Focus on environmental studies

Students can make a positive impact on their own futures, and the future of the planet

We should all know by now that it’s good to protect the environment. But what do you really know about it? Well, you can find out. More and more universities and colleges are providing courses to enlighten the thousands of new students who want to know more and make a positive impact in their future careers – the range of which is vast. Graduates can go on to do full-scale urban and rural planning, working with some of the world’s largest companies.

Ines Hussy is in her third (and final) year of a BSc in Environmental Science at Reading University.She also has A-levels in German literature, ancient Greek, physics and geography.

“The course is split into three departments: soil science, sedimentology and geology, and meteorology. During the last year we have been able to choose and specialise.

“The first year included courses in general science as a grounding. We also had basic courses in physics, maths and computer software and statistics.

“The course is weighted fifty-fifty between practical and theory. Most modules have practicals with them, including field trips and laboratory work, mapping of areas and so forth. Being able to use theory in practice is a very useful and important part of any scientific course.

“I wanted to do soil science in particular because all environmental science courses are interdisciplinary. I find soil fascinating because it’s so complex. There is also not too much research into soil at the moment, so it’s a very exciting area of study, especially now with environmental concerns about contamination.

“I really like the fieldwork aspect of the degree. We have been on two one-week field trips: to Devon to study the rock strata there, and to Tenerife to look at a totally different type of environment to Britain.

“Ideally I would like to use my degree to work for an environmental agency or a soil agency when I finish. I’m an environmentalist and a large part of my enjoyment of the degree is working with the connections and understanding the processes in the eco-system. A science degree like this makes you more analytical. It’s a very practical way of thinking, and environmental science isn’t all theory – it’s a very applied subject.”

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