Biology and Environmental Science 

(2018 Entry)

BSc (Hons)

This combined honours course combines studies in the disciplines of Environmental Science and Biology to help you develop the theory and the practical, laboratory and field-based skills needed to analyse and tackle a wide range of environmental problems.

Combined Honours

Combined Honours degrees allow you to study two different subjects in one degree. Find out more about Combined Honours degrees.


Study abroad
Learn a language
International year
3 years/ 4 years with international year

UCAS code: FC7C

View entry requirements

Course Overview

During your Biology and Environmental Science degree, you’ll learn how humans relate to the natural environment, and how to address some of the biggest threats to the world’s environmental and ecological systems. Topical environmental issues (such as conservation, habitat management, biodiversity loss and climate change) require a strong understanding of how humans interact with the natural environment, and how we impact on different ecosystems. You’ll explore aspects of science such as biodiversity, evolution and biological processes, but you will also consider debates around genetic crop modification, nutrient loss and food security.

What will this mean for my future?

Keele enjoys high rates of graduate employment, where in 2016, were recognised nationally as 1st for employability in the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey. Environmental Science and Biology are interrelated disciplines which are highly relevant to many of the issues facing society today. This means that graduates with this blend of skills are in demand from a wide range of employers. You could choose a career in conservation, or in environmental management or consultancy. Alternatively you might decide to work as a research scientist or to continue your studies at postgraduate level.

Indicative modules

First Year

  • Environmental Science Skills
  • Introductory Geology for the Environmental Sciences
  • Ecology and Environment
  • Introductory Environmental Chemistry
  • Diversity of Life
  • Cell and Molecular Biology 
  • Genetics and Evolution

Second Year

  • Human Impacts on the Environment: Specific Perspectives 
  • Integrated Environmental Field Studies 
  • Environmental Analytical Methods
  • Life at the Extremes 
  • Research and Analytical Skills 
  • Current Topics in Biology

Third Year

  • Applied Environmental Science Independent Research Project
  • Life Sciences Experimental Research Project 
  • Life Sciences Research Project with Laboartory Skills Assessment 
  • Applied Life Sciences Placement 

Course structure

Our degree courses are organised into modules. Each module is usually a self-contained unit of study and each is usually assessed separately with the award of credits on the basis of 1 credit = 10 hours of student effort.  An outline of the structure of the programme is provided in the tables below.

There are three types of module delivered as part of this programme. They are:

  • Compulsory modules – a module that you are required to study on this course;
  • Optional modules – these allow you some limited choice of what to study from a list of modules;
  • Elective modules – a free choice of modules that count towards the overall credit requirement but not the number of subject-related credits.

Modules Summary

 

Biology - A summary of the total credit requirements per year is as follows, with a minimum of 90 subject credits (compulsory plus optional) required for each year across both of your Principal Subjects. This document has information about Biology modules only; please also see the document for your other subject.

 

Year

Compulsory

Optional

Electives

Min

Max

Min

Max

1

60

0

0

0

0

2

30

30

30

0

30

3*

15 or 30

30 or 45

30 or 45

0

0

* in year 3 there is the option to choose to specialise in one of your subjects, taking a minimum of 90 credits in this subject rather than taking modules from both subjects

Students take four Biology modules at Levels 4 and 5, two in each semester. At Level 5, there is also the option of studying abroad for one of the two semesters, or for a whole academic year between levels 5 and 6.  At Level 6, students take four modules in Biology, of which one must be an independent study module: Life Sciences Experimental Project or Work Placement Year. Combined Honours students combining Biology with Biochemistry must take a 30-credit ISP (Independent Study Project), i.e. a Life Sciences Double Experimental Project (with research skills assessment) or a Work Placement Year Project.

 

Environmental Science - A summary of the total credit requirements per year is as follows, with a minimum of 90 subject credits (compulsory plus optional) required for each year across both of your Principal Subjects. This document has information about Environmental Science modules only; please also see the document for your other subject.

