Professional bodies, societies and organisations for GEES students

There are many professional associations and bodies of potential interest to Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES) students.

This list is not comprehensive and does not promote membership of one organisation over another. There are many other organisations you may consider joining, and you may find it helpful to discuss the benefits with your personal tutor before subscribing.

Potential benefits of joining a professional body

  • Access to new funding streams
  • Networking opportunities
  • Opportunities for research and potential employment
  • Provides insight into current research, new approaches and developments related to your discipline
  • Looks good on your CV

Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment

The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) is promoted as the largest professional membership body for the environment with over 14,000 members working across all industry sectors.

Benefits of IEMA membership include:

  • networking opportunities to expand your network and influence
  • access to training and skills as well as events and webinars
  • Transform - a regular members-only publication
  • up-to-date news and resources include skills maps and guidance about developing your environmental career.

Student IEMA membership costs £25 p/a.  

Society of Environmental Engineers

Society of Environmental Engineers (SEE) is a professional society which exists to promote awareness of the discipline of environmental engineering, and to provide members of the society with information, training and representation within this field. Environmental engineering is concerned with the measurement, modelling, control and simulation of all types of environment. It is an interdisciplinary subject, bringing together aspects of mechanical, electrical, electronic, aeronautical, civil, energy and chemical engineering. It also draws from the fields of physics, acoustics, metallurgy, microbiology, pharmacy and many other technical and scientific disciplines.

Membership benefits include mentoring, publications and networking opportunities. There are no bursaries available.

Student membership is available for £10 p/a.

International Society of Sustainability Professionals

International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) is a non-profit, member-driven association for professionals who are committed to making sustainability standard practice. Members share resources and best practices, and develop themselves professionally. Special reports, salary surveys and the knowledge competency study are just some of benefits offered to members. This ISSP membership also allows students to receive the member rate for our ISSP Sustainability Professional Certification - a valuable asset to those starting their professional journey.

ISSP student membership is available for $75(US) p/a.

Institution of Environmental Sciences 

Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) believes that a scientific approach deepens our understanding of the natural environment and sustainable development. The IES seeks to lead debate, dissemination and promotion of environmental science and sustainability, promoting an evidence-based approach to decision and policy making and is devoted to championing the crucial role of environmental science in ensuring the well-being of humanity now, and in the future. The society upholds the standards and importance of the profession, acting as an advocate for environmental science.

Student membership for University of Birmingham students engaged on the following courses is free:

  • Environmental Science BSc (Hons)
  • Environmental Science with Professional Placement Abroad BSc (Hons)
  • Air Pollution Management & Control MSc
  • Environmental Science MSci

The British Ecological Society

The British Ecological Society (BES) is the world’s oldest ecological society with 6,400 members internationally. Membership benefits include: reduced price registration for all BES-run and sponsored meetings (BES Student members are entitled to further discounts); member-only ring-fenced grants; free access to all BES journal content on the Wiley Online Library, including open access journal Ecology and Evolution; free copies of Bulletin, the society’s quarterly newsletter.

Student membership is free for your first year and £21 p/a thereafter.

The Royal Geographical Society

The Royal Geographical Society (RGS) is the learned society and professional body for geography and geographers, supporting research, education, expeditions and fieldwork, and promoting public engagement. It is a well-regarded source of careers information for Geography students, opportunities to network and can help with future funding. The RGS Ambassadors programme is a voluntary scheme recruiting, training and supporting geographers to act as Ambassadors for the subject in schools. It also offers teacher training scholarships

Other GEES organisations

Note that this list is not comprehensive; many of these are UK-based but there are many other international bodies. Also be aware that some organisations offer free sources of information, whilst others require payment of a membership fee.

Staff from the School of Earth Sciences emphasise that, in addition to considering becoming a Junior Associate of bodies such as The Geological Society of London, students may also wish to consider joining regional groups, to help them obtain experience during vacations. Examples provided include the Geologists Association local group and the Black Country Geological Society.


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