BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Environmental Sustainability

BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma
2 years
Curriculum Manager: 
Dr Libby Smith

What is the BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Environmental Sustainability?

Environmental sustainability and related environmentally-based sectors are growing rapidly within the UK. The government has introduced relevant legislation and international agreements with an emphasis on reducing global warming, climate change, low carbon economy and the need for conservation. Many organisations require employees to be educated in environmental sustainability.

This course will develop your skills in planning and developing sustainable communities. It will allow you to understand the techniques involved in investigating and managing the environment. You will study topics that are Biological such as conducting field studies of habitats and wildlife populations. You will also be learning about Geographical topics such as the water cycle and rock formation.

Is the BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Environmental Sustainability suitable for me?

The course is suitable for students who enjoy Biology and Geography.

How will I learn?

You will study three core units plus the equivalent of three 60 guided learning hours specialist units over two years covering a range of topics.

The three core units are:

• Understanding the Principles of Sustainable Development
• Sustainable Communities
• Science for Environmental Technicians

The specialist units* studies in the second year are:
• Understanding the Principles of Wildlife Populations, Ecology and Conservation
• Understanding Principles of Physical and Biological Environmental Processes
• Geology of Natural Resources

The Award is equivalent to one A Level and carries a maximum of 56 UCAS points.

*These could be subject to change.

How will I be assessed?

The BTEC Subsidiary Diploma is 100% coursework assessed and may include portfolio work - currently there are no exams but assignments will be completed in controlled conditions. Assignments are submitted for marking on a regular basis throughout the course. They are assessed internally by your teachers and then moderated by the board. Formative work is graded and written feedback provided enabling you to develop your skills. Once you start a written assessment, your teacher is not allowed to give you any more feedback.

Your assignment will be graded pass, merit or distinction. The BTEC Subsidiary Diploma is equivalent to one A Level and carries a maximum of 56 UCAS points. The BTEC Certificate, awarded after successful completion of one year, carries a maximum of 28 UCAS points.

Students must complete and pass the first year to be awarded a BTEC Certificate and the full 2 years of the course to receive the full BTEC Subsidiary Diploma.

We are aware that Edexcel is currently evaluating the assessment process and there may be the introduction of an examined unit. Further information is unavailable at the current time.


Students progress to a wide range of courses and careers in areas including:  Environmental Sciences, Geography, Geology, Zoology, History, Media and Journalism

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C. Alternatively if you have studied at level 2 you should have achieved a merit or above. Vocational courses are an ideal qualification for students who prefer coursework. You should have achieved a Grade C or C/C in Science GCSE

Course costs

Resource packs cost £13 per year. There will be a £15 cost (plus rail fare) for a trip to the Olympic Park in the first year and an ecology field trip cost of £25 in the second year of this course.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.