University of Chester

Programme Specification
Environmental Science for Conservation FDS
2017 - 2018

Foundation Science Degree

Environmental Science for Conservation

Environmental Science for Conservation (Reaseheath)

University of Chester

Reaseheath College

Reaseheath College

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory, Work-Based inc.(practice / placement)

2 years full time, 4 years part time.

5 Years

Annual - September

CC18

D447

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Biological Sciences

The QAA Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies subject benchmark statements (2014) have been used to inform academic development of the programme.

None.

Department of Biological Sciences.

Tuesday 15th August 2017

The FdSc Environmental Science for Conservation award aims to:

1) Develop the student’s knowledge and understanding of earth system processes, how they can be managed and their importance in the contexts of environmental science and conservation;

2) Equip students for careers in environmental science and conservation;

3) Develop the students’ communication and management skills and their abilities to apply them to environmental science and conservation;

4) Develop the students’ abilities to undertake practical tasks in surveying, monitoring, maintaining and improving the natural environment;

5) Develop an understanding of the wider environmental, economic, and social issues associated with anthropogenic activities and their impacts on the natural environment.

6) Develop a coherent approach to identifying and prioritising action on environmental tasks and issues.

The development of knowledge and understanding of underlying principles associated with environmental science and conservation is fundamental in enabling the application and critique of core concepts and ideas, and the subsequent synthesis of new knowledge during a student’s progression through the programme. Therefore, upon successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

FHEQ Level 4

  • Apply their knowledge of terrestrial and aquatic geomorphological processes and landforms to environmental problems and situations (RC4801, RC4805);
  • Summarise and communicate scientific and policy-relevant information in a professional, logical and coherent manner in relation to environmental systems and their conservation (RC4801, RC4807);
  • Demonstrate a systematic & rigorous approach to academic study (all modules)
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge and understanding of relevant theories and concepts in the fields of environmental science and conservation and be able to apply these to different contexts (RC4801, RC4802, RC4803, RC4804, RC4806, RC4807);
  • Develop new transferable skills specific to academic study, scientific enquiry and professional practice that can be applied in areas of further study and/or within employment (RC4208, RC4801, RC4802, RC4803, RC4804, RC4805, RC4806, RC4807);
  • Carry out a broad range of survey, monitoring and conservation tasks to maintain or enhance natural and semi-natural habitats and/ or to facilitate visitor management (RC4803, RC4804, RC4805, RC4807);
  • Describe and independently use relevant techniques during the collection and analysis of a range of data (RC4801, RC4803, RC4804, RC4805, RC4807).

FHEQ Level 5

  • Discuss the complex nature of many conservation problems and solutions, which often involve abiotic and biotic elements and social, economic and political dimensions (all modules except RC5208);
  • Analyse, interpret and critically evaluate a range of environmental survey data (RC5801, RC5802, RC5803, RC5804, RC5808);
  • Carry out a broad range of survey, monitoring and conservation tasks to maintain or enhance natural and semi-natural habitats and/ or to facilitate visitor management (RC5801, RC5803, RC5804, RC5808);
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and critical understanding of relevant theories and concepts in the fields of Environmental Science and Conservation and how these interlink (all modules);
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the main methods of scientific enquiry in environmental science and conservation (all modules);
  • Develop an understanding of the legislation relating to the environment in the UK and be able to summarise and evaluate information in a professional, logical and coherent manner in relation to environmental systems and their conservation (RC5805);
  • Demonstrate an ability to apply knowledge of underlying concepts and principles outside the context in which they were originally studied, including in an employment context (RC5806/RC5807).
  • Develop an understanding of the limitations of their subject knowledge, and how this influences their own analysis and interpretation (all modules).

