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Ecology and Conservation BSc (Hons)

  • Level(s) of Study: Undergraduate
  • UCAS Code(s): C18A; C18B
  • Start Date(s): September 2023
  • Duration: Three years full-time or four years with industry sandwich
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Campus: Brackenhurst Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information

Introduction:

The world faces unprecedented environmental challenges, which threaten the future of plants, animals and people. You'll focus on ecological concepts, the natural world, and how we conserve it, through exploring community and ecosystem ecology of habitats, plants and the people who use them.

This course will help you explore practical solutions to these problems, through a range of lectures, practicals and fieldwork, preparing you for a career in ecology and conservation.

Our 200-hectare rural campus offers a unique learning environment where you will put theory into practice and gain hands-on ecology and conservation experience. We utilise this outdoor classroom in many of our modules, for example, by undertaking species and habitat surveys across the campus. You will be taught by lecturers that have vast experience in the conservation sector and in ecological research.

Throughout the course, you will have the chance to participate in many exciting field courses. You will have the opportunity to visit South Africa, southern Spain and Pembrokeshire, where you will learn about the unique biodiversity of savannah, Mediterranean and coastal ecosystems, respectively.

You will also experience a range of non-residential field trips to various local and national sites of importance to nature.

You will have the opportunity to undertake a year-long industry sandwich placement in the conservation sector between your second and final year, providing an excellent opportunity to explore an aspect of ecology or conservation that interests you while increasing your employability prospects.

If you have any questions about the BSc (Hons) Ecology & Conservation course, you can contact the course leader Dr Adam Bates.

  • Explore over 200 hectares of farm and woodland estate on our Brackenhurst Campus, an ideal location to study Ecology and Conservation. You'll benefit from studying in a variety of habitats including wetland, woodland and grassland, right on your doorstep. With easy access to Nottingham city centre, you get the best of both worlds.
  • There is the opportunity to study wildlife in the UK (Pembrokeshire) or South Africa (Mankwe Wildlife Reserve) as part of a residential field course in your final year. The field courses currently include studies on coastal management and the effect of savannah burning on large mammal diversity.
  • You'll get the chance to volunteer with extra projects, such as surveying great crested newts, ringing birds and trapping small mammals on campus.
  • We're ranked 4th in the UK for the number of undergraduate students on sandwich courses studying ecology and environmental biology (HESA, 2020/21).

Which course is right for you?

We offer three conservation degrees, each with a different focus:

  • BSc (Hons) Ecology and Conservation (this course) - explores community and ecosystem ecology (i.e. larger scale ecology) and has more of a focus on habitats, plants, land use and the habitat requirements of species.
  • BSc (Hons) Wildlife Conservation - explores behavioural and population ecology (i.e. smaller scale ecology) and has more of a focus on wild animal species and animal conservation management, both in the UK and overseas.
  • FdSc Wildlife Conservation - is more vocational, with greater emphasis on practical and applied skills to prepare you for the workplace.

What you’ll study

The course has been designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of both natural and human-made environments. We work closely with employers to ensure that we teach key transferable and industry-specific knowledge and skill sets.

You will study the ecology of plants, animals and land use, the conservation of organisms and the management of habitats. You will examine environmental impact assessment and global food security issues. You will learn highly-valued ecology and conservation skills like species identification, environmental law, and the application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). You will develop an understanding of the social and economic issues which underpin pressing environmental problems. You will also have the chance to tailor your studies, by choosing optional modules to focus on your particular area of interest in the final year.

Each year of your degree course consists of 120 credits spread over at least five modules (see below), including optional modules in your final year. During your final year, you will also have the opportunity to conduct independent dissertation research on a topic of your interest with the one-to-one support of our lecturers.

Your lectures will cover topics such as:

  • Animal ecology
  • Plant ecology
  • Habitat management
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Ecological consultancy

Principles of Ecology

Examine the interactions between organisms and their environment, at individual, population, community and ecosystem levels. Investigate the abiotic (non-living) and biotic (living) factors driving population and community dynamics through a series of lectures and practical sessions undertaken on the Brackenhurst Campus.

