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Environmental Studies AS/A Level at Exeter College

Course description

If you enjoy scientific enquiry and are keen to understand how scientific processes, cycles and events influence our natural environment, then this course is for you.
You will:
- Look at human impacts on environmental cycles and the resulting challenges
- Investigate how we can preserve natural resources, for example through reducing pollution, conserving wildlife and controlling population growth
- Study ecology, biology and conservation to understand global issues such as climate change and sustainability
- Undertake field work, sampling aspects of the environment
- Go on a trip to Paignton Zoo and a residential to the Centre of Alternative Technology

Assessment is by examination.

Course content

AS units: Unit 1: The Living Environment - topics covered include the reasons why the conservation of life on earth is important, methods which may be used to achieve effective conservation, conservation in the UK, coral reefs, Antarctica and tropical rainforests and ecological relationships between organisms and their abiotic and biotic environment. Unit 2: The Physical Environment - topics covered include atmospheric gases, water and mineral nutrients. Human exploitation and the management of physical resources to provide higher living standards. A Level units: Unit 3: Energy Resources and Environmental Pollution - topics covered include future problems of energy supply and how these may be resolved. Properties of pollutants to explain why some materials or forms of energy cause environmental damage and ways of minimising such damage. Unit 4: Biological Resources - topics covered include factors controlling human population growth in relation to the demands placed upon the planet's resources and life-support systems, food production and forestry systems and the study of the sustainability of human lifestyles.

Entry requirements

You need at least five GCSEs at grade C including maths at C or above and two sciences (core and additional, or two of the single sciences) at C or above, and English language at grade B. A grade D or above is needed at the end of year 1 for progression to year 2 of the A Level.


During the course there will be ongoing assessment of your progress by tests, essays and other questions. Each unit is assessed by written exam between 1-2 hours long. AS unit 1 exam is taken in January and unit 2 in June. A Level unit 3 and unit 4 is taken in the following June.

Future opportunities

You could progress to higher education or a variety of careers or voluntary work in the sphere of the environment such as working for The Environment Agency, National Trust or conservation agencies. A sound scientific basis is also regarded as a good starting point for many careers and courses.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Exeter College directly.

Last updated date: 21 January 2016
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