Core cognitive skills are expected to be evidenced throughout the two years of study. To start, students undertaking study at level 4 should expect to demonstrate clear lines of thinking, description, knowledge recall and understanding, with progression towards an ability to reason in a scientific manner, critically evaluate and analyse, and to synthesise new knowledge. Therefore, upon successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

FHEQ Level 4

  • Demonstrate an ability to present, evaluate and interpret qualitative and quantitative data, with a view to utilising these to make informed judgments on a variety of environmental topics and issues (RC4208);
  • Demonstrate different approaches to solving problems (RC4208, RC4801, RC4802, RC4804, RC4805, RC4807).

FHEQ Level 5

  • Utilise a range of approaches to undertake critical analysis of information pertaining to earth systems and ecological theory (RC5801, RC5802, RC5803, RC5804, RC5805, RC5808);

Develop an understanding of the limitations of their subject knowledge, and how this influences their own analysis and interpretation (all modules).

All students should be expected to evidence the development and enhancement of practical and professional skills during their studies. Employment-based and applied activity is embedded into the majority of all modules at levels 4 and 5. At level 4, students are involved in industry-relevant projects during taught sessions and are encouraged to complete additional work experience in their own time. Collectively, work experience hours sourced through taught sessions and outside of curriculum will amount to a minimum of 100 hours. At level 5, students complete either Experiential Learning (RC5807) or Work-based Learning within the Environmental Sector (RC5806) modules. Associated with these modules are an additional 100 hours work experience which are completed either in the UK or abroad.  

Emphasis is also placed on the development of soft skills that can be transferred to the employment sector as a graduate (e.g. communication, time management, team working skills and problem-solving abilities). Technical skills, specific to the discipline, should be demonstrated and will include the utilisation of a variety of methods to communicate research, show competencies in the handling, management and interpretation of data, use of information technology in a variety of formats to create, design, analyse and report, and reflect on their own learning and performance with the view to enhance their own abilities. Therefore, upon successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

FHEQ Level 4

  • Undertake practical training in the development of newly acquired skills for a variety of roles (all modules);
  • Demonstrate an ability to present, evaluate and interpret scientific data of a qualitative and quantitative nature, with the view to utilise these to make informed judgements (all modules);
  • Demonstrate an ability to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to problem solving, specific to both generic academic practices (revision techniques, approaches to coursework completion, team work etc.) and also discipline-based practices (experimental design and statistical analyses etc.) (all modules);

FHEQ Level 5

  • Undertake training to develop existing skills and acquire new competencies and knowledge to increase employability (all modules).
  • Use a range of techniques to undertake critical analysis of information, and to propose a solution to the problems arising from that analysis (all modules).

Students should develop their professional communication skills with emphasis on being able to accurately and concisely impart technical information in a format accessible to a range of audiences. Upon successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

FHEQ Level 4

  • Demonstrate an ability to present, evaluate and interpret scientific data of a qualitative and quantitative nature, with the view to communicate these to a variety of audiences (all modules);
  • Demonstrate an ability to form evidence-based arguments (all modules);

FHEQ Level 5

  • Effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis to a range of audiences (all modules);
  • Develop instructing, interpersonal and employability skills (all modules).

The FdSc Environmental Science for Conservation programme is designed with flexibility for employment in a range of environmental industries, including but not limited to ranger work, environmental consultancy and trust and charity work (e.g. rivers trusts and RSPB, respectively). The programme is designed so that academic knowledge and understanding underpin the development of work-related skills and their application in a work-based environment. The curriculum is designed around a programme core of knowledge, understanding and skills in environmental science and conservation, with specialist modules pertaining to different aspects of these areas.

The curriculum is built over two distinct levels of study, with underpinning modules at level 4 which explore the basis of environmental science, the processes that shape earth landscapes and the landforms they generate, fundamentals of ecology, practical skills, and conservation and field survey techniques. Study at level 5 shifts towards more research-informed study, and builds on the foundation of level 4 to explore in more depth relevant theories and methodologies across a broader range of specialisms. Specialisms include but are not limited to river management, climatology, aspects of plant and animal ecology and biology, and how legislation shapes the environmental sector. Within the programme, students are expected to undertake 120 credits of study each year. Modules each have a value of 15 credits. Modules are assessed on a 3000-word-per-module-equivalent basis using a variety of assessment strategies such as presentations, discussion groups, scientific reports and examinations.

