MSci Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science (with Foundation Year)
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Page last updated 5 July 2021
Make a difference to wildlife conservation on this specially designed integrated master's, run in partnership with Bristol Zoo.
Why study wildlife ecology and conservation?
Conserving biodiversity and avoiding the mass extinction of species are huge global challenges.
Understanding global biodiversity, and the effects of habitat loss and climate change, is crucial in helping us find new and better ways to conserve wildlife both in the UK and around the world.
The skills, scientific knowledge and research experience you'll gain will put you in an unrivalled position for securing work in this field.
Why UWE Bristol?
MSci Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science is a five-year (six with placement year) course that 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 facilities and expertise.
Mixing theory with practice, along with opportunities to conduct your own original research, you'll delve into the relationship between wildlife and society, and the impact of human activities on the living world.
Hone your professional skills 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, 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.
Carry out your own extended research project, working within a UWE-based research team, industry, government or an NGO. Gain master's-level research-skills, including project management, science communication and outreach skills.
Get first-hand experience of practical tools for wildlife conservation such as eDNA, measuring environmental radiation, using UAVs (drones), and other advanced survey techniques.
Explore the steps that can be taken to alleviate biodiversity decline, and get the strong foundation you need for a career in ecological research or conservation.
We are pleased to inform you that Bristol Zoo Gardens plans to expand as they move to their Wild Place 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?
This course is for people who are passionate about wildlife conservation and want to make a difference through sound science and research.
You could work in national and international wildlife conservation, conservation consultancy, media and wildlife film-making, wildlife and enterprise, or conservation education.
You'll also be well prepared for a career in research or a PhD.
Longer term, you could work as a lecturer, industry, NGO, government or senior consultancy scientist, science communicator or conservation specialist advisor.
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
- Wildlife and Society
- Field Skills.
You will study:
- Conservation in Practice
- Environmental and Field Techniques
- Ecology and Ecosystem Protection
- Wildlife Ecology.
You'll need to achieve an average grade of 2:1 or above by the end of your second year to go into the third year. Students that don't achieve this will transfer to the third year of the BSc(Hons) qualification.
Placement year (if applicable)
If you're studying on the six 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 Experimental Project or Research Dissertation Project
- Contemporary Conservation Science
Plus four optional modules from:
- Primate Ecology and Conservation
- Global Forests System
- Sustainable Food Production
- Wildlife Forensics and Conservation
- Marine Ecosystems
- Remote Sensing and GIS
- Tropical Expedition
- Wildlife, Film and Media
- Professional Practice in Applied Sciences*.
You will study:
- Research With Impact
- Sustainable Futures
- Research in Practice.
*Compulsory if you do 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
The course offers a wide-ranging curriculum taught through lectures, seminars and tutorials, complemented by laboratory investigations, case studies, workshops, work-based experiences, fieldwork and your own research.
One of your modules will take place at Bristol Zoo (during your first two years), 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 paid-for residential trips to Devon and optional trips to Cornwall and a tropical expedition to Cuba or Madagascar.
Receive one-to-one guidance and feedback throughout from our experienced academic and personal tutors. You'll also receive individual mentoring in advanced technical and research skills, and career support and guidance from your research project tutor.
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 range of concepts, knowledge and skills we want you to develop.
You'll be assessed with 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 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.
At master's level, we'll look at your skills portfolio, scientific writing for different audiences (including non-specialist), literature reviews, a fieldwork/practical investigative report, an oral presentation at a conference, and your research paper.
See our full glossary of assessment terms.
Percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities, 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 six 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 the 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 are residential visits to Dartmoor, with optional third 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.
Your research project may also include fieldwork, as you explore key conservation issues at home or abroad.
Although you will not be working directly with wildlife, this course offers a unique partnership with Bristol Zoo Gardens, giving you access to the zoo's facilities and 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.
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
Indicative Additional Costs
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 six year course and then transfer to the five 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: Six units in a Science subject. Please list the units you are studying in your application. For further advice on acceptable units, please email us.
- Access: Level 3 credits in Science.
- Baccalaureate IB: To include Science at Higher Level.
- Irish Highers: a minimum of o4 in a science subject.
If you exceed the entry requirements you may be eligible for MSci 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.