BSc(Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science (with Foundation Year)
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Page last updated 4 July 2022
Study wildlife from a scientific perspective on this specially-developed degree, created in partnership with Bristol Zoo.
Why study wildlife ecology and conservation?
Conserving biodiversity, and avoiding the mass extinction of species, are huge global challenges.
We need ecologists who can use their skills and scientific knowledge to help tackle these issues, and explore new and novel approaches to conserving wildlife.
By looking at the nature of global biodiversity, and the effects of habitat loss and climate change, you can equip yourself with the knowledge and tools you need to make a difference in this field.
Why UWE Bristol?
BSc(Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science explores wildlife conservation issues at local, national and global levels. Created in partnership with Bristol Zoo Gardens, it gives you unique access to the zoo's expertise.
Mixing theory with practice, you'll delve into the relationship between wildlife and society, and consider the impact of human activities on the living world.
Deepen your knowledge of conservation by carrying out work in natural habitats close to Bristol, including the Severn Estuary, the Cotswolds woodlands and grasslands, the Somerset Levels and Avon Gorge.
Tap into our many links with local conservation organisations, and go on placements, volunteering and where possible, field-based work and residential trips in the UK and overseas.
Choose our sandwich course option to spend your third year on a work placement in this country, Europe or further afield, applying your knowledge to topical conservation issues.
Explore the steps that can be taken to alleviate biodiversity decline, and get the strong foundation you need for a career in conservation.
We are pleased to inform you that Bristol Zoo Gardens plans to expand as they move to their Wild Place location in the next few years. This relocation will enable their team to develop future facing wildlife conservation projects and education facilities. This puts UWE Bristol in the unique position of being co-creators of this state-of-the-art facility, providing exciting new opportunities for you as a wildlife conservation student.
Where can it take me?
You'll be well prepared to go into a wide range of jobs. You could work in national and international wildlife conservation, conservation consultancy, media and wildlife film-making, wildlife and enterprise, or wildlife conservation research.
As a science graduate, your skills will be highly valued, and you could go into a range of non-science graduate positions.
Watch: The learning and teaching experience
The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.
Year zero (foundation year)
You will study:
- Biology in Practice
- Chemistry in Practice
- Skills for Science
- People and Science.
You normally need to pass your foundation year before going into year one.
You will study:
- Life on Earth
- The Earth
- Field Skills (includes residential field trip, where possible)
- Wildlife and Society.
You will study:
- Environmental and Field Techniques (includes residential trip, where possible)
- Conservation in Practice
- Ecology and Ecosystem Protection.
Plus optional modules from (the number depending on credit requirements):
- Plant Growth and Survival
- The Microbial World
- Wildlife Ecology.
Placement year (if applicable)
If you study on the four year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work or study placement after Year two.
Depending on which you choose, you'll either complete a placement learning or learning and development module.
See the Placements and Fees sections for more information.
You will study:
- Research Project or Dissertation Project
- Contemporary Conservation Science.
Plus optional modules from (the number depending on credit requirements):
- Global Forest Systems
- Marine Ecosystems
- Professional Practice in Applied Sciences
- Primate Ecology and Conservation
- Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
- Science Communication
- Sustainable Food Production
- Tropical Expedition
- Wildlife, Crime and Forensics
- 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.
This structure is for full-time students only. Part-time students study the same modules but the delivery pattern will be different.
Learning and Teaching
The course offers a wide-ranging curriculum taught through lectures, seminars and tutorials, complemented by laboratory investigations, case studies, workshops, work-based experiences and where possible, fieldwork.
During the second and third years of your degree, a quarter your study time will take place at Bristol Zoo/Wild Place Project, where you'll learn about live conservation projects. The zoo offers an exceptional learning facility for investigating wildlife conservation, including ex-situ conservation, animal behaviour and conservation communication strategies.
Hone and develop your skills with organisations tackling a broad variety of conservation issues, from the local to the global.
Learn about research methods, field surveys, data analysis and interpretation, essential to the scientific study of wildlife.
Use our advanced film-making equipment and expertise to produce your own conservation film.
Put the theory into practice through regular field work. Where possible, you'll go on funded residential field trips in your first and second years, and an optional expedition to Cuba or Madagascar.
