Bachelor of Environmental Science with Honours

BEnvSci(Hons)*

As demand for the planet’s limited resources grows, so does the need for people who understand the environment and how to protect it. Study environmental science and be part of the solution.

Overview

Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the environment, incorporating its structure and functioning, and human interactions with the environment.

The Bachelor of Environmental Science with Honours (BEnvSci(Hons)) is a career-focused degree that will prepare you with the knowledge and skills to solve environmental and global sustainability challenges. As a BEnvSci graduate you’ll be uniquely prepared and qualified to make the world a better place for generations to come – mō tātou, ā, mō ngā uri ā muri ake nei.

*subject to Te Pōkai Tara | Universities New Zealand CUAP approval

  • Environmental science skills are increasingly sought after by a range of businesses wishing to minimise their impact on the environment.  
  • Skilled professionals are required to manage the impacts of urbanisation, competition for scarce resources and the impacts of climate change such as flooding and landslips.
  • Graduates will understand the relevance of, and responsiveness to, te Tiriti o Waitangi | Treaty of Waitangi in an environmental context, engage in te ao Māori (Māori world view), mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge systems), and mātauranga Ngāi Tahu (Ngāi Tahu knowledge systems).
  • The interdisciplinary nature of the degree encompasses key environmental science concepts, physical earth processes, environmental change, ecology and conservation, quantitative skills, policy, environmental decision making, resource management and more.
  • Graduates will be work ready having completed 400 hours of practical, work-based experience over the course of the degree.
  • A fourth year community-based research project provides students with the opportunity to make a substantial contribution to society based around their selected major and area of interest.
  • The degree will prepare graduates to work in a variety of roles including water management, resource management, environmental policy, environmental monitoring, disaster risk management, mitigation, planning and more.
  • The world needs skilled science professionals who care deeply, think creatively, work collaboratively and have an in-depth knowledge base, to help solve the many environmental issues facing all of humanity and nature today.

The BEnvSci(Hons) degree consists of an environmental science core, a major from second year and optional courses where you can follow your interests and find courses to support your environmental major.

You can specialise in one of the following six majors:

  • Freshwater. Acquire skills to assist with the management of freshwater resources and ecosystems.
  • Ecosystem Health and Biosecurity. Combine ecological knowledge, field and lab skills to manage natural resources.
  • Environmental Change. Develop skills to tackle a range of environmental issues.
  • Environmental Contamination. Determine and mitigate impacts of environmental contamination.
  • Environmental Hazards and Disasters. Understand, mitigate and manage anticipated hazard impacts.
  • Sustainable Coasts. Contribute to sustainable use and management of coastal and marine resources.

The BEnvSci (Hons) degree is a four-year post-graduate degree focusing on bio-physical sciences and the impact of science on society. The first year of study is focused on interdisciplinary study across biology, chemistry and earth sciences; while the following three years include a focus on the environmental major. The final year of study includes a community-based research project, providing students with the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the world while completing their degree. Mātauranga Māori and bicultural concepts are embedded in the core of the degree as well as each of the majors.

To qualify for the Bachelor of Environmental Science a student must be credited with a minimum of 360 points towards the qualification, including;

  • a minimum of 210 points from Schedule C to these regulations; and
  • a minimum of 90 points from Schedule S to these regulations; and
  • all remaining courses to be chosen from Schedule E to these regulations including
  • a minimum of 30 points from Group 1;
  • all remaining points must come from Group 2

Typical degree structure

Year 1

 
 
 
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 2
 
 
BIOL274
 
MAJOR
 
MAJOR
 
ELECTIVE
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 3
ENVR304
 
ENVR302
 
 
MAJOR
 
MAJOR
 
MAJOR
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 4
ENVR415
 
 
ENVR480 Research project
 
MAJOR
 
MAJOR
 
MAJOR (30 point project)
 
ELECTIVE
 
  •  
    Required courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Major subject courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Courses from Environmental Science or other degrees
(1) SCIE 101 is a compulsory course for all BEnvSci(Hons) students.
Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points (or more).

