University Launches New Course in Keeping with its Sustainability Credentials

Research student Zeus Mateos-Fierro
University of Worcester PhD research student Zeus Mateos-Fierro carrying out pollinator surveys in commercial sweet cherry orchards in Herefordshire – photo courtesy of Kirsten Hunter

The BSc (Hons) Environmental Management and Sustainability programme is designed to provide graduates with the knowledge and skills needed for roles within the environmental and sustainability sectors. It continues the University’s commitment to and work towards greater sustainability, where it has been among those leading the way in higher education for more than a decade.

Principal Lecturer, Dr Duncan Westbury, who is leading the course, said: “With increasing concerns about climate change and the impact of humans on our planet there has never been a more important time to study this highly contemporary course. We will be equipping our students with the knowledge and skills that they need to play a part in mitigating the effects humans have on the planet and make a real difference.”

The course, starting in September 2022, is designed to give students an in-depth understanding of how to investigate and manage interactions between humans and the environment to achieve sustainability. Developed with feedback from potential employers, it combines the investigative and analytical skills of the environmental scientist with the knowledge and understanding of an environmental manager. Graduates will therefore be prepared to take on roles addressing the climate and biodiversity emergencies, for example through environmental and ecological consultancy, working for the Environment Agency, Met Office, Natural England or Wildlife Trusts.

It includes fieldwork in the Brecon Beacons, France and, in the final year, India, in conjunction with the University of Calcutta, which includes a stay in Sundarbans tiger reserve in West Bengal. In line with the course’s green credentials, for each student that attends an Open Day to find out more about the course and/or starts the course in 2022, a tree will be planted, supported by chartered foresters and woodland consultants, Pryor & Rickett Silviculture.

Sustainability has been a cornerstone of the University for more than a decade and it has built up an enviable record. The University, in close partnership with the Students’ Union, has pioneered many initiatives, including much improved recycling, promoting walking and cycling wherever possible, and practical changes such as introducing low energy lighting and solar heated hot water.

The University organises a Go Green Week twice a year, on campus and in the local community, providing sustainability advice, and is leading a local e-bike and bike share scheme, Woo Bikes, piloted on campus, but has now been expanded to a number of local organisations.

This ongoing commitment saw the University of Worcester win Sustainability Institution of the Year at the 2019 Green Gown Awards and go on to be Globally Highly Commended at the International Green Gown Awards, at the United Nations in New York.

The University, which has committed to cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, was ranked 5th in the UK’s greenest universities in the People & Planet University League (2019), in which it has been among the ‘First Class Honours’ ranked universities for more than 12 years.

The University was recently once again ranked in the top three UK universities for Quality Education in the prestigious Times Higher Education’s global University Impact Rankings, which highlight the contribution made by universities towards the international Sustainable Development Goals.