Introduction to Plant Ecology

Delve into the fascinating world of plant ecology, learning about their essential role in the creation and maintenance of the biosphere on which life depends. Examine the adaptations of plants to their environment and how these shape plant assemblage classification. Practical sessions include looking at the remarkable adaptations of real plants and creating a herbarium.

Biodiversity Conservation

Explore the amazing array of biological diversity on Earth, focusing on the abundance and distribution of species. Investigate theories addressing evolution, the causes of mass extinctions, and the conservation of species through a series of lectures and practical sessions including owl pellet dissections.

Ecological Census Techniques

Study how to identify plants and animals, and plan and conduct field surveys to monitor species and habitats. You will learn about the principles of surveying techniques before conducting your own field-based surveys across Brackenhurst Campus, including camera trapping, small mammal surveys, breeding bird surveys, and Phase 1 habitat surveys. These field skills are crucial for roles across the conservation sector.

Introduction to Animal Ecology

Explore the structure and function of a range of animal species and examine how animals interact with each other and their environments. Practical sessions include observing daphnia heart rates and assessing vigilance in geese.

Practical Conservation Skills

Working on either the Brackenhurst Estate or on sites managed by external organisations, you will participate in a range of practical habitat management activities such as coppicing ancient woodland or managing grasslands, and identify how these management techniques can improve conditions for nature. You will develop confidence in the use of a range of tools and gain insight into creating a safe working environment.

Applied Habitat Management

Understand the ecology and habitat management of a range of the most important UK habitats via site-based evaluations. You will also learn how to create a conservation management plan, which is a key skill required when working in the conservation sector.

Land Use Ecology

Explore land uses such as forestry and farming and investigate how ecological processes shape them. Understand the influence of ecological processes on the products of the land use and learn how humans impact the ecological processes.

Experimental Design and Analysis

Cultivate an understanding of research methodology, hypothesis testing, statistical analysis and data presentation by working on real datasets where the findings will be shared with the industry.

Environmental Monitoring and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Get hands-on practical experience in environmental monitoring techniques and use geographical information systems (GIS) software to map and analyse data that you have collected in the field.

Law and Policy

You will be introduced to the past, present and future laws and policies relating to the environment, wildlife and conservation. You will look at a range of specific wildlife and environmental laws, the reasons that we need them, the ways in which they work, and, finally, evaluate whether they are working to protect nature and natural resources.

Technical Skills

Understand the skills needed to plan and carry out field investigations and why these skills are valued by employers. Practice planning field investigations, collecting data and understanding and presenting results during an overseas residential field course.

Placement year for sandwich course students

Dissertation

Undertake an independent research project under the supervision of our experienced staff. Focus on an area of conservation that interests you and allows you to use your practical and/or research skills to help you shape the focus of your degree.

Ecosystem Ecology

Learn the way ecological theory can be applied to practical conservation problems in the real world. Integrate learning with an understanding of economic and social considerations, to assess the magnitude of conservation challenges and identify solutions at an ecosystem scale.

Introduction to Ecological Consultancy

Gain the knowledge and skills required to secure a job in consultancy by looking at Ecological Impact Assessments, including the effects of new and existing developments on species and habitats. We will explore mitigation measures to reduce significant harm, as well as the importance of effective communication with stakeholders.

You'll also choose two optional modules, one of which must be a field course

Africa Field Course

Investigate the function and conservation of African ecosystems by way of a residential field course to Mankwe Wildlife Reserve, South Africa. You'll undertake wildlife surveys of a range of birds and mammals such as weaver birds, giraffes and rhinos, to estimate population size and understand how the environment influences species distributions.

