UCC Undergraduate courses

Environmental Science

About This Course

Fact File

Course Outline

Environmental Science is the study of 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 more important in recent years 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 more stringent regulations and standards. This in turn has created a greater need for knowledgeable and appropriately trained Environmental Scientists.

Dealing with these current and future environmental issues requires a multidisciplinary approach, an open mind, and problem-solving skills.


Year 1 Modules:

  • BL1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution (5 credits);
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals (5 credits);
  • BL1005 Habitats and Ecosystems (5 credits);
  • CM1003 Introductory Chemistry for Environmental Scientists (5 credits);
  • ER1006 Applied Earth Systems (5 credits);
  • EV1002 The Environment (5 credits);
  • GG1010 Introduction to Physical Geography (5 credits);
  • GL1001 Introduction to Geology (5 credits);
  • GL1004 Geological Evolution of Ireland (5 credits);
  • MA1001 Calculus for Science Part 1 (5 credits);
  • PY1009 Physics for the Environmental Sciences I (5 credits)

Year 2 Modules:

Practical Ecological Skills;  Fundamentals of Ecology;  Mathematical Modelling for Biological and Environmental Sciences;  Introductory Organic Chemistry for Environmental Sciences; Practical Environmental Science;  The Environment and Human Health;  Quaternary Environments and Geomorphology;   Introduction to Geoinformatics;   Introductory Sedimentology for Non-Geologists;  Physics for the Environmental Sciences;  Introduction to Biostatistics;  Invertebrate Diversity

Year 3 Modules:


Conservation Biology;  Environmental Science in the Field;  Environmental Chemistry and Analysis;  Environmental Science Literature Review;  Sustainable Use of Freshwater;  Ecology and Hydrology of Wetland Systems;  Environmental Remote Sensing;  Sedimentary Environments;   Environmental Physics;   Biostatistics 


Introduction to Ecotoxicology;  Analytical Chemistry;  The Atmospheric Environment;  Coastal and Marine Geomorphology;  Advanced Geographical Information Systems;  Geohazards and Research Skills;   Valuing the Environment;  Plants & Hostile Environments;  Practical Invertebrate Skills

Year 4 Modules:


Environmental Impact Assessments;  Environmental Monitoring and Assessment;  Environmental Risk Assessment and Auditing;  Environmental Science Research Project


Advanced Ecotoxicology;  Landscape Conservation and Management;  Biology and Management of Alien Species;  Architecture and Planning;  Advanced Analytical Chemistry; Atmospheric Chemistry and Air Pollution;  Practical Offshore Marine Science;  Environmental Work Placement;  Climate Variability and Change;  Market Forces and the Environment; Food Production;  Environmentally Protective Management of Plant Pests and Pathogens;  Crop Physiology and Climate Change;  Biostatistics

See the College Calendar for additional information on the Programme and the Book of Modules for further information on the modules.

Course Practicalities

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. For more information on course practicalities, please contact us:

T: +353(0)21 490 4650

E: bees@ucc.ie

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, mainly with North American universities, that 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 also 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 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 for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website.

Mature Students Requirements

Please refer to the mature student entry requirements for details. 

Fees and Costs

Full-time EU/EEA/Swiss State undergraduate students may be exempt from paying tuition fees. The State will pay the tuition fees for students who satisfy the Free Fees Criteria. In 2017/18 the Student Contribution Charge will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee is expected to be €165.

Students are required to pay a contribution to travel and accommodation for site visits and field trips that are included in their programme.

Non-EU Fees

The 2017/2018 Undergraduate Fees Schedule is available here.

How Do I Apply

Refer to CK404.

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can apply online.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these 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 term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

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