Earth & Environmental Sciences, BSc

Are you passionate about the environment? Do you see opportunities to improve environmental practices? Are you committed to protecting the unique resources of Central Asia? Do you enjoy applying scientific concepts to real world problems? If so, UCA's Earth and Environmental Sciences programme is for you.

UCA's cross-disciplinary Earth and Environmental Sciences programme integrates the study of socio-cultural, ecological and geological systems to create informed and engaged leaders and scholars. The programme draws on the vast diversity of life experiences, ecological zones and cultures in Central Asia's mountainous regions and addresses complex regional and global problems such as climate change, poverty, environmental degradation, intolerance, and food and energy security.

The Earth and Environmental Sciences curriculum is developed in collaboration with the University of British Columbia in Canada, and this specialisation benefits from the resources of UCA’s Mountain Societies Research Institute.

The curriculum delivers a strong foundation in Earth and Environmental Sciences through the study of natural science, social science and the humanities. It will also foster the development of critical professional and research skills and provide opportunities for you to undertake research in your own specialised areas of interest.

Our campuses, located in mountain communities, provide unique learning landscapes. You will have access to the University's Mountain Societies Research Institute, which leads UCA's Learning Landscapes Initiative and offers a range of resources, including UCA's geographic information systems (GIS) laboratory and access to an international network of researchers.

Meet UCA’s Earth & Environmental Sciences Faculty

Core Curriculum

  • Foundations in Chemistry, Physics and Ecology
  • The Concept of Modern Natural Science
  • Economic Geography and Demographics of Tajikistan
  • Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing
  • Mixed Research Methods
  • Ways of Knowing: Mountain Environments in Thought and Practice
  • Environmental governance refers to how and why societies and governments manage the relationship between human beings and the natural world. To study environmental governance is to study the rationales, rhetoric and structures of environmental management systems, and to compare these systems to understand why certain environmental problems are managed as they are, what approaches to environmental management are more (or less) successful, and for whom, and in what ways they are successful. This course seeks to provide tools for describing, discussing and analysing the issues that underpin environmental management problems. The course begins with a review of the major conceptual approaches to managing human-environment relationships: regulation-based approaches, incentive or market-based approaches, community-based management approaches, and co-management approaches. It also considers the role of these approaches in global environmental governance. The course then focuses on case studies representing governance of water, air, land, and biosphere, in which students can apply the concepts they have learnt in the first part of the course to specific cases. Next, students will explore how the uniquely environmental aspects of these problems manifest in governance, how environmental impacts and outcomes are assessed, and how scientific information influences decision-making.

  • Environment and Development in Mountain Regions
  • This course investigates the scientific evidence for global warming, examines the causes of climate change, considers the impacts on natural and human systems, and explores options to mitigate and/or adapt to changing climatic conditions. Particular attention is paid to impacts and adaptation in the mountain regions of Central Asia.

  • Natural Hazards and Risk Management in Mountain Regions
  • Introduction to Geology and Earth Processes
  • This course introduces the physical and chemical properties and characteristics of minerals, rocks and sediments, including techniques of measuring or determining their values in the lab and on site. The relationships between rock types and plate tectonics, and the origins and characteristics of geological resources are discussed. Students will complete laboratory and/or field-based studies as part of this course.

  • Advanced Geological Materials and Resources
  • Surface Processes in Mountain Environments
  • Hydrology and Hydrogeology

Specialised Courses

Environmental Science Courses:

  • Conservation Science
  • Applied Ecology
  • Environmental Impact and Risk Assessment
  • Advanced GIS and Remote Sensing

Geologic Science Courses:

  • Geochemistry
  • Geodynamics and Structural Geology
  • Sediments, Stratigraphy and Hydrocarbon Resources
  • Minerals, Petrology and Mined Resources

* Courses are subject to change.

Elective courses are offered to students in line with the national requirements, and students can also choose free elective courses from another major.


You will acquire the following professional skills:

  • Apply specialised skills such as remote sensing and modeling techniques to address real-life needs or conduct research;
  • Integrate scientific knowledge with an understanding of economic and social realities to assess impacts and address current environmental problems;
  • Incorporate local or indigenous knowledge into their scholarship and research;
  • Collect environmental and geological data utilising multiple research methods and equipment for fieldwork;
  • Analyse geological and environmental samples using laboratory equipment and field instrumentation as appropriate;
  • Communicate effectively scientific concepts in written, oral, and graphical forms to technical and non-technical stakeholders.

Career Pathways

Your minor complements your major area of study, enriching your skill set and knowledge base, making you an all-rounded candidate for any future employer.

  • Geographic Information Sciences
  • Mineral Exploration and Extraction
  • Renewable Energy
  • IT Analysis and Application
  • Environmental Monitoring, Restoration, Policy Analysis, and Impact Assessment
  • Disaster Risk Management and Conservation
  • Sustainable Management of Natural Resources
  • Mountain Tourism
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