Science and nature courses online & in London

Spanning astronomy, geology, physics, chemistry, evolutionary and forensic anthropology, ecology, conservation and climate change, City Lit's science and nature programme offers a wide range of different options on weekdays, evenings and weekends.

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. Our courses, including short day courses, lectures and longer-term study over several weeks, aim to inform you of the issues that interest you.

From September to December 2020, 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. For more information about our live online courses, please see our guide to online learning.

Our courses are taught by experts in their fields. Our tutors come from a range of backgrounds, and include academic experts, experienced educators, conservationists, 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.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Tree identification for beginners

    Tree identification for beginners

    Course Date: Wed 25 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    This course is an introduction to tree identification. It is designed to help sharpen your observational skills by using the method of phenomenology. Detailed photos highlighting the characteristic elements of each tree, will help you look at trees in a different way.

    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: £35.00

  2. Photo by Chris Marquardt on Unsplash

    A brief introduction to climate change

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 5 Dec 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    We hear and read about climate change every day (in addition to COVID-19). Combining lecture and seminar elements, this short introductory course will explore the basics of the climate changes most climate scientists agree are taking place (session 1) as well as engage in a discussion about how these manifest themselves in global challenges and humanity’s responses to these against the backdrop of global politics (session 2).

    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

  3. Stargazing at home: From your window to the Universe (December)

    Evening
    Course Date: Thu 10 Dec 2020
    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 all find from home. We will show you how to plan your stargazing session from maps to apps, and find the things that most people miss. We’ll also teach you how to 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

  4. Why plants matter: a taster

    Evening
    Course Date: Fri 11 Dec 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Plants are central to human life. This course takes you a whistlestop tour round some of these extraordinary organisms, highlighting key examples of richness and diversity of everyday plants.

    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

  5. Introducing plants

    Evening
    Course Date: Mon 11 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    All life depends on plants. Join our exploration of examples of edible, economic, medicinal and ornamental plants and how they are grouped together.

    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

  6. Physics: the fundamental science

    Evening
    Course Date: Wed 13 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Explore fundamental aspects of physics such as the nature of light, matter and energy and the physical laws governing our universe. Learn about the revolutionary discoveries of the world around us.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £189.00
    Senior fee: £189.00
    Concession: £83.00

  7. How can archaeology help solve murders? A brief introduction to forensic anthropology

    New Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 16 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    This course will let you discover how archaeology and its research methods can help solve crimes starting from locating the burial places, the recovery human remains, and recording and analysis of the scene. Archaeology can produce invaluable evidence for prosecution and help the authorities close cases and cut costs.

    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

  8. Introduction to machine learning

    Evening
    Course Date: Tue 19 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    One of the great advances in technology is that machines can learn without humans teaching them explicit rules – e.g. letting machines train on samples of speech allows Siri to recognise your commands. Machine learning is a large part of artificial intelligence, and a mystery to most of us. This practical course teaches you how to program learning algorithms in Python. We will cover fundamentals of classification, natural language processing, financial predictions and much more. You will learn elements of data mining, how to choose a learning algorithm, and how to tweak parameters of the algorithm. We will briefly cover the theory behind the algorithms, so some maths knowledge is useful, but not required. To enrol, you must have experience with Python or a similar programming language, e.g. have taken City Lit’s Introduction to Python or Introduction to R programming course.

    This course is FREE if a) You are on a Low Wage or b) You are either on Jobseekers' Allowance (JSA) or Employment & Support Allowance(ESA) or c) You receive other state benefits (including Universal Credit). For more information click here

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £279.00
    Senior fee: £223.00
    Concession: £140.00

  9. Science guest lecture: Professor Ian Crawford on The new science of astrobiology and the search for life in the universe

    New Evening
    Course Date: Tue 19 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    In this talk Professor Crawford will summarise the new interdisciplinary science of astrobiology -- the search for life in the universe. The talk will begin by describing the planetary and evolutionary context of life on Earth and its implications for finding life elsewhere. Building on this perspective, the talk will consider the prospects for finding life, or evidence for past life, elsewhere in our Solar System, for example on the planet Mars and the icy moons of the outer solar system, before moving on to consider the potential habitability of planets recently discovered orbiting other stars.



    Ian Crawford is an astronomer and planetary scientist, and is currently Professor of Planetary Science and Astrobiology at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is also a vice president of the Royal Astronomical Society. Ian's research focusses mainly on lunar geology, including the possibility of finding economically useful resources on the Moon, and on the search for past or present life on Mars.

    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

  10. Russian rockets reviewed

    New Evening
    Course Date: Wed 20 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Taking its starting point in how the USSR shocked the world with the launch of Sputnik 1, this course explores the Soviet Union’s and later Russian space programme and its technologies, cosmonauts, and presence in space.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £19.00
    Senior fee: £19.00
    Concession: £8.00

  11. The beauty of Mathematics

    New Evening
    Course Date: Thu 21 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Mathematics can sometimes seem abstract and remote, but some parts of mathematics offer fascinating insights into the language of nature, potentially revealing underlying truths about the reality we inhabit. In this course we look at some of the most important developments in mathematics.

    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

  12. PC maintenance: an introduction

    Evening
    Course Date: Fri 22 Jan 2021 (and 1 other date)
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Learn how to troubleshoot and solve common computer hardware problems. Discover what is inside a computer, how it works and how to upgrade computer components.

    This course is FREE if a) You are on a Low Wage or b) You are either on Jobseekers' Allowance (JSA) or Employment & Support Allowance(ESA) or c) You receive other state benefits (including Universal Credit). For more information click here

    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £159.00
    Concession: £100.00

  13. Introduction to botany

    Introduction to botany

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 23 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    A course ideal for those who are new to the science of botany. Learn about the fundamental structure of plants and identify the functions of different components; recognise some of the classification systems of the plant world and assess why these magnificent organisms are essential for our wellbeing.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £189.00
    Senior fee: £151.00
    Concession: £95.00

  14. Marine geology: The hidden geology beneath the oceans

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 24 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    We know more about the surface of the moon than what lies beneath our planet's oceans. On this course, we will explore the geological features within our oceans.

    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. Science guest lecture: Max Kerr Winter on Biophysics: An introduction to current research

    Evening
    Course Date: Thu 28 Jan 2021 (and 1 other date)
    Location on this date: Online
    The variety of life on Earth has been studied extensively by biologists for centuries, and is now an active area of research for physicists as well. The field of biophysics aims to use the mathematical and computational tools of physics to understand complex living creatures. In this talk, Max Kerr Winter will discuss various ways in which physics and biology come together, from the forces that shape growing embryos, to photosynthesis in plants, and how this exciting field is shaping the future of AI and biotechnology.



    Max Kerr Winter is a theoretical biophysicist. He researches at the Francis Crick Institute, London, in collaboration with experimental biologists at the University of Cambridge.

    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

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

Can't see a course you want?

Add this category to your waiting list to set up alerts and we will update you when new courses are released online.

Add to your waiting list