Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

BSc Ecological and Environmental Sciences with Management

UCAS code: CN12

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: GeoSciences

College: Science and Engineering

Study abroad

Introducing BSc Ecological and Environmental Sciences with Management

The BSc Ecological and Environmental Sciences with Management is for those who are passionate about interactions between humans and the natural world, and our impact on the planet.

It will uniquely position you to address some of the biggest environmental challenges facing our planet, such as:

  • rapid climate change
  • the over-exploitation of natural resources
  • environmental degradation

This programme allows you to combine your interest in the environment with an understanding of business and management. It is particularly relevant if you are seeking a career in policy-making, consultancy or in the management of natural resources.

What is ecological and environmental science?

  • Ecology is the scientific study of the interaction of organisms with each other and their physical, chemical and biological environment
  • Environmental sciences integrate biological, chemical and physical sciences to understand our changing environment

A combination of both subjects is vital for understanding and managing changing environments for a more sustainable future.

What will I learn?

This programme will provide you with the skills and knowledge to:

  • understand environmental issues
  • design robust strategies for sample collection
  • make ecological and environmental measurements
  • evaluate the significance of results, and manage conservation and environmental protection assessments
  • understand the role of business/economics in the management of natural resources
  • use enhanced planning and management skills in developing solutions to environmental problems

You will also:

  • gain an understanding of the conflicts between humans and the natural world and how human beings are changing our planet
  • understand the science to contribute effectively to difficult management questions and policy
  • learn about the human pressures attached to natural natural processes in the modern world, as no ecosystem is truly untouched by humans

Management courses

You will be able to study management courses from:

  • the University of Edinburgh Business School
  • the School of Economics
  • from Schools across the College of Science and Engineering

Open to a world of possibilities

By studying ecological and environmental sciences at the University of Edinburgh, you will:

  • join one of the top-ranked universities in the world
  • enjoy access to a world class experience with our research and industry networks
  • learn from ecological and environmental scientists at the forefront of their fields, undertaking world-leading research in a wide range of areas

We will incorporate the latest research in the teaching you receive, and share our discoveries with you.

Field trips

Your most important laboratory is the outside world, and we place a great deal of emphasis on delivering practical and field-based experiences.

You could be splashing through rivers counting insects one day, or trekking through the forest measuring trees and taking leaf samples the next.

We will take you beyond the classroom so you can apply skills you have learned in ecological and environmental analysis towards real-life situations.

During day trips to Scottish locations, you will learn how to identify plants, insects and birds, and how to formally collect data on these organisms. Field courses will enable you to apply your knowledge of field conservation in wild and remote areas, or as to how people are managing land for conservation, forestry and agriculture.

The locations and experiences of each trip will vary, enriching you with a broad understanding of how the world works. We will support you in using as many different pieces of research field equipment as possible.

You will learn to become familiar with using field tools to obtain and interpret field measurements such as:

  • assessing biodiversity and water quality
  • taking climate and trace gas measurements
  • estimating carbon stocks of forests
  • collecting water samples
  • calculating rates of photosynthesis
  • detecting water stress in plants
  • evaluating the influence of soil chemical properties on vegetation

Our previous field course trips have been at locations in Scotland such as:

  • Killin
  • Loch Tay
  • Oban
  • the Cairngorms

Field trip costs

Our compulsory field trips or field courses are free, including travel and accommodation. Our ecological and environmental sciences degrees involve a significant element of field study, and we are pleased to be able to support you as you learn practical and highly prized skills.

Field trips may be subject to change

Please note: As we update the programme to reflect advancing subject matter and student feedback, the location of our field trips may change.

Field trips may also be changed due to Covid-19. Where suitable, fieldwork will be relocated, rescheduled or alternative arrangements provided.

Decisions will be made to safeguard the health and safety of our students, staff and community - and to ensure the highest standards of educational experience.

What is it really like to study with us?

Visit our student blog, where students in the School of GeoSciences share their experiences of undergraduate study, living in Edinburgh and everything in-between.

Student experience blog

You will study all the compulsory courses in the normal BSc Ecological and Environmental Sciences programme.

Through this programme you will also be able to study management courses from both the University of Edinburgh Business School and Schools across the College of Science and Engineering. This means your additional course options will be limited, with many of your option slots replaced with management courses.

A typical balance over a year would be three ecological and environmental sciences courses, one management course and two further optional courses.

Year 1

You will be introduced to fundamental aspects of ecology including a theoretical and practical study of the diversity of living organisms and the evolutionary forces that created them.

You will also gain an understanding of the interconnectedness of nature and insights into the diversity, distribution and abundance of life on planet Earth.


On the management side, you will study the compulsory course Introduction to Business, run by the Business School.

Year 2

You will start Year 2 with a two-week intensive field course, which runs immediately after the end of the second semester of Year 1.

You will go on daily trips out of Edinburgh to a range of environments, including hills, rocky shores, forests, heath/moorland habitats and grasslands.

In Year 2 you can explore topics such as:

  • Soil, water and atmospheric processes
  • Ecological and environmental analysis
  • Ecological sciences

On the management side you will choose from one business studies and one economics course, in both cases choosing among a wide range of options.

You will choose one other course, as in Year 1, from the options offered at Edinburgh.

Year 3

You will start Year 3 with a week-long summer field course where you will learn a variety of measurement and evaluation techniques.

These can range from identifying species richness through to ecosystem exchanges of carbon dioxide. You may also give insights into ecological processes, the role of biodiversity, and environmental status.

Previous locations for the field course include the University's outdoor centre on Loch Tay in the Scottish Highlands.

In Year 3 you can explore topics such as:

  • ecological measurement
  • natural resource management
  • environmental pollution
  • environmental modelling

You will choose one or two management courses, ranging from the School of GeoSciences-run Natural Resource Management course, or courses offered by the business studies or economics programmes.

Option courses

You will also be able to select option courses from other programmes.

In Year 3 there are also opportunities to study abroad through one of the University's exchange programmes.

Year 4

A large focus will be on your honours dissertation. This is an independent, original piece of research in your chosen specialist field. You will receive individual supervision from an academic with experience in your chosen subject area.

Often dissertations are carried out in partnership with companies or UK research centres. You will develop and demonstrate skills in:

  • research planning
  • data analysis
  • scientific writing

Most students will do outdoor field data collection as part of their project, and there is the possibility of collecting your data abroad.


You will also continue to study compulsory ecology and environmental science courses. This includes a week-long summer residential field course. You will gain skills in designing and conducting your own field experimental project and visit ecological and environmental sites of interest. Previous locations include the Scottish region of Argyll.

You can also choose from a wide selection of option courses, learning at the cutting edge of various ecological and environmental disciplines.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2021/22)

Our facilities

Most teaching takes place within the School of GeoSciences, located within the University's King's Buildings campus.

You will also have access to the University's laboratories, computer facilities and libraries across all University sites.

Depending on the management and option courses you choose, you may also study at various University campus locations in the vibrant city of Edinburgh.

Virtual Visit

Why not pay a Virtual Visit to the University? Our interactive platform takes you on a guided tour through Edinburgh and helps you explore the campus for yourself.

Start your journey here

Study abroad

There are opportunities for a year abroad through one of the University's exchange programmes.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a mix of:

  • tutorials
  • lectures
  • practical classes
  • fieldwork

You will prepare assignments throughout your programme. By working both individually and in groups you will produce:

  • essays
  • lab and fieldwork reports
  • posters
  • presentations

How your time is divided varies, and is dependent on the courses you choose to study in your programme as well as the nature of the topics explored.

The degree provides a diverse learning experience. You could be discussing animal adaptions to habitat in a tutorial one day, or immersing yourself in a Scottish forest collecting plant samples the next. Option courses enable you to select areas of study in areas you are most passionate about.

Final year dissertation

In your final year, you will design and execute your own project dissertation with guidance from our expert academics, helping you develop skills to become a researcher in your own right.

In your final years you will undertake more private study and will receive individual supervision with your honours dissertation project, as well as tutorials with academic staff in small groups.


One of the main ways we teach is through lectures and these are the main form of contact you have with academic staff. Most lectures last 50 minutes.


Practicals allow you to apply knowledge acquired in lectures and tutorials and develop a range of practical skills such as laboratory work. It's important to recognise that the skills you acquire in practicals are transferable beyond the immediate course. They can be applied in other courses, in dissertations and even beyond your degree.


Many courses include tutorials. Tutorials are a form of small group teaching that is facilitated by a tutor. These are an essential opportunity for you to:

  • discuss specific topics in more depth
  • develop skills in critical thinking
  • communicate your understanding
  • work as part of a team
  • receive feedback
  • ask questions

Field trips

Our day excursions and field courses are:

  • hard work and fun (they will provide some of your most memorable moments)
  • an excellent way to learn, enabling you to apply the knowledge and skills you have developed in lectures to real-world contexts
  • part of your course (there are no additional costs)

Self-directed study

We place an emphasis on independent work, and you will need to be well motivated and organised.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed in a variety of ways, depending on the courses you choose and the nature of the topics explored.

This might include:

  • written exams
  • laboratory reports and field project reports
  • practical evaluation in the field or field notebooks
  • coursework such as essays
  • individual or group projects and presentations

In your final year you will complete a dissertation.

This programme aims to equip you with knowledge, critical thinking, and experience in ecological and environmental sciences to help tackle real-world issues.

The activities you undertake during your degree are designed to simulate those that ecological and environmental science professionals perform in the real world. This means our graduates bring practical skills to future employers.

As a graduate of the BSc Ecological and Environmental Sciences, you can seek roles in a variety of sectors including:

  • local, national and international agencies
  • non-government organisations (NGOs)
  • environmental consultancies
  • government
  • the private sector

Career pathways

Our degree opens up a range of career pathways. For example, you could:

  • pursue a career focused on the sciences, putting yourself at the forefront of environmental change
  • aspire to work for an environmental consultancy or conservation organisation
  • work in forestry, land use or water resource management industries where core skills in environmental impact assessment are particularly relevant

Our graduates are not confined to science-related careers. You can seek a career in consultancy, policy or communications, where you can make changes to how business, government and communities impact the environment. Many of our graduates also enter jobs within education and media.

Where do graduates find employment?

Our recent graduates have gained employment in roles such as:

  • Conservation Scientist
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Sustainability Coordinator
  • Project Director
  • Ecology Inspector
  • Research Assistant
  • Ranger
  • Offshore Environment Manager
  • Field Ecologist
  • National Park Manager
  • Environmental Advisor
  • Renewables Project Officer
  • Forestry Consultant

Our graduates have been employed by organisations such as:

  • Birdlife International
  • Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation
  • Linklaters
  • London Wildlife Trust
  • National Trust
  • Loch Lomond National Park
  • East Devon Council
  • Cambridgeshire Council
  • WYG Group
  • Scottish Power Renewables
  • EnergieKontor Wind Farms
  • IKM Engineering
  • Bidwells

One of our alumni, Piers Sellers, went on to become an astronaut for NASA.

Our programmes also equip you with the critical thinking and research skills to be prepared for competitive entry into relevant postgraduate degree programmes. A significant proportion of our students progress to further postgraduate study and research.

Careers Service

We support you to recognise the wealth of possibilities ahead, while at University and after graduation.

Our award-winning Careers Service plays an essential part in your wider student experience at the University. We provide:

  • tailored advice
  • individual guidance
  • personal assistance
  • internships and networking opportunities (with employers from local organisations to top multinationals)
  • access to the experience of our worldwide alumni network

We invest in your future beyond the end of your degree. That means studying here is about laying the foundations for your future success, whatever shape that takes.

Careers Service

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AABB - ABBB by end of S5 or AAAB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAA - ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 555 at HL - 32 points with 555 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 32 points with 555 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: two of Biology*, Chemistry*, Environmental Science, Geography, Mathematics*, or Physics* (*include at least one) at B. We don't accept Higher Applications of Mathematics in place of Higher Mathematics. National 5s: Mathematics at B and English at C. We accept Higher Applications of Mathematics at C in place of National 5 Mathematics at B. (Revised 26 August 2021 to include Higher Applications of Mathematics.)
  • A Levels: two of Biology*, Chemistry*, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Geology, Mathematics*, or Physics* (*include at least one) at B. GCSEs: Mathematics at B or 6 and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: two of Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Mathematics (from 2021, Mathematics: Analysis and approaches only) or Physics at 5. SL: English at 5 and Mathematics (from 2021, Mathematics: Analysis and approaches only) at 5 (if not at HL). If you do not have Mathematics please contact the College of Science and Engineering Admissions Office via the Enquiries link below.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BSc Ecological and Environmental Sciences with Management

Additional costs

The School of GeoSciences does not charge extra fees for compulsory field trips or field courses.

Our ecological and environmental science degrees involve a significant element of field study. We are proud to be able to support you as you learn practical and highly-prized skills.

Costs of travel, accommodation, and subsistence on compulsory field trips are covered by the programme, thanks to the continued support of our generous alumni community.


  • you are responsible for any incidental/personal expenses
  • excursions as part of optional courses entail extra fees, which vary depending on the nature of the field trip


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding

More information

How to apply

School: GeoSciences

College: Science and Engineering