Threats to the environment from human actions are affecting life on Earth. Organisations, governments and businesses are working towards finding solutions for a sustainable future. As well as increasing public awareness and willingness to support sustainable practices. This course gives you the skills and knowledge to implement solutions to tackle the world’s most critical challenges.
Pressure is increasing on industries and governments around the world to respond to the harmful outcomes of human activity, and rapidly develop innovative approaches to ensure the sustainable future of the environment. This course is designed to meet the growing demand for graduates skilled in shaping innovative solutions that have a positive impact on environmental and sustainability issues.
This is a future-focused course, specially built to equip you with the applied skills to help mitigate today’s environmental issues and identify those which may emerge in the future
This is also an interdisciplinary course, enabling you to specialise in a specific area to suit your career ambitions or study a range of topics for a broad knowledge-base
The programme reflects an outside-in approach, embedding issues around (inter alia) the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Biodiversity Framework and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) 30 Year Plan for Biodiversity. Our graduates will have an interdisciplinary and problem-solving approach to global sustainability, an understanding of the responsibilities of personal and organisational actions and accountability, and an applied and solution-based approach to global issues
Learn from an expert teaching team of active researchers, investigating topics such as climate change, marine ecosystems, environmental degradation, ecosystem services, urban sustainability and biodiversity conservation
We blend theory with plenty of practical experience. Examples include the ‘Environmental and Ethics Legislation’ module in your second year that includes a minimum of 30 hours work placement. In your final year, the ‘Business and Sustainability' module includes a field trip where you can experience current sustainability initiatives in charities, businesses and government
In your final year, choose to complete an Independent Study (dissertation) or an Industrial Project where you can work in industry on a live brief to help solve a real problem
This course can be studied with or without an Industrial Placement Year
Environmental Sustainability - your questions answered
In the below video, Programme Leader, Dr Deb Raha, answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Environmental Sustainability at the University of Derby.
Environmental Sustainability at Derby
The impact of climate change and loss of biodiversity is disrupting our ecosystems. Our module content has been mapped against the needs and ambitions outlined in key initiatives like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Convention on Biological Diversity. It also looks at national agendas such as the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Industrial Strategy and Bioenergy Strategy, to ensure you learn about the threats to the environment and identify solutions for sustainable living, as well as lasting harm to biodiversity, the economy and people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable communities. We know that change has to happen - this course prepares you to step up to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. You’ll graduate with the core skills in demand and have the opportunity to identify, study and analyse the best possible ways to protect and conserve the environment.
On this course, you will explore major environmental threats along with the possible solutions, including:
Climate change: you’ll explore how anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are contributing to the climate emergency and what needs to be done to halt and reverse the impacts
Loss of biodiversity: you’ll explore the cause and effect of changes in biodiversity, how this impacts the sustainability of the planet and what needs to be done to conserve and enhance the natural world
Sustainable living: you’ll also look at what makes a sustainable city and how sustainable cities and urban environments balance economic, social and physical progress with minimal risk to the environment
Environmental degradation and human life: you’ll consider how the degradation of the Earth’s ecosystems is negatively impacting the wellbeing of billions of people, mass species extinction, and risking economic sustainability. You'll evaluate viable sustainable solutions which are social, economic and environmentally friendly
Sustainable governance: change doesn’t happen without firm legislation and policy, but this remains an issue. You’ll investigate what contributes to the gap in implementing new policy, and the role of public perception in influencing leaders to act
Whilst there are core study components, this is an inter-disciplinary course that gives you the opportunity to focus on a specialist route, or combine topics for a broader view of environmental sustainability. In addition, the ‘Student Initiated Module’ in your final year allows you to take the lead and build a module based on your interests, strengths, and career ambitions. In your final year, you will have the option of completing an Independent Study (dissertation) or an Industrial Project, where you can work in industry on a live brief to help solve a real problem – this could lead to employment upon graduation.
The course provides the opportunity to study with a placement year to help you translate theory into practice and enhance your employability.
Who is this course for?
