School of Environment

Environmental Science

Environmental Science aims to understand the environment using input from a wide variety of science disciplines including Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Geography, Physics and Engineering in conjunction with social sciences like Economics and Human Geography. This understanding can be applied to the assessment and solution of environmental problems caused by human activity.

Undergraduate study in Environmental Science

Group of students working together outside in the field

At undergraduate level, Environmental Science focuses on environmental effects of human activity and is dedicated to protecting and restoring natural heritage, minimising human impact and restoring environmental degradation.

The Environmental Science courses are designed to complement other science subjects and so can be taken individually, to follow your own interests. However you may choose to take the combined programme in order to add the Environmental Science major to your BSc major subject. The BSc major in Environmental Science is designed to be taken in conjunction with another Science subject major, like Biological Science, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Geography, Mathematics or Physics.

Find out more about studying Environmental Science at undergraduate level

To find out more about admission and enrolment, careers, academic advisers and other undergraduate study options offered by the School of Environment visit either of the sections below.


Postgraduate study in Environmental Science

Environmental Science is offered at a postgraduate level to enable students with strong disciplinary skills to gain the tools required to become environmental scientists. If studying full time, a Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) can normally be completed in one year, a Master of Science (MSc) in one year, and a PhD progamme can be completed in three to four years. A PGDipSci comprises entirely coursework, whereas an MSc is a one year research thesis.

At postgraduate level, Environmental Science is the interdisciplinary, applied scientific study of natural and managed environments. The application of your existing science skills and the scientific approach to environmental problem solving is emphasised. The central philosophy is that environmental science provides the knowledge to enable society to sustainably manage the environment, through education and research.

The programme includes aspects of environmental effects assessment and monitoring, water quality, air quality, freshwater and terrestrial ecology, environment restoration, sustainable management of ecosystems, rare species management, biodiversity monitoring, pest invasions and risk assessment.

The postgraduate programme in Environmental Science is well established, and well recognised by employers. It has been running for more than ten years, with over 400 graduates. In a recent survey of past graduates, all of those we were able to contact over ninety percent were working in the environmental sector. The complementary programme in Environmental Management enables Environmental Science students to interact with and explore a greater diversity of environmental expertise, including Law, Economics, Environmental Planning, Policy, Resource Management and Community Conservation approaches.

Some courses are delivered as a learning module, which is four days of lectures, often followed by a self directed research project, to allow attendance by people in full time jobs and those from out of Auckland.


Find out more about studying Environmental Science at postgraduate level

To find out more about admission and enrolment, careers, academic advisers and other postgraduate study options offered by the School of Environment visit either of the sections below.


Transition arrangements for students enrolled before 2016

The schedule for the BSc Major in Environmental Science changes in 2016. Students who first enrolled in 2015 or earlier may complete the Major under the former regulations but since there will be changes to some of the courses you are encouraged to seek advice. The following provides advice on the changes: