New course for the 21/22 academic year
Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: 6 years
72 (September 2021 entry)
Kedleston Road, Derby Campus
Pressure is increasing on industry 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 course will start in September 2021
- 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 a flexible course, enabling you to specialise in a specific area to suit your career ambitions, or study a range of inter-disciplinary topics for a broad knowledge-base
- You’ll graduate with the core skills in demand; 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, as well as national agendas such as the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Industrial Strategy and Bioenergy Strategy
- 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 fieldtrip 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
Environmental Sustainability at Derby
The impact of climate change and loss of biodiversity is disrupting our ecosystems, with experts predicting that we have just a few decades remaining before we pass the 1.5°C limit that could accelerate 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.
On this course, you will explore major environmental threats 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, pushing the planet towards a sixth mass species extinction, and risking the economic sustainability and long term future of human societies
- The disempowerment of people and nature: 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 a flexible 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.
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.
The course provides the opportunity to study with a placement year to help you translate theory into practice and enhance your employability.
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 solutions-focused approach, commercial and sustainable business awareness, data collection and analysis, critical thinking, and project management, to name but a few.
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 (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
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.
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’.
As a student at the University of Derby you'll be working with lecturers and tutors who have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and are carrying out research designed to offer fresh perspectives on significant issues. 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 Briony Norton: main research interests include the impacts of land-use change on biodiversity and ecosystems, planning and management for urban areas that support biodiversity, how the structure of plant and animal communities are influenced by urban communities, habitat connectivity and community engagement with the natural environment
- 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 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.
Facilities and Fieldwork
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), and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). You’ll also work in modern laboratories.
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.
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
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.
Find out more about personal academic tutoring
September 2021 typical entry requirements
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|Specific requirements at A-level|
No specific subject requirements
|Specific requirements at GCSE|
GCSE Maths and English are preferred, however if you don't have these qualifications you will be able to undertake Maths and English at Level 2 as part of your course of study.
|IELTS||6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)|
|Interview / Audition||N/A|
Alternative entry qualifications:
- BTEC - MPP
- Pass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2
We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.
Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.
Fees for entry in the 2021/22 academic year have not been confirmed yet.
As soon as the fees have been confirmed, they will be displayed on our course pages.
Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.
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:
- Environmental agencies
- Global businesses
- Local authorities and government
- Environmental consultancies
- Wildlife conservation
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.
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
- Digital competency
- Laboratory and fieldwork data collection and analysis
- Critical awareness
- Project management
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.Contact us
Additional information about your studies
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.
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.