Ecosystem Health and Biosecurity

Ensuring the wellbeing of Earth's ecosystems

If you have a strong interest in biological sciences, ecological principles and environmental issues this major will suit you. Ecosystem Health and Biosecurity investigates the ecological systems which people depend on including food production, soil formation, habitat provision, pollination and clean air. Human activities impact ecosystems directly and also indirectly via the increased occurrence of disturbances such as fires, flooding and drought, resulting in changes to biodiversity and biosecurity. Graduates will develop a deep understanding of ecological principles through lectures, lab and field work, gaining skills that will enable them to contribute to the sustainable use and management of natural resources.

Key subject areas are ecology, biological sciences including biodiversity and biosecurity, soil/water science and environmental science.

Typical degree structure

Year 1

 
 
 
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 2
 
 
BIOL274
 
BIOL275
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 3
ENVR304
 
ENVR302
 
 
 
Two courses from BIOL332/ 336/ 371/ 375/ 377/ 378/ 384
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 4
ENVR415
 
 
 
30 points from BIOL420/ 423/ 424/ 425/ 426/ 427/ 428/ FORE447
 
ELECTIVE
 
ELECTIVE
 
  •  
    Required courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Major subject courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Courses from Environmental Science or other degrees
(1) SCIE 101 is a compulsory course for all BEnvSci(Hons) students.
Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points (or more).

Environmental Change

Applying Earth system science to global issues

Earth is changing rapidly with global temperatures fast increasing, ice loss occurring at a large scale and numerous ecosystems becoming degraded. This major provides graduates with an understanding of how key Earth systems operate and how to identify important interactions and feedback between these systems. Graduates will build a strong foundation in Earth system science, understand the importance of human activities on our environment and develop a toolbox of skills that will enable them to help tackle a range of environmental issues.

Key subject areas are climate change, earth systems (air, coastal, alpine, Antarctic environments) and environmental science.

Typical degree structure

Year 1

 
 
 
 
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 2
 
 
BIOL274
 
 
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 3
ENVR304
 
ENVR302
 
 
Three courses from GEOG312/ 311/ BIOL337/ PHYS330
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 4
ENVR415
 
 
ENVR480 Research project
 
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
  •  
    Required courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Major subject courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Courses from Environmental Science or other degrees
(1) SCIE 101 is a compulsory course for all BEnvSci(Hons) students.
Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points (or more).

Environmental Contamination

Contaminants and their impacts on the environment

Environmental contamination is threatening natural ecosystems and human health globally. There is a growing demand for skilled professionals who can work with mana whenua, communities, industry and governments to determine the extent and mitigate the impacts of environmental contamination. This major explores chemical and biological (e.g. microbial) contaminants and their impacts on the environment. Graduates will have the skills to work with mana whenua, members of the public, private businesses and governmental organisations to assess, understand and manage the impacts of environmental contamination.

Key subject areas are microbiology, environmental chemistry, environmental toxicology, water and environmental science.

Typical degree structure

Year 1

 
 
 
 
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 2
 
 
BIOL274
 
 
CHEM247
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 3
ENVR304
 
ENVR302
 
 
Two courses from CHEM340/ BIOL313/ PHYS330/ BIOL309
 
ENVR303
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 4
ENVR415
 
 
ENVR480 Research project
 
 
Two courses from ENVR414/ BIOL455/ WATR403/ WATR401
 
ELECTIVE
 
  •  
    Required courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Major subject courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Courses from Environmental Science or other degrees
(1) SCIE 101 is a compulsory course for all BEnvSci(Hons) students.
Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points (or more).

