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

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You will study the following compulsory papers .

Year 1

Level 5

555301 Knowledge, Enquiry and Communication
555401 Health and Environment (or 555339 Māori Health, Development and Environment)
775318 Plants and Animals
775317 Ecology and Evolution
BIOL501 Biological Sampling and Interpretation

And three from the following:
775205 General Chemistry

775102 Biological Chemistry
775111 Microbiology
775611 Biophysics
ENVS521 Physical and Human Geography

Year 2 and 3

Level 6

776313 Environmental Law
776314 Freshwater Ecology
776316 Terrestrial Ecology
776317 Environmental Risk Assessment
776325 Research Techniques

Level 7

777311 Ecosystem Management
777314 Plant Ecology
ECOL731 Animal Behaviour and Ecology

Plus five electives  OR three electives and 777003 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: 31-Aug-2016 1.48pm

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