Skip to main content

Course Search

Course Search

Course Search

Environmental Science and Climate – Higher Cert

  • Campus: Thurles

  • years: 2

Course Overview

We live in an increasingly complex world, socially, economically and environmentally. The growing pressures on the environment present us with many challenges as well as opportunities. The challenge of climate change and achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for action by all countries and recognise that the global goal of ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build sustainable economies while tackling global climate change, reversing habitat loss and strengthening environmental protection. This programme has been developed to address this need and students will develop the scientific competencies to contribute scientifically and socially to these environmental, climate and sustainability challenges.

Students on the degree in Environmental Science and Climate will develop their knowledge of environmental science and environmental management, they will develop an understanding of the theory and practice of sustainability. In addition students will learn introductory lab skills, fieldwork skills and mapping through the Geographic Information Sysyems modules. Graduates also be equipped with the ‘soft skills’ (e.g. Communication skills) which will be required to ensure that the knowledge can be employed to bring about change within formal organisational settings as well as within society more broadly. In 3rd Year, students complete a semester of work placement which facilitates the adaption of learning from theory to practice, preparation for the placement is facilitated by a Professional Development module in Semester 1 of 3rd year.

The course introduces the latest approaches to balancing the needs of society and the economy with protection of the environment. Graduates will be equipped with the practical skills to apply environmental science knowledge in a broad range of sectors across the environmental themes of biodiversity, water and climate action. Students will also learn about ecology and conservation of the natural environment as well as how to manage resources like waste and energy in business.

Contact Details

Dr. Bridget Kirwan


Telephone: (0504) 28103

What are the entry requirements?

Leaving Certificate

A minimum of 5 O6/H7 grades in Leaving Certificate subjects, including Mathematics and English/Irish.

Mature Applicants

Candidates applying as mature applicants may be required to attend an interview and may be requested to take an aptitude test to prove their suitability for a place on this programme.

International Applicants

International applicants should apply directly to the International Office at TUS, allowing plenty of time for completing the visa process. Applications for September start should be made by 1st June at the latest to ensure visas are processed in time. You should familiarise yourself with visa processing times for your country of origin to ensure you make a timely application. Find out more here.

Course Modules

  • Introduction to Land Use

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide learners with an awareness of the nature of the principal land uses in Ireland and the interaction between these land uses and the quality of the environment.

  • Professional Skills in Third Level

    Credits: 5

    This module aims to develop the personal and professional skills of students to prepare to effectively negotiate and navigate their academic and professional journey. This module introduces students to the principles of effective communication and to develop their personal awareness and develops their communication, team working and presentation skills. The module also focuses on the students study and academic writing skills as required for 3rd level.

  • Introduction to Sustainable Development

    Credits: 5

    This module will explore the historical, policy and practical context of sustainable development as a contested concept. It will introduce the principles of sustainable development, while using case studies to explore their practical application of sustainable development in action.

  • Introduction to Environmental Chemistry

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide learners with problem-solving skills and basic scientific knowledge focused on application to environmental and natural resource management. This module is complimented by the practical work in the laboratory skills module.

  • Introduction to Climate Issues

    Credits: 5

    The key global issue emerging in recent years is the overwhelming impact of humanity on the environment and climate, and how the consequences of environmental and climate change are altering the planet and driving change and disruption in society. This module will introduce students to the key climate patterns and processes to understand the rate, and main causes of, climate change over time, including the atmosphere and subsystem regulars. The module will also introduce the concept of interconnectedness of climate, environment and human activity.

  • Introduction to Lab Practice and Measurement

    Credits: 5

    Implementing good laboratory techniques and analytical measurement with emphasis on Health and Safety.

  • Applied Environmental Science

    Credits: 5

    The aim of the module is to provide students with skills in analytical techniques for analysing organic and inorganic components in the environment. It will ensure that students are competent to work safely in a laboratory environment using good laboratory practices. It will develop student skills in scientific writing and comprehension. This module will link with the Introduction to Environmental Science module to provide students with practical skills to enhance their learning.

  • Biology and Botany

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide learners with an appreciation of the diversity of living organisms and their importance in providing ecosystem services. The module provides basic scientific knowledge in biology and botany, focused on application to agriculture and environmental management. It begins the development of botanical field skills. The module is complimented by the practical work in the Introduction to Laboratory Practice and Measurement / Applied Environmental Science modules.

  • Land Use and Climate Change

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide learners with an understanding of how land use plays a key role in climate change and how decisions about how land is used are crucial in identifying sustainable ways to mitigate against climate change.

  • Environmental Maths and Computer Skills

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to understand and analyse data that they will encounter in their future environmental careers. It will also give them the computing skills needed to manipulate and present data and reports

  • Development and Economics

    Credits: 5

    This module will provide students with an introduction to basic economic concepts, while alternative development paradigms and the global nature of economic and sustainable development will also be studied.

  • Intriduction to Environmental Management and Climate Challenges

    Credits: 5

    This module will discuss the principles of environmental management with an introduction to terms mitigation and adaptation approaches to climate change. The PDCA approach to management will be addressed. The core fundamentals of what needs to be management within urban,peri-urban, rural, terrestrial including coastal, aquatic and marine habitats will be discussed. Concepts of baseline measurement will be outlined. Climate challenges on these habitats will be outlined such as coastal erosion, pollution, floods and droughts. The management of manmade, semi- natural and natural habitats will be outlined. Reduction of emissions and proper waste management will be outlined. Mitigation measures including solutions from nature such as permaculture design approaches will be discussed such as buffer zones citizen science and environmental stewardship initiatives. In very practical terms this module presents the principles of good environmental management and encourages the learner to look at their own home in relation to waste management. The students will also study Thurles campus as a living laboratory examining what is present in terms of elements and functions and habitats within a permaculture design.

  • Ecology

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide students with the opportunity to understand the key concepts and principles of ecology and biological evolution while identifying the role of ecology in conservation management.

  • EHS Management

    Credits: 5

    This module engages learners with environmental management and health and safety management in organisational settings. These two topics are complimentary, as workplace responsibilities for environmental management and health and safety management are often combined into one role (such as EHS Officer) due to sharing underlying principles. The module draws on the learners’ own experiences of workplace health and safety. The content on EMS uses a case study approach for part of the teaching and for the assessment. The practical experience of TUS Thurles in achieving Green Flag status informs the module.

  • Field Study Skills

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide students with the practical skills to plan, prepare and work competently in the field. Understand and evaluate health and safety and risks associated wit field work in remote and urban environments. It gives students the transferable skills in field work competency and risk assessment.

  • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Surveying

    Credits: 5

    This module is aimed at introducing learners to the basic principles of Geographic Information Systems and of Surveying. The module will introduce learners to methods of accessing as well as mapping spatial data. The module will provide learners with opportunities to undertake surveys using basic surveying equipment and to digitize and map the survey outcomes.

  • Environment and Sustainable Development

    Credits: 5

    The module will review the current state of the environment at global and Irish levels and identify the major areas of concern which have arisen due to the impact of human activity. The complex relationships between the environment and society will also be explored, while approaches for sustainable development principles to be put into practice in order to address major areas of environmental concern will be identified.

  • Biodiversity Convservation and Climate

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to: Introduce historic and current conservation management concepts in the context of climate change relevant to biodiversity. Outline the fundamentals of biodiversity management approaches concerning, species and ecosystems, to enable students to gain an understanding of current practical nature conservation concepts, and to outline guidelines for protecting and managing biodiversity sustainably in a changing climate. Provide an overview of the key conservation designations at local regional, national and EU scale. Introduce students to emerging key climate issues and climate mitigation practices in the context of conservation and biodiversity management.

  • Geographic Information Systems

    Credits: 5

    This module is aimed at providing learners with the ability to use Geographic Information Systems as a means of investigating the environment as well as assessing potential environmental impacts. Through the module, learners will be able to develop skills in a range of mapping techniques.

  • Fieldwork and Research Methods

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide student with practical field research skills and techniques, and develop these to meet industry requirements for field research and monitoring. It gives students the transferable skills in practical fieldwork and provides an introduction to species identification, recording and monitoring methodologies in upland, lowland and wetland environments.

  • Teamwork

    Credits: 5

    This module will develop participants skills to successfully engage in teamwork. The module introduces the theory of teams and group work and builds on this to develop the skills and capacity of students to engage purposively in team work. The module draws from theories in social psychology as well as management and organisation behaviour. The module will focus on the skills of: planning, communication, negotiation and managing conflict situations. It aims to develop the skills to manage and lead groups in a professional context through the achievement of set group tasks It builds on the work of the students in group processes eg. PBL projects. It aims to develop the students’ awareness of team and practice of working in teams. It aims to develop the skills to manage and lead groups in a professional context through the achievement of set group tasks.The module links the theory and practice through a practical team based project.

  • Sustainable Development Goals

    Credits: 5

    The module will explore the United Nations (UN) agenda for the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that runs from 2015 to 2030. The agenda includes 17 goals that together aim to end poverty, combat climate change and deliver environmental sustainability. Learners will study the background and consider the challenges of achieving the global goals in a divergent and unequal world. Achieving sustainable development through the pursuit of the goals will be considered in different regions and at different scales, this will include consideration of policy spheres, infrastructures, business and everyday lives. The relevance and application of the SDGs in Ireland will be considered through case studies.

  • Environmental and G.H.G Audits

    Credits: 5

    This module examines the principles of environmental auditing and the steps involved in conducting an audit. The structure of an Energy Management System is examined, followed by consideration of the quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals in organisations. The module uses real data from the TUS Thurles and Clonmel campuses where possible, linking the module to the Green-Campus initiative and the strategic focus of the Thurles campus on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Surface Water and Hydrogeology

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide students with the opportunity to develop a critical appreciation of the physical aspects of surface water and groundwater.

What can you do after this programme?

Local Authority Environmental and Climate, Ecology, Field Work, Sustainability management, Environmental Management, Laboratory work. This is a growing field and graduates are in demand within a range of sectors.

Students who have successfully complete this course may continue their studies at Level 7 in Environmental Science and Climate – BSc.