Are you interested in sustainability and want to learn more? There are hundreds of courses available through UCAS Clearing that can help you make a move into sustainability, whether you want to have it as your sole focus or as part of a different career.
For all clearing options you can go to https://www.ucas.com/clearing-launch where you can search for a specific course or word.
Below are some courses we’ve noticed that are available in this years clearing round, this list is by no means exhaustive and if you have a particular area of interest we would encourage you to look at the UCAS website and enquire at the individual institutions you’re interested in:
Environment and Sustainability: A course covering the broad field of global environmental issues, and the strategies to drive sustainability. This course covers both natural and social sciences, giving you the skills to work in a wide range of sectors.
University of Glasgow (Environmental Science and Sustainability BSc)
Environmental Sustainability: You'll explore major environmental threats including climate change, loss of biodiversity, sustainable living, environmental degradation and human life, and the disempowerment of people and nature. You’ll graduate with the core skills in demand; our module content has been mapped against the needs and ambitions outlined in key initiatives like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as national agendas such as the Industrial Strategy, Bioenergy Strategy, and 25 Year Environment Plan.
Global Sustainability: This course will involve you in problem solving at a global scale and equip you with the tools needed to address complex problems through a highly innovative and interdisciplinary degree. You will study the interaction of humans and nature at the local, regional and global level, whilst acquiring the data handling skills needed for a future career in sustainability.
A variation is University of Birmingham’s Global Environmental Change and Sustainability BSc
University of Sheffield (Global Sustainable Development)
Environmental Sustainability and Geography: This course examines the interaction between people and their surroundings. You'll learn about the use of natural resources and how we can live more sustainable lifestyles. Our modern world uses vast amounts of energy, generates waste and pollution, degrades our environment, reduces biodiversity, and has profound effects on our health and welfare. You'll study the principles and policies needed to help deliver sustainable development and consider both the local and global implications on natural resources.
Earth and Environmental Science: Understanding how the Earth works, the forces that shape it and how we can use its resources in a sustainable way is crucial to the future of our planet. From day one, you’ll be trained to become a sustainably-minded geoscientist. Using your passion to drive an environmentally-sensitive world, we'll empower you to join us in helping to build a fairer, sustainable, carbon neutral future. Not only that - you'll develop skills in observation and analysis in order to understand Earth and environmental processes across a range of timescales, both locally and globally.
Environmental Management and Sustainability: This interdisciplinary course has been inspired by leading employers and developed in conjunction with experts working in the environmental sector. Employability skills are therefore at the core of your learning. You will gain skills in the assessment, monitoring, evaluation, and interpretation of interactions between humans and the environment, and learn how to develop recommendations for sustainable management.
Ecology and Conservation: Our planet’s ecosystems are facing huge pressure from human actions. Join our ecology and conservation degree to visit threatened habitats and encounter rare species. Graduate with an understanding of the key issues ecosystems face – and how to protect them. Climate change, an increasing human population, habitat loss, pollution and invasive species are fundamentally changing the planet’s ecosystems. Mitigating the impacts of these is the crucial challenge facing societies across the globe.
Environmental Politics: This degree responds to the climate emergency faced by our planet – a crisis that demands urgent changes to social, political and economic frameworks at a global and local level. As the next generation of global leaders in this area, you will learn the politics behind responses to the emergency in the context of environmental goals agreed by world leaders. You will study environmental geography, politics, philosophy and history. The course combines traditional academic modules with placement options and the opportunity to engage with political parties, local environmental groups, and global charities such as Oxfam.
Environmental Science: We only have one planet. Our number one challenge is to work out how we can live within the boundaries this presents while ensuring the health and wellbeing, not only of the current human population and generations to come, but of the 8.7 million species that cohabit it with us. An Environmental Science degree is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to develop as an environmental practitioner and to develop the personal attributes required to take on this challenge.
Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change: The course will teach you how to effectively manage wildlife and habitats as well as appreciate the role of governance and social benefits in decision making. We give you the opportunity to study the environment from this multi-disciplined perspective so that you can become a true ambassador for environmental conservation in the future.
Geography, Sustainable development and Climate Change: You’ll take an interdisciplinary view on the scientific basis of claims of global climate change, the human responsibility and the future implications of the change. From a perspective that bridges physical and human geography, you’ll learn about environmental management and sustainable development.
Sustainable Fashion: Studying this innovative and thought-provoking degree offers a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of the evolving face of fashion, at a time where change is essential. As sustainable pioneers in the field of fashion design and production you will explore, experiment, and develop exciting fashion collections, that illustrate imaginative ways of reducing the impact fashion has on our climate.
University of East London (Sustainable Fashion and Management)
I want to do something else but I'm Sustainability Minded - What should I do?
Many courses now have an element of sustainability in them so if you have a particular interest you might be able to find a course which covers both your passion and sustainability. Here are some further tips to help you find a university of course that suits you.
Has the university got any sustainability-focused societies or volunteer opportunities?
Volunteering and playing an active role in a student society can help improve your social life and confidence, and can also help you develop important skills that employers want to see. Many universities have student-led community gardens, sustainability projects and even part-time job roles focused solely on sustainability. These opportunities can give you the boost now and when you leave.
Is the university embedding sustainability across their courses?
Maybe you’re interested in sustainability, but you don’t want to study a stereotypical sustainability course like Environmental Sciences. That’s fine! Many universities have made a commitment to embedding sustainability and climate education across all of their courses – that’s right, all departments and all sectors! That means whether you want to study Economics, Psychology, or History of Art, if you choose the right university, the course will have sustainability skills and concepts embedded in it.
How do they do in League Tables?
Though they’re not comprehensive, league tables can be useful for gaining an overview of how a university is doing compared to others. The two main ones for sustainability are the grass-root People & Planet University League and the international THE Impact Rankings. They both contain a lot of data about how a university is taking action, from how many staff they have in their sustainability team to whether they are supporting low-income communities to access education.
Do they have a net zero plan and Sustainability Strategy?
In order to prevent irreversible damage to the climate, we as a society need to reduce our emissions as fast as possible and reach net zero by 2050. Check whether the university you’re interested in has a plan for this that is ambitious and ideally covers scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions (these numbers relate to where emissions come from – if you'd like to know more check out our Climate Essentials or Carbon Literacy courses!). Equally, check whether they have a Sustainability Strategy and a team that embeds sustainability across key areas such as travel, energy, food, procurement and biodiversity. If they do, you’re choosing a university that not only shares your values but can also give more direct opportunity to learn.
Is there action in the local community?
University can feel like a bubble but if you are attending in-person, then you’re joining a wider community as well as just a place of study! Are there sustainability projects, charities and campaign groups in the local area? These can be a great chance to network and make a large impact.
Good luck and don’t forget, if you’re between 18 and 25 you can apply for our Sustainability Leadership Skills Programme Access Scheme.