Gain the knowledge and skills you need to understand past, present and future challenges related to climate change. In BSc Climate Science you can explore ways in which society can mitigate this global crisis.
3 years full-time
Climate change and humanity’s response to it will define life on the planet for billions of people but despite this there are few undergraduate degrees that focus on the broader climate problem.
This BSc in Climate Science uniquely offers a big-picture approach encompassing both recent and past climate change and its impact on Earth and human systems. It provides a holistic overview of climate science and equips you with the knowledge and skills to lead society towards the mitigation of this emergency.
Our flexible degree puts you in control. It gives you both the fundamentals and increased specialisation as you progress through the course, allowing you to choose a pathway of most interest to you. The degree acknowledges the breadth of the field of climate science and provides you with a solid background in diverse aspects of climate science that span geological time.
In the first year, you will learn about climate change and develop your understanding of Earth processes and resources.
In Year 2, you will learn about isotopes and can opt to study glaciers, the carbon cycle, how the Earth’s climate has varied in the past and how scientists reconstruct past climate change.
In your final year, you will study Earth Systems and can choose to learn about how climate change impacts coastal and alpine environments, atmospheric circulation, how it affected ancient civilisations, or explore the geochemistry of the environment. You will also undertake a dissertation and conduct fundamental research into an advanced topic of your choice related to climate science.
Environment and Resources covers the key concepts in environmental chemistry and the processes involved in shaping the Earth. From fossil fuels and ores to the water cycle, it introduces you to the formation, distribution and extraction of the Earth's resources and energy.
Introduction to Climate Change introduces you to contemporary climate change, incorporating the physical science underpinning our understanding of past, present and future climate change. It also explores some of the most serious impacts and competing perspectives around major climate change controversies.
Isotopes and Climate covers how isotopes can be used in understanding the environment and climate systems as well as identifying major events in the Earth's climate evolution. The module covers the human impact on the global climate and how to understand and analyse future climate change predictions.
Worth one-third of your final-year marks, you will produce an independent research Dissertation based on a computing, field or laboratory project chosen to suit your interests.
In the Earth Systems and Climate module you will learn about the interconnections between different components of the Earth System and their relevance to climate.
The course is mainly delivered through a mixture of lectures, practical classes, tutorials and optional fieldwork. The balance of these activities changes over the degree, as you develop your knowledge and your ability as an independent learner in preparation for professional life or postgraduate study.
In Year 1, lectures and practicals dominate the timetable. You are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and broaden your subject knowledge.
The balance starts to shift in the second year, with greater emphasis on self-directed learning and an opportunity to practice research methods.
In the final year, you will carry out a dissertation, producing a significant piece of independent research.
You will be assessed through a combination of coursework, class tests and end-of-year examinations. A significant proportion of your final assessment will be through your research dissertation in the final year. The dissertation is worth one-third of your final-year marks.
A level offer – AAB
Including two science A levels from Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Geography, Environmental Science, Economics, and Biology or Psychology are required.
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD
IB Diploma score – 36 with 665 in higher level subjects, including two science subjects from list above.
In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:
Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.
International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.
The tuition fees for 2024/25 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.
The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.
The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities.Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries
Our flexible courses have been developed to meet the needs of industry and provide you with the skills you need to succeed. You will graduate with the scientific foundations and transferable skills to move directly into the workplace or to progress to a more specialised postgraduate qualification.
Career prospects for Durham graduates are excellent. Geology and Earth Sciences graduates are highly valued by employers and go on to a wide range of highly successful careers in the sector and beyond, working in industry and research, including environmental management, water management, energy and engineering geology. Some of the high-profile employers our graduates have gone on to work for include ATKINS, ARUP, BP, Centrica and the Environment Agency.
(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)
Earth Sciences is the holistic study of the planet from the core to the surface, its water and the surrounding atmosphere.
Durham is one of the UK’s leading providers of Earth Sciences education. We offer six undergraduate courses, four of which are accredited by The Geological Society of London. Our courses explore the full geological spectrum including climate change, oceans, mass extinctions, rocks and minerals, and the structure and chemistry of the Earth. Our multidisciplinary approach applies physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology and physical geography to real world scenarios to make sense of today's major geoscience concerns .
Course structures are e flexible with a balance of formal teaching, fieldwork and active learning to put your theoretical knowledge into practice. You can tailor your degree to your interests through the wide range of optional modules and you may also be able to spend a year studying abroad, extending your degree by a year. All our degree courses are informed by the latest pure and applied research, and you can be sure your education will be in sync with the latest thinking in the discipline and will help you on your journey to a profession in the Earth Sciences sector and beyond.
For more information see our department pages.
We are on the main science campus, and our teaching taks place in the modern, purpose-built Arthur Holmes Building equipped with brand new optical microscopes and a large teaching collection of rocks, fossils, geological maps, and thin sections.
We use industry-standard and research-level software (e.g., ESRI ArcGIS Pro and Matlab), and if your dissertation or research project involves laboratory study, you can access our world-class geochemistry and rock mechanics labs.
Throughout your course you will have the opportunity to develop observation and analytical skills on residential field trips to study mountains, deserts, caves, volcanoes, rift valleys, faults and fossils.
The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!