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Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science

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

CAO points history:
430 (LM066)
Course code:
4 Years

Course leader:
Dr. Peter Davern
Email: Tel:
00 353 61 213185
Tel: 00 353 61 202015

Are you concerned about the quality of our environment? Do you want to understand more about the global and national challenges of climate change?  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.

The direct entry route to Year 1 of this degree at UL is via LM066 Environmental Science.

Note: You can also enter LM066 Environmental Science via LM123 Biological and Chemical Sciences Common Entry whereby you choose LM066 Environmental Science as your exit route at the end of Year 1.

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.

Read about our students' experiences

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What you will study

The degree programme is four years in duration. Early modules are concerned with building up your understanding of core science relevant to the environment (biology, ecology, chemistry, computing, mathematics and physics) as well as core subjects in Environmental Science. 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, geographical information systems, 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.

  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
CS4131 Introduction to Scientific Calculations 3 CH4031 General Chemistry 2 (Inorganic) 3
ER4101 Systematic Environmental Science 6 CH4041 General Chemistry 2 (Physical) 3
  Semester 3   Semester 4 Summer
ER4001 Energy & the Environment 1 ER4002 Environmental Modelling & GIS 1  
HS4003 Occupational Hygiene 1 BY4505 Pollution Biology  
CH4253 Inorganic Chemistry 2B BY4104 Ecology 1  
BY4215 Soil Science CH4554 Environmental Chemistry  
BY4013 General Microbiology CH4354 Analytical Chemistry for the Environment  


  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      
  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.)  

Entry requirements

CAO points history
Minimum grades

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.

Subject requirements

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

Additional considerations

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

Mature Students

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

Application information for mature student applicants (PDF)

Non-EU Entry Requirements

How to apply

Where are you applying from? How to Apply
Ireland Irish students must apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found here. 
The UK  Students who have completed their A-Levels can apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found on the Academic Registry website. 
The EU EU Students can apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found on the Academic Registry website.


Fees & funding

Student course fees are broken into three components - Student contribution, Student Centre Levy and Tuition Fees.

A number of illustrative examples of fees for this course based on the current fee levels have been set out in the tables below.

An explanation of the components, how to determine status and the criteria involved is provided below the examples as is a list of possible scholarships and funding available.

EU Students with Free fees status in receipt of a SUSI grant

HEA paysTuition Fees€4,262
SUSI paysStudent contribution€3,000
Student paysStudent Centre Levy€92

EU Students with Free fees status not in receipt of a grant

HEA paysTuition Fees€4,262
Student paysStudent contribution€3,000
Student paysStudent Centre Levy€92

Students with EU fee status not in receipt of a grant

Student paysTuition Fees€4,262
Student paysStudent contribution€3,000
Student paysStudent Centre Levy€92

Non-EU Students

Student paysTuition Fees€16,373
Student paysStudent Centre Levy€92

Student course fees are comprised of three components:

Student Contribution

Annual charge set by the government for all full-time third level students. All students are liable unless they have been approved for a grant by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please refer to to determine your eligibility for a grant and for instructions on how to apply. The curent student contribution is set at €3000.

Student Centre Levy

All students are liable to pay the Student Centre Levy of €90. Please note the Student Centre Levy is not covered by the SUSI Grant.

Tuition Fees

These are based on Residency, Citizenship, Course requirements.

Review the three groups of criteria to determine your fee status as follows

  1. Residency
    • You must have been living in an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland for at least 3 of the 5 years before starting your course
  2. Citizenship
    • You must be a citizen of an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland or have official refugee status
  3. Course Requirements (all must be met)
    • You must be a first time full-time undergraduate (Exceptions are provided for students who hold a Level 6 or Level 7 qualification and are progressing to a Level 8 course in the same general area of study).
    • You must be undertaking a full-time undergraduate course of at least 2 year’s duration
    • You cannot be undertaking a repeat year of study at the same level unless evidence of exceptional circumstances eg serious illness is provided (in which case this condition may be waived)

Depending on how you meet these criteria your status will be one of the following -

More information about fees can be found on the Finance website


Your future career

Employability skills from this degree

  • Researching and problem-solving
  • Developing arguments from scientific, ethical and philosophical perspectives
  • Planning and managing projects
  • Gathering, analysing and communicating complex technical data
  • Flexibility in working in all kinds of environments, developed through field-work experience
  • Numerical and IT skills, developed through the application of statistics and measurement techniques
  • Broad understanding of local, national and global environmental issues

The year after graduating with this degree

The University of Limerick Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS) is a detailed review of the employment outcomes of UL graduates conducted annually by the University and supported by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). The survey forms part of a nationwide review of the employment outcomes of Irish University Graduates. The table below illustrates a five-year trend for UL graduate employment levels and location the year after graduation.

Employed in Ireland Employed abroad Further study Not available Seeking employment No. of responses Total no. of graduates Year
68% 6% 13% 6% 6% 31 33 2014
80% 10% 0% 0% 10% 10 13 2015
48% 0% 35% 0% 17% 23 23 2016
77% 8% 15% 0% 0% 13 14 2017
67% 11% 22% 0% 0% 9 15 2018

Further Study Options

Job titles for graduates with this degree

Graduates progressing directly into employment take up a wide variety of roles. The following provides a sample of initial roles listed on the Graduate Outcomes Survey by graduates approximately one year after graduation:

  • Consultant Waste Technician
  • Environmental Awareness Officer
  • Environmental Consultancy
  • Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Officer
  • Environmental Research
  • Monitoring & Analysis Specialist
  • Project Manager
  • Technical Adviser
  • Waste Management Technical Officer

Graduate Profile - 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.

Graduate Profile - 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!