Environmental and Earth Sciences at Lancaster


  • High national rankings: 6th in the UK for the environmental and Earth sciences in the Guardian 2015 University Guide
  • Excellent employment prospects: 84% of our 2014-2012 graduates in graduate-level employment or further study six months after their degrees

Choosing to study the environmental or Earth sciences at Lancaster will uniquely equip you to work on major global challenges, including climate change, water and soil pollution, food production and the management of hazards such as flooding or volcaniceruptions. Our enthusiastic and friendly teaching staff are also leading researchers in their fields, ensuring that you have access to the latest expertise and facilities during your degree. Our programmes combine scientific understanding, a strong emphasis on practical skills learnt in the field or laboratory, and the development of employability skills and experience during your degree. The result is that our graduates possess the knowledge, skills and experience to make them highly employable.

At Lancaster you can choose from the following degree programmes:

Environmental Science -  focussing on how the environment has evolved to its current state, the main factors and processes controlling today’s environment and how environmental conditions may change in the future.

Earth and Environmental Science - focussing on Earth processes and the hazards associated with these processes, alongside processes within the broader environment that are covered by our Environmental Science programme.

Environmental Science and Technology - focussing on globally-important environmental management challenges at the interface between the environment and industry, through the development of engineering- or chemistry-based solutions to these challenges.

Unique choice and flexibility

You can select from 3-year BSc and 4-year MSci variants across each of our degree programmes. The first year of your degree focusses on core understanding of the Earth’s systems, but you will also take modules that deal with a number of globally-significant environmental challenges, including producing sufficient food for a growing global population, meeting future demands for energy, adapting to floods and droughts and preventing or mitigating pollution of water and soil resources. Our degree programmes at Lancaster are highly flexible and adaptable, enabling you to choose a greater number of your modules as the degree progresses into subsequent years and you understand more about the subjects you are studying. Because of this flexibility, there is even the opportunity to switch between our individual programmes up until the end of your first year. The result is that you are able to design a degree that matches your interests and career aspirations.

Innovative real-world teaching and learning; local and international hands-on experience

Our approach to teaching and learning relies heavily on activities beyond the traditional lecture environment. We offer exciting opportunities for practical work in virtually all of our modules, whether through national or international fieldtrips to areas of outstanding natural beauty and scientific interest, working in analytical laboratories or developing and applying computer models. These practical sessions are opportunities to see at first-hand the real-world implications of the theoretical material you learn about during your degree. For example, fieldwork may include examining volcanic processes and the management of volcanic hazards on Mount Etna in Sicily, water and environmental management in Croatia, or the interactions between glaciers and volcanoes in Iceland. Your research dissertation between years two and three also provides many opportunities for practical experience, including working abroad, for example to examine mountain-belt tectonics in the Himalayas or tropical hydrology in Borneo.

Highly rated

Lancaster University is ranked 9th in The Complete University Guide for 2016 and is one of the top places in the UK to study environmental or Earth science. Our degrees were ranked 6th in the UK in the Guardian 2015 University Guide, and in the 2015 National Student Survey 97% of our students were satisfied with their degrees. At Lancaster, students also benefit from excellent student to staff ratios, small tutorial groups, friendly, available and enthusiastic lecturers, and excellent pastoral care provided by staff in the department and by college advisors.

Why Lancaster?

  • Flexible degrees with substantial choice: choose from BSc and MSci programmes, study abroad for a year or for shorter periods, select modules from across the university.
  • Study within the Lancaster Environment Centre, a £35 million, state-of-the-art centre for the environmental sciences.
  • Cutting-edge research and research-led teaching: 3rd in the UK for the impact of our research in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.
  • Brand new, £4 million teaching laboratories opened in 2015.
  • Exciting fieldwork opportunities across the UK, Europe, Iceland and Asia.
  • Work with business and industry, facilitated by our in-house Enterprise and Business Partnerships team.
  • Excellent academic, employability, pastoral and welfare support