Year

Compulsory

Optional

Electives

Min

Max

Min

Max

1

60

0

0

0

0

2

60

0

0

0

0

3*

15

30

45

0

15

* in year 3 there is the option to choose to specialise in one of your subjects, taking a minimum of 90 credits in this subject rather than taking modules from both subjects

Modules - Year One

Year 1 (Level 4)

Biology Year 1 (Level 4)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional Modules

Credits

Biodiversity, Ecology & the Environment

30

   

Cellular Genetics & Evolution

30

   

 

Environmental Science Year 1 (Level 4)

The first year of the Environmental Science programmes start by emphasising the fundamental principles of the sciences underpinning the field of Environmental Science and how these are integrated in the discipline of Environmental Science in order to address environmental issues. This broad scientific foundation in the first year leads on to the detailed study of a range of Environmental Science issues and concepts in years 2 and in the final year.

Students take 60 credits of compulsory core modules in their first year as shown in the table below, with the exception of students studying Environmental Science in combination with Chemistry or in combination with Biology. Environmental Science and Chemistry students take an additional optional or elective module to replace Introductory Environmental Chemistry.  Environmental Science and Biology students take an additional 30 credits of modules to replace Biodiversity, Ecology and Environment, 15 credits of which must be from the list of optional modules

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules***

Credits

Studying the Environment

15

Fundamentals of Physical Geography

15

Biodiversity, Ecology and Environment*

30

People and the Environment

15

Introductory Environmental Chemistry**

15

Greening Business: Employability and

Sustainability

15

   

Introductory Geology for the Environmental Sciences****

15

*Biodiversity, Ecology and Environment is not taken by students combining Environmental Science and Biology.  These students must choose 30 credits of option or elective modules, 15 credits of which must be from the optional module list.  **Introductory Environmental Chemistry is not taken by students combining Environmental Science with Chemistry or Medicinal Chemistry. These students must choose an additional optional or elective module.

*** Optional modules are only available to students combining Environmental Science with Chemistry or Medicinal Chemistry or Biology.

****Introductory Geology for the Environmental Sciences is only available for students combining Environmental Science and Biology.

 

Field Courses

Studying the Environment (local area)

Introductory field day to explore the different aspects of environmental science at a local field site (1 day).

Studying the Environment (Centre for Alternative Technology)

A residential weekend to the Centre for Alternative Technology, exploring renewable energy, sustainable living and building, and the geology and physical landscape of the local area.

Environmental Science Skills (North Wales)*

Residential field course in North Wales, looking at the ecology, hydrochemistry and biogeochemistry of aquatic and terrestrial environments and the environmental impacts of historical mining activities, includes a day of laboratory work at Keele (5 days).

*Note about field courses: these may change depending on factors such as staff availability, staff changes, staff expertise, costs, student numbers, other factors outside of our control (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions etc.). Locations of 'local area' field days change on a year by year basis.

 

Modules - Year Two

Year 2 (Level 5)

Biology Year 2 (Level 5)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional Modules

NB: students choose 2 modules from:

Credits

Life at the Extremes *

15

Animal Adaptations

15

Research and Analytical Techniques

15

Human Genetics

15

   

Living Together: Behaviour, Cooperation and Conflict

15

   

Nutrition and Energy Balance

15

   

Health and the Environment

15

   

Current Topics in Biology

15

   

Microbes, Viruses and Parasites**

15

   

Study Abroad Modules

30

* This module includes a field course

**This module is a prerequisite for Human Parasitology at Level 6

 

Environmental Science Year 2 (Level 5)

Students study 60-credits of compulsory core modules.  Students studying abroad for one semester do not take the 30-credit module ESC-20079 (Environmental and Sustainability Impact Assessment and Research Planning), and instead take 15-credits of this module in the semester that they remain at Keele for.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Human Impacts on the Environment:

Scientific Perspectives

15

None

 

Environmental and Sustainability Impact Assessment and Research Planning

30

   

Environmental Analytical Methods

15

   

 

Field courses

  Environmental and Sustainability Impact

Assessment and Research Planning (local)

Based in a local country park, students work in project groups to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).  (1 day)

  Environmental and Sustainability Impact

Assessment and Research Planning (residential)

A residential field course investigating issues of environmental science and management (6-8 days depending on dates of Easter vacation).   In 2016/17 options were the Lake District, UK or Bordeaux, France.

