Peter Symonds College

Study at PSC

Course Content

In the first year there are two main areas of study:

  • The living environment: wildlife conservation including the importance of biodiversity, habitat management and captive breeding and release programmes.
  • The physical environment: the impact of human activities on physical processes and how these can be managed, including climate change, exploitation of water and geological resources.

Environmental issues such as melting ice sheets, coral reef decline and the discovery of new water sources are explored, with the emphasis on how to find solutions to these environmental problems through improved management and use of new technology. The issues are discussed to enable you to form well-balanced opinions which you can support with logical arguments and objective scientific evidence.

In the second year there are four main areas of study:

  • Energy resources
  • Pollution
  • Biological resources
  • Sustainability

The applied nature of the subject means that there are many opportunities to relate topics to everyday issues and current affairs.

Methods of Teaching

The Environmental Science course involves a range of teaching and learning methods. These include laboratory investigations, problem solving, critical evaluation of data sources and synthesising information from a variety of sources. Workshop support is available during selected lunchtimes.

'The department runs a number of field trips, from half-day to four-day residentials. These may change according to availability, but are likely to include previous successful trips to , for example, the New Forest Wildlife Park, Winnall Moors Nature Reserve, the Waitrose Farm at Leckford, The Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales, and Leeson House Field Studies Centre in Dorset.

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

The A Level is assessed in June of the second year in two written exams. There is no coursework component.

Where Could It Take Me?

Environmental Science is a very wide subject, accepted by universities as a relevant science, not only for Environmental Science degrees, but also for related degrees such as oceanography, geology, marine biology and zoology. It can lead, with appropriate other subjects, to a wide range of careers including wildlife conservation, engineering, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, environmental law, tourism, sustainable architecture, among many others.

Past students are employed in a variety of fields, including the petrochemical industry, biodiversity and conservation research (in the UK and abroad), environmental monitoring and management in the nuclear industry, veterinary science and agrochemicals.

Financial Implications

The course textbook will be approximately £26. Day-trips are, with one exception, optional and should cost no more than £20 per trip (prices will vary according to the type of trip). There is one fieldtrip in the spring which all students are expected to attend, but there is no charge for this. The price for residential trips includes all transport, accommodation, visits, meals and insurance. Exact prices will be available once trip details are finalised. The College has a Student Support Fund for those students who have difficulty meeting these costs.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including English and one of the following combinations:

  • If you are studying separate sciences you are required to achieve GCSE grades 6, 5 and 5 (any order) in any two Sciences and Mathematics
  • If you are studying Combined Science you are required to achieve GCSE grades 6, 5 and 5 (any order) in Combined Science and Mathematics

Most Recent Results

Below is a summary of the most recent set of results for this subject:

Grade: A* A B C D E U Total
Total: 7 10 36 33 21 8 7 122
Percentage 5.7 8.2 29.5 27.0 17.2 6.6 5.7