Students on field trip


Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science (with Foundation Year)

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Applied Sciences
Five years full-time; six years sandwich
Full-time; sandwich
Programme leader:
Katy Ling
Key fact:
Created in partnership with Bristol Zoo, the MSci Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science offers outstanding teaching, underpinned by world-leading and innovative research. It includes opportunities for UK and overseas work experience and an extended project in wildlife conservation.

Page last updated 13 September 2017


Why study MSci 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 and with specific interests in research into species and habitat conservation, the MSci Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science at UWE Bristol will equip you with the scientific knowledge and research 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?

The MSci Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science at UWE Bristol has been created in collaboration with Bristol Zoo Gardens, with unique access to the zoo's facilities and expertise. The course explores wildlife conservation issues at local, national and global levels. Mixing theory with extensive practice and opportunities for original research, you will gain a deep understanding of the relationship between wildlife and society and the impact of human activities on the living world, along with an appreciation of the practical steps that can be taken to alleviate biodiversity decline, preparing you for a career in ecological research or 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 a wide range of habitats close to Bristol. 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, your third year will be spent on work placement in this country, Europe or further afield, applying your knowledge to real-world conservation issues. 

The final masters-level year offers an extended research project in an area of your choice, working within a UWE-based research team, with one of our collaborating organisations, in industry, or with governmental and non-governmental organisations. Your research project is supported by Masters-level research-skills training, including project management and science communication and outreach. In addition, you will be taught advance practical skills for wildlife conservation such as eDNA, measuring environmental radiation using UAVs (drones) and other advanced survey techniques.

Where it can take you

This course is for people who are passionate about wildlife conservation and want to make a difference through sound science and research. The MSci in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science is specifically designed for those who aspire to a career in research to work as a professional conservation scientist, and graduates are ideally placed to take on PhD and other research-based opportunities. Longer term careers include lecturers, industry, NGO or government scientists, senior consultancy scientists, science communicators and conservation specialist advisors.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience

Accreditations and partnerships:



Foundation year (Year zero)

You will study 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, and therefore 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

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Life on Earth
  • The Earth
  • Wildlife and Society
  • Field Skills

Year two

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Conservation in Practice
  • Environmental and Field Techniques
  • Ecology and Ecosystem Protection
  • Wildlife Ecology

You will be required to achieve an average grade of 2:1 or above by the end of your second year in order to progress to the third year of the course. Students that do not achieve this will transfer to the third year of BSc(Hons) qualification.

Year three

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Research Experimental Project OR Research Dissertation Project
  • Contemporary Conservation Science

Plus four of the following optional modules:

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

Final year

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Research With Impact
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Research in Practice

*compulsory module if you choose to go on a placement

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. In the final year, you will be provided with individual mentoring in advanced technical and research skills, as well as career support and guidance from your research project tutor.   

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 third 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.

Percentage of time spend in different learning activities, per year.

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study% check


This course uses a wide variety of assessment methods. These reflect the range of theoretical concepts, knowledge and practical skills we want you to develop and also support different types of student learning. They include essays, practical reports and field logs, poster and oral presentations, online tests, consultancy reports and management plans, investigative reports and case studies, skills and reflective portfolios, practical and traditional exams and vivas. We are increasingly using 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.

Assessment of the placement year is based on a reflective portfolio, work supervisor's report and oral presentation.

At Masters level, assessments include: a skills portfolio, scientific writing and using different media platforms for a range of audiences (including non-specialist), literature reviews, field work/a practical investigative report, an oral presentation at a dedicated conference and a research paper.

For more details, see our full glossary of assessment terms.

Percentage of time spend in different assessment methods, per year.

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment% check


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 you to go on placement, which gives you 40 weeks of practical training, between years two and three. 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 also opportunities for overseas placements, with previous students having worked on Damara terns in Namibia and 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, with optional third-year trips to Cornwall and the opportunity to take part in an expedition to Cuba or the threatened forests of Madagascar, where you will study human/wildlife interactions. In addition, your research project may include a component of fieldwork, as you explore key conservation issues at home or abroad.

Find out about a field trip in Cornwall from our students studying Marine Ecology, or watch Richard, Emiko and Chris in our short film about their field trip to study the ecosystems of a tropical island near Cuba.

Study facilities

The course is part-delivered at Bristol Zoo, so you will benefit from being surrounded by wildlife and wildlife experts, the Zoo's new Education Centre, as well as their new second site, Wild Place. With access to a comprehensive range of well-equipped science laboratories, a Digital Technology Suite, 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.

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

Studying in the field

If you 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 first and second years are funded by the department, but you must pay your own individual costs associated with field trips and expeditions in the third 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. Practical experience 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 are 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.

Award-winning careers service

Our award-winning careers service helps 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 activity 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 (£)
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594

Full Time Course with Placement

FeesAmount (£)
International-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year12750
International-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594
International-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1594
International-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year11156

Indicative Additional Costs

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

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.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 48
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C/4 or above in English Language, Mathematics and Double Science or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level 2 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 6 units in a science subject.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; to include level 3 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 MSci Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science course.

You will be required to achieve an average grade of 2:1 or above by the end of your second year in order to progress to the third year of the course. Students that do not achieve this will transfer to the third year of BSc(Hons) qualification.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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