Receive one-to-one guidance and feedback throughout from our experienced academic and personal tutors.
See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.
Percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities, each year:
|Year||Scheduled learning and teaching study||Independent study||Placement study||% check|
We use different assessments to support different learning styles, and the wide range of concepts, knowledge and skills we want you to develop.
You'll be assessed with 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 also use blogs, online portfolios and web page design, to help you develop sought-after e-communication skills.
The placement year is assessed on a reflective portfolio, work supervisor's report and oral presentation.
The first year assessments don't contribute to your final degree mark.
See our full glossary of assessment terms.
Percentage of time you'll spend on different assessment methods, each year:
|Year||Written exam assessment||Coursework assessment||Practical exam assessment||% check|
Accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), this course provides you with the tools to succeed in your future career.
Students who go on work experience tend to graduate with better degrees. Experience also hones your skills, industry knowledge and professional network, making you a sought after graduate.
You'll have opportunities to do placements, internships and volunteering.
If you choose the five year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work or study placement after Year two.
Students have 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.
You could also get overseas experience. Students have worked on the Damara terns in Namibia, and with elephants in Africa, kiwis in New Zealand and gorillas in Cameroon.
You'll get help to find a placement and support throughout from department staff and our award-winning careers service.
Spend a significant part of your time working in the field and getting to know the spectacular landscapes around Bristol.
There areare two residential trips, including a trip to Dartmoor during Year 1, with optional final-year trips to Cornwall, and the chance to go on expedition to Cuba, or to the threatened forests of Madagascar, where you'll study human-wildlife interactions. Due to the covid-19 pandemic we may have to run suitable alternatives to these trips.
You'll investigate a range of natural and semi-natural habitats, and develop the practical skills to study wildlife and conservation science in the field.
Although you'll not be directly handing wildlife, this course offers a unique partnership with Bristol Zoo Gardens, giving you access to the zoo's expertise.
With access to well-equipped science laboratories, a glasshouse and a dedicated field centre at the University, you'll be supported and mentored by a team of specialists at the forefront of their profession.
You'll get to use extensive equipment for fieldwork and field-based laboratory work at our field centres.
Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.
Careers / Further study
By the end of the course, you'll be well set up for working with national and international conservation organisations, or ecological consultants such as Wildlife Trusts, The Woodland Trust and other non-government organisations (NGOs).
Practical experience in plant and animal survey work, competency at mapping (GIS), and 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.
There are also many options for postgraduate study and research degrees.You could specialise in an area such as wildlife film-making, science communication or environmental consultancy.
Our award-winning careers service will develop your employment potential through career coaching and find you graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.
We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.
Visit our employability pages to learn more about careers, employers and what our students are doing six months after graduating.
Full-time; sandwich course
Supplementary fee information
Your overall entitlement to funding is based on how long the course is that you're registered on. Standard funding is allocated based on the standard number of years that your course lasts, plus one additional year.
You'll apply for funding each year that you study and Student Finance will take into account how long the course is in each year that you apply. So if you register for the five year course and then transfer to the four year course, the number of years you can apply for funding will change. Student Finance will reassess your funding based on how many years you have been in study, not just those years for which you received student finance.
Always seek advice before taking any action that may have implications for your funding.
Additional costs are for items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.
- Tariff points: 48
- GCSE: Grade C/4 or above in English Language or Literature, Mathematics and Double Science, or equivalent. We do not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy as alternatives to GCSEs.
- English Language Requirement: International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*). *The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit http://uwe.ac.uk/englishlanguagerequirements
- A-level subjects: A minimum of an AS in a Science subject.
- 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.
- EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: Three units in a Science subject. Please list the units you are studying in your application. For further advice on acceptable units, please email us.
For information on required Guided Learning Hours please see our minimum entry requirements page.
- Access: Level 3 credits in Science.
- Baccalaureate IB: To include Science at Higher Level.
- Irish Highers: A minimum of O4 in a Science subject.
- T Levels: You must be studying Science. For further advice on acceptable subjects please email us.
If you exceed the entry requirements you may be eligible for BSc(Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science.
If you are an international student your recommended route of study for this degree is through our International College, which upon successful completion to the required level and with good attendance, guarantees entry to Year One of the degree.