BSc / BA (Hons) Environment & Sustainability (Foundation Year)


Royal Agricultural University Campus


4 Years (full time)

The growing awareness of environmental issues and the associated problems that individuals, society and the government are encountering means that there is increasing focus and support being given to this sector. Sustainability is at the heart of this and employers are actively seeking trained graduates with skills and knowledge in environmental sustainability. This new programme provides students with a great opportunity to help fill this gap.

Course overview

**Course available for 2024 entry only, subject to validation**

This degree course with a foundation year incorporates an extra year of study at the start of your course, so that you can progress with confidence. It will develop the skills you need for your later studies. It is particularly suitable if:

  • You don’t have the grades for immediate entry onto a three-year course
  • You have non-traditional qualifications or experience
  • You’re starting university after some time away from education
  • You’re looking for more support during the transition into university study

The new BSc/BA Environment & Sustainability degree will give you the opportunity to make a difference in the environmental sector. You can study by choosing to follow either a Bachelor of Science (BSc) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) route. The key differences between the two pathways are that the BSc focuses on technology and innovation, ecological thinking, environmental sustainability, consultancy & advisory whereas the BA covers environmental humanities, food & agriculture, advocacy & activism and integrating modules.

The BSc Environment & Sustainability will take advantage of the employment ‘environmental’ gap mentioned previously whereas the BA Environment & Sustainability will focus on the roles of people and society in solving environmental problems, giving more attention to the ‘social’ element of sustainability, alongside the environmental and economic. 

During your second year all students will study the same modules and then during your third year you will choose which route you wish to follow.

Work placement

In the third year of the degree programme, you will apply and develop your expertise during a 15-week work placement. Not only could you find yourself working for prestigious companies in the UK or across the world, you will also develop your confidence and make a range of industry contacts.

The Integrated Foundation Year is suitable for applicants who have taken level 3 qualifications (A levels, BTEC etc.) in the UK. Overseas students who have not studied in the UK and completed their secondary education in their country, should look at taking an Integrated Foundation Programme in order to meet the entry criteria for the degree programmes offered by the RAU.

Please note that a foundation year is not the same as a foundation degree (FdSc). A foundation year will usually lead onto a three-year degree course, whereas a foundation degree is a standalone qualification generally studied for two years.

Course content

You will learn through lectures, seminars, projects, visits and demonstrations. Modules are assessed through research projects, field reports, exams, presentations and case studies. In your third year you will complete a Research Project which will give you an opportunity to study in-depth a subject of specific interest or of direct relevance to your future employment.

Incorporated into the programme will be guest lectures and field visits giving you access to the latest professional developments and knowledge as well as environmental conferences and workshop, enabling you to gain insights to the various employment pathways into the environment sector, and give you the chance to network.


Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and societies activities.


Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Each credit equates to 10 hours of total study time. Total study time includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

Full-time students normally take modules worth 60 credits per 15 week semester but this can vary depending on your elective choice. Part-time students taking proportionally fewer credits per semester. All students take a total of 120 credits per level and 360 credits for the degree as a whole. Your overall grade for your degree is based on marks obtained for modules taken at level 5 and level 6 (weighted 30:70 accordingly).

The modules available for this degree are shown below. They may change for your year of study as we regularly review our module offerings to ensure they’re informed by the latest research and teaching methods.

*Subject to validation*


Foundation year

The Foundation year will provide a common core of academic and study skills sufficient to prepare you for subsequent study and academic success at undergraduate level. It will give core underpinning knowledge, skills and understanding in key areas of contemporary issues, provide underpinning subject-related skills and knowledge in key areas required for undergraduate study, including Mathematics, Numeracy and IT. It will also provide generic skills and academic knowledge to support your confidence and discipline as appropriate for higher education study and give subject-specific grounding, in terms of research topics and study focus, to support progression into degree level study in your chosen degree.

  • 0IFY1 Managing Landscape 
  • 0IFY2 Digital Skills 
  • 0IFY3 Rural Business Skills 
  • 0IFY4 Land Related Studies 
  • 0IFY5 Change in the Countryside 
  • 0IFY6 Enterprise and Marketing
  • 0IFY7 Environment and Conservation Data Handling 
  • 0IFY8 Agriculture and Farming

Year one

  • 1007 Soil and the Environment
  • 1044 Agriculture for Land Management
  • 1421 Species Identification & Ecosystems
  • 1422 Ecosystems Services and Sustainability
  • 1430 Wildlife Ecology & Survey
  • 1434 Introduction to Environmental Change
  • TBC Geographies of Food
  • 1440 Personal Development Skills

Year two

  • 2136 Landscape Conservation
  • 2267 Research & Evidence
  • 2317 Industry Placement
  • 2337 Professional Development
  • 2361 Habitat Classification & Management
  • 2365 Education, Recreation & Engagement
  • 2369 Resilience of Agro-ecosystems
  • TBC Energy, Waste Pollution Management

