UCC Undergraduate courses

Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences

  • Code


  • College

    Science, Engineering and Food Science

  • Duration

    4 years

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    BSc (Hons)

  • Fees

    Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,138 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    1 x H4, 1 x H5, 4 x O6/H7; Maths and a Lab science subject are required. See Requirements for full details.

  • CAO Points

    2022: 498

  • CAO Points Range


Course Outline

Our BSc in Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) is the foundation year for different degree outlets in the School of Biological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences. This interdisciplinary programme spans the biological, earth and environmental sciences; it is the pathway to a distinct degree, chosen by you following Year 1. The BEES programme provides you with a unique opportunity to explore the environmental challenges of our times. Following completion of first year you can then choose your preferred degree pathway from the following degree programmes:


In Year 1 you will take 60 credits from a variety of subjects across the biological, earth and environmental sciences as follows:

Year 1

  • BL1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics & Evolution (5 credits)
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals (5 credits)
  • BL1006 Habitats and Ecosystems (5 credits)
  • BL1009 Grand Challenges in Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (5 credits)
  • CM1003 Introductory Chemistry for Environmental Scientists (10 credits)
  • EV1002 The Environment (5 credits)
  • GL1001 Introduction to Geology (5 credits)
  • GL1004 Geological Evolution of Ireland (5 credits)
  • GG1010 Introduction to Physical Geography (5 credits)
  • MA1001 Calculus for Science Part I (5 credits)
  • PY1009 Physics for the Environmental Sciences I (5 credits) 

Years 2, 3 and 4

Students select and follow their chosen degree stream from:

See the College Calendar (BEES programme) for more detailed information on the Programme and the Book of Modules for a more detailed description of Programme Modules.

Course Practicalities

  • Expected lecture hours: Lectures are held in the mornings.
  • Expected lab/practical hours: Practical classes are held in the afternoons.
  • Field trips: There are a number of field days and one residential field trip. Students may incur the costs of some laboratory items, such as lab coats and manuals, as well as some of the costs associated with field trips.

Why Choose This Course

The field trips are by far the best because you get to know everyone in the group, the lecturers, and what it is you're actually studying...

Fionnuala Joyce, Graduate

This degree provides a fundamental grounding in the relevant science disciplines. Our degree courses place a strong emphasis on practical components, including fieldwork and laboratory skills, which provide relevant hands-on experience.

Connected Curriculum

Our learning approach also reflects our commitment to the Connected Curriculum where we emphasise the connection between students, learning, research and leadership through our vision for a Connected University. Our staff are at the forefront of this integrative approach to learning and will support you in making meaningful connections within and between disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, and geology.

Available Scholarships

We support our undergraduate community by offering scholarships and bursaries to prospective and current students. Please see the SEFS Scholarships and Funding UG page for more information.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Study abroad: Our School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences operates an exchange system with North American and European universities which allows students to substitute a year abroad for Year 3 in UCC.

Work placement: A work-experience module is also available, in Year 4, enabling students to spend 6-10 weeks in a structured working environment, where they are evaluated both on their contribution to the placement institution and on a report of their experience.

Skills and Careers Information

Please refer to the information on each of the degree outlets for more specific details.


Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements:

At Least six subjects must be presented.  Minimum grade H4 in one subject, minimum grade H5 in one subject and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.

The following are considered Lab Science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics with Chemistry and Agricultural Science.

Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:

EnglishIrishMathsLab ScienceNote:
O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7 or H4* O6/H7 or H4* H4 in either a Lab Science subject, Maths or Applied Maths or Computer Science

If the H4 is in Maths, Applied Maths, or Computer Science an 06/H7 in a Lab Science subject is also required.

  • Mature students: Applicants should apply directly through the CAO, include a statement of interest and may be called for an interview. Applicants are assessed on education, life, and/or relevant experience as demonstrated in the CAO application and statement of interest.  There are approximately eight places available for mature applicants.
  • International students should visit the International Office page.
  • Other qualifications: EU/EFTA/UK students presenting an alternative school-leaving qualification (e.g. A-levels or International Baccalaureate) or QQI/FE course should visit our  pages for further information. 

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements visit our qualification comparison page.

Refer to our International Office page for more information on how to apply to UCC.

Fees and Costs

Course fees include a tuition fee, student contribution fee and capitation fee. The state will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student Contribution and Capitation Fees are payable by the student. In 2022/23 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €138.

Students will be expected to pay for some small laboratory items such as lab coats and contribute towards the cost of field trips.

Please see Fees Office for more information.

For International Fees see our Fees Schedule page.

How Do I Apply

EU applicants: Application to Year 1 of the degree programme is made directly through the Central Applications Office (CAO). Applicants should apply online at www.cao.ie. The normal closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of entry.

Mature Applicants: Application is made through the CAO and the closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of proposed entry. Find out about the mature entry requirements here.

EU Applicants: The Central Applications Office (CAO) processes applications for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions. Refer to the CAO page for further information.

Mature Applicants (age 23 or over): See the CAO Mature Applicants page and the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) page for essential information on the application process for mature students.

QQI FET: See our QQI FET Applicants page.

Non-EU Applicants: Non-EU applicants apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page.

All Applicants: Please note that the modules listed are indicative of the current set of modules for this course and are subject to change from year to year. Please check the College Calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

  • In UCC, we use the terms programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact