Science and nature courses online & in London

Spanning weekdays, evenings, and weekends, City Lit's science and nature programme offers a wide range of online courses and lectures across the fields of astronomy, geology, physics, chemistry, evolutionary and forensic anthropology, botany and horticulture, and ecology, conservation, and climate change.


Our science and nature courses will help you understand how our planet, its ecosystems, and humanity has evolved up to the present day and the challenges we now face, whether looking at the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, or our own societies. Our courses, including lectures, day courses, and longer-term study over several weeks, aim to inform you of the issues that interest you.


Throughout 2021, our courses will run online to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community. This enables you to join your courses wherever you are. We will keep you updated as to when we will be back in our building in central London and on our walks across the capital. Whether online or in the classroom, we are here to welcome you.

Our courses are taught by experts in their fields.

Coming from a range of backgrounds, our tutors include academic experts, forensic anthropologists, experienced educators, archaeologists, conservationists, horticultural experts, and renowned guides. Whoever your tutor, all our courses are intellectually rigorous and stimulating.


Take a look at our programme below to find your next science or nature course. For more information about our live online courses, please see our guide to online learning.

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  1. Introducing plants
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 18 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    We will explore the theme 'All life depends on plants' looking at examples of food, medicine, ornamental and economic plants with everyday named examples of why plants matter.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £13.00
  2. A taste of chemistry
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 18 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Chemistry is fundamental to life and the world around us. Natural chemical processes sustain biological organisms, shape the world as we experience it, and have been detected on distant planets. Join this course for a taster if the basic concepts of chemistry.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  3. Cosmology
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 30 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Do you want to know about the origin and future of the universe? Will the universe expand forever? Discuss the latest evidence. Examine the current theories. Repeat the most important cosmological observation ever made!



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £70.00
    Rating:
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  4. Medicinal plants
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 2 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Plants have been used for medicine since earliest times. With named examples of plants used in western herbal and pharmaceutical medicine today we will explore the role of healing plants past and present.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £26.00
  5. Exploring the science of climate change before COP-26
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    In this course we will examine the science of climate change, what, in scientific terms, we mean by climate change, the evidence that such change is occurring, how we can assess the extent to which human activity is causing this change, and how science may help us both to mitigate and perhaps even reverse the effects of climate change.







    The course will be taught by Dr. Gary Retallick who teaches physics and mathematics at both Birkbeck College and the Open University, runs several courses at City Lit (incl. Cornish) and has previously also taught philosophy.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £30.00
  6. What secrets do your bones hold? - Introduction to forensic anthropology
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 9 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    In recent years, forensic anthropology has made it into popular culture with crime scene analyseis, bone analysis, DNA analyses, finger print analysis etc. Looking beyond these popular representations, this course introduces you to the some of the aspects of forensic anthropology with regard to skeletons. Join us, and learn more about the secrets bones hold.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £63.00 Concession £40.00
  7. Stargazing at home: From your window to the Universe (October)
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 13 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Two urban astronomers – Rad and Tom, formerly of the Royal Observatory Greenwich – will take you on a topical tour of the seasonal night sky, going beyond the veil of light pollution to explore the cosmic sights that we can find from home. You will learn how to plan your stargazing session from maps to apps, and find and capture the stars with the cameras you already own.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £15.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £15.00
  8. Pioneers of zoology
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 15 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Expeditions across the seas, perilous adventures in unknown lands and discoveries that shook the scientific world. Join zoologist Brenna Boyle and discover some of the brave characters and bold thinkers who shaped our knowledge of the natural world.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £49.00 Concession £22.00
  9. Chemistry: a gentle introduction
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 16 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Chemistry is fundamental to life and the world around us. Natural chemical processes sustain biological organisms, shape the world as we experience it, and have been detected and observed on planets orbiting distant stars. This course explores the basic concepts of chemistry to give students a working knowledge of all the most important areas.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £30.00
  10. Introduction to geology
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 17 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Geology, the study of solid Earth, rocks and the processes by which they change, is a vast subject covering billions of years of history and offering insights into areas such as past climates and the history of life. Discover more about the underlying principles of this important science such as plate tectonics, how rocks are made and the evolution of life. Charles Clarke (MSc in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology from University College London) has a special interest in hominin evolutionary research and is also committed to introducing geology to a wider audience.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £30.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  11. Trees in winter
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 17 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  OS - Off Site

    Do you want to get to know some of the fabulous trees in Regent’s Park? These two guided Tree Walks in Regent’s Park are ideal for the tree enthusiast with an introduction to this absorbing activity.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £30.00
  12. Science guest lecture with Professor Raman Prinja: The stellar story, from dusty birth to explosive death
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 22 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    A highly illustrated survey lecture on the birth and death of stars by Raman Prinja, Professor of Astrophysics at University College London.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £15.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £15.00
  13. Birdwatching in winter
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 5 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Add new depth and enjoyment to your winter walks this year; learn to identify and better understand London’s birdlife through this online course. Pick up tips on viewing winter migrants, discover some great sites to visit and also enjoy the birdlife on your doorstep.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £22.00
  14. Neandertals: an evaluation of the latest research
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 7 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Our perception of Neandertals has changed considerably over the past century. It will continue to change as we find more evidence. This lecture-based course will offer a clear summary of what the latest research is telling us about Neandertals and its implications. Charles Clarke (MSc in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology from University College London) has a special interest in hominin evolutionary research.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £30.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  15. A taste of physics
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 12 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Get a taste of the fundamental aspects of physics such as the nature of light, matter and energy and the physical laws governing the world around us and our universe.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00

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