Three female students conducting fieldwork, collecting samples.


Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science (with Foundation Year)

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About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Applied Sciences
Four years full-time; five years sandwich
Full-time; sandwich
Programme leader:
Katy Ling
Key fact:
Created in partnership with Bristol Zoo, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science focuses on the scientific study of wildlife and provides a deep understanding of the relationship between wildlife and society, preparing you for a career in conservation.

Page last updated 18 August 2017


Why study BSc(Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science?

Conserving biodiversity and avoiding the mass extinction of species are huge global challenges. Designed for students with some background in science and/or geography, but who need to build up their science expertise, and who have specific interests in species and habitat conservation, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science at UWE Bristol will equip you with the scientific knowledge and skills to understand the nature of global biodiversity, the effects of habitat loss and climate change, and current and novel scientific approaches to conserving wildlife.

Why study our course?

Created in collaboration with Bristol Zoo Gardens, with unique access to the zoo's facilities and expertise, BSc(Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science at UWE Bristol explores wildlife conservation issues at local, national and global levels. Mixing theory with extensive practice, you will gain a deep understanding of the relationship between wildlife and society, the impact of human activities on the living world and an appreciation of the practical steps that can be taken to alleviate biodiversity decline, preparing you for a career in conservation.

Real-world experience

The course has a strong practical focus with built-in work experience, making use of our links with local conservation organisations and the wide range of habitats close to Bristol, including the Severn Estuary, the Cotswolds woodlands and grasslands, the Somerset Levels and Avon Gorge. Throughout the course, you will have the chance to undertake placements, volunteering roles, field-based work and residential trips in the UK and abroad. If you choose the sandwich course option, a year will be spent on work placement in this country, Europe or further afield, applying your knowledge to real-world conservation issues.

Where it can take you

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science supports a range of careers in areas including national and international wildlife conservation, conservation consultancy, media and wildlife film-making, wildlife and enterprise and wildlife conservation research, along with many other opportunities that will be available to you as a science graduate.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience

Accreditations and partnerships:



Foundation year (Year zero)

You will take the following compulsory modules:

  • Biology in Practice
  • Chemistry in Practice
  • Skills for Science
  • People and Science

You will study the Foundation year alongside students from our other Biological, Biomedical and Analytical Sciences courses. This means you may be able to transfer to a course in one of these areas at the end of the Foundation year.

The normal expectation is that you must pass all Year zero modules before progressing to Year one.

Year one

These subjects focus on studying the living world, the physical world, how the Earth works as a system and the relationship between society and wildlife. These subjects are underpinned by research methods, field surveys, data analysis and interpretation, which are all essential to the scientific study of wildlife.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Life on Earth
  • The Earth
  • Field Skills (includes residential field trip)
  • Wildlife and Society

The residential field course will allow you to investigate a range of natural and semi-natural habitats, as well as introducing you to some of the practical skills required to study wildlife and conservation science in the field.

Year two

Here the ecological theory explored in the first year is applied to real-world problems.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Environmental and Field Techniques (includes international field trip)
  • Conservation in Practice
  • Wildlife Ecology
  • Ecology and Ecosystem Protection

Final year

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Research Project
  • Contemporary Conservation Science

Plus, four optional modules from the list below:

  • Forests and Agricultural Systems
  • Marine Ecosystems
  • Professional Practice in Applied Sciences
  • Primate Ecology and Conservation
  • Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Tropical Expedition
  • Wildlife, Film and Media

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

We take a student-centred approach to learning. There are opportunities for one-to-one guidance and individual feedback throughout the course. Mixing theory with extensive practice, you will gain a deep understanding of the relationship between wildlife and society, the impact of human activities on the living world and an appreciation of the practical steps that can be taken to alleviate biodiversity decline.

A significant proportion of teaching takes place at Bristol Zoo, providing an opportunity to learn about live conservation projects. A major feature of this course is the opportunity to learn in the field through field work. There are residential trips to Devon, Tenerife and Cornwall as well as the opportunity to take part in an expedition to Cuba or Madagascar in your final year.

Work experience is integrated into the course, offering you the opportunity to spend time with conservation organisations tackling a range of issues from the local to the global scale.

For more details see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.


This course uses a wide variety of assessment methods that not only reflect the range of theoretical concepts, knowledge and practical skills we want you to develop, but also support different types of student learning. Assessments will include: unseen, open-book and practical exams; essays; practical reports; individual and group projects, oral and visual presentations; case study analysis; taxonomic collections and problem-solving exercises.

