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Environmental Studies A Level (Distance Learning) at National Extension College *Fees Payable*

Course description



The management of the planet’s limited resources is becoming a more and more pertinent issue, and one that’s leading to an increasing number of career opportunities in areas that make use of the knowledge and insights that would be gained through studying this distance learning environmental studies A level. Incorporating opportunities for practical work and fieldwork, it uses a scientific approach to identify and analyse environmental issues affecting the modern world and consider ways to solve problems relevant both now and in the future. If you’re interested in pursuing study or a career related to the environment, in areas such as geography, conservation or planning, this home study course is ideal. 


You should allow for between 250 and 300 hours' study time, plus additional time for completing assignments. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 18 months from the date of enrolment.

Course content

Unit 1: The living environment

  • Conditions for life on earth
  • The rationale for wildlife conservation
  • How humans threaten wildlife
  • Conservation methods
  • Conservation in the UK
  • UK habitats
  • Conservation abroad
  • Adaptation to the environment
  • Changes in ecosystems
  • Studying ecosystems
  • Diversity, ecological stability and population size
  • Populations
  • Landscape conservation
  • Land-use conflicts and their resolution

Unit 2: The physical environment

  • The composition of the atmosphere and solar radiation
  • Global climate change
  • Control of global climate change
  • Ozone depletion
  • Properties of water and the hydrological cycle
  • Water as a resource
  • Sources of water
  • Water treatment and demand for water
  • Water conservation and management
  • The lithosphere and mineral resources
  • The geological origins of important minerals
  • Resources, reserves and exploitation
  • The carbon cycle
  • The nitrogen and phosphorus cycles
  • Soils

Unit 3: Energy resources and environmental pollution

  • Energy use and characteristics of resources
  • Non-renewable energy sources
  • Renewable energy sources
  • Practical investigations about using renewable energy
  • Secondary fuels, energy storage and environmental impacts
  • The future of energy supplies
  • Properties of pollutants
  • Atmospheric pollution – part 1
  • Atmospheric pollution – part 2
  • Water pollution – part 1
  • Water pollution – part 2
  • Heavy metal pollution
  • Noise pollution
  • Ionising radiation
  • Solid wastes

Unit 4: Biological resources and sustainability

  • Human populations and agriculture
  • Agroecosystems – selection of food species
  • Manipulation of food species
  • Control of biotic factors
  • Control of abiotic factors
  • Environmental and social impacts of agriculture
  • Agricultural energetics, economics and political control of agriculture
  • Commercial fishing
  • Aquaculture – fish-farming
  • Forest resources
  • Deforestation
  • Sustainability – part 1
  • Sustainability – part 2


This course follows specifications 2440 (A level), 1441 (AS) and 2441 (A2) from the awarding organisation AQA. Full details of the specifications can be obtained from AQA's website.

Four exams: 2hrs (25% of marks), 1hr30m (30% of marks), 1hr30m (25% of marks) and 1hr (20% of marks)

Seven AS assignments, seven A2 assignments
No coursework

Please note that due to upcoming changes the final opportunity to sit exams for this course isSummer 2018. 

Financial information



It’s your choice: pay in full and discount your course fees, or spread the cost with our finance offer. To pay in instalments, you will need to enrol by telephone.

Representative examples:

For the full A level
Course fee:   £545
Deposit:  £54.50
Amount of credit:   £490.50
Monthly payment:  £81.75
Duration of agreement:  6 months
Total repayable:  £545
Rate of interest:  0%(fixed)
0% APR representative.  
For AS level or A2 level
Course fee:  £325
Deposit:   £32.50
Amount of credit: £292.50 
Monthly payment:   £48.75
Duration of agreement:  6 months
Total repayable:   £325
Rate of interest:  0% (fixed)
0% APR representative.  
For enrolments in the UK there are no additional postage and packing charges. For enrolments outside of the UK the following postage and packing charges apply:


  • EU – £75 for the first course and £40 for second and subsequent courses
  • Rest of the world – £130 for the first course and £70 for second and subsequent courses

Further information

Essential textbooks

  • Genn, R., AQA Environmental Studies AS and A2 (student book), Nelson Thornes, 2009


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact National Extension College *Fees Payable* directly.

Last updated date: 24 July 2019
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Key information

Contact details

    • Contact name:
    • Course and Fee Enquiries
    • Contact telephone number:
    • 08003892839
    • Email address:


  • More information

      This means you can study from anywhere!

      Further details of where you can sit any examinations are included in the Assessment section of each course.

      Please note that fees are payable for the National Extension College's courses.