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. 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
  2. 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
  3. The physics of time
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 17 Jul 2021 (and 1 other date)

    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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. A brief introduction to climate change
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 19 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    We hear and read about climate change every day. Combining lecture and seminar elements, this short introductory course will explore the history and 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
  8. Astronomy: a gentle introduction
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 19 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    A leisurely walk through back garden astronomy. Learn how to find your way around the constellations, whether to buy a telescope, how to find planets and look safely at the sun. Find out why astronomy is good for you.

    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
  9. From the big bang to our bodies: key scientific discoveries
    Evening
    Course Date:  Thu 23 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Incremental or epic, scientifc discoveries drive our understanding of the world around us. Join us in this course to explore some of the most significant discoveries from outer space to the inner workings of our bodies.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £44.00
  10. Cosmology
    Evening
    Course 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:
    100% of 100
  11. Medicinal plants
    Weekend
    Course 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
  12. Exploring the science of climate change before COP-26
    Evening
    Course 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
  13. What secrets do your bones hold? - Introduction to forensic anthropology
    Weekend
    Course 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
  14. Chemistry: a gentle introduction
    Weekend
    Course 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
  15. Introduction to geology
    Weekend
    Course 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

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