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. A brief introduction to human evolution
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 23 May 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    You will learn about how our hominin ancestors evolved and lived and how new evidence has fundamentallly changed our understanding of this process. This concise exploration of the inter-disciplinary field of palaeoanthropology introduces radiometric dating, palaeontology and archaeogenetics.

    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
  2. An introduction to London's rivers
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 5 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    A virtual exploration of London’s rivers and their wildlife. Fire up your enthusiasm, hone your knowledge and sharpen your identification skills, then get out walking your local watercourse.



    Brenna Boyle (B.Sc Hons Dunelm, M.Sc DIC) is a zoologist, wildlife guide and environmental teacher. She runs Wild Capital, London's wildlife discovery service and also works for two urban environmental education charities.

    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 £23.00 Concession £15.00
  3. Top garden plants
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 19 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Including deciduous trees, evergreen and deciduous shrubs and herbaceous plants, chosen examples will be explored to demonstrate their finest qualities. If wishing the best performance from plants, whether in a garden, window box or tub is your dream then this is a course for you.

    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 £35.00
  4. Chemistry, from alpha carbon to zymurgy - a review of the fundamentals
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 19 Jun 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. This course explores the basic of chemistry to give a working knowledge of 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 £79.00 Senior fee £63.00 Concession £40.00
  5. Exploring rocks, minerals and fossils
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 20 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore agates, ammonites, granites and more. An introduction to the basics of the identification and classification of the common rocks, minerals and fossils. 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:
    85% of 100
  6. Science in the time of Nero
    Evening
    Course Date:  Tue 22 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    We examine the science of the Roman empire through the work of Seneca (c. 4 BCE – 65 CE) and Pliny

    (23/24 CE – 79 CE) who between them describe the Roman understanding of biology, chemistry and

    physics, touching upon subjects such as botany, meteors, mining, rainbows, the nature of air, forms of

    water, and “mock suns”.

    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 £7.00
  7. Stargazing at home: from your window to the universe (June)
    Evening
    Course Date:  Fri 25 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Building on their popular book, Radmila and Tom will take you from London into space through a range of topics that brings astronomy to the public. Expect to be informed and entertained!

    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. British new nature writing
    Evening
    Course Date:  Wed 30 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    'New' British nature writing is topping the bestseller lists, but what is it and how can you benefit from it? Join us, read with us and learn more about 'new' British nature writing and how we can think about our relationships with nature.



    The course tutor, Cathy Elliott, is full-time lecturer at UCL. She is interested in ideas about time, temporality, and story-telling in politics and international relations. Her first book, Democracy as Foreign Policy: Temporal Othering in International Relations, came out in 2017; she has also published articles and books about the various stories we tell about democracy. She is recapitulating some of those themes, and finding new ones, in her current book project on the British “new nature writing.” She is interested in the politics of pedagogy and also writes about teaching and learning.

    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 £79.00 Concession £35.00
  9. Summer trees
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 10 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Looking at trees is an absorbing activity, we will explore what to look for, special features in July and how to follow on your interest in your local area/further study.

    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 £35.00
  10. The physics of time
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 17 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    We will explore the various different conceptions of time within modern physics. The absolute time of Newtonian mechanics is contrasted with the relativistic time of Einsteinian gravity. The possibility that time is quantized, made up of discrete moments, is seen to emerge in some of the most cutting edge theories of physics, such as loop quantum gravity and string theory. The emergence of time in the big bang, the direction of time, and the possibility of time travel are all explored.

    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:
    98% of 100
  11. The geology beneath British landscapes
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 18 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Britain encompasses a fascinating variety of beautiful landscapes, from the lakes and hills of the north-west to the flatlands of East Anglia. This course gives you a practical introduction to the unique geology beneath these areas, covering main rock types and geological periods.

    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:
    93% of 100
  12. Astrophysics: a brief introduction
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 18 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    A one-day introduction to the science of astrophysics which explores the physics of stars, galaxies, planets and black holes, as well as theoretical topics such as solar system formation.

    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
  13. An introduction to London's woodlands
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 24 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    A virtual exploration of London’s woodlands and their wildlife. Fire up your enthusiasm, hone your knowledge and sharpen your identification skills, then get out walking in your local woods.



    Brenna Boyle (B.Sc Hons Dunelm, M.Sc DIC) is a zoologist, wildlife guide and environmental teacher. She runs Wild Capital; London's wildlife discovery service and also works for two urban environmental education charities.

    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 £23.00 Concession £15.00
  14. Understanding Einstein's theory of relativity - and why it matters
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 24 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Einstein’s theories of relativity, special and general, have profound, sometimes counter-intuitive, implications for our understanding of reality. We explore what the theories tell us and why they matter.

    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
  15. Discover Hill Garden and Pergola, Hampstead: an illustrated talk
    Course Date:  Tue 27 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Exploring the design of the gardens in the late 19th century by the architect Thomas Mawson, looking at its layout, planting and special features.

    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 £23.00 Concession £13.00

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