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Environmental Science A-level - Level 3 - Full-time (North Devon)

Level 3 A-levels
Course Code:
North Devon Campus
Two years

If you loved Geography or Biology at GCSE, then this is the study programme for you. Do you want to know how humans interact with their environment or how a finite world can supply a growing population? Environmental Science is a highly relevant and topical course where you'll learn to analyse real-world problems.

I really enjoyed the variety of things we learnt, from conservation and potential threats to habitat and species, to renewable energy. It gave me a broad insight into all different aspects of Environmental Science, many of which linked into the other subjects I took at A-level. - Former student


This is a science A-level which combines geography with biology and aims to understand how humans interact with their environment, the consequences and solutions of these actions. This course enhances knowledge regarding everything in the world around you.

During this Environmental Science A-level course, you will engage with how the study of science contributes to our understanding of the wider world. In the first year there are two modules, the Living and the Physical Environment. Module 1 looks at how the other living things on the planet are threatened by human activities and how they can be protected. Module 2 looks at the issues around atmospheric pollution, water resources and supplying the world with building materials and metals.

The second year has two modules and looks in detail at specific environmental issues. Module 3 studies the global effects of energy supply and the origin, movement and effects of pollutants and waste. Module 4 looks at how farming, fishing and forestry can supply our growing needs and cause us problems. The whole course is overviewed with respect to applying sustainable principles: how can a finite world supply a growing population into the near future and beyond?

The course is supported by fieldwork, laboratory work and an overseas trip (which, in the past, has been to Iceland). You will also undertake local fieldwork (e.g. ecology of Croyde seashore) and day trips to Paignton Zoo. They enhance your understanding of research methods and conservation.

This is what Environmental Science students say about the course:
"Great subject to take if you love learning about the environment and studying what happens to it. It's good fun and interesting."
"Very interesting and enjoyable, Environmental Science gives you a wider knowledge of the world we live in and helps you understand your part in protecting it."
"Worthwhile and a good alternative science subject."
"The course field trips were superb."
"'Interesting course content, very relevant to today's world. It's a mixture of geography and science."
All material covered for A-level will be examined at the end of the two-year course. This will be two examinations in June. There is no coursework.

In addition, we will set you regular homework and end of topic tests to provide you, your teacher and your parents or guardians with feedback on your progress. We also give you exam papers and set you mock exams before the real thing. Revision classes can be provided to ensure that you are fully prepared for your summer exams.
To be accepted onto a two-year Level 3 programme, all entrants must hold at least a grade 4 in GCSE Maths and a grade 4 in GCSE English, as well as at least three other GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above. Certain subjects require a minimum of GCSE grade 6.

You will be required to achieve a grade 5 in two sciences or a grade 5 in both Core Science and Additional Science or C in Biology. You will also need a grade 5 in GCSE Maths.
Students on this course have gone on to study Higher Education courses in Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Marine Biology, Veterinary Medicine, Medicine, Conservation, Ocean Science, Agriculture and Arboriculture. Environmental Science A-level is accepted by universities for entry on to a broad range of science degrees. Environmental Science graduates may work for The Environment Agency, nature conservation organisations, local government, education and private industry. Career opportunities keep growing, from wildlife conservationist to waste manager, hydrologist to resource manager.

Progression onto one of Petroc's Foundation Degrees is also possible. The most applicable courses include Animal Conservation and Human Biosciences.
Environmental Science makes use of textbooks, journals and newspaper articles. Increasingly current resources are sourced from the internet. Students have access to IT, all classrooms and labs have fully interactive smartboards and trolleys of wireless Chromebooks which allow us to access the internet and Petroc Environmental Science moodle webpage whenever we need to. The Environmental Science moodle site is extremely well resourced with lots of interactive revision aids, past exam papers and mark schemes, that you can access from college or home.
You should buy the AQA A-level Environmental Science textbook by Richard Genn in advance of starting the course.
There is a small charge for transport to undertake compulsory local fieldtrips. Optional visits to the zoo generally cost around £20. Our four-day residential trip to Iceland has cost in the region of £1000.
Please contact the Advice & Guidance Centre on 01271 852422 for more information.
Q: Is A-level Environmental Science difficult?
A: A-levels are challenging, and Environmental Science is no exception, but we give you lots of help and support and if you come with good GCSE grades and have the right attitude then you will do really well.

Q: Do I really need grade 5 in GCSE Additional Science?
A: Environmental Science is a science course, so you need to be able to understand and apply scientific concepts and terminology. Although the environmental concepts are usually straight forward, you must be able to apply scientific knowledge to succeed in this subject. It is more difficult than GCSE Science. Students with grade 5 in GCSE Science have passed the course in the past but they have to work extra hard.

Q: Do I need GCSE Maths?
A: You will need Maths GCSE at grade 5 or above. However, most of the maths in Environmental Science is applied to the subject and relatively straight forward; we will remind you or teach you all the maths you need to succeed at this level.

Q: How big are the classes?
A: Most classes have 14 to 22 students in them.

Q: How much homework will I get?
A: Usually 2-3 hours a week including revising for end of topic tests but this varies from week to week. You are expected to do additional reading/revision every week.

Q: Is there any coursework?
A: No, Environmental Science is 100% examination.

Q: Is there any practical work?
A: Most of the course is classroom based, but there is some practical work, in both the lab and in the field.

Q: Is it an interesting course?
A: Our students tell us that the course is really interesting and very applicable to the world we live in. If you want to understand how humans affect our environment and debate the possible solutions, then this is the course for you.

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