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BSc Hons Environmental Chemistry

Mode of Study: Full Time Department: Chemistry
UCAS Code: F140 Duration/Length: 3 Year(s)
QAA Subject Benchmark: Earth Science, Environmental Sciences an Director of Studies: Dr MP Coogan
Total Credit Points: 360 Credit Points Year 2: 120
Credit Points Year 3: 120

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

  • PartI
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • PartII (Year 2)
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • The student must take 2 modules from the following group:
  • The student must take 1 modules from the following group:
  • The student must take 2 modules from the following group:
  • PartII (Year 3)
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • The student must take 3 modules from the following group:
  • The student must take 4 modules from the following group:

Educational Aims: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Delivered jointly by the Department of Chemistry and the Lancaster Environment Centre, the programme takes students from developing a comprehensive understanding of naturally occurring chemicals through to the investigation of the impact of human activity and the effects of pollutants - including radioactivity - on natural and man-made environments.

    The programme commences with subjects including Environmental Processes and Systems and Biogeochemical Processes. In the second year, students have the opportunity to study subject including Soil Science and an Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry. In the final year the programmes incorporates a range of compulsory and optional subjects, for example, Organic Photochemistry.  Students are also trained for and supported to undertake a major research project.

    In sum, the programme aims are to:

    provide a flexible but structured, progressive and thematic training in Environmental Chemistry which will provide students with a knowledge and understanding appropriate for subject-specific graduate employment
    develop key transferable skills to prepare students for general graduate employment
    develop the intellectual and practical skills necessary for progression to postgraduate research and training
    encourage academic curiosity which will prepare students for lifelong learning
    offer a broad range of modules within which students can select a specialised route
    offer students the opportunity to conduct a substantial research project

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Depending on the choice of modules, students will acquire detailed knowledge and understanding of:
    Environmental chemistry
    Earth sciences and geology
    Atmospheric science
    Environmental management
    Environmental modelling

    Students are given guidance on an appropriate choice of modules.  The degree programme provides opportunities and support for all students to develop many intellectual, practical and transferable skills at various levels.

    Graduates with Honours will be able to:

    synthesise information from a variety of sources
    critically evaluate and assess the merits of contrasting theories, explanations and strategies
    interpret qualitative and quantitative data
    develop a multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving, and a reasoned argument
    plan, conduct and report a substantial investigation
    use appropriate field and laboratory equipment effectively
    carry out experimental work in the field
    undertake risk assessments and list appropriate safety precautions associated with practical or project work
    collect and present field, laboratory and literature data
    work independently and as a team (recognising the views of others), on time limited tasks
    manipulate numbers and use relevant information technology
    demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills
    design and prepare project proposals

Learning and Teaching Strategies and Methods: Knowledge, Understanding, Skills

  • Year 1 of the degree scheme is aimed at providing the foundations in both Chemistry and Environmental Science through delivering a suite of core modules.

    The intellectual content of modules becomes increasingly demanding from Years 1 to 3.  As they progress through the degree, students are required to become more self-reliant and to take responsibility for locating and learning new material independently. 

    Teaching is research informed, with the majority of teaching staff being research-active. This ensures that new developments in environmental sciences are incorporated into the taught programme.

    All students also experience an aspect of scientific research during their dissertation.

    Students encounter a diverse range of teaching methods. Environmental Science modules have a strong compulsory field based component, while chemistry modules are more focused on laboratory work. Lectures are varied in style and presentation method. Practical activity covers laboratory, library and IT work, computer modelling and analysis, and field observations, in the form of individual or team work.

    An academic advisor system assists in areas such as exam technique, careers and dissertation supervision.

    Students develop subject specific skills throughout the degree scheme. In Years 1 and 2, fieldwork and practicals are central to developing these skills, and in Year 3 are supplemented by specialist modules and the dissertation. Problem-based learning is utilised at all stages of the degree both as a way of stimulating students' interest and promoting a desire for self-learning, and as a focus for integrated skills development. Depending on the choice of Year 3 options every student will develop some of these skills to Honous-level.

    Intellectual skills are developed through: 

    the ways research-active staff structure their teaching;

    our assessment criteria and processes (especially analytical, critical and evaluative skills);

    the dissertation (which promotes independence, self-management and research skills); 

    coursework feedback;

    discussions in tutorials, and in laboratory and field courses.

    Key transferable skills are developed throughout and integrated into all aspects of the degree programme. This is helped by the wide range of teaching methods (in the lecture theatre, laboratory and in the field; individual and teamwork; theoretical and practical; library and IT based).  This parallels the wide range of assessment methods, and the feedback from them.

Assessment Strategy and Methods: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Assessment of the intended learning outcomes, both subject-specific and general will include:


    a substantial final year research project

    formal examinations, including a significant proportion of 'unseen' examinations

    laboratory reports

    fieldwork reports

    problem-solving exercises

    oral and poster presentations

    project work

    essay assignments

    literature surveys and evaluations

    collaborative project work



    Knowledge and understanding is assessed through unseen examinations and end of modules tests.


    Intellectual skills are assessed by a combination of coursework exercises, practical and project work and written examinations. 


    Fieldwork skills are assessed through the fieldwork reports;


    Practical skills are assessed by a combination of practical and project work, a written dissertation and data analysis examination questions. 


    Transferable skills such as written and oral presentation skills, graphical presentation of data, general IT skills and information gathering are assessed by a variety of coursework assignments, e.g. essay writing, practical reports, oral presentations, research poster design, and the final project report.

External Benchmarks


    -         Annual teaching review and student evaluation.

    -         External Examiners' reports and our experience as External Examiners elsewhere.

    -         Staff research and expertise.

    -         Appropriate parts of Environmental Science and Chemistry Benchmark Statements and the National Qualifications Framework.

    -         Lancaster University's Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy.

    -         Participation in the Certificate in Academic Practice (Lancaster University) and in the workshop for new staff in Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (the National Subject Centre for GEES).

    -         Recruitment to the degree of appropriately qualified applicants.

    -         Employers. We have an excellent rate of employment in subject related employment compared to the national average.

Contact Information

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