Ecological and Environmental Sciences

University of Edinburgh


King's Buildings Campus


Year 1
You will be introduced to fundamental aspects of ecology through compulsory courses Origin and Diversity of Life and Biology, Ecology and Environment, introducing the organisation of ecological communities and the influence of the environment on living organisms. You will also undertake a mathematical course.

In addition, you will be able to select courses from other academic areas, some directly related, such as geography, chemistry or geology, and some that may help to widen career opportunities, including modern languages, computing, management and business studies.

Year 2
You will start Year 2 with a nine-day field course (Field Ecology) which runs immediately after the end of the second semester of Year 1. During the year you will also study compulsory courses titled: Principles of Ecology; Soil, Water and Atmospheric Processes; and Ecological & Environmental Analysis.

You can choose other courses, as in Year 1, from throughout the options offered at Edinburgh. In the past students have chosen courses such as Animal Biology, The Green Planet, Oceanography and Environmental Chemistry.

Year 3
You will start the year with a week-long summer field course, which is currently held at the University's outdoor centre on Loch Tay in the Scottish Highlands. You will continue with compulsory ecology courses, including Ecological Measurement and Population and Community Ecology.

You will also choose at least one of the courses Natural Resource Management or Environmental Pollution. In addition, you will be able to select two Year 3 courses from other programmes; in the past students have studied courses such as Animal Diversity & Evolution; Behavioural Ecology; Evolution & Ecology of Plants; Geochemistry; and Quaternary Environmental Change.

Alternatively, there are opportunities to spend Year 3 abroad through one of the University's exchange programmes.

Year 4
You will continue to study compulsory ecology courses, including a week-long summer residential field trip currently held in the Scottish region of Argyll, and choose from a wide selection of option courses, learning at the cutting edge of various ecological and environmental disciplines.

All students study Professional Skills in Ecological and Environmental Sciences, which directly prepares you for work in this subject area, and the tutorial-based course Critical Thinking in Ecological and Environmental Sciences. This comprises 12 sessions in very small groups with an academic, learning to critically analyse and assess scientific papers and experiments.

Entry Requirements

2023 entry requirements

Standard entry:
4 Highers at ABBB (minimum) but typically AABB (first sitting) or 4 Highers at AAAB (two sittings) including 2 from Maths*, Biology*, Chemistry*, Environmental Science, Geography and Physics* plus Maths at National 5 at B and English at C. (*At least one is required)

For second year entry you would require 3 Advanced Highers at AAB including 2 Biology and Maths, Chemistry or Physics plus 1 further Higher from Maths, Chemistry, Geography or Physics.

Widening Access entry:
4 Highers at ABBB (by end of S6) (BBB must be achieved in one sitting S4-S6) including 2 from Maths*, Biology*, Chemistry*, Environmental Science, Geography and Physics* plus Maths at National 5 at B and English at C. (*At least one is required)

Start Date





BSc Hons

Study Method

Full time



Course Length

4 years


College of Science and Engineering



SCQF Level



Career Sectors


Aquaculture and Fishing

Arboriculture and Horticulture

Earth Studies

Environmental and Rural Resource Management

Environmental Services


Work with Animals