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Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science
NFQ Level 8 major Award Honours Bachelor Degree

Entry Route: Biological and Chemical Sciences (Common Entry) - LM123

Course code:
4 Years

Course leader:
Dr. Peter Davern
Email: Tel:
00 353 61 213185

Tel: 00 353 61 202015
Queries: www.ul.ie/admissions-askus


About You

Are you interested in Science? Are you concerned about the quality of our environment? Would you like a career helping to make improvements to our environment for the benefit of this and future generations? Do you want a challenging career and one tailored to meet the needs of a wide spectrum of employers? Then perhaps you should study Environmental Science at UL.

Entry route to this degree at UL is via LM123 Biological and Chemical Sciences Common Entry.

Why Study Environmental Science at UL?

Maintaining both the quality of life and a clean and healthy environment is now a major concern of Government, employers, non-governmental organisations and citizens. The EU now has a very comprehensive environmental policy, and as a Member State, Ireland is obliged to act in accordance with this policy.

More stringent environmental requirements are being placed on industry and community in areas such as energy usage, waste minimisation, waste management, recycling, water and air quality. Consequently, there is a strong demand for graduates with a scientific understanding of environmental and health and safety issues, together with a full knowledge of technological and management methods available to help improve the quality of our environment. What makes Environmental Science at the University of Limerick distinctive is its relevance to industry and business, through a focus on environmental technology, environmental management and health & safety in the workplace.

Having followed a broad common first year, you will be provided with a strong foundation in biology, chemistry and ecology, and with an in-depth knowledge in environmental technology, environmental management, conservation and waste management.

The main areas of study will include

  • Environmental Science - the application of the fundamental sciences to environmental issues
  • Environmental Management - how strategies can be developed and implemented in protecting all aspects of the environment
  • Clean Technology - the use of cleaner technologies and processes to minimise the negative impacts of technology on the environment
  • Waste Management - the study of the physical methodologies and techniques for dealing with increasing levels of waste generated by the manufacturer and consumer
  • Health & Safety - a complementary area to environmental science which specifically deals with significant health and safety issues both in the workplace and in outdoor environments.

The degree programme is four years in duration. Early modules are concerned with building up your understanding of science relevant to the environment (biology, ecology, chemistry, computing, maths and physics). The basic concepts used in these subjects are applied to specific environmental science applications. Later modules in the programme focus on the areas of environmental management, environmental technology, environmental impact assessment, waste management, environmental monitoring and health & safety.

In the third year, the University organises Cooperative Education for all students. This is a period of approximately eight months of paid employment for you in a position which is relevant to environmental science. This placement benefits you in a number of ways in that it

  • facilitates you in applying techniques and knowledge acquired in the University to the workplace environment,
  • provides you with significant environmental experience which may be of help when seeking a position on graduation, and
  • gives you the opportunity to work as part of a team to solve real problems in the workplace.

In the final year of the programme you will undertake a research project in some aspect of environmental science. The project is supervised by an academic member of staff with specific expertise in the area and the project runs over both semesters.


Year 1 Semester 1 Credits   Semester 2 Credits
CH4701 General Chemistry 1 6 BY4102 Biology for Biosciences 6
BY4001 Biology 1 6 CH4102 Organic Chemistry 1 6
MA4601 Science Mathematics 1 6 PH4142 Introduction to Physics 6
CH4021 Laboratory Calculations 3 MA4602 Science Mathematics 2 6
ER4011 Introduction to Environmental and Biosciences 3 CH4031 General Chemistry 2 (Inorganic) 3
CH4051 Introduction to Applied Chemistry and Biochemistry 3 CH4041 General Chemistry 2 (Physical) 3
CS4131 Introduction to Scientific Calculations 3      
Year 2 Semester 3   Semester 4 Summer
ER4001 Energy & the Environment 1 ER4002 Environmental Modelling & GIS 1  
HS4003 Occupational Hygiene BY4505 Pollution Biology  
CH4253 Inorganic Chemistry 2B BY4104 Ecology 1  
BY4215 Soil Science CH4554 Environmental Chemistry  
BY4013 General Microbial  CH4354 Analytical Chemistry for the Environment  
Year 3 Semester 5   Semester 6 Summer
ER4003 Environmental Modelling & GIS 2   Cooperative Education  
ER4507 Waste Management 1      
ER4707 Monitoring and Research Methods      
CH4308 Discrete Analytical Methods      
ER4407 Environmental Management 1      
Year 4 Semester 7   Semester 8 Summer
ER4417 Environmental Impact Assessment HS4208 Safety Technology  
ER4627 Safety & Industry ER4448 Managing Health & Safety  
CH4055 Environmental Catalysis ER4606 Clean Technology  
ER4405 Conservation Ecology ER4508 Waste Management 2  
ER4907 Research Project ER4908 Research Project (cont.)  

Applicants are required to hold at the time of enrolment the established Leaving Certificate (or an approved equivalent) with a minimum of six subjects which must include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English.

In addition, applicants must hold a minimum grade O3/H7 in Mathematics and a Grade H4 in any one of the following: Agricultural Science, Applied Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics with Chemistry.

A Special Mathematics Examination will be offered at UL following the Leaving Certificate results for those students who did not achieve the Mathematics requirement.

We welcome applications from mature students. Mature applicants must apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1 February.

Careers open to you with a degree in Environmental Science include:

  • Environmental Officer
  • Environmental Laboratory Scientist
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Auditor
  • Water Conservation Officer
  • Water Quality Scientist
  • Waste Management Technical Officer
  • Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Officer

Environmental Science graduates are employed in areas such as:

  • Chemical, Biotechnological and Medical Devices industries
  • Energy generation
  • Electronics manufacture
  • Environmental Protection industries
  • Transport Sector
  • Construction / Mining industries
  • Environmental Consultancy companies
  • Local Authorities
  • Environmental Protection Agency

Follow-on Study

A number of graduates have gone on to pursue taught MSc programmes in key areas such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), environmental engineering, environmental impact assessment (EIA) and clean technology. Other graduates have also pursued MSc/ PhD by research at the University of Limerick and also at other international centres of research excellence including the Universities of Copenhagen, Mississippi State in the US, Monash in Australia and Waterloo in Canada.

Niamh O'Sullivan

The main reason I chose UL is the Co-Op opportunity. A few third level institutions offer Environmental Science, however UL’s degree includes 8 months’ work experience. This meant that when I graduated, I would have gained skills that can only be developed in industry and I also would have relevant work experience in my future field. UL courses are focused on developing industry-ready graduates.

I was always interested in science in school, having studied both chemistry and biology, however I really enjoyed geography for my leaving cert. This course features all three subjects, along with field work and lab work, which I really enjoyed in school. Chemistry also features strongly, and even if you don’t have a strong chemistry background, the lecturers do their best to get everyone up to the same level.

My co-op experience was probably the highlight of my course experience. I worked at Irish Cement Ltd, in Drogheda Co. Louth, for my placement. Working with the plant’s Environmental Manager as part of the Environmental team, it was a great opportunity to see how environmental protection is applied to large scale industry. The job of an environmental scientist is to look at all aspects, from pollution to economy to infrastructure and quality of living, and that decisions need to be the best for everyone.

I was busy with lots of opportunities to learn both inside the office and out. I gained hands-on experience with sample collections and also got experience in filling out my first Annual Environmental Report. During my placement I also had the opportunity to work with the EPA and Natura and was invited to the annual environmental review meeting held between the Limerick and Drogheda Irish Cement sites.

My favorite part of my Co-op was the opportunity to meet and work with consultants in the field. My goal is to own my own environmental consultancy, so it was great to see that there were so many areas, from water testing to dust sample testing to biodiversity reports.

Choosing UL gave me the opportunity to work with excellent people who did their best to share their knowledge and professional experience with me.

Peter Shone 

I decided to come to UL because of all the facilities, particularly the 50m pool, where I instantly joined the swimming and water polo club and have competed for the university at many levels.

The Environmental Science course gives an insight into the quality of the environment and what we can do to make improvements for the benefit of the world. This course would be ideal if you are the type of person who enjoys science and interacting with nature - we study a number of subjects that involve taking samples from the air and rivers. In the first two years, we covered a lot of biology and chemistry. In years 3 and 4, we moved more towards the technology that can be used to help improve the quality of the environment around us. In third year, we also did an 8 month work placement that really gives you an idea of what it will be like to work in this area after you graduate.

On my co-op placement I learnt the importance of project management and working towards deadlines, as well as having the benefit of working on a multi-skilled team to achieve specific tasks. I felt that this experience has helped prepare me for the world of work and so has increased my employability. So, if you enjoy science, nature and have a view on helping to make the world a better place to live in, then this is the course for you!