Environmental Hazards and Disasters

Why they occur and how to navigate their effects

The Environmental Hazards and Disasters major deals with the impact of natural events, often triggered by climate change and human impact on the environment. Students will develop an understanding of the factors that create these disasters, and develop confidence and competence with the tools, frameworks and knowledge of how to assess and mitigate environmental disaster risk.  The programme is interdisciplinary, drawing from both physical and social sciences. Graduates will have the ability to collect and analyse natural hazard and disaster data, assess likely impacts of disasters, evaluate potential disaster mitigation options, and assist with implementing disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies.

Key subject areas are natural hazards, disaster science, disaster risk management, sustainability, environmental health.

Typical degree structure

Year 1

 
 
 
 
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 2
 
 
BIOL274
 
 
GEOG215
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 3
ENVR304
 
ENVR302
 
 
 
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 4
ENVR415
 
 
ENVR480 Research project
 
 
 
  •  
    Required courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Major subject courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Courses from Environmental Science or other degrees
(1) SCIE 101 is a compulsory course for all BEnvSci(Hons) students.
Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points (or more).

Fresh Water

Understanding and managing fresh water threats and challenges 

Global population growth, development and associated resource exploitation is threatening freshwater and coastal systems, and placing people and infrastructure at risk of water related hazards. This major will provide students with a strong understanding of water management, water processes and sustainable water monitoring. Graduates will have the ability to collect and analyse hydrological data, report on human impact on water resources, and assist with implementing sustainable management of freshwater resources and ecosystems. 

Key subjects areas are freshwater, environmental processes, water quality and assessment, water resource management and environmental science.

Typical degree structure

Year 1

 
 
 
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 2
 
 
BIOL274
 
 
 
CHEM247/ BIOL213
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 3
ENVR304
 
ENVR302
 
 
Two courses from BIOL375/ GEOG311/ 312/ CHEM340
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 4
ENVR415
 
 
ENVR480 Research project
 
 
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
  •  
    Required courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Major subject courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Courses from Environmental Science or other degrees
(1) SCIE 101 is a compulsory course for all BEnvSci(Hons) students. Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points (or more).
** 30 points

Sustainable Coasts

Protecting coastal and marine environments

More than half the world’s population lives in coastal zones, with many nations depending on ocean resources to sustain life and underpin their economy.  Coastal oceans face overfishing, rising sea levels, microplastics, increasing water temperatures and more frequent flooding, resulting in severe pressure on human settlements and the natural environment. Graduates majoring in Sustainable Coasts will have a strong grounding in Earth and ecosystem science as it applies to coastal, marine and connected urban and river environments. They will have an ability to think holistically about the sustainable use and management of coastal and marine resources, and possess skills that will enable them to contribute to a future where people thrive alongside, and as a part of, blue edge environments.

Key subject areas are marine biology and ecology, field ecology, environmental processes, coastal and river processes and environmental science.

Typical degree structure

Year 1

 
 
 
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 2
 
 
BIOL274
 
 
 
 
BIOL275
 
Year 3
ENVR304
 
ENVR302
 
 
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
Year 4
ENVR415
 
 
ENVR480 Research project
 
 
 
ELECTIVE
 
  •  
    Required courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Major subject courses for Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons)
  •  
    Courses from Environmental Science or other degrees
(1) SCIE 101 is a compulsory course for all BEnvSci(Hons) students. Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points (or more).

Environmental science graduates are in demand for their ability to identify, monitor and solve a variety of problems associated with the environment. They’re helping businesses become more sustainable, working with engineering corporations to reduce impacts of major projects, advising government agencies on environmental risks, and supporting communities such as hapū and iwi to realise their environmental aspirations.

If you want a career where you can make a difference through environmental science, then this degree could be for you.

Graduates can go on to work in:

  • Central and local government
  • Crown research institutes
  • Department of Conservation
  • Environmental consultancies
  • Local and international non-government organisations
  • Māori and/or iwi organisations
  • Ministry for Primary Industries
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Interested in studying towards a Bachelor of Environmental Science?