The development of the programme reflects level-related characteristics, as indicated in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.  In respect of subject knowledge, emphasis at Level 4 concerns “describing” and “knowing about” fundamental principles that can be reinforced and developed when constructing rational argument and questioning skills. Level 5 encourages and promotes more research-informed study, making reference to, and linking, complex elements of knowledge, and subsequently allowing students to demonstrate their own critical approach to data and evidence.  Level-specific characteristics are embedded in the learning outcomes of the programme. 

Level 4

The modules at Level 4 provide a comprehensive review of key concepts and skills for a range of students. Students undertake eight core modules exclusively at this level, to ensure that students develop grounded knowledge of the fundamental principles, skills and concepts necessary for the further study of environmental science and conservation. These include modules in Geomorphology (RC4801), Principles of Ecology (RC4802), Plant and Animal Identification (RC4803), Practical Skills and Project Management (RC4804), Science of the Environment (RC4806), and Habitat Management for Conservation (RC4807). Level 4 modules are designed to give students a good introduction to a variety of environmental concepts and practical skills. In addition, further emphasis is placed on developing core academic skills (e.g. scientific writing, presenting/communicating research and referencing in accordance to a prescribed style) via the Academic Skills Development module (RC4208). These important skills are applied across many areas of study, particularly as students progress towards Level 5. 

Level 5

Level 5 modules involve far greater detail and depth of knowledge to reinforce existing knowledge and further enhance key concepts and skills. Modules at Level 5 include Tools for River Management (RC5801), Cartography, Digital Mapping and GIS (RC5802), Research Methods (RC5208), Climatology (RC5803), Ecological Surveys (RC5804), Environmental Legislation (RC5805), and Plant and Soil Science (RC5808). These modules are designed to further develop the skills and knowledge gained at level 4 and provide students with some specialism in certain areas. Study at Level 5 culminates with students taking Work Based Learning within the Environmental Sector (RC5806) or Experiential learning (RC5807) which provide an opportunity for students to apply and enhance their knowledge in an industry or work-related environment in a specific area of interest and forms an integral part of the programme in developing students in a professional capacity.  

Overall, the emphasis of this programme is placed upon the development of knowledge transfer but also technical and practical skills. It pulls together the academic expertise of staff, which together with the facilities at Reaseheath College, enable us to deliver high-quality academic and applied programmes of study. 

The programme structure herein endeavours to provide learners with module combinations with which to allow them to develop and enhance core transferable skills relevant to the industry, and allow them to explore particular roles that resonate with their career aspirations and specialist interests. For those students aspiring to progress and complete undergraduate studies at Level 6, this course clearly articulates onto the proposed BSc top-up in Environmental Systems Management, enabling professional skills and knowledge to be further developed.

Employability skills should be a core part of a student’s University experience and encompass the attributes that help graduates to secure employment, enable them to respond to the changing demands of the workplace and contribute positively to their employer’s success. Their own progress in these skills is therefore essential as any outcomes in the programmes of study. Employability skills include self-management, team work, business and customer awareness, problem-solving, communication and literacy, application of numeracy and application of information technology.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
RC4208 4 Academic Skills Development 15 Comp
RC4801 4 Geomorphology 15 Comp
RC4802 4 Principles of Ecology 15 Comp
RC4803 4 Plant and Animal Identification 15 Comp
RC4804 4 Practical Skills and Project Management 15 Comp
RC4805 4 Environmental Science Field Course 15 Comp
RC4806 4 Science of the Environment 15 Comp
RC4807 4 Habitat Management for Conservation 15 Comp
RC5208 5 Research Methods 15 Comp
RC5801 5 Tools for River Management 15 Comp
RC5802 5 Cartography, Digital Mapping and GIS 15 Comp
RC5803 5 Climatology 15 Comp
RC5804 5 Ecological Surveys 15 Comp
RC5805 5 Environmental Legislation 15 Comp
RC5806 5 Work Based Learning within the Environmental Sector 15 Optional
RC5807 5 Experiential Learning 15 Optional
RC5808 5 Plant and Soil Science 15 Comp

Level 4: modules are each worth 15 credits. A candidate who successfully completes level four will have accumulated 120 academic credit points, and will be eligible for the award of Certificate of Higher Education. These 120 academic credit points can be carried forward cumulatively towards the award of a Foundation Degree.

