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School of Geography

Studying Environmental Science

You’re part of an exclusive cohort just by being in the School of Geography, and even more so being on the physical side of the spectrum. General housekeeping to say that both BA and BSc are equally valuable and no one degree programme should be considered better – only different!

  • Contact hours: Between 8-12, although for Environmental Science you may find you have more (I did) with workshops and local fieldtrips (Natural History Museum, Chilterns etc.)
  • Study areas: I used the library, home and the PC room just behind Santander as I lived on campus. Most people flock to the library though, especially now it is open 24 hours!
  • Lab time: I love Environmental Science and love studying at QMUL even more. BUT in first year we did not use the lab. Second year will see more lab time followed by third year (especially if your dissertation is laboratory focused)! The department cannot please everyone and I’m a particularly demanding student.

My experiences: First year exposes you to a variety of new/innovative ways of learning in unfamiliar surroundings i.e. a massive lecture theatre or a giant PC lab. It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed but just remember everyone is in the same boat. As you are building a foundation for learning more specialist content in second and third year, first year will encompass a bit of everything – even human geography. I particularly struggled with this and it was reflected in my grades, however the content was interesting – learning about cultural aspects of green space in London and around the world.

As an Environmental Science student, we get introduced to the School of Chemical and Biological Sciences (SBCS). This presented a new challenge: I hadn’t studied biology since GCSE level. The biology modules are taught in the classroom, workshops and in the field so like the School of Geography, SBCS vary their approach to make it interesting. You will learn about human evolution and ecology – both of which include interactive learning opportunities. Second and third year modules may include more tropical fieldwork opportunities such as Croatia, Canada, South Africa.

You will get told this again and again but reading wider scientific literature is key for your own success and interest. Academics even like to refer to us as “reading” environmental science/geography. You pick up the skills to do this in tutorials and learn to pick out key information. As with anything you do enough, it becomes normal and maybe even slightly enjoyable.

My advice? Don’t be late for lectures!

Jason Lynch (Environmental Science BSc, class of 2018)

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