Environmental Science A Level

A Level | AQA

Planet Earth is the only one we can live on, so it needs to be looked after. This subject teaches students how to approach the many challenges we will face in the coming years.

First Year:

Unit Topic
The Living Environment An introduction to the biodiversity of life on Planet Earth. The reasons why the conservation of life on Earth is important. How life processes in the biosphere allow for the consideration of the ecological relationships between organisms and their abiotic environments.
The Physical Environment Physical resources such as atmospheric gases, water and mineral nutrients are essential for life on Earth. How humans exploit and manage these physical resources.

Second Year:

Unit Topic
Energy Resources Future problems of energy supply and how these may be resolved are investigated through the study of the energy resources.
Pollution The properties of pollutants are considered to explain why some materials or forms of energy cause environmental damage.
Biological Resources The factors controlling human population growth are considered in relation to the demands placed upon the planet’s resources and life-support systems.
Sustainability The study of the sustainability of human lifestyles allows synoptic consideration of the other modules of the specification.
Research methods The methods used to investigate a wide range of environmental issues will be studied. This will be done both in the laboratory as part of fieldwork studies.
Course details

What are the entry requirements?

A minimum of five GCSE subjects at grade 4 or above including two grade 5s in GCSE Science together with GCSE Maths at grade 5.

How will I be assessed?

100% examination will be taken at the end of the second year. Two exam papers featuring short answer and extended answer questions, plus two 25 mark essays. It is also a requirement of the course to complete a minimum of two days of field study as well as laboratory-based activities.

What extra work can I do?

Wide reading is really essential and is encouraged, as is the use of a wide range of other media (television, radio, internet) to broaden and enrich the Environmental Science course.

The department assists students in acquiring extension books, articles and appropriate periodicals and will also advertise relevant lectures and courses that students can attend.

What skills will I learn?

Teaching and learning take advantage of a wide range of approaches including lectures, interactive class discussions, individual guided study (involving the wide-scale use of ‘flexible learning guides’) and open-ended study. Practical and fieldwork form a very important part of the course and students undertake some laboratory-based practical work as well as up to four days of fieldwork.


Communication: undertake group discussions, make a presentation, select information from extended references and analyse key information,

use appropriate language to write a report and practical account.


Application of Number: handle data in a variety of contexts including) statistical techniques; graphs, charts and diagrams.


Information Technology: identify information needed and suitable sources, carry out searches, select relevant information.

What is the department like?

The Department is housed in 4 well-equipped laboratories and is well resourced with a wide range of modern apparatus, texts and reference resources. The enthusiastic members of the departmental teaching team aim to build carefully upon the scientific skills and knowledge base from GCSE, extending understanding and developing confidence in applying knowledge.

Regular workshops are available, both to help students experiencing difficulties and to extend and encourage individuals to strive for personal excellence. Students are also encouraged to book in for 1 to 1 sessions with teachers should they need personalised support.

There are excellent opportunities in the course to use a wide range of field study skills both on-site and further afield, the department also endeavours to offer further visits to relevant sites looking at how we can work towards addressing environmental and sustainability issues.

Future Careers and Progression

What are the progression routes for this qualification?

Environmental Studies is a worthwhile choice for students who are particularly interested in studying Biology, Geography and Environmental Science or who are considering a career in ecology, countryside management, wildlife conservation, marine biology and planning.

Career prospects following on from a degree in Environmental Science could include: Environmental Consultant, Environmental Education Officer, Environmental Manager, Nature Conservation Officer, Sustainability Officer, Recycling Officer, Sustainability Consultant, Waste Management Officer, Water Quality Scientist, Environmental Health Practitioner, Landscape Architect, Town Planner, Toxicologist or Transport Planner.

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