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UCAS Application majors - US Applicant

Hello, I'm in a bit of a unique situation and would like some advice about what to do. I am a US Student looking to apply to UK schools (with a very very strong intention of attending) and I'm struggling a bit with major selection. Up to this point most of my work has centered around chemistry/materials science but I have a very strong interest in renewable energy and would like to major in environmental science or something similar in college to return to the US with for a masters. The colleges I've looked at - Imperial College London/UCL/UManchester/Edinborough - don't have this and usually have chemistry/material science/geology. I'd be willing to apply as geology but would this jeopardize my chances of getting in? What should I do? I haven't dealt with this for US Universities because they have environmental science and allow you to switch majors anyway.

Thanks so much in advance!!
Original post by Parzi145
Hello, I'm in a bit of a unique situation and would like some advice about what to do. I am a US Student looking to apply to UK schools (with a very very strong intention of attending) and I'm struggling a bit with major selection. Up to this point most of my work has centered around chemistry/materials science but I have a very strong interest in renewable energy and would like to major in environmental science or something similar in college to return to the US with for a masters. The colleges I've looked at - Imperial College London/UCL/UManchester/Edinborough - don't have this and usually have chemistry/material science/geology. I'd be willing to apply as geology but would this jeopardize my chances of getting in? What should I do? I haven't dealt with this for US Universities because they have environmental science and allow you to switch majors anyway.

Thanks so much in advance!!

if youre set on studying environmental sciences, you can google the rank list of best unis that offer it/a similar course like natural sciences. if youre set on the unis you've looked at, you could do a bachelors (undergrad) in geology, geography, biology, chemistry etc which will still help you, and then do a masters (postgrad) in environmental sciences once youre more familiar with the uk system? other than that i would suggest finding out what each of the courses at the uni offers as they may have the same name but different modules. also you have the option to switch into a different course but it can be trickier than the US system to do that
Original post by Parzi145
Hello, I'm in a bit of a unique situation and would like some advice about what to do. I am a US Student looking to apply to UK schools (with a very very strong intention of attending) and I'm struggling a bit with major selection. Up to this point most of my work has centered around chemistry/materials science but I have a very strong interest in renewable energy and would like to major in environmental science or something similar in college to return to the US with for a masters. The colleges I've looked at - Imperial College London/UCL/UManchester/Edinborough - don't have this and usually have chemistry/material science/geology. I'd be willing to apply as geology but would this jeopardize my chances of getting in? What should I do? I haven't dealt with this for US Universities because they have environmental science and allow you to switch majors anyway.

Thanks so much in advance!!

Use the following website to search for courses and try using different search terms depending on your preferences (environmental science, environmental engineering, etc.):

https://www.whatuni.com/

A few of the unis (there are more) that offer Environmental Science degrees are listed below. Read through the course modules carefully to see if they will cover what you are interested in. They might not cover renewable energy in depth.

https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/environmental-science-bsc-hons-f750/
https://www.ncl.ac.uk/undergraduate/subjects/earth-environment-science/
https://www.southampton.ac.uk/study/subjects/geography-environmental-science
https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/2023/12124/bsc-environmental-science/
https://www.york.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/bsc-environmental-science/

Also, check out the websites for the Institution of Environmental Sciences (they have an accreditation scheme for degree programmes) and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA):

https://www.the-ies.org/accreditation
https://www.iema.net/skills/training/educational-partner-register

Some masters courses on renewable energy require an engineering-based bachelors degree, so it might be worth looking at civil/environmental engineering courses as a first step to specialising in renewables.

https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/masters/courses/list/09009/msc-renewable-energy-and-clean-technology/
https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/courses/taught/renewable-energy
Original post by Parzi145
Hello, I'm in a bit of a unique situation and would like some advice about what to do. I am a US Student looking to apply to UK schools (with a very very strong intention of attending) and I'm struggling a bit with major selection. Up to this point most of my work has centered around chemistry/materials science but I have a very strong interest in renewable energy and would like to major in environmental science or something similar in college to return to the US with for a masters. The colleges I've looked at - Imperial College London/UCL/UManchester/Edinborough - don't have this and usually have chemistry/material science/geology. I'd be willing to apply as geology but would this jeopardize my chances of getting in? What should I do? I haven't dealt with this for US Universities because they have environmental science and allow you to switch majors anyway.

Thanks so much in advance!!


Hey!

I’m Oliver and am currently a third year in natural sciences at Lancaster University.

For me, natural sciences as a great degree option if you are interested in big interdisciplinary areas like this. My specific interest is at the interface between chemistry and biochemistry/genetics and natural sciences has offered my great flexibility to take modules in both of those areas.

Every university will do natural sciences a bit differently so it's worth looking around and seeing which style suits your interests best.
At Lancaster we have a pathway system where you choose three pathways in first year from a across all the sciences including chemistry, physics, maths, biology, geography, environmental science and psychology, just to name a few. In my first year, I chose two chemistry pathways (synthetic chemistry and physical chemistry) and a biochemistry pathway. In second year you can then choose to keep all your pathways on or drop one to allow a greater focus on the other two. This was great for me as I was able to drop my physical chemistry pathway after first year to allow for a greater focus on biochemistry. If your are interested, the full list of pathways and entry requirements for Lancaster can be found here: https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/natural-sciences/

While I don't have much experience in environmental science, I can say that I have had a great experience with the Chemistry department at Lancaster. Every module has been fascinating (especially organic chemistry) and all the lecturers are really helpful. I know that as you progress on to second and third year there are specific modules that focus on materials science, particularly biodegradable polymers which could be of interest.
As part of natural sciences there is also an environmental chemistry pathway which combines modules from chemistry and environmental/earth science. Just to note, this is a double weighted pathway so would take up two of your three slots.

I hope that is helpful and best of luck with your decision 😊 Feel free to ask me any other questions if you have any

Oliver (Student Ambassador)
Just remember that the UK Uni system is totally different to the US system.
We don't do 'majors' - you can't pick and mix units in the same way as you can in the US.
Even within multi-disciplinary degrees like Natural Sciences, there is limited flexibility as these degrees usually rely on pre-set 'pathways'.

If you just want to spend some time in the UK at a UK Uni, then look at doing your degree in the US and being a visiting student in the UK for an academic year - one example : https://www.bath.ac.uk/guides/applying-to-study-at-bath-as-a-visiting-student/ - a Uni that also offers Natural Sciences btw.

Or, do your initial degree in the US and come here for more specialised postgrad study - Manchester https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/masters/courses/list/09009/msc-renewable-energy-and-clean-technology/ or Edinburgh https://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees/index.php?r=site/view&edition=2022&id=22
If you are interested in attending imperial for example you would probably have a better chance of admission for geology as it’s not as competitive.
A Geology degree isn’t going to have much opportunity to specialise in renewable energy in most cases (although there might be exceptions). There’s lots of excellent universities in the UK offering EnvSci degrees.
Southampton has one of the few working and commercial geothermal power stations in the uk and also has the NOC and research vessels for looking into offshore wind.

UEA and Reading both used to have really strong EnvSci degrees but I’m a bit out of the loop - Reading used to be home of the Met office so had that weather modelling strength, UEA used to have the main research group into climate science.

Bangor has one of the regional offices of the CEH (ecology and hydrology) so might be worth a look too. And if you’re interested in tidal power the Cardiff would be worth a look but I suspect that’s more along the lines of Env Engineering rather than EnvSci. If renewables are your interest then Env Engineering might be a better specialism to look into if you meet the entry requirements.
Original post by PQ
A Geology degree isn’t going to have much opportunity to specialise in renewable energy in most cases (although there might be exceptions). There’s lots of excellent universities in the UK offering EnvSci degrees.
Southampton has one of the few working and commercial geothermal power stations in the uk and also has the NOC and research vessels for looking into offshore wind.

UEA and Reading both used to have really strong EnvSci degrees but I’m a bit out of the loop - Reading used to be home of the Met office so had that weather modelling strength, UEA used to have the main research group into climate science.

Bangor has one of the regional offices of the CEH (ecology and hydrology) so might be worth a look too. And if you’re interested in tidal power the Cardiff would be worth a look but I suspect that’s more along the lines of Env Engineering rather than EnvSci. If renewables are your interest then Env Engineering might be a better specialism to look into if you meet the entry requirements.

The Met office is based in Exeter and it might be worth OP looking at their courses. Here is an example from their Penryn campus. However OP needs to fully look into this due to Penryns location and environment. It will work for some but not everyone

https://www.exeter.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses2023/envsci/envscimsci/

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