Level 5: modules are each worth 15 credits. A candidate successfully completing level five will have accumulated 240 academic credit points, and will be eligible for the award of Foundation degree*. These 240 academic credit points can be carried forward cumulatively towards the award of an honours level undergraduate degree award.

(*please see the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education: The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland—August 2008.)

None.

None.

A minimum of 64 UCAS points from the qualifications listed below, including a grade C equivalent in one of the subjects recommended by the department.  

The department recommends one of the following qualification(s):               

  • GCE A Level: (any science or relevant subject)         
  • GCE Applied A Level: (any science or relevant subject)         
  • BTEC Extended Diploma (any scientific or relevant subject: MPP)
  • BTEC Diploma (any scientific or relevant subject: MM)
  • OCR National Extended Diploma/Diploma: merit profile plus one of the GCE A Level subjects described above
  • Irish Highers/Scottish Highers: BBCC in 4 subjects, including any scientific or relevant subject
  • International Baccalaureate: 26 points, including 4 in any scientific or relevant state applicable subject area
  • Access to HE approved programme

Please note: we accept a maximum of 20 UCAS points from GCE AS Levels and that the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and A Level General Studies will be recognised in our offer. We will also consider a combination of A Levels and BTECs/OCRs.

Mature students (21 years of age or over) working in the science/ environmental industry and without evidence of the above qualifications, will be required to demonstrate enthusiasm and aptitude for higher level study, and have the support of their managers for linking their education with their work activities.  Where mature students do not have standard academic qualifications but are able to demonstrate considerable vocational experience and transferable skills, their applications will be viewed on an individual basis to assess suitability. All students in his category will be required to attend an interview and may be asked to submit a piece of work to confirm their ability to undertake the programme.

Any applicant who has not received certification for prior learning experiences, but has worked within the discipline, will also be considered. Acceptable work-based experience could include one, or a combination of several, of the following: Environmental/Science Technician, Ranger, Environmental Consultant.

The Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies (2014) benchmark statement has been used as an important reference point in the construction of the programme’s learning outcomes, knowledge, skills and content together with the methods of learning, teaching and assessment. Reference has been made to the threshold statements; these being the minimum requirement described in the benchmarking statements by the Quality Assurance Agency.

An environmental science foundation degree should provide the knowledge and skills required to confidently and professionally support industry within the environmental sector. Such attributes should recognise the diversity of skills required to be an environmental scientist or conservationist, from understanding of the complex nature of many conservation problems and solutions, which often involve abiotic and biotic elements and social, economic and political dimensions. In recognition of the human responsibility towards global environmental change, it is also important that environmental scientists and conservationists have an in-depth understanding of the social and environmental consequences of increasing carbon emissions and global air temperatures. For example, the impacts of global climate change on riverine processes with implications for anthropogenic activities, investigated during the Tools for River Management module (RC5801). In response to such diverse responsibilities, the QAA subject bench marks from the Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies have been utilised to develop standards within this Environmental Systems Management programme. In particular, this programme will focus on the technical knowledge and skills, typically applied within the environmental sector and identified within the above benchmark statements that can be applied to industry as it adapts to a changing landscape, driven by global environmental change. Pertinent knowledge and skills identified from the Earth sciences and Environmental Sciences benchmarks will be used to support understanding of earth systems science, whilst the Environmental Studies statement will be utilised to develop skills and knowledge directly relevant to the biota and functioning of ecological systems.

