Geography and the Environment

Geography and the Environment Students

The Geography 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.

Our Undergraduate Courses

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.

Environmental science

Environmental science

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.

Research-Led Teaching

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.

Find out more


Geography student in a lake

Student Quotes from Fieldtrips

“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.

Postgraduate courses

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.

Meet Our Staff

Geography 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 Emily Cooper
Lecturer in Human Geography; Researcher in UCLan Policing.

Dr Jo Dawson
Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography.

Dr Judith Smith
Senior Lecturer in Forensic Genetics; expertise in the application of genetics in Forensic Entomology and Molecular Ecology.

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.

Siobhan Quigg
Geography Technician.

Dr. Athanasios Rizoulis
Lecturer in Microbiology; expertise in the microbial ecology of polluted environments and biotransformation of metals.

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.

Latest News


A Knowledge Transfer Partnership between UCLan and Recycling Lives, a national recycling and waste business, scooped the Most Innovative Contribution to Business-University Collaboration prize. This partnership has worked together to turn automotive shredder residue from old vehicles into a saleable product and electrical energy, greatly reducing environmental impact and diverting material away from landfill.


UCLan Geography Graduate goes on to teach the Next Generation of Geographers

The new Making Carbon Work (MaCaW) project was recently launched at a sold out event at the University’s Media Factory. The event saw a wide range of Lancashire small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and business intermediaries hear about the plans for the project which is being managed by the Centre for Waste Management.

UCLan Geography Graduate goes on to teach the Next Generation of Geographers

UCLan Launches MACAW: A New Project to Reduce the County’s Carbon Footprint

The new Making Carbon Work (MaCaW) project was recently launched at a sold out event at the University’s Media Factory. The event saw a wide range of Lancashire small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and business intermediaries hear about the plans for the project which is being managed by the Centre for Waste Management.


Third Year Starts in Style for Geography, Biology, and Environmental Management Students

To start their third year, Geography, Biology and Environmental Management students embark on a substantial field trip to consolidate and build on what they have learnt in the first two years of their degrees. This year, the students had a choice of China, and the Isle of Rum and Scotland. Both trips were a resounding success.

China Field Trip

Earthworm Research Group have a significant presence at ISEE11 in Shanghai

The 11th International Symposium on Earthworm Ecology (ISEE11) was held in Shanghai, China from 24-29 June 2018, find out more.

Pete Bentley - Earthworms

Determination turns adversity into educational journey of success

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.

Ryan Evans