Environmental Science and Physical Geography 

(2018 Entry)

BSc (Hons)

At Keele, studying a combined honours degree will include some modules from both of the single honours degrees. In this case, your programme will be made up of a combination of modules from both Environmental Science and Physical Geography. 

Combined Honours

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


Study abroad
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International year
3 years/ 4 years with international year

UCAS code: FF98

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Course Overview

For the Environmental Science element of the course, you will develop the scientific understanding and practical skills needed to tackle many of the world’s major environmental (and societal) problems such as climate change, food security, water resources, pollution and conservation.

Our Environmental Science course at Keele draws on the expertise of scientists within the disciplines of life sciences, chemical sciences and geosciences to emphasise the role and importance of scientific understanding and practical skills in the analysis and management of environmental problems. Alongside studying topical global environmental issues, you will have the opportunity to develop a broad range of practical, laboratory and field-based skills to take into future employment. 

For the Physical Geography element of the course, you will Discover new ways to understand and appreciate the natural world as you explore the rapidly evolving science behind Earth’s changing landscapes and environments. This course, ranked top for student satisfaction in the 2015 and 2016 National Student Survey, focuses on Earth as a global environmental system. We take an interdisciplinary perspective that will allow you to embed influences from fields such as geology, environmental science and life sciences into your studies. With our global approach you will discover landscapes and points of view that transcend traditional boundaries. You will learn to collect and interpret evidence in the field and in the laboratory, acquiring skills in surveying, GIS and a range of physical and chemical analytical techniques.

What will this mean for my future?

This course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), meaning students can gain free membership of the IES to support their personal and professional development in the environmental sector. All organisations, from private business to local government, increasingly need to engage with environmental issues; hence this is one of the fastest growing areas of employment opportunities. Through completion of a reflective portfolio, you will also have the opportunity to gain accreditation from the Institute of Leadership and Management alongside your Keele degree.

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. Geography graduates are highly employable. Your degree from Keele will equip you for future employment or advanced study, and will establish a lifelong appreciation of the world around you. Your skills could take you into directly related careers such as environmental planning or consultancy, or you could apply them in industries such as energy, agriculture, meteorology or construction. Your problem-solving skills and global, interdisciplinary approach will be of value in a huge range of careers.

Indicative modules

First Year

  • Environmental Science Skills
  • Introductory Geology For The Environmental Sciences
  • Ecology and Environment
  • Introductory Environmental Chemistry
  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography
  • Geographical Skills
  • The Practice of Physical Geography
  • People and the Environment

Second Year

  • Human Impacts on the Environment: Scientific Perspectives
  • Environmental and Sustainability Impact Assessment and Research Planning
  • Environmental Analytical Methods
  • Dynamic Geographies
  • Practical Physical Geography
  • Regional Landsystems
  • Geographical Research Training

Third Year

  • Applied Environmental Science Independent Research Project
  • Clean Technology*
  • Contemporary Topics in Environmental Science*
  • Environment and Sustainability Case Study*
  • Applied Insect Ecology*
  • Applied Fish Biology*
  • Trees in their Environment*
  • Natural Hazards*
  • Hydrological and Engineering Geology*
  • Advanced Topics in Sedimentology*
  • Global Environmental Change*
  • Applied GIS*
  • Coastal Environments*
  • Water Resources*
  • Conservation Biology*
  • Dissertation
  • Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology
  • Global Environmental Change
  • Inspirational Landscapes

*Three Modules To Be Selected

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

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

 

Physical Geography -  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 Physical Geography modules only; please also see the document for your other subject. For Physical Geography Combined Honours:  

Year

 

Compulsory

Optional

Electives

 

Min

Max

Min

Max

1

 

60

0

0

0

0

2

 

60

0

0

0

0

3*

 

0

45

60

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)

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.

 

Physical Geography Year 1 (Level 4)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Fundamentals of Physical Geography

15

None

 

Geographical Skills

15

   

The Practice of Physical Geography

15

   

People and the Environment

15

   

 

 

Modules - Year Two

Year 2 (Level 5)


 

 

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

   

 

Physical Geography Year 2 (Level 5)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dynamic Geographies

15

None

 

Practical Physical Geography

15

   

Regional Landsystems

15

   

Geographical Research Training

15

   

 

 

Modules - Year Three

Year 3 (Level 6)

 

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

 

Physical Geography Year 3 (Level 6) (Combined Honours)

Students take either 60 credits from the options below, or 45 credits from this list plus 15 credits from an elective outside this list. Students may take no more than one of the ISPs on this list, and do not need to take a Geography Independent Study Project (ISP) as long as there is an ISP included within their overall combined honours module diet.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

None

 

Double Dissertation ISP

30

   

Single Dissertation ISP

15

   

Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology

15

   

Inspirational Landscapes

15

   

Global Environmental Change

15

   

Water Resources

15

   

Applied GIS

15

   

Coastal Environments

15

   

Environment and Sustainability Case Study

15

   

Natural Hazards

15

 

 

Modules - Year Four

If you choose to specialise in Physical Geography in your final year you will take either 120 credits from the list below, or 105 credits from this list plus 15 credits from an elective outside this list. Students must take one of the two Dissertation ISP options below.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

None

 

Double Dissertation ISP

30

   

Single Dissertation ISP

15

   

Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology

15

   

Global Environmental Change

15

   

Water Resources

15

   

Natural Hazards

15

   

Inspirational Landscapes

15

   

Applied GIS*

15

   

Coastal Environments

15

   

Trees in their Environment*

15

   

Contemporary Topics in Environmental Science

15

   

Environment & Sustainability Case Study

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