Year three BSc course

  • 3098 Countryside & Environment Management
  • 3223 Ecological Consultancy
  • 3329 Climate Change & Natural Resource Challenges
  • 3332 Specialist Study (shell module)
  • TBC Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for the Environment
  • 3300 Research Project / Dissertation

Year three BA course

  • 3098 Countryside & Environment Management
  • 3329 Climate Change & Natural Resource Challenges
  • 3332 Specialist Study (shell module)
  • TBC Sustainability Consultancy
  • TBC Advocacy & Activism in Food & Farming
  • 3300 Research Project / Dissertation

BSc and BA to choose one elective selected from:

  • 3090 Forestry and Woodland Management
  • 3330 Technology & Agroecological Innovations
  • TBC Sustainable Farm Management
  • TBC Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for the Environment (BA only)

The availability of electives to individual students will be dependent on timetabling considerations and on sufficient students electing to take part.

Disclaimer information

The University has established various rules and regulations that you must agree to and follow if you accept an offer to study with us. View our full disclaimer notice.

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Careers and graduate destinations

This is a new degree course and the applied nature of the programme, research-led teaching methods and close links with industry provides students with the academic, technical and professional employment skills, which are highly valued by employers. It is anticipated that students will go into the following roles:

BSc degree

  • Sustainability Consultant
  • Project Officer
  • Climate Strategy and Project Officer
  • Technical Advisor
  • Graduate Sustainability Consultant

BA degree

  • Assistant Programme Manager
  • Engagement Officer
  • Farming Engagement Officer
  • Project and Operations Coordinator
  • Behaviour Change Officer
  • Communications Intern
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Entry requirements

Typical offers

Required: GCSE minimum five GCSEs at Grade C/4 including English Language and Mathematics (or Maths Numeracy for Welsh applicants) plus satisfactory level 3 qualifications:

  • A-Level: (Example grades  EEE) – minimum of 48 UCAS tariff points from level 3 qualifications
  • C&G Advanced Technical/BTEC - Level 3 Extended Diploma (1080) at Pass-Pass-Pass
  • International Baccalaureate: 24 points
  • Access to Higher Education: Pass course with 45 credits at level 3 (Pass in Functional Skills level 2 are accepted in lieu of GCSE English & Mathematics)

Other level 3 qualifications will be considered.

Visit the UCAS website to calculate your UCAS Tariff points from the qualifications and grades achieved.

You may also be eligible for a contextual offer if you’re from one of our link colleges, have been in care, from a non-white ethnic background, live in an area with low progression rates to university or you are a veteran/child of an armed forces family.

Flexible entry

The University welcomes interest from applicants who may not have the standard entry requirements. A wide range of qualifications and experience are accepted in order to join University degree programmes. The University always considers evidence of personal, professional (APL) and educational experience, (APEL), which show an ability to meet the demands of their intended programme of study.

Further information

Alternative entry routes are available for a range of other qualifications. Prior experience is also considered, subject to approval by the programme manager and admissions staff.

Read more general information about our entry requirements.

If you don't meet the entry requirements of this course, you may be eligible for one of our Foundation degree courses or another related degree course.

International students will also need to achieve IELTS Academic or equivalent at the appropriate level for your programme of study. English language requirements for international students.

For any further help, please contact our admissions team:  

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Tuition fees cover the cost of a student’s academic studies. This usually includes teaching costs, registration and examination fees (not repeat or trailing modules, re-sit fees or coursework resubmission). Any costs associated with work placements will be the student's responsibility. 

2024-25 Applicants

For the academic year 2024-25 the tuition fees for this course are: 

  UK International
Full-time £9,250 per year £15,300 per year

For part-time study, please contact for further information.

Please also refer to the funding your time at university page.

Tuition fees may be subject to an inflationary increase each year as set out in our Access and Participation Plan 2019/20.

If you are an Irish national you can check if you meet the requirements for Home Fees. Please visit the UKCISA website and consult the pdf guide “England HE – who pays Home Fees”. First check category ‘3 years in Republic of Ireland/UK/Islands, settled in UK’ or ‘Brexit temporary offer for courses starting before 2028: Irish citizens with residence in Europe or overseas territories’. You will possibly need to be fee assessed when you submit an application for study to the RAU.


The University offers a wide range of generous fee waivers and bursaries. To find out more about the these, please visit the bursaries, awards and scholarships page.

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Applications for 2024 entry will open in Autumn 2023

Applications to study at the Royal Agricultural University must be made through the UCAS system. This applies to all undergraduate courses.

Applications should be made by the UCAS deadline to ensure we are able to offer you a place on your first choice course. However, if you have missed the deadline please contact as there are usually places available.

If you would like to apply during UCAS Extra or Clearing, please check that we have places available.

Applicants wishing to study on a course on a part-time basis will need to apply directly to the RAU.

Please contact to discuss your requirements and obtain an application form.