Environmental Science – A Level
Environmental Studies concerns the Earth’s physical and social environment, and the biological, ecological, economic and political processes that affect and influence it. The core aim of Environmental Studies is to develop your understanding of how different biological events and cycles within the environment interrelate, and how these influence subsequent environmental events. You will come to understand the impact these events and cycles have on the natural world, and the strategies that can be used to address contemporary environmental concerns such as pollution, global climate change, sustainable development and wildlife conservation.
What will I study on this course?
AS Units 1 and 2
The Living Environment: This unit introduces you to the biodiversity of life on planet Earth and addresses conservation issues in the UK and abroad: e.g. coral reefs, Antarctica, tropical rainforests, etc. You will also examine the relationship between organisms and their abiotic and biotic environments.
The Physical Environment: Physical resources such as atmospheric gases, coal, water and mineral deposits are essential for life on Earth. Humans exploit and manage physical resources to provide higher living standards. The use of these resources is unsustainable, however, and at the root cause of present and future environmental concerns.
A2 Units 3 and 4
Energy Resources and Environmental Pollution: Further problems relating to energy supply and how these problems might be resolved are investigated through the study of energy sources such as oil, natural gas and coal. The properties of pollutants and how they affect the atmospheric, aquatic & terrestrial environments are used to explain why and how these energy forms cause damage. Strategies to minimise such damage are explored.
Biological Resources and Sustainability: Factors controlling human population growth are considered in relation to the demands placed upon the planet’s resources and life-support systems. Food production and forestry systems are analysed with emphasis on the limiting factors affecting productivity, the environmental problems caused by these systems, and the ways in which related environmental concerns can be addressed.
How will I be assessed?
The course is assessed by four examination papers comprising short answer questions and essays. You are also expected to be familiar with experimental techniques and methods of data analysis used in environmental science and ecology. Unit 4, the synoptic paper, also includes data analysis questions.
Do I need to have studied Environmental Studies before?
Biology, Geography and Chemistry GCSE’s are a good basis for A Level Environmental Studies, although these are not a prerequisite for the course.
Who will teach me?
Martin Lailey has taught Environmental Science and Geography A Level for almost 20 years. He has worked at London University as a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant and visiting lecturer, lectured at international conferences, and published research in international journals. He continues to work in oil and gas prospects in Indonesia, NW Scotland and Norway, and on technical aid projects in less economically developed countries.
Stephen Owen MSc, PGCE is an Oxford Chemistry graduate. He is a highly experienced, enthusiastic and dedicated teacher who utilises a wide range of teaching methods in his delivery of the subject.
Which subjects complement Environmental Studies?
Environmental Studies would suit students studying Biology, Geography, Geology, Chemistry or Economics. However, the subject is well regarded A Level which can generally be combined with any other subjects.
Which careers can Environmental Studies lead to?
Environmental Studies can lead to a range of careers: for example, environmental protection or consultancy, pollution control, recycling technology, climatology and environmental planning.