UCC Undergraduate courses

Environmental Science

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.

Course Outline

Environmental Science is the study of the physical, chemical and biological processes of the Earth and of human interactions with these processes. It uses a multi-disciplinary perspective to consider approaches to protecting, preserving and managing the environment.

Environmental Science has become critically important because of the need to protect the natural and human environment for present and future generations.

Environmental issues such as climate change, conserving biodiversity, management of waste and natural resources, production of energy and protecting human health are now high on the agenda of all governments, resulting in stringent regulations and standards, but also new directions for research, focussed on improving the sustainability of all human activities. This in turn has created a greater need for knowledgeable and appropriately trained Environmental Scientists.

You enter Environmental Science from Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (CK404).


Year 1 

Refer to Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (CK404) for more details on Year 1 module options for this programme.

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue (Environmental Science) for the complete and up-to-date content including current core and elective module options for Years 2and 4. 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


Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May.  Not all modules will have formal examinations.  Many modules use other types of assessment including essays, practical exercises, field reports, multiple-choice-question tests, assessed presentations and project work. The range of assessments provides a broad skills-base of relevance to future employment.

Why Choose This Course

I can say with confidence that there are few degrees out there that can provide such a level of knowledge on such a wide array of subjects...

Connor Dennehy, Graduate, Environmental Science

This degree provides you with an essential grounding in the relevant science disciplines (biological, chemical, earth, physical and mathematical), together with hands-on experience and an understanding of the science behind key environmental issues.

On graduation you will be well-equipped to make a valuable contribution to the environmental sector or to help solve the environmental problems of the future.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Study abroad: The School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science operates an exchange system, mostly with European universities (i.e. Erasmus programme), and this allows students to substitute one semester or a full year abroad in Year 3 for their third year in UCC.

Work placement: A work experience module is available to Year 4 students, enabling them 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

Graduates in Environmental Science are eligible for any job that requires an honours degree in a science subject, but are particularly suitable for posts in:

  • environmental consultancies
  • environment and waste divisions of local authorities
  • the Environmental Protection Agency
  • environment divisions of chemical
  • pharmaceutical, food and other industries
  • non-Governmental organisations 
  • Government departments concerned with natural resources, heritage, environment and land use.

Posts for environmental scientists typically involve:

  • monitoring compliance with environmental regulations
  • waste and natural resource management
  • pollution monitoring
  • environmental impact assessments
  • environmental auditing
  • designing environmental management systems
  • environmental risk assessments


Refer to CK404.

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.

Some modules incorporate practical laboratories and for these you may be required to purchase basic safety items such as a laboratory coat or goggles. Other modules may require specific items such as rubber boots and outdoor waterproof clothing. Financial contributions will be required for taking place in national and international field courses.

How To Apply

Refer to CK404.

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