Environmental Social Sciences (BA (Hons))

University of Kent

For more information about Environmental Social Sciences at University of Kent, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award
BA (Hons)

How long you will study
- 3 years

Domestic course fees
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How you will study
full-time, part-time

Course starts
September

International course fees
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All study options

About Environmental Social Sciences at University of Kent

This course encourages you to engage with environmental issues from a range of perspectives, drawing on subjects as varied as anthropology, politics, economics, philosophy, law, history, literature and the creative arts. You can also develop practical skills (for example, biodiversity monitoring) and can choose to do an independent research project on a subject largely of your choice.

The programme will be of particular interest if you have studied geography, environmental studies or biology.

Our degree programme

During your first year, you gain a solid grounding in the wide range of environmental issues which threaten our world, while also developing field skills essential for work in this discipline. In addition to compulsory modules on topics such as biodiversity and sustainable land use, you can explore areas of particular interest through the optional modules you choose. The possibilities are wide ranging, from investigations of plant life and global conservation strategies to the application of economic principles to business or the study of 'ways of living' in social anthropology.

In your second and third years, you take only two compulsory modules, allowing you the flexibility to structure your degree around your personal interests and passions.  There is an extensive choice of optional modules, studying issues such as environmental law and politics, the impact on wildlife of human demand for resources, or the implications of the Anthropocene - the Age of Humans - for the Earth as a system. 

In your final year, you undertake a research project, choosing your topic with your project supervisor. Students often undertake their field research abroad, with some joining our annual expedition to our research vessel on the Peruvian Amazon.

Year in professional practice

If you want to stand out from other graduates in today's global job market, spending time in the work place as part of your degree is invaluable. It demonstrates your ability to adapt to new situations, your sensitivity to other cultures (intercultural competence) and your desire to stretch yourself.

You can extend your degree into a four-year programme by adding a work placement between the second and final years. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent, but certain conditions apply.  See our Environmental Social Sciences with a Year in Professional Practice - BSc.

Field trips

A number of our modules include opportunities for learning and experiences outside of the classroom through field trips in the UK and abroad. Potential local excursions are:

  • food and farming systems in East Kent
  • High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Ashford Community Woodland, local nature reserve
  • forestry management on the North Downs.

Students on the Tropical Ecology and Conservation module spend two weeks at the Danau Girang Field Centre in Borneo.  The Centre is located in an area where huge swathes of jungle have been removed and replaced by plantations, so you are working on the front line between managing the needs of the community and the impact on biodiversity.

These opportunities may change from year to year and may incur additional costs. See the funding tab for more information.

Study resources

The School of Anthropology and Conservation has excellent teaching resources including dedicated computing facilities. Other resources include:

  • conservation genetics laboratories
  • ecology laboratory
  • field trials area and field laboratory
  • a state-of-the-art visual anthropology room
  • an ethnobiology lab for studying human-related plant material
  • refurbished computer suite with 32 PCs with HD screens
  • upgraded visual anthropology suite with 16 iMacs
  • an integrated audio-visual system to help provide stimulating lectures
  • student social spaces

Extra activities

The Conservation Society and Anthropology Society are run by Kent students and are a good way to meet other students on your course in an informal way. Student societies also work with local organisations and charities providing lots of opportunities for volunteering, community work and outings.

The School of Anthropology and Conservation puts on many events that you are welcome to attend. We host two public lectures a year, the Stirling Lecture and the DICE Lecture, which bring current ideas in anthropology and conservation to a wider audience.  We are delighted that these events attract leading conservation figures from around the world.

Each term, there are also seminars and workshops discussing current research in anthropology, conservation and human ecology.

Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology

This degree programme is taught by academic staff from across the School, including the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) research centre. DICE is a leading international research and training centre dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems around the world.

DICE was founded in 1989 with a clear mission: to conserve biodiversity and the ecological processes that support ecosystems and people. It does so by developing capacity and improving conservation management and policy through high-impact research. That is why DICE is in a School that does research and teaching in anthropology alongside conservation.

One component of DICE’s work is to train a new, interdisciplinary generation of conservationists who think innovatively about the challenges that lie ahead. As undergraduates, you are part of a dynamic and growing community of conservationists whose work spans all major regions of the world.

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a 2.1 at undergraduate level and a Merit at Master's level in a relevant discipline, from a UK or other approved university and/or equivalent. You must submit a research proposal of approximately 1,500 words on your intended topic.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

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