Applied modules enable students to utilise the suite of concepts and perspectives to compare, contrast, analyse and critique, to inform new knowledge and to problem solve. Students will be expected to engage in several platforms whereby these skills underpin the philosophy of the module. Students should expect to be able to access primary literature, with which to analyse underpinning concepts and the research that may support or refute them. Following critical analysis, students would be expected to synthesis new thoughts, ideas and knowledge in response to the concurrent research and express these through seminar discussions, presentations and assessed components of work.

The more generic "soft" skills identified in the benchmark statements, including time management, reflective practice, team work, communication, use of data, information technology, information retrieval and presentation, are all explicitly embedded in the majority of modules presented within the programme, either assessed formatively through classroom based activities, or alternatively through components of assessment. Furthermore, such skills are enhanced through the provision of a non-credited "group tutorial" session, which comprises a dedicated additional hour on the weekly timetable that provides students with opportunity to further develop transferable skills.

Foundation degrees are intended to offer university education closely linked to employment. The FdSc Environmental Science for Conservation programme has been designed for both for full-time study by people aspiring to careers in the environmental sector and part-time study by people employed in the industry or looking for a career change. All modules have been designed for delivery as university-based for students able to attend full-time or part-time and where we can offer appropriate work-related experience via established links through key academic staff at Reaseheath College. The aims, learning outcomes and content for both forms of study are identical, with a core emphasis on the development of students’ cognitive, key and professional skills, and the application of academic knowledge and understanding in relevant work settings.

All students will go through initial screening and diagnostic testing during induction to assess their current academic level and identify any learning difficulties. Where learning difficulties are suspected, students will be referred to HEST for further testing and allocation of required support. In addition, practical skills audits will be completed to assess students' practical experience and skill.

Full-time and part-time students attending college will encounter a broad range of teaching and learning experiences across all levels of study as befits the subject matter. Methods of teaching and learning are indicated clearly in each module descriptor and the list below describes the variety of approaches used by tutors.

Lectures

These feature in most modules as an effective way of imparting important content, themes and pointers for further study. They will be used to set a framework for further study and inform students of the value of the discipline. Lectures will aim to be interactive and student-focussed and will in themselves encompass a variety of classroom-based activities. They will be further supplemented by a range of other methods of teaching and learning as described below.

Practical classes

The majority of modules at Levels 4 and 5 include practical classes. These provide the opportunity for students to develop their practical skills (e.g. using and maintaining equipment, undertaking surveys, interpreting and analysing environmental data, developing mapping skills). An important aspect of practical work is the opportunity for students to engage in group work thus encouraging working with others. These practical skills are essential for the credibility of the programme and employability of the students.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

The University has a VLE available to all students on or off campus. This offers access to a wide range of facilities including Learning Resources, the Library and all modular support materials. Staff are committed to using the VLE interface for making additional support materials available for students. This will be particularly important for part-time/ distance learning students who may be geographically diverse, to ensure they have the same access to resources.

Directed reading

As reading is central to the process of knowledge acquisition in higher education, module tutors provide reading lists to guide their students to appropriate material. Increasingly, these lists include references to the Internet and electronic sources, as well as more traditional book and journal references. Primary reference lists, comprising key texts, can be found in the module descriptors, which form the centre point of any module. Additional reading is also provided in the module handbooks to promote further reading around the subject area. Reading has been designed to structure the students learning, developing from more accessible text books to industry-standard texts as the students progress through the levels.

Group work

The QCA Key Skills document lists ‘working with others’ as one of the six categories of Key Skills that needs to be demonstrated in higher education. Throughout the programme, working with others has been incorporated at each level. In many modules, particularly in practical work or the laboratory, students are encouraged to work in groups and to share ideas. The assessment in certain modules is based on group assignments.  

In the main, teaching and learning activities take place on the campus. Timetabling is arranged centrally. There is some flexibility for students to change groups for laboratory classes and group tutorials to suit part-time students and those who have family commitments or transport difficulties. This is in accordance with the University's widening access and participation strategy. It is possible for all students to access support materials at home via the ‘Sharepoint Portal'. Students who study via distance learning will have access to chat rooms and support mechanisms through the VLE.

Independent research 

In line with benchmarking and the Department's Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy, the need for students to become effective as independent learners is planned for and encouraged. The programme structures its learning outcomes so that this will happen progressively across the programme.

Assessment Criteria 

The University's over-arching level-related criteria are a key reference when designing modular assessments. Therefore, progression towards more complex and involved assessments, that require greater levels of study autonomy and greater levels of critical analysis, underpins the overall assessment strategy of the programme.   

In addition, all students who pass any part of a degree are expected to possess such basic skills as the ability to make use of numerical and statistical information; the ability to locate internet sites from given web addresses; the ability to send and receive e-mail messages; the ability to use basic software packages such as Word; the ability to perform basic searches on standard electronic retrieval systems, and the ability to write legibly. Students who succeed at Level 4 and above should be able to construct an essay using correct grammar, spelling and referencing according to the American Psychological Association (APA) system of referencing.

In the preparation of coursework, which can include essays, laboratory/practical exercises and presentation, students are given time and scope to present their work in a variety of forms, particularly where an examination would be inappropriate. However, the institutions are aware that examinations have an important role to play in summative assessment, and give academic credibility to the degree programme. 

The programme uses a wide range of forms of assessment including:

  • Essays and written assignments - testing the ability to write within word limits, convey ideas with clarity and accuracy, reference to an academic standard and the ability to conduct private study and research;
  • Reports - covering a variety of structured styles, to summarise findings from investigations, reflect on practical activities or discuss approaches to case study;
  • Oral presentations - testing presentation skills, the ability to discuss issues with clarity and respond to questions;
  • Practical tests and oral questioning – demonstrating skill acquirement and application of knowledge and theories;
  • Dissertation - testing the ability to conduct individual primary research and communicate ideas and information effectively in an academic manner and within word limits;
  • Portfolio - testing the ability to acquire key survey and census skills, analyse data and present material in a clear, effective manner;
  • Short-based seminar exercises;
  • Reading of academic texts and discussion exercises;
  • Close analysis of texts;
  • Literature reviews;
  • Critical Reviews;
  • Online multiple-choice and short answer exams.

Specific details of the programme of assessment, according to module, can be found in the matrix below.

Formative assessment and feedback

All students receive written comments on assessed components of work and additional feedback on the work is given more informally by individual tutors during group workshops and one-to-one tutorials. Additionally, some tutors have adopted the use of “GradeMark” software by which to provide more timely feedback to students. Formative feedback is an important and essential component of all taught modules. The nature of the assessment and feedback varies from module to module but typically takes the form of a written assignment done under time constraints, marked by the module tutor. Formative feedback is staggered throughout the year. The programme also makes use of on-line formative feedback in the form of electronic marking and self-evaluation forms.

Reassessment Methods   

Reassessment will address the learning outcomes of the failed components. For modules forming part of programmes in the Department of Biological Sciences, reassessment will normally take the form of the resubmission of all failed component(s) of the modular assessment. Here, students will be expected to resubmit the coursework or re-sit the exam in its original format, albeit using a different perspective or suite of questions.

It is intended that graduates of the FdSc Environmental Science for Conservation programme will have:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the application of research and evidence-based methods for use in environmental science and conservation;
  • Ability to apply academic knowledge and techniques to practical solutions in environmental work settings;
  • Skills of academic enquiry to generate potential solutions to problems in the fields of environmental science and conservation, and cognitive skills to critically evaluate these to arrive at solutions fitted to context.
  • An understanding of the limits of their knowledge, and how this influences analysis and interpretations based on that knowledge in the fields of environmental science and conservation.
  • Skills to effectively communicate information, arguments, and analysis, in written and oral form, to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Confidence and transferable skills to undertake further training, develop existing skills and acquire new competencies that will enable them to assume responsibility within relevant organisations.
  • The characteristics and attributes that will enable progression onto further education and training e.g. BSc Environmental Systems Management, should they wish.