The course will increasingly use novel assessment techniques such as blogs, online portfolios, and web page design to help you develop practical e-communication skills, which are critical in the contemporary jobs market. You will be assessed for all modules through a combination of coursework and exams. The early years assessments will not contribute to your final degree mark, which will be calculated on the basis of Year two and final year results.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

This course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES).


There are plenty of opportunities for placements, internships and volunteering roles. We encourage all students to choose the sandwich course option where an academic year will give you 40 weeks of practical training. Students have previously worked with organisations including the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Bristol Natural History Consortium, National Trust, ARKive and Kew Gardens. There are opportunities for overseas placements, with previous students having worked on Damara terns in Namibia, with elephants in Africa, kiwis in New Zealand and gorillas in the Cameroon.


A significant proportion of your time will be spent working in the field and you will get to know the spectacular landscapes around Bristol. There are residential visits to Dartmoor and Tenerife, with the costs covered by the Department and optional final-year trips to Cornwall. There will also be an opportunity to either take part in an expedition to Cuba or visit the threatened forests of Madagascar, where you will study human/wildlife interactions.

Find out about a field trip in Cornwall from our students studying Marine Ecology, or hear more about a field trip to a tropical island near Cuba where students looked at tropical forest and coral reef ecosystems.

Study facilities

The course is part-delivered at Bristol Zoo, so you will benefit from being surrounded by wildlife and wildlife experts, as well as the zoo's new Education Centre and their new second site, Wild Place. With access to a comprehensive range of well-equipped science laboratories, a glasshouse and a dedicated field centre at the University, you will be supported and mentored by a team of specialists at the forefront of their profession. The course offers a wide-ranging curriculum taught through lectures, seminars and tutorials, complemented by laboratory investigations, case studies, workshops and a variety of work-based experiences and fieldwork.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.

Studying in the field

If you decide to choose the Wildlife, Film and Media module you will have access to film-making equipment and expertise, enabling you to produce a short film. In the field-based modules such as Field Skills, Environmental and Field Techniques, Marine Ecosystems or the Tropical Expedition, you will benefit from studying in the field in different locations in the UK or overseas. Additional facilities are provided by the field centre, which holds an extensive range of equipment for fieldwork or field-based laboratory work.

Bristol Zoo Gardens offers an exceptional learning facility for the investigation of many aspects of wildlife conservation, including ex-situ conservation, animal behaviour and conservation communication strategies.

Residential field trips in the early years of your course are funded by the department, but you will need to pay the individual costs associated with field trips and expeditions in the final year.


Careers / Further study

Graduates find careers with national and international conservation organisations and work with ecological consultants such as Wildlife Trusts, The Woodland Trust and other non-government organisations. The practical experience gained in plant and animal survey work, competency at mapping (GIS) or knowledge of monitoring protected species such as great crested newts, reptiles, bats, badgers or water voles is especially valuable in finding rewarding jobs.

If you're interested in conservation education, there are opportunities with the Field Studies Council and other educational organisations. Graduates can also gain postgraduate qualifications through the study of subjects such as Wildlife Film-making, Science Communication or Environmental Consultancy.

Award-winning careers service

Our award-winning careers service will help you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity, plus support for entrepreneurial activit, and access to employer events.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and initiatives nurturing talent and innovation, you will have opportunities to gain valuable real world experience, allowing you to graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Visit our Employability pages to find out about careers, employers, real world experience and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

Useful links

UWE career resources and downloads


Full Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee12250
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1531

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year450

Full Time Course with Placement

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year9250
Home/EU-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
Home/EU-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1156
Home/EU-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year8094
International-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee12250
International-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year12250
International-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1531
International-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1531
International-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year10719

Supplementary fee information

The additional costs listed are those you could reasonably expect to incur during your studies and are for items not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, text books, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Further information about fees and funding.


Students starting this course in September 2017 should follow this link to view their joining instructions.

We automatically send a message via your Welcome website plus an email to notify you once your joining instructions are available. It is important that you regularly check your Welcome website for new messages about your Registration and Enrolment. If you have not received the email please contact our Applicant Experience Team by email at so we may check that we have the correct address.

For more information about joining the University, please see our New Students pages.

Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 48
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C or above, or Grade 4 under newly reformed GCSE grading, in English Language, Mathematics and Double Science or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level two Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • A-level subjects: Science AS or A2. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of one A-Level.
  • Specific subjects: Science at GCSE, A or AS-level
  • Relevant subjects: Maths
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: To include six units in a science subject.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; to include level three credits in Science.
  • Baccalaureate IB: A pass in a higher level science subject.

Entry requirements

This course is designed to accept a wide range of people with different educational backgrounds. Each applicant will be considered on an individual basis.

Students who expect to achieve a higher tariff score may also be interested in our BSc(Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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