Explore environmental issues from a range of perspectives, drawing on subjects as varied as anthropology, politics and economics. You will explore the relationships between people, place and environment with staff who are active in the field. Gain insight into pollution, climate change, urbanisation and broader social and spatial dynamics.
Shape your degree outside the classroom with our thriving student led societies. EcoGeog Society works closely with local charities on action programmes, and aims to create a close community for those in human geography and environmental social sciences. The ECS Society brings students together to share thoughts and possible ideas for solutions addressing current issues in Canterbury.
Reasons to study Environmental Social Sciences with a Year in Professional Practice at Kent
You’ll be part of a University that is subscribed to the UN Sustainability Goals.You can apply our academic skills to practical contexts during your Year in Professional Practice. Recent graduates have gone on to work in ecological surveying, habitat management and species conservation.You’ll learn from inspiring lecturers who are active in their fields.You’ll benefit from ongoing support through our employability team, regular workshops and alumni talks, as well as our dedicated academic adviser and peer mentoring scheme.You’ll experience laboratory-based practicals and field trips, as well as lectures and seminars.
What you'll learn
You’ll consider how environmental issues are framed and managed by different societal stakeholders, such as, policy makers and the media. Choose to specialise in areas such as social anthropology, tourism and conservation, and geographies of people and place. Our wide range of modules allows you to tailor your degree to support your particular career ambitions. For example, you can choose modules that prepare you for a career in pursuing community-based conservation projects.
Year in professional practice
The year in professional practice is a wonderful opportunity to spend up to a year, between the second and final years, undertaking work placements with organisations relevant to your degree programme. You spend a minimum of 24 weeks on placement at one or more organisations. Placements can be at home or abroad and give you the opportunity to apply your academic skills in a practical context, offering you rare and unique experiences which will set you apart. Previous placements have included: environmental consultancy for Afzelia Limited, Zambia; forest impact surveying a the Danau Girang Field Centre, Borneo; project co-ordination for the Uganda Conservation Foundation; project work for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Germany; wildlife crime mapping for the Freeland India Consultants Private Limited; and small animal and bear monitoring for the Administration of Rodna Mountains National Park, Romania.
Alternatively, you can take our three-year Environmental Social Sciences degree, without a work placement. For details, see Environmental Social Sciences BA (Hons).
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 BeautyMargateAshford Community Woodland, local nature reserveForestry management on the North DownsBroadstairsPowell Cotton Museum
Students on the Tropical Ecology and Conservation module spend two weeks at the Danau Girang Field Centre in Borneo. You'll explore the beautiful, picturesque rainforest before venturing deeper into the jungle to the field studies site. The Centre is located in an area where huge swathes of jungle have been removed and replaced by plantations. You work 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 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 programme is taught by members 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.
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.
The year in professional practice is assessed by means of a written report and a short presentation, together with an appraisal from your manager.
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.
Assessment is by means of a manager appraisal (10%), a written report by the student (80%) and a presentation by the student (10%); the manager appraisal is carried out by the manager within the placement host organisation whereas the report and presentation are assessed by SAC academic staff.
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
- the way that an employee can contribute to the organisation in which they work
- specific areas of theory, policy or practice relevant to the host organisation(s) and the agreed placement task(s).
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
- apply some of the above skills from the perspective of your chosen employment sector
- gain a broader perspective on your individual discipline.
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
- application in professional practice of one or more of the above skills.
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 students to work collaboratively, negotiate, listen and deliver results
- the ability to work in a professional setting
- enhanced communication, teamwork and interpersonal skills
- enhanced ability for self-management, focus, and project management.
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
- offer students the opportunity to gain experience of work in a professional environment
- provide an opportunity to apply knowledge, understanding and skills acquired in stages 1 and 2 of their degree programme in a professional setting
- develop employment-related skills, including an understanding of how to relate to the structures and functions in an organisation
- develop the qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the exercise of professionalism, independent thought, personal responsibility and decision-making.