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Environmental Studies at The Sixth Form College Farnborough

Course description

If you care about the environment – global warming, pollution, population growth, biodiversity, conservation, recycling, waste management, resource use and the rainforests - you need to know the science behind the headlines.

You will gain the scientific knowledge and skills required to help you understand environmental processes, how people manage the environment and the methods used to study the environment.

Lessons will include a wide range of activities: individual and group assignments, research using videos, the Internet, books and magazines and some more formal teaching and learning.

There is some practical work and field trips are planned for both AS and A2.

Course content

The AS units are: 

  • The Living Environment - an introduction to the biodiversity of life on Planet Earth. The reasons why the conservation of life on Earth is important are investigated, as are the methods which may be used to achieve effective conservation. Conservation in the UK, coral reefs, Antarctica and tropical rainforests are examples used to develop these issues further. Life Processes in the Biosphere allows consideration of the ecological relationships between organisms and their environments in order to understand conservation problems and how these may be managed (1 hour exam, 40% of the AS, 20% of A level).
  • The Physical Environment - physical resources such as atmospheric gases, water and mineral nutrients are essential for life on Earth. Humans exploit and manage physical resources to provide higher material living standards; however, the use of many of these resources is unsustainable (1 hour 30 minutes exam, 60% of the AS, 30% of A level).

The A2 units are:

  • Energy Resources and Environmental Pollution - future problems of energy supply and how these may be resolved are investigated through the study of the energy resources which are available for use. The properties of pollutants are considered to explain why some materials or forms of energy cause environmental damage. These issues are developed via the study of a range of atmospheric, aquatic and terrestrial pollutants. You will look at the strategies which may be used to minimise release, treat effluents and manage the damage caused (1 hour 30 minutes exam, 25% of A level).
  • Biological Resources and Sustainability - the factors controlling human population growth are considered in relation to the demands placed upon the planet’s resources and life-support systems. Food production and forestry systems are analysed, with particular emphasis on the limiting factors affecting productivity, the environmental problems caused by these systems and the ways in which problems can be addressed (2 hour exam, 25% of A level).

Entry requirements

  • At least a grade of C in both GCSE Core and Additional Science (equivalent to two GCSEs) or a C in at least two single science subjects.
  • At least a grade C in Mathematics and English Language.



At AS level, exams are mostly short answer questions with one longer structured question.

A2 exams include essay writing in addition to short answer questions. There is no coursework but practical skills are assessed within the written examinations.

Future opportunities

Your interest in environmental issues could take you along a number of paths beyond College. For example, ecology and wildlife conservation, geography, geology or climatology. Maybe you’d like to work for a charity, teach, enter politics, or use your A-level in Environmental Studies as the stepping stone for higher education or a degree in Environmental Science. There are many university courses in environmental studies or science, either singly or in combination with other subjects.

Knowledge of environmental techniques, conservation and sustainability is becoming increasingly important in most organisations. Environmental experts are needed in business, industry and government as well as estate management, land reclamation, countryside management and conservation.  Environmental scientists are also employed by the water, waste and energy industries, mining and construction companies, wildlife and policy organisations and many more.

Further information

What other subjects could I do with environmental studies?

Almost any combination is possible. The subject goes well with sciences or social sciences. It would complement a study of Geography, Biology or Chemistry and enhance Travel and Tourism, Business Studies, Economics, Politics, Law, Media Studies, Sociology, Design and Technology, IT, Maths and Physics.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Sixth Form College Farnborough directly.

Last updated date: 16 March 2016

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