The programme will serve as a unique platform by which to project graduates of this programme into employment within the industry. Beyond developing core generic skills in time management, project design and implementation, communication and team work, students undertaking study on this programme will have a unique opportunity to develop industry-specific skills, primarily through the practical application of theory via utilising the specialist resources available on-site. In addition, students will engage with relevant field equipment, instrumentation and information technology to enhance their skills in monitoring and managing a variety of aquatic and terrestrial environments. Thus, the combination of subject theory and its practical applications will stand students in good stead for employment within the sector.

  • Careers within the environmental sector typically fall into the following roles:
  • Consultant/field technician
  • Ranger
  • Land manager
  • Environment agency (or equivalent) staff member
  • Rivers trust (or equivalent) staff member
  • Forestry commission (or equivalent) staff member
  • Charity (e.g. RSPB) staff member
  • Further undergraduate (e.g. BSc Environmental Systems Management) and postgraduate education (MSc., PhD)
  • Researcher/Research Assistant
  • Animal Welfare Campaigner

It is envisaged that graduates in possession of this qualification, in addition to undertaking further undergraduate study at level 6 and possibly postgraduate study at level 7, may demonstrate the competencies required to be successful in their chosen careers at a more senior level within an environmental establishment.

Both Reaseheath College and the University of Chester are committed to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. Both institutions seek to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students.  The ultimate objective of the programme’s delivery is to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in those activities, all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and the diverse needs of our students are provided for.  At a departmental level, all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:

Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality. 

Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.

There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.

The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues.  Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.

Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules in the first year to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.

Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking also enhances equal opportunity, fairness and independence to all students.

To ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.

All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.

All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of both institutional Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise. 

Reaseheath College offers specific support for students with specified learning needs, encompassing all physical abilities, in conjunction with the Higher Education Support Team (HEST) on campus. In collaboration with student support services, and safeguarding task groups, the college's equality and diversity policy aims to ensure that all students and all members of staff at the College have equality of opportunity and are treated solely based on their aptitude, ability and potential to pursue a course of study or to fulfil the requirements of a job. The policy also aims to eliminate discrimination, which is unlawful or unfair.

The college has established HE provisions and in the recent QAA HER performance achieved the following judgements: 

  • The maintenance of the threshold academic standards of the awards offered on behalf of degree-awarding bodies meets UK expectations
  • the quality of student learning opportunities is commended
  • the quality of the provider’s information about learning opportunities meets UK expectations
  • the enhancement of student learning opportunities is commended

Of the 7 recognised areas of good practice, the following have relevance to this programme:

  • The management and use of long-term strategic relationships with external stakeholders to enhance the student experience. (A5, B1, B3, B4, Enhancement)
  • The systematic approach to providing work-based learning opportunities of quality and relevance to students and to the College’s mission. (B3, B4, B10, Enhancement)

The college has dedicated resources for HE students, including an HE centre consisting of lecture rooms, computer suites, quiet study areas and a social area including a café. All students will have access to the college VLE, which is particularly important for distance learners. There are plans to further expand this facility due to growth of student numbers. In addition, HE students have access to the Higher Education Support Team, which provides specialist academic and pastoral support to meet the needs of HE learners. Students can live on campus, in 18+ halls of residence. These are fully wardened and were graded Outstanding by Ofsted for Care Standards. The college also has good recreational and social facilities available to all students, including, gym, sports hall, sports fields, canteen, cafes and the Student Union bar.

Teaching facilities include but are not limited to specialist arboriculture and aquaculture equipment, sample processing laboratories, a hydraulics laboratory (under development), a 330-hectare estate offering access to a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. In addition, there are excellent links to industry within the department and where appropriate, students will have access to specialist pieces of research equipment.

There is a team of 12 full-time Countryside staff. Pertinent qualifications of key teaching staff members are included below:

1 x PhD in Mesolithic archaeology; MSc Environmental Science

1 x PhD in Environmental Science; BSc Environmental Studies

1 x MSc Countryside Management

2 x MSc Environmental Science

1 x BSc Environmental Science

1 x BSc Marine Biology

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