Science degree programmes at Keele'.
  2. Monday 25th September, 4pm ( William Smith Building) - ‘Meet and Greet’, drinks reception and opportunity for new students to meet existing students and staff. 
  3. Tuesday 26th September, 9-11am (Room WS0.11) - Interactive field and laboratory activity (come prepared to work outside and in the laboratory!)
  4. Thursday 28th 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 about this will be confirmed in due course.


Fieldwork is an essential part of your Environmental Science degree, and throughout your course you will learn many essential field skills for the environmental scientist from ecological identification to water sampling and geochemical analysis.  You will work in a wide range of locations from coastal habitats, areas of forestry, to areas of contaminated land and past mining activities to pristine mountain environments.

During your degree you will attend two compulsory residential field courses, one to North Wales in April of your first year (w/c 3rd April 2016) , and one to the Bordeaux region of France OR to the English Lake District in the Spring/early summer of your second year. You will be informed of the exact dates as soon as these are finalised.

Your first field course will take place on Saturday 7th October 2017, 10:00 - 4 pm in the local area. The field day aims to highlight the diversity of the subject of Environmental Science, as well as providing an opportunity to get to know the other students and the staff.

As Environmental Scientists we often find ourselves carrying out fieldwork in less than ideal weather conditions, therefore you are strongly advised to 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 capacity rucksack
  • Hat and gloves
  • Clipboard/notebook (note that you will be given a waterproof field notebook in Welcome Week)

Fieldwork Costs: From 2016 entry, there are no charges to students taking compulsory field courses as part of their environmental science degree programme. The University pays for these costs. In Year-1, this covers a one-day day local area field course and the five-day residential field course to North Wales, in Year-2 this covers a one-day local area field course (ESC-20079), 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 Bordeaux, France OR the Lake District, UK.

Additional Info

If you have any queries or concerns about coming to Keele or starting your Environmental Science degree, please feel free to contact the Environmental Science Programme Director, Dr Zoe Robinson (email: z.p.robinson@keele.ac.uk).

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 Science (and Sustainability) at Keele you can also follow us on Twitter