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.
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 KentHigh Weald Area of Outstanding Natural BeautyAshford Community Woodland, local nature reserveforestry 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.
The School of Anthropology and Conservation has excellent teaching resources including dedicated computing facilities. Other resources include:
conservation genetics laboratoriesecology laboratoryfield trials area and field laboratorya state-of-the-art visual anthropology rooman ethnobiology lab for studying human-related plant materialrefurbished computer suite with 32 PCs with HD screensupgraded visual anthropology suite with 16 iMacsan integrated audio-visual system to help provide stimulating lecturesstudent social spaces
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.
In our most recent national Teaching Excellence Framework, teaching at Kent was judged to be Gold rated. Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.
Our teaching is research-led as all our staff are active in their fields. In addition to lectures and seminars, we run laboratory-based practicals and field trips. You also have an opportunity to conduct a field-based research thesis in your final year. This gives you practical experience of developing a research proposal and research questions, finding appropriate methods, conducting research, analysing and interpreting results, writing up a full research project and giving an oral presentation, all with the support of a dedicated project supervisor.
We offer you the opportunity to conduct your research project either in the UK or abroad. The type of approach may differ depending on the student’s preferred discipline. For most, it will mean using advanced methods to explore literature and other documents and, in some cases, there may also be opportunities for field research using the skills taught during the course. Some students use this opportunity to take part in our annual expedition to the Peruvian Amazon, one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth.
Most modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and unseen exam. Some modules are assessed only by coursework, which takes a variety of forms, including essays, short answer tests, presentations, advocacy, individual and team projects, and research reports.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- the changing meaning of ‘environment’ and 'sustainability'
- the role of international and EC treaties, agreements and laws, and national laws and regulations affecting the environment
- the role of market forces and state action in the production of environmental sustainability
- the process by which environmental policy is made at all levels and the role of pressure groups
- the typical conflicts that occur over environmental issues
- the options available to households, companies and local governments when faced with unsatisfactory environments
- the role of local governments and national regulatory agencies in shaping local environments
- the scope for consumers and citizens to exert pressure to enhance environmental quality
- biodiversity and environmental processes
You gain the following intellectual abilities:
- problem-solving and the knowledge to seek solutions to environmental problems and individual needs
- research skills, including the ability to identify a research question and to collect and manipulate data to answer that question
- evaluative and analytical skills to assess the outcomes of policy intervention on individuals, communities and places
- sensitivity to the values and interests of others and to the dimensions of difference.
You gain specific skills in the following:
- to identify and use theories and concepts to analyse environmental issues
- to seek out and use statistical data relevant to environmental issues
You gain transferable skills in the following:
- the ability to study and learn independently using library and internet sources
- develop an appetite for learning and be reflective, adaptive and collaborative in your approach to learning
- make presentations to fellow students and staff
- communicate ideas and arguments to others in written and spoken form
- prepare essays and reference the material quoted according to scholarly conventions
- use IT to wordprocess, conduct online searches, communicate and access data sources
- develop skills in time management by delivering academic work on time and to the required standard
- develop interpersonal and teamwork skills to enable you to work collaboratively, negotiate, listen and deliver results.
The programme aims to:
- provide flexibility and a multidiscipline approach to environmental sustainability
- provide teaching informed by research and scholarship in environmental sustainability
- meet the lifelong needs of a diversity of students
- support national and regional economic success
- build on close ties within Europe and elsewhere, reflecting Kent’s position as the UK European University
- produce students capable of contributing positively to global environmental sustainability
- produce graduates of value to the region and nationally, in possession of key knowledge and skills, with the capacity to learn
- prepare students for employment or further study in the field of environmental sustainability
- provide learning opportunities that are enjoyable experiences, involve realistic workloads, based within a research-led framework and offer appropriate support for students from a diverse range of backgrounds
- provide high quality teaching in supportive environments with appropriately qualified and trained staff.