students on field trip in a field


Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Applied Sciences
Three years full-time; four years sandwich degree
Full-time and part-time
Programme leader:
Dr Katy Ling
Key fact:
Created in partnership with Bristol Zoo, BSc(Hons) 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 13 September 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 a science and/or geography background and with 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 a wide range of habitats close to Bristol, including the Severn Estuary, the Cotswolds woodlands and grasslands, the Somerset Levels, Avon Gorge, and our links with local conservation organisations. 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.

Where it can take you

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

Watch: The learning and teaching experience

Accreditations and partnerships:



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. They are underpinned by research methods, field surveys, data analysis and interpretation, which are 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 allows 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

The ecological theory explored in the first year is now 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 of the following optional modules:

  • 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

This structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery, the same modules will be studied. However, the structure will differ.

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 which 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 in the course, offering you the opportunity to spend time with conservation organisations tackling a range of issues from the local to the global.

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 that support different types of student learning and reflect the range of theoretical concepts, knowledge and practical skills we want you to develop. Assessments 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. 

We are increasingly using novel assessment techniques, such as blogs, on-line portfolios and web page design, to help you develop the practical e-communication skills that are critical in the contemporary jobs market. All modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and exams. The first year assessments do not contribute to the final degree mark, which is calculated on the basis of Year two and final year results.

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 Institute of Environmental Sciences (IES).


There are plenty of opportunities for placements, internships and volunteering roles. We encourage you to choose the sandwich course option, where your third 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 also opportunities for overseas placements, with previous students having worked on Damara terns in Namibia, 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 optional final-year trips to Cornwall and the opportunity to take part in an expedition to Cuba, or to the threatened forests of Madagascar, where you will study human/wildlife interactions.

Find out about a recent field trip in Cornwall from our students studying Marine Ecology, or hear more about a recent field trip to a tropical island near Cuba to study the ecosystem.

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 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, your studies will benefit from studying in the field in different locations in the UK or overseas. Additional facilities will be 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 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. 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. Graduates can also gain postgraduate qualifications studying subjects like Wildlife Film-making, Science Communication or Environmental Consultancy.

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

Indicative Additional Costs

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

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

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: 112
  • 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: Grade C or above in a Science subject (Biology preferred). 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 two A-Levels.
  • Relevant subjects: Subjects that meet the science requirement for this course: Applied Science, Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Geology, Maths. Use of Maths, Physics, Psychology, Science in the Environment, Statistics. For further information and advice please contact Admissions.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: To include six units in a science subject (Biology preferred). BTEC Animal Management (or similar) is acceptable where at least 6 units in Biological Sciences have been completed.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; to include 15 level 3 credits at merit in a Science subject (Biology preferred) and 15 level 3 credits at merit in another subject.
  • Baccalaureate IB: A minimum grade of 5 in higher level science subject (Biology preferred).

Entry requirements

If you don't meet the entry requirements of this course, you may be eligible for Foundation Year entry into this or other related degree courses.

Please read the general information about entry requirements.

Students with an appropriate HND in a Biological or Environmental Science, or with an equivalent qualification, may enter Year two.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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