Conservation Biology (with Foundation Year)
UCAS Code: Combined honours only - see combinations tab|Duration: 4|Full Time|Hope Park
UCAS Campus Code: L46
Work placement opportunities|International students can apply|Study Abroad opportunities
About the course
Conservation biology is concerned with the protection and management of nature and the Earth’s biodiversity. It involves an evaluation of human and other factors that affect all living organisms with the aim of protecting and conserving species, their habitats and ecosystems. It is an interdisciplinary subject that draws on natural sciences to devise satisfactory processes and approaches by which to sustain and protect plant and animal biodiversity in the UK and abroad.
This course mainly focuses on conservation in terrestrial environments. It develops knowledge of key areas such as the principles and practices of ecology, habitat management, nature conservation and the functioning of natural systems, particularly with regard to different points of view including scientific, ethical and philosophical perspectives. Opportunities are provided to apply knowledge and understanding of conservation biology during field courses within the UK and abroad giving first-hand experience of a range of ecosystems.
A Placement Year option is available for this course. Undertaking a placement year as part of your degree programme offers you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience alongside your studies.
Teaching on this course is structured into lectures, where all students are taught together, seminars of smaller groups of around 20-25 students and tutorials which typically have no more than 10 students. There is also the opportunity to have a one-to-one meeting with your tutor each week.
Fieldwork and practical laboratory sessions are a significant part of this course. Fieldwork destinations include local and regional sites of national and international conservation importance, along with international fieldwork. The course makes use of the university’s own field centre, Plas Caerdeon, set within Snowdonia National Park on the banks of the beautiful Mawddach estuary and overlooking Cader Idris National Nature Reserve.
In your first year, there are approximately 12 teaching hours each week. During the second and third years this changes to approximately 10 teaching hours each week as students grow in competence to conduct independent but supported study. In addition to these teaching hours, students are also expected to spend time studying independently each week as well as engaging in group study to prepare for some group assessments.
Assessment and feedback
Throughout your three years of study you will have several forms of assessment. This normally includes written exams at the end of each year, with reports, essays and portfolios throughout the year. In your final year you will also complete an honours project which will either be a research project on conservation biology or an integrated dissertation with your other subject.
You will be given written feedback on your assessments. You will have opportunities to discuss this feedback with your tutor in more detail.
The Foundation Year is a great opportunity if you have the ability and enthusiasm to study for a degree, but do not yet have the qualifications required to enter directly onto our degree programmes. A significant part of the Foundation Year focuses upon core skills such as academic writing at HE level, becoming an independent learner, structuring academic work, critical thinking, time management and note taking.
Successful completion of the Foundation Year will enable you to progress into the first year (Level C) of your chosen honours degree. Further details can be found here.
Ecosystems and Ecology
You will be introduced to the principles and theories of ecology, world biomes and the diversity of life (biodiversity). You will also undertake investigations into, for example, ecological niches and dichotomous keys.
Conservation Biology and Environmental Physiology
You will investigate approaches to in-situ and ex-situ conservation, practical conservation and conservation management using Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). You will be introduced to biotic and abiotic interactions and physiological functions between organisms and their environment.
Developmental and Evolutionary Biology
You will investigate the development of life on Earth and the key evolutionary advances of species considering the environmental conditions and selective pressures that shaped the complexity of life on Earth.
Laboratory and field-based ecological investigations
Residential and /or non-residential.
Principles of Ecology
You will develop your understanding of the underlying theories and principles of ecology including topics such as such as sustainability, biosphere cycles, natural resources, evolution and distribution of organisms (including abiotic/biotic dimensions).
You will explore habitat management practices that aim to conserve, protect and restore natural and semi-natural habitats. You will develop your knowledge and understanding of Species Action Plans (SAPs).
You will develop an in-depth and critical understanding of the value, importance and urgency of protecting species and their habitats from key threats, including extinction.
Residential and/or non-residential.
You will engage with advanced studies of ecology through investigations of specific examples of applied ecological practice. This may cover, for example, ecological legislation, policy and guidance, methodologies and techniques for ecological fieldwork and advanced approaches to the analysis and interpretation of ecological data.
Current Research and Practice in Ecology and Conservation
You will conduct an exploration of current knowledge, research and practices in ecology and /or conservation. Topic areas may include current research in conservation biology, terrestrial coastal ecology and palaeoecology.
residential and /or non-residential.
Research project or integrated dissertation (with your other subject).
There may be some flexibility for mature students offering non-tariff qualifications and students meeting particular widening participation criteria.
Conservation biologists work with government or private agencies serving as consultants on ecological or land use issues, ecologists, wildlife managers, nature conservation managers or work in environmental monitoring.
This course will provide you with the required subject knowledge and scientific tools (practical, numerical and computational skills that are valued by many employers) to pursue such career options.
Some of our graduates go on to train to be teachers, while others go on to further study at Masters and / or Doctorate levels.
Work Placement Opportunities
The Honours Project may be completed through a work placement. This placement enables you to gain relevant ecological or conservation work experience so that you can apply your subject and academic knowledge and experiences into a work setting. Please note that you must organise this work placement yourself.
The Service and Leadership Award (SALA) is offered as an extra-curricular programme involving service-based experiences, development of leadership potential and equipping you for a career in a rapidly changing world. It enhances your degree, it is something which is complimentary but different and which has a distinct ‘value-added’ component. Find out more on our Service and Leadership Award page.
As part of your degree you can choose to spend either a semester or a full year of study at one of our partner universities as part of the university Study Abroad programme.
The tuition fees for the 2023/24 academic year are £9,250 for full-time undergraduate courses.
If you are a student from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your tuition fees will also be £9,250.
The University reserves the right to increase Home and EU Undergraduate and PGCE tuition fees in line with any inflationary or other increase authorised by the Secretary of State for future years of study.
We have a range of scholarships to help with the cost of your studies. Visit our scholarships page to find out more.
International tuition fees
The International Tuition fees for 2023/24 are £12,500.
Visit our International fees page for more information.
This course is also available with Foundation Year as a Combined Honours degree with the following subjects: