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Environmental Studies


Environmental science is a fascinating subject which draws from the sciences and social sciences. Environmental scientists are involved in tackling issues such as global climate change, pollution, use of land and water resources, and changes in wildlife habitats.


National 5


1 year/5 periods a week


Assignment of 1 hour 30 mins


2 hours and 30 mins


£5 for field trip


Miss Strachan & Biology Teacher



The environment in is extremely important to us because it is where we live and share resources with other species. Environmental science is the study of interactions between the physical, biological and chemical components of our world. Environmental science allows us to understand the world we live in, provides us an appreciation for the natural world we live in and how to conserve and protect our fragile Earth. The course encourages the development of skills and resourcefulness which lead to becoming a confident individual.  During the course you will develop your ability to think analytically, creatively, and independently. You will also study areas of environmental science such as the living environment, the Earth’s resources and sustainability that allows you to become responsible citizens. The course allows you to understand and investigate the world in an engaging and enjoyable way.

The Environmental Science course provides a range of opportunities for you to investigate key areas of the living environment. Through the Earth’s systems, pupils investigate access to and use of resources associated with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere and biosphere. Sustainability and sustainable development are explored through food, water and energy security, as well as investigating issues relating to waste generation and its management.


You will gain an understanding of environmental science through a variety of approaches, including practical activities. You will research topics, apply scientific skills and communicate information related to your findings, which develops skills of scientific literacy.

The course content includes the following areas of environmental science:


Living environment

The key areas covered are investigating ecosystems and biodiversity; interdependence; human influences on biodiversity.


Earth’s resources

The key areas covered are an overview of Earth systems and their interactions; the geosphere; the hydrosphere; the biosphere; the atmosphere.



The key areas covered are an introduction to sustainability; food; water; energy; waste management.


In addition to the key areas studied, you will develop knowledge of pieces of apparatus and techniques for experimental and field work.


You will also develop your numeracy skills by using a variety of calculations during the course.




Exam: You will complete a final examination composed of questions from each of the units above. It will be marked by the SQA and is worth 100 out of the 120 marks available.


Assignment: An assignment will be undertaken during the course. The assignment is a write-up about research you completed into a topic of your choice. It will be marked by SQA and is worth 20/120 marks available.


Outdoor learning
Pupils will have the opportunity to experience outdoor learning. They will have opportunities to use a variety of fieldwork techniques to collect data which will aid preparation for their marked assignment.


Everything you need to know before selecting this course

entry requirements

Taking Geography or Biology in S3 would be beneficial however many candidates would still be capable of achieving National 5 without this. Please speak to the Principal Teacher of Social Subjects if this is the case. 

what will you get?

The course is graded  

A: Band 1, Band 2 

B: Band 3, Band 4 

C: Band 5, Band 6 

D: Band 7 


Everything you need to know about future pathways from this course


Most careers will benefit from your experience in Environmental Science however some jobs more closely related to the skills and knowledge developed include: Ecologist, Environmental consultant, Environmental education officer, Environmental engineer, Environmental manager, Environmental Scientist, Geologist, Geographer, Landscape architect, Lecturer, Marine biologist, Microbiologist, Minerals surveyor, Nature conservation officer, Recycling officer, Sustainability consultant, Teacher, Town planner, Waste management officer, Water engineer, Water quality scientist, Wildlife biologist


Skills developed through Environmental science:

  • demonstrating knowledge and understanding of environmental science by making statements, describing information, providing explanations and integrating knowledge

  • applying knowledge of environmental science to new situations, interpreting information and solving problems

  • planning, designing, and safely carrying out experimental/fieldwork investigations

  • selecting information from a variety of sources

  • presenting information appropriately in a variety of forms

  • processing information (using calculations and units, where appropriate)

  • drawing valid conclusions and giving explanations supported by evidence/justification

  • suggesting improvements to practical experimental/fieldwork investigations

develop communication skills further by effectively communicating findings/information from research and fieldwork

my world of work

This link will take you to an excellent resource on MyWOW which looks at potential career routes when you select a combination of subjects. 


Information from pupils who have studied this course as to how they feel it was.

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