“Raising awareness on the most pressing environmental issues of our time is more important than ever.” – Leonardo DiCaprio

The global climate is constantly evolving. Changes to our environment happen so rapidly that it has never been more important for us to be aware of the myriad challenges facing life here on Earth.

With temperatures fluctuating from sizzling to glacial, temperamental weather patterns, and pollution that literally consumes life, we have pushed our planet to the brink of an environmental crisis.

For those keen to tackle threats to the natural world, a degree in environmental science will get you where you need to be. These disciplines cover Earth’s physical, chemical and biological systems, as well as the social, cultural and political processes that impact life on our planet. As a student of environmental science, you’ll learn to understand the complex relationship between mankind and the environment, doing everything you can to conserve life and bring balance back to the world’s ecosystems.

Image courtesy of University of Liverpool

The subject is diverse and interdisciplinary, instilling students with a broad range of skills that can transfer to virtually any sector. Students explore facets of geography, history, social science, chemistry, biology, physics and Earth and marine sciences, ensuring they leave enriched with perspective, and a comprehensive understanding of the natural world.

And with so much of it left to research and discover, opportunities are virtually limitless.

“Experience has taught me how amazingly big and unpredictable the natural world is,” said Sir David Attenborough, the U.K.’s most-loved naturalist.

“When you’re young, you think you know it all about the natural world – ‘Yawn, yawn, everyone knows about that’.

“But in fact we only know a tiny proportion about the complexity of the natural world. Wherever you look, there are still things we don’t know about and don’t understand, as recent discoveries about, say, the behaviours of pufferfish and peacock spiders prove. There are always new things to find out if you go looking for them.”

For students of the scientific disposition, it’s important to note that there are so many options available to you – you don’t have to become a doctor, biologist or researcher; you could become an oceanographer, a conservation officer, a toxicologist or a landscape architect. The spectrum of roles these subjects lead to are both colourful and broad, with excellent routes for progression and financial rewards that are virtually unparalleled.

Image courtesy of Queen’s University Belfast

As one of the world’s most influential nations, the U.K. is doing its utmost to promote sustainable living and conserve the natural world by protecting “our environment by reducing pollution, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill, protecting areas of parkland, wildlife reserves and marine biodiversity, and enforcing regulations that keep our water and air clean.”

Government emphasis on the environment and conservation means greater investment in teaching and research, and the U.K.’s most esteemed providers of environmental education are reaping the benefits. With all this talk of crises and climate change, there has never been a better climate to study environmental science in the U.K.

Read on to learn about some of the leading environmental schools in the U.K. …

The School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast is globally renowned for world-class teaching excellence and groundbreaking research.

Through high-quality research, the school strives to address some of the world’s greatest challenges, with academic staff who undertake world-leading research at Queen’s and other global research institutes.

The School of Biological Sciences is one of the leading environmental schools in the U.K., with cutting-edge research and teaching facilities that create exceptional learning environments.

Among its environmental researchers is Professor Jamie Dick, a world leading academic in invasive species. Killer shrimp, largemouth bass and the Asian clam are among the aliens that Jamie is trying to keep out of various parts of the globe.

Postgraduate courses, such as the MSc in Leadership for Sustainable Development, produce students who become environmental champions, identifying sustainability problems in innovative ways.

The faculty’s hope is that students from around the world will join the community to learn, but also bring ideas and approaches to drive ambitions forward to enhance the environment and advance life.

The School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Liverpool is dedicated to the study of Planet Earth. From the planet’s core and mantle to the complex processes of volcanoes and earthquakes, from the cycling of elements to the shaping of the land. The nature of the school is broad and the subjects all-encompassing.

The school is split into two departments:
– Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences
– Department of Geography and Planning

The departments deliver high-quality programmes across the disciplines of Geology & Geophysics, Ocean Science, Ecology & Marine Biology, Geography (Human and Physical), Planning  (Civic Design) and Environmental Science.

Collaboration with industry means students leave instilled with the most current knowledge, while diverse opportunities allow students to explore a range of options before honing in on their perfect career. Graduates of the school don’t just work for the good of humanity, but for the good of the planet.

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The School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester is renowned for the quality of its teaching and research. The school is committed to innovation in teaching methods and to an exciting and wide-ranging choice of degree courses.

Research encompasses investigations of the Earth’s interior, Earth surface processes, the hydrosphere, the interface with the biosphere, the atmosphere and other bodies in the Solar system. Students conduct fundamental studies that range from the molecular to the global and this knowledge is applied to meet important environmental research challenges and to deliver practical solutions to our water, oil and gas, coal, minerals, and nuclear industries.

The school boasts strong links with industry that provide students with an extensive range of opportunities. All research activities, which are focused on delivering business or government benefit, were judged to be internationally excellent or world leading through the REF2014 exercise.

The College of Life and Environmental Sciences brings together the complementary disciplines of Biosciences, Geography, Psychology and Sport and Health Sciences to provide students with a rich and diverse interdisciplinary teaching and research portfolio.

The college is committed to pursuing world-class research that impacts positively on our world. Its research is frequently interdisciplinary in nature, embracing disciplines within and outside of the college and combining expertise from across humanities, social sciences and sciences.

Through its programmes and associated opportunities, the college aims to equip students with the discipline-specific and generic skills and experiences that are highly sought by employers. Support is available to students from staff throughout the college and also from services elsewhere in the university, such as the careers services.

Image courtesy of University of Exeter

The School of Natural Sciences at the University of Bath offers you the chance to take your existing scientific skills further, explore new areas and apply what you’ve learnt in practical and relevant ways.

Here, students are given the chance to tailor their course to take one or more core sciences to a high level along with choices from other fields, with the knowledge that Bath’s graduates have excellent records of going on to research and finding top jobs.

The school also offers a fully supported, one-year professional placement with a prestigious employer after your second year whether you are studying for the BSc or MSci. Bath’s natural scientists can be found in a vast variety of placement roles in industry including pharmaceutical researchers, environmental scientists, game conservancy and more.

Feature image courtesy of Queen’s University Belfast