Environmental Sciences major: Bachelor of Science

Steph Borrelle
Student Profile – Steph Borrelle

Steph Borrelle says studying at AUT was the best decision she ever made. Now she's developing her PhD research focusing on the use of remote sensing technology for seabird island conservation. Read more of Steph’s story.

New Zealand’s unique and spectacular natural environment is the envy of the world. Throughout this major you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in this environment through the many and varied field trips that form an essential part of this course. You gain an understanding of how species interact with each other and with their physical environment.
You also build up a solid knowledge of the ecological principles of freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, animal behaviour and ecology and plant ecology. This understanding is essential for the maintenance of New Zealand’s unique and natural inheritance, and is an essential foundation for many rewarding environmental careers.

Environmental science is an exciting and extremely rewarding area of New Zealand's outdoor environment. With this major, you will gain an understanding of the issues concerning environmental resources and the application of this knowledge at a management level.

Bachelor of Science: degree outline

Want to enrol in a programme: Apply online


You will study the following compulsory papers .

Year 1

Level 5

HEAL506 Knowledge, Enquiry and Communication
HEAL507 Health and Environment (or MAOH501 Māori Health, Development and Environment)
BIOL502 Plants and Animals
ECOL501 Ecology and Evolution
BIOL501 Biological Sampling and Interpretation

And three from the following:
CHEM501 Principles of Chemistry

CHEM502 Biological Chemistry
MICR501 Microbiology
SCIE503 Biophysics
ENVS521 Physical and Human Geography

Year 2 and 3

Level 6

ENVS601 Environmental Law
ECOL601 Freshwater Ecology
ECOL602 Terrestrial Ecology
ENVS602 Environmental Risk Assessment
SCIE602 Research Techniques

Level 7

ENVS701 Ecosystem Management
ECOL701 Plant Ecology
ECOL731 Animal Behaviour and Ecology

Plus five electives  OR three electives and SCIE701 Research Project.

Other majors or pathways, such as Geospatial Science, or Marine Biology, or Applied Conservation, can be completed along with Environmental Sciences within three years without doing more than the standard eight papers (120 points) per year.


The School of Applied Sciences offers competitive fee-only scholarships for the first year of the Bachelor of Science (one for every major). Some of these scholarships are for the full three years and are co-funded by external institutions, such as the Department of Conservation. For more information visit the scholarships website.

Career opportunities

  • Conservation organisations such as the Department of Conservation
  • Environmental consultant
  • Government research and monitoring agencies
  • Local councils: environmental, public health, and waste management and monitoring services
  • Science teacher
  • Scientific laboratory analyst

Last updated: 13-Dec-2017 3.38pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.