UCC Undergraduate courses

Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences

Course Fact File
Duration4 Years
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBSc (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
FeesStudent Contribution + Capitation: €3,138. See Fees and Costs for full details.
CAO Points2023: 494
CAO Points Range2023: 494-613

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. The BEES programme provides you with a unique opportunity to explore the environmental challenges of our times. This interdisciplinary programme spans the biological, earth and environmental sciences. 

This programme is the pathway to a distinct degree. Following completion of first year, you choose your preferred degree pathway from the following options:

Year 1 Modules

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

  • 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)

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year-to-year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

  • Lectures are held in the mornings.
  • Our degree courses also place a strong emphasis on practical components, including fieldwork and laboratory skills, which will provide you with relevant hands-on experience.
  • Practical classes are held in the afternoons.
  • 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.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Work Placement

A work-experience module is available in fourth year in each of the degree streams. This enables you to spend 6-10 weeks in a structured working environment, where you are evaluated both on your contribution to the placement institution and on a report of your experience. Under the guidance of a module co-ordinator, students organise their own placement and marks are included in final year results.

Study Abroad

The 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.

Skills and Careers Information

Graduate Study Options

For further information on further study options from each area of study, please see the information for the relevant degree programme.

Career Opportunities

For further information on career opportunities from each area of study, please see the information for the relevant degree programme.


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.

EU/EFTA/UK Qualifications

EU/EFTA/UK applicants presenting an equivalent school-leaving qualification should review the EU/EFTA/UK Applicants page for information on equivalent grades and how to prove their level of English.

Mature Students

To compete through the mature entry route, applicants must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the application year and apply online via the CAO by 1 February. The application should include a statement of interest. Applicants may also be called for interview.

Further information on applying as a mature student is available on the Mature Applicants and Mature Student Entry support pages. 


Applicants who meet the required level of distinctions in required subjects can apply for entry to this course using specific QQI FET qualifications. Please review the Programme Requirements on our Information for QQI FET Applicants page for information on related QQI courses, and visit Access UCC’s QQI/FET Entry section for further support. 

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such applicants 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 and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

  • Whether you are an EU or Non-EU student will affect the course fees applicable to you. See more information on EU Fees, Non-EU Fees, or Free Fees Status.
  • 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.
  • See the Fee Schedule to find out the course fee.
  • Check out scholarships that may be available to you.
  • Explore our Nurturing Bright Futures free online course (Module 5) to learn about managing your money as a student and budgeting for university life.

Note that students will be required to pay for some small laboratory items such as lab coats, in addition to contributing towards the cost of field trips.

How To Apply

Irish and European (EU/EFTA/UK) Applicants

Apply via the CAO. See the CAO Handbook for useful information on applying through the CAO. 

Mature Applicants 

Apply via the CAO by 1 February. To apply for a place as a mature student, you must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the year of entry.

QQI/FET Applicants 

Apply via the CAOSee our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Further Education and Training (FET) application process. 

Non-EU Applicants 

If you are from outside the EU/EFTA/UK, apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact