The Geography, Biology and Environment Unit is based within the School of Forensic and Applied Sciences. Our students have access to world-class teaching and research facilities and benefit from a multi-disciplinary academic team. We offer exciting and dynamic courses, enabling students to study the major social, environmental and biological challenges facing our world. We pride ourselves on providing an engaging and supportive learning environment, with an emphasis on practical methods of teaching, including laboratory and fieldwork-based activities, to complement traditional classroom learning.
All our undergraduate courses are employability-focused, providing graduates with transferable practical and theoretical skills to undertake a diverse range of careers or further study.
Our Royal Geographical Society accredited undergraduate programmes have pathways in Physical Geography (BSc (Hons) Geography) and Human Geography (BA (Hons) Geography), with students undertaking an introductory year in Human and Physical Geography, and developing their particular interests in years 2 and 3.
Our BSc (Hons) Biology students study a range of topics from microbes to humans, including the biology of disease, the natural world, evolution, bioinformatics and how humans and organisms interact with each other and their environment. They develop a breadth of understanding and hands-on skills, valued by employers in the scientific, environmental and biotechnology industries.
Environmental Science is an increasingly important area of study and a growing employment sector. On the BSc (Hons) Environmental Science programme students study a broad range of subjects with a focus on evaluating human-related causes and consequences of environmental impacts and assessing options for remediation. The course also provides a unique opportunity to study defined Archaeology and Forensic Science strands.
Our research addresses critical environmental, ecological and social issues and students learn directly from these real-world examples in the classroom. We work closely with partner organisations, such as The National Trust, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Scottish National Heritage, World Museum Liverpool, The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside and Lancashire Constabulary, to produce research of local, national and international significance. These connections not only provide students with placement and employment opportunities, but they are also utilised for undergraduate and postgraduate student research projects. We welcome applications from PhD students interested in conducting research in our areas of expertise. Read more about some of our research activities below:
Fieldwork is an integral part of all our degree schemes, taking advantage of our excellent location and connections with national and international organisations. We prioritise practical learning experiences so that students can apply techniques learnt in the classroom to real world situations, with day and short residential fieldtrips being included in many of our modules. Students can also undertake optional international field courses (previous destinations have included USA/Canada, China and Guyana) researching issues such as gentrification, crime in the city, flood management and habitat / species conservation.
“The trip met and exceeded my expectations. I thought the whole thing was interesting and beneficial towards the course. I feel very privileged to have been able to experience and take part in the activities.”
Guyana field trip 2017, BSc Environmental Management Student.
“It was honestly one of the best times and experiences of my life. This trip was full of great experiences, learning opportunities and times to explore different cultures.”
Guyana field trip 2017, BSc Geography Student.
“The Geography field trip to China was an amazing experience, firstly to visit China, but secondly to embrace the culture and history of the country. The trip looked into both physical and human aspects within China, pollution issues in major cities, as well as the diverse history of the country. Overall a truly memorable and valuable trip.”
China field trip 2018, BA Geography Student.
"The Scotland fieldtrip overall was good experience and really enjoyable. The lecturers in charge of the fieldtrip were very helpful and supportive throughout the trip and kept us engaged with lots of interesting activities."
Scotland field trip 2017, BSc Environmental Management Student.
We also offer MSc Resource, Energy and Environmental Management. The environment is becoming a global issue and international development is linked to the economics of natural resources including energy demand. Resource management has become critical to the operation of both large and small organisations. Both the public and private sectors require staff with detailed resource and environmental knowledge at regional, national and international level. Businesses are increasingly looking beyond just Europe to Asia, Australasia and the Americas to inform their best practice and maintain market share. The course will prepare students for professional careers requiring high levels of judgement, team-working, leadership, initiative, delegation and decision-making responsibilities.
We welcome applications for PhD study that reflect our research expertise. Please contact the staff member that you would like to work with in order to find out more information.
Geography, Biology, and the Environmental Science staff are experts in both teaching and research. They also have extensive experience of applying their knowledge in real world environments. The staff are dedicated to helping our students develop the skills they need to be successful.
Dr Hannah Awcock
Lecturer in Human Geography; expertise in the historical and cultural geographies of protest.
Dr Kevin Butt
Reader in Ecology; Biology Course Leader; expertise in earthworm ecology and their contribution to restored soil ecosystems.
Dr Emily Cooper
Lecturer in Human Geography; Researcher in UCLan Policing.
Dr Jo Dawson
Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography.
Centre for Waste Management Project and Resource Coordinator.
Dr Will Goodwin
Reader in Forensic Genetics; expertise in forensic science.
Dr Sibte Hadi
Reader in Forensic Medicine and Genetics; expertise in forensic pathology.
Dr Elizabeth Hurrell
Lecturer in Environmental Science; expertise in palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, biogeochemical cycling and diatom isotopes.
Dr Chris Lowe
Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environment; Environmental Science Course Leader; expertise in earthworm ecology, ecotoxicology and carbon management.
Lecturer in Biology.
Dr. Claire Mellor
Lecturer in Cell Biology; expertise in drug toxicity in humans and the environment.
Dr. Athanasios Rizoulis
Lecturer in Microbiology; expertise in the microbial ecology of polluted environments and biotransformation of metals.
Dr. Phil Roberts
Principal Lecturer; Academic Lead for Biology, Geography and Archaeology.
Dr Judith Smith
Senior Lecturer in Forensic Genetics; expertise in the application of genetics in Forensic Entomology and Molecular Ecology.
Dr. Barbara Tigar
Lecturer in Environmental Biology and Ecology; expertise in avian and insect ecology, in natural and anthropogenic environments.
Dr Mark Toogood
Senior Lecturer in Human Geography; expertise in Historical Geography and public engagement with science.
Dr Karl Williams
Head of Centre for Waste Management.
Dr Yingkui Zhao
Course Leader for Geography; Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography.
The 11th International Symposium on Earthworm Ecology (ISEE11) was held in Shanghai, China from 24-29 June 2018, find out more.
A highly motivated geography student from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), who arrived at UCLan through clearing on a foundation programme has now graduated with a first-class honours degree and landed a role working for an international company where he focuses on ecological consultancy.