Personal statement advice: environmental science

Passionate, concerned, or curious about environmental issues? Make sure you demonstrate this in your environmental science personal statement. Add into the mix something about yourself and your achievements or experience, and you should have a personal statement that fits the bill.

Show your enthusiasm for the subject

Tutors like to see personal statements where your enthusiasm for the subject and your own voice come across in an interesting and spontaneous way.

Try and view the statement as a way to introduce yourself and establish a personal relationship with the universities you’re applying to, not just as a way of 'selling yourself'. Remember, provided you are a suitable applicant, then some, if not all the unis you apply to, will invite you to an applicants’ open day, which often includes an informal, friendly interview where your personal statement will be discussed.

There’s a subtle balance to be struck here. Your personal statement needs to be well structured, carefully written, grammatically correct, and should avoid sounding too quirky. But at the same time it should also retain a personal touch. What turned you on to environmental science in the first place,’ and what does that also reveal about you as a person and what makes you tick?

Like many others, environmental science divides into pathways which means you can specialise in topics that interest you while still gaining a broad overview. So, it's good to be clear in your personal statement about where your environmental interests lie.

‘Write about yourself in your own way! When it comes to environmental science, include a sentence or two to outline why you are interested in the environment, whether it was a TV series, a holiday, a college tutor, a relative, friend or something else that inspired you. If we have an idea of where your interests come from, university staff can give you some ideas about where an environmental science degree might lead to and how you might progress into a career.’ Dr Pete Shaw | Environmental Science Admissions Tutor – University Of Southampton

Say something about your scientific interests

Reflecting on your scientific interests would be of interest too because, as Dr Shaw says: 'There are not usually specific subjects needed for environmental science degrees. Many universities ask for at least two A level sciences, but few specify which sciences, and other qualifications may be suitable as long as there is enough science content’. So with applicants coming from a variety of academic backgrounds, it will be of interest to admissions tutors to find out a bit more about your scientific interests.

More for your environmental science statement

  • More about you: tutors also want to hear more about you as a person. As Dr Shaw puts it, 'Do include something about your extracurricular interests too. It’s good to see what you get up to in your spare time'. Sure, universities want to recruit the best students they can, but it’s equally important to them that you also make the right choice.
  • Subject knowledge: Bournemouth University wants to know what it is that appeals to you about the 'interdisciplinary nature of environmental science' or the mixture of 'private study and field-based practical skills' involved in the course.
  • How your current studies relate: Queen Mary University of London suggests writing about your current studies and the skills you’ve developed, explaining what you gained from any relevant experience or showing your understanding of one or two topical issues.
  • Environmental engagement: you should also evidence 'how you relate with the environmental problems of our times' or your 'enthusiasm for investigating complex environmental systems', according to Bournemouth.
  • What you can offer: Queen Mary wants more about any skills, interests or achievements you can bring to both the degree and the broader life of the university itself, 'something we cannot get just from your qualifications or your reference'.