Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Science with Ecology

  • NFQ Level 8
  • Points Required 339*
  • Course Code AU966
  • Award Honours Degree Abinitio
  • Duration 4

Course Summary

Learn about the environment and the natural world around us in an applied way and make a difference to the future of the planet. This honours degree equips graduates with the skills to manage our manmade and natural resources. Through a mix of outdoor fieldwork, high-tech laboratory practicals, computer mapping, site visits and classroom learning and activities, students gain a range of skills to thrive in this increasingly important industry.


Our excellence in teaching is complemented by staff who have experience in the working environment, within national and European research, and community engagement.  Assessments are planned to develop skills that employers value highly. This includes scientific report writing, presentations, group work and practical skills. Students have the option to study abroad with our partner university in Sweden. There is also an option to take part in a two-week international summer school in the Netherlands or Sweden.

This is a hands-on programme where 50% of course work includes fieldwork and labs. Students also have access to state-of-the-art, cutting edge technology throughout their studies.


Students immediately spend three days on field trips to explore the natural environment and build friendships in the class. Students develop core competencies in maths, biology, chemistry, IT and communications.


Students undertake modules in Aquatic Ecology, Water Quality, Environmental Regulation, Climate Science, Terrestrial Ecology, Introduction to Geographic Information System, Soils and Environment, Wastewater Enquiry based learning and Sustainable Futures. 


Students continue their studies at a more advanced level. Modules include Data Management, Occupational Safety and Health, Ecological monitoring, Environmental Toxicity, Water and Wastewater Treatment Theory. Students also have a chance to study online modules from Waste Management, Environmental Impact Assessment and Planning to Energy and Sustainability. In Year 3 students also complete a work placement.


A mix of compulsory and elective modules include Advanced GIS, Environmental Legislation and Policy, Environmental systems and Auditing, Biomolecular Technologies, Natural Resource Management, Cleaner Production, Conservation Issues. Students also complete a final year project, which may be practical or desktop research. This is on a topic of interest to the individual student.


Students can travel and learn internationally for short or long-term periods. We have an excellent international network of colleges and universities partners (such as Mid-Sweden University, Sweden), who ensure our students have the best educational experience. Travel and learning can be part or whole funded via the Erasmus+ programme. There is also an option to take part in a two-week international summer school in the Netherlands or Sweden.


This is an accredited degree with the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), the largest professional body for chartered environmental scientists. All students on this degree are eligible to become student members of this professional body.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for CAO courses at ATU Sligo are available for download below:

Career Opportunities

Graduates have many career opportunities. They are needed in industry, environmental and ecological consultancies, the energy sector, local authorities, Irish Water and in state agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Inland Fisheries Ireland and the National Park and Wildlife Services (NPWS).

Graduates can apply for graduate programmes and pursue a range of careers across Ireland and the world, from field-based, lab-based, and office-based roles such as environmental scientists, ecologists and environmental protection officers.

The employment rate within environmental science is extremely high, with most of our students securing jobs before they complete their final exams.

Further Study

Graduates can progress to a range of Level 9 Postgraduate diplomas and taught Masters in Environmental Health and Safety, Water Services Management or an applied Research masters or PhD in the Centre for Environmental Research Innovation and Sustainability (CERIS) in the ATU Sligo Science Faculty.

Centre for Environmental Research Innovation and Sustainability (CERIS)

Postgraduate studies at ATU Sligo


"The ecology side of the degree is something I really love studying. I like how the modules interlink with each other and what you learn in one class is relevant in another. The degree is varied too and has a great delivery of both practical and theory. A lot of time is dedicated to practical learning which I love, as it is the best way to learn. I also enjoy the off campus days where we explore environmental issues with real life examples.

The lecturers on the degree have a wealth of knowledge, not only academically, but within the professional working environment too. They give real life examples of how certain theories are applied in the real world. This is a great way to understand the content of the degree.

I am currently taking part in the Erasmus+ exchange programme. This has given me the opportunity to spend 9 months in Mid-Sweden University. This is a wonderful experience, studying and learning in the worlds most environmentally friendly country."

Claire Doran, BSc (Hons) in Environmenatal Science with Ecology student and currently completing an Erasmus+ placement in Mid-Sweden University, Sweden

Did you know?

We offer this programme at Level 7 AU855 BSc in Environmental Science with Ecology and at Level 6 AU731 Higher Certificate in Environmental Science with Ecology 

This is a hands-on programme where 50% of course work includes fieldwork and labs.

Students undertake a 12-15 week work placement in Year 3. This can take place in a variety of settings including environmental protection authorities, environmental consultancy firms, the energy sector or the Centre for Environmental Research Innovation and Sustainability (CERIS) in ATU Sligo.

Students have the option to study abroad at one or our partner institutions for short or long term periods.

There is also an option to take part in an international two-week summer school in the Netherlands or Sweden.

This is an accredited course with the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), the largest professional body for chartered environmental scientists.

Students complete a final year project, which may be practical or desktop research, on a topic of interest to them.

Students can choose from a number of electives throughout their studies.

The employment rate within environmental science is extremely high, with most of our students securing jobs before they complete their final exams.


"After graduating from ATU Sligo, I completed a unique Cross Industry Graduate Programme. The programme, the first of its kind in Ireland, involved a one-year rotation in Irish Water, a year in one of the participating consultancy firms (Jacobs Engineering; Nicholas O ‘Dwyer; RPS; Ryan Hanley); and another year with one of the contractors (EPS; Glan Agua; Veolia; and Ward & Burke)

My first position was with Veolia Water Ireland where I was placed in the process department. I gained an in-depth knowledge of how a wastewater plant works, which gave me an understanding of design and the treatment process. 

My second role was with the water department in RPS consultants based in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin. I was on the lead mitigation team and learnt a lot about report writing and preparing design reports. I was also sent as a resident engineer to Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plant for 8 months. 

My third and final placement was with Irish Water. I was placed in capital programmes where I worked on the Orthophosphate, Disinfection and Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) Programmes. I was one of the lucky two to get hired by Irish Water. I am currently an Assistant Project Manager with Irish Water."

Aidan Loughlin, BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science with Ecology graduate and Assistant Project Manager with Irish Water

Course Format

Semester 1

The Environment Around Us05
Cell Biology05
Introductory Chemistry 105
Mathematics for Science 105
Communications in Science05
Information Technology 1 Computer Apps for Ecology & Environment 05

Semester 2

Introduction to Environmental Science05
Diversity of Life05
Introductory Chemistry 205
Mathematics for Science 205
Environmental Physical Science05
Earth Science05

Semester 3

Aquatic Ecology: Theory and Lab05
Water Quality- Source to Tap 10
Environmental Regulation05
Environmental Enquiry Based Learning 1 05
Climate Science05

Semester 4

Terrestrial Ecology05
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems05
Environmental Microbiological Monitoring05
Soils and the Environment05
Wastewater Enquiry Based Learning10
Sustainable Futures [E]05

Semester 5

Occupational Safety and Health 05
Ecological Monitoring05
Environmental Toxicology05
Water and Wastewater Treatment Theory05
Environmental Ethics05
Data Management05

Semester 6

Work Placement Preparation05
Work Placement10
Environmental Instrumental Analysis05
Energy and Sustainability [E]05
Waste Management [E]05
EIA and Planning [E]05

Semester 7

Advanced Geographic Information Systems05
Environmental Legislation and Policy05
Project 110
Advanced Environmental Instrumental Analysis [E]10
Natural Resource Management [E]10

Semester 8

Project 210
Biomolecular Technologies05
Environmental Management Systems and Auditing05
Advanced Eco-monitoring for Conservation [E]10
Cleaner Production [E]10

[E] = Elective Module. Modules subject to availability.