This course is for those who are passionate about securing the long-term sustainability of life on Earth. Whether you are interested in the development of clean energy, the sustainable management of businesses, the protection of the natural world, the impacts of climate change or the management of ecosystem services, this degree has the breadth to allow you to develop your career in the development of a sustainable future for the planet.
Elliot’s aim is to heal the planet
Elliot Wong is looking for solutions. He knows our environment needs some help. And he is taking the first steps on his path by studying our BSc (Hons) Environmental Sustainability.
The challenges facing today’s world are complex and won’t be solved through the efforts of a single subject, so the content of this course is inter-disciplinary, connecting you with expertise from a range of subjects to give you a balanced understanding of the factors involved and the scale of today’s environmental fragility. Studying this way means that upon graduating, you will have a vast set of skills to impress future employers and contribute to global sustainability. These include strong investigative and innovative thinking, problem-solving and a solution-focused approach, commercial and sustainable business awareness, data collection and analysis, critical thinking, and project management, to name but a few.
This is a research-led degree, which means you'll be taught by expert staff who are conducting influential studies across a breadth of topics - examples of their current research includes sustainable cities, urban green spaces, wildlife and ecosystem conservation, and coastal change in Ghana. You'll also benefit from guest lectures by world-class researchers. As part of the course, you’ll conduct your own research and have the opportunity to contribute to the cutting-edge research projects underway at the University. Their wide-ranging work includes:
Dr Deb Raha: main research interests include urban development (sustainable cities, urban green spaces, slum development), rural development, renewable energy and socio-technical studies, corporate social responsibility (circular economy, public-private partnerships), policy analysis, and environmental changes
Dr Michael Sweet: main research interests include epidemiology, microbial interactions with hosts, the roles pathogens play in disease causation, immune responses of hosts to specific diseases, and ways to manage or mitigate the spread of disease. Michael focuses on coral reefs and tropical oceans, and also works with nanoparticles and DNA
Dr Richard Pope: main research interests include Late Quaternary and Holocene Landscape development in Mediterranean drylands. Of particular interest, is the role of humankind in the landscape and the application of geoarchaeology, geomorphology, and soils for unravelling evidence of human activity on the environment
You’ll benefit from this research as your lecturers bring the latest thinking to your studies, and in some cases, you will have opportunities to get involved in research projects yourself.
Our vision is to address local, national and global goals for sustainable development, environmental understanding and clean growth, through an applied and inter-disciplinary approach. We’re making progress on our ambitions through our Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC), where our teaching teams carry out important research to inspire and inform change. There are three themes within the Centre:
Global Resilience (environmental hazards and climate change): Research is broad-ranging and includes work on arid lands, soil microbiology, sustainable agriculture and fisheries, conservation of cultural sites, volcanology, tectonic hazards, coastal change, glacial environments and coral ecology
Sustainable Resources (energy, material and biological resources): Research in this area includes the transition to a lower carbon future, rare earth elements, freshwater ecosystems and conservation biology
Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Research in this area is based around topics such as genomes to ecosystem functioning, encompassing animal behaviour and conservation biology
Demand for new thinking
As the harsh reality of the impacts of climate change and the loss of biodiversity begin to resonate, the need for innovation, bold ideas, and fresh thinking is growing in demand from countries all over the world. Greater scrutiny is also being placed on thousands of companies worldwide to reduce their environmental impacts and adopt new sustainable strategies.
To meet this rising demand and ensure you graduate with skills that can be applied in the UK and globally, the content of the course is designed to support a range of key initiatives from all over the world. These include international agreements such as the ‘United Nations Sustainable Development Goals’, the ‘United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’, and the ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’. On a national level, the content of the course addresses the goals set by the ‘25-year Environment Plan’, ‘Industrial Strategy’, the ‘Bioenergy Strategy’, the ‘Life Sciences Industrial Strategy’ report and the ‘Landscapes Review’.
Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC)
Specialising in biodiversity and ecosystems, sustainable resources and global resilience, we work collaboratively to safeguard our planet for future generations.
We're in the fortunate position of having a wealth of expertise and knowledge to help tackle some of the world's greatest challenges. Take a look at examples of how we are responding to the climate emergency.
Today’s problems can only be solved through the application of cutting-edge technology and software. You’ll have access to industry-standard specialist equipment and software including drone technology, field spectrometers, Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), map library, and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). You’ll also work in modern laboratories, as well as our Aquatic Research Facility, glasshouse and insectary - take a virtual tour.
You’ll also have access to Cuckoos Tor, a site on the edge of the Peak District National Park and owned by the University of Derby that is dedicated to long-term research and ecological experiments. Current projects include restoration ecology, natural flood risk management, community engagement with biodiversity, and sustainable land management - and you’ll be able to get involved.
Our fieldwork programme will include local and residential trips where you will be able to explore a range of environments, natural systems, and witness sustainability in action.
We use a diverse range of assessment methods, including essays, reports, field and laboratory notebooks, portfolios, posters, infographics oral presentations, vivas, and written exams (seen and unseen). You may be assessed individually or as part of a group. We’ve mapped our assessments against key graduate skillsets that employers require.
Personal academic tutoring
Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.
Dr Debadayita (Deb) Raha is a lecturer in Human and Developmental Geography at the University of Derby. Her research interests lie in the multidisciplinary field of social science and environmental impact on people's lives. She has previously worked at the University of Nottingham looking at whole systems analysis of small scale renewable energy for rural communities in UK and India.
As part of the consultative process when creating the course, we engaged with leaders from across the industry to ensure that the content we deliver is aligned to the skills and experience that employers need from graduates now and in the future. These included representatives from industry, the United Nations Environment and Development UK Committee, local authorities, and environmental consultancies.
Your experience will be valued by organisations where sustainable growth is a priority. This could include helping them to achieve targets such as moving to 100% renewable energy, increasing their energy production or switching to electric vehicles. You could also lead on developing strategies for conserving wildlife, better waste management, reducing greenhouse gases, managing environmental and sustainability plans, designing sustainable environments, and much more. Companies are investing in experts who can strategically advise the business and educate their workforce. As the importance of sustainability continues to grow, the diversity of career options is increasing too. Sectors you could go into include:
Local authorities and government
The EU Economy Report in 2019 showed that between 2000 and 2016 there was a 38% increase in environmental employment and a 68% increase in gross value added. EU employment in renewable energy also increased from 600,000 in 2000 to 1.7million in 2016.
Your skills will be in high demand in the green sector of the economy, and will be closely aligned to the goals outlined in international agreements, such as The United Nations Sustainability Development Goals, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
There has also been an unveiling of a ten-point plan with which the Government are proposing to aid the green industrial revolution. The plan will cover clean energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies, and will gain £12bn of Government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs in the UK.
Through our Professional Development Package, you'll gain valuable skills, including:
Scientific writing and use of scientific software
Written and verbal communication
Research and statistical analysis
Data handling and analysis
Personal motivation, organisation and self-reflection
Laboratory and fieldwork data collection and analysis
Careers and Employment Service
To boost your employment skills, you can access the University's Careers and Employment Service. The team can connect you with employers to help find opportunities for work placements, part-time jobs, and volunteering. Our careers consultants are also on hand to guide you through the career options for your degree, CV writing, or starting your own business - and we commit to helping you for three years after you graduate to find a job.
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Additional costs and optional extras
We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.
The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.
Included in your fees
You will receive a dissection kit, goggles and a laboratory coat
All equipment and consumables needed for your experimental/ fieldwork are provided by the University. This is subject to consumables being costed for the Independent Study and approved by your programme leader
Costs (excluding food) of non-residential mandatory field trips in optional modules are covered
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
If not already owned, appropriate footwear for fieldwork such as wellington/walking boots - approximate cost is between £5-£50
If not already owned, appropriate outdoor clothing such as a waterproof jacket and trousers - approximate cost is between £50-£100
Two bound copies of your Independent Study - approximate cost is £12
Most assessments are submitted electronically but where a hard copy is required printing will cost approximately 5p per page
Optional costs not included in your fees
Some travel costs may be required for activities such as work experience - the costs will depend on the location and length of the experience
There may be some costs associated with field trips that are not centrally covered, such as food and drink and passports/visas
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.