*Note about field courses: these may change depending on factors such as staff availability, staff changes, staff expertise, costs, student numbers, other factors outside of our control (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions etc.). Locations of 'local area' field days change on a year by year basis.

 

Work Placement Year

Students taking the 4-year with ‘work placement year’ undertake their work placement between Year-2 and Year-3 of their degree programme. During the work placement year, students undertake a work placement (minimum 30 weeks full time (1,050 hours) or equivalent) with an environmentally-focussed company or organisation. Students take the ESC-30042 (non-credit bearing) Work Placement Year module.

Core modules

Credits

Work placement year

n/a

Modules - Year Three

Year 3 (Level 6)

 

Biology Year 3 (Level 6)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional Modules

NB: students choose 3 modules from:

Credits

Students taking Biology and Biochemistry:

Life Sciences Double Experimental Project (with research skills assessment)

Or

Double Applied Life Sciences Placement1,2

 

30

 

30

Applied Insect Ecology

15

Conservation Biology

15

Human Parasitology3

15

Applied Fish Biology

15

Students taking Biology and a subject outside the School of Life Sciences:

Life Sciences Single Experimental Project (with research skills assessment)

Or

Life Sciences Dissertation

Or

Single Applied Life Sciences Placement1

 

15

 

15

 

15

Trees in their Environment

15

Developmental Biology

15

Human Evolution

15

Communication Skills for Biologists

15

Life Sciences Dissertation

15

1 The Applied Life Sciences Placement modules may replace Life Sciences Experimental Project (with research skills assessment) modules if the nature of the placement is deemed suitable and the work carried out meets the criteria of the research project module.  

 

2 If a student fails the Life Sciences double experimental project module (or the alternative Double Applied Life Science placement module) but has it condoned, then they will not be eligible for an RSB accredited degree, but shall instead be eligible for the award BSc Studies in Biochemistry

 

3 This option is only available to students who have taken Microbes, Viruses and Parasites at Level 5

 

 

Environmental Science Year 3 (Level 6)

Level 6 (combined Honours) students study the Dissertation module (15 credits) and two or three option modules from the list below (45 credits). It is the programme norm and it is expected that combined honours students will take the single (15 credit) project module. However, in discussion with the Programme Director and project supervisor, where it is deemed appropriate combined honours students may be permitted to take the 30 credit Dissertation module (and choose only two option modules).   

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dissertation

15

Contemporary Topics in Environmental Science

15

   

Clean Technology

15

   

Conservation Biology

15

   

Applied Insect Ecology

15

   

Applied Fish Biology

15

   

Trees in their Environment

15

   

Natural Hazards

15

   

Global Environmental Change

15

   

Applied GIS

15

   

Coastal Environments

15

   

Water Resources

Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology

15

 

 

Modules - Year Four

If you choose to specialise in Biology in your final year you will study the following modules:

Core modules

Credits

Optional Modules

NB: students choose 6 modules from:

Credits

Life Sciences Double Experimental Project (with research skills assessment)2

Or

Double Applied Life Sciences Placement1

30

 

30

Applied Insect Ecology

15

Conservation Biology

15

Human Parasitology3

15

Applied Fish Biology

15

Trees in their Environment

15

Developmental Biology

15

   

Human Evolution

15

   

Communication Skills for Biologists

15

   

Life Sciences Dissertation

15

 

If you choose to specialise in Environmental Science in your final year you will study the following modules:

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dissertation

30

Clean Technology

15

Contemporary Topics in Environmental Science

15

Applied Insect Ecology

15

   

Applied Fish Biology

15

   

Trees in their Environment

15

   

Conservation Biology

15

   

Natural Hazards

15

   

Hydrological and Engineering Geology

15

   

Global Environmental Change

15

   

Applied GIS

15

   

Coastal Environments

15

   

Water Resources

15

   

Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology

15

 

Field courses: The field courses undertaken during the third year will depend on the modules chosen. It should be noted that for many students their Independent Project work is likely to include a significant amount of fieldwork.

 

For further information on the content of modules currently offered, including the list of elective modules, please visit: www.keele.ac.uk/recordsandexams/az