UK Field Course

Investigate the ecology of coastal ecosystems on a residential field course to Pembrokeshire, UK, using a variety of appropriate ecological methods, including rocky shore surveys and crab population studies. Create a mini-scientific investigation that will generate data to help understand an ecological pattern.

Global Agriculture and Food Security

This module provides an overview of the global agricultural industry and investigates the concepts of production and sustainability in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. You will also experience site visits to gain an understanding of current practices and issues.

Marine and Freshwater Ecology

Understand the structure and function of different aquatic habitats, particularly the organisms that inhabit them and their ecological interactions. Apply these principles during a one-day UK field trip, and subsequent laboratory work, to investigate the impact of pollution on the freshwater macroinvertebrate community, as a bioindicator of ecological quality.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Our current students and recent graduates tell you all about their time at NTU and what they've gone on to do next.

Student Profiles

Julian Newman

Ecology and Conservation

It’s great to have lecturers and tutors who are clearly passionate about what they teach. I’ve always felt comfortable in lectures, and they are always happy to answer questions.

Zara Butler

Ecology and Conservation

Our course tutors and lecturers are very passionate about their subject which is really motivating and engaging.

James Stubbs

Ecology and Conservation

Brackenhurst cannot be matched for its 200 hectares of land instantly available for students to freely use in developing the range of vocational skills acquired as part of the course and having valuable green space to access on the doorstep.

Richard Dowling

Ecology and Conservation

I visited the Brackenhurst Campus for an open day before joining NTU in 2017, and was immediately struck by the facilities – they are of a very high calibre, and aesthetically impressive.

Klara Dubinova

Ecology and Conservation

Everyone I have met so far was really lovely, kind, and inspirational. I can feel my lecturers’ and tutors’ support and feel safe to contact them anytime.

Lewis Aaron

Ecology and Conservation

Learning from very knowledgeable course tutors has provided an enjoyable and engaging experience.

Video Gallery

Tom tells us about his life as a student at Nottingham Trent University and the optional South Africa field trip. You can also watch our facility tour video to get an insight into the campus and equipment you'll use and what you'll study on the course.
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Chat with a student

How you’re taught

You will be taught through a variety of methods including group seminars, lectures and practical sessions. Our conservation courses have a strong emphasis on practical learning and include field trips with opportunities in both the UK and abroad. There is also the option of an international exchange where you will study abroad for part of the course.

Please note that field trip locations may vary and are subject to availability and change.

Contact hours

  • Year 1 lectures/seminars/workshops (26%), independent study (74%)
  • Year 2 lectures/seminars/workshops (26%), independent study (74%)
  • Year 3 lectures/seminars/workshops (25%), independent study (75%)

A placement year may be taken between year 2 and year 3 of study.

Staff Profiles

Adam Bates

Senior Lecturer

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Dr Adam Bates is the Course Leader for BSc Ecology and Conservation in the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, teaching modules including Applied Habitat Management and Ecosystem Ecology.

Anna Champneys

Senior Lecturer

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Dr Anna Champneys is the Course Leader for BSc Wildlife Conservation and teaches modules including Behaviour and Biodiversity Conservation. Anna’s research interests include habitat selection and distribution of small mammals.

Matthew Edwards

Senior Lecturer

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Matthew Edwards is the Course Leader for FdSc Wildlife Conservation and teaches modules including Practical Conservation Skills and Conservation Work Experience. Matt is also an industry sandwich placement tutor for

Esther Kettel

Senior Lecturer

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Dr Esther Kettel is a Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Conservation. She teaches a range of modules including Principles of Ecology, Ecological Census Techniques and Wildlife Management. Esther’s research interests

Helen Hicks

Senior Lecturer

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Dr Helen Hicks is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Sciences and teaches modules including Wildlife Population Biology and Wildlife Law. Helen’s research interests include sustainable agricultural practices and balancing food

Richard Yarnell

Associate Professor

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Dr Yarnell is an Associate Professor at the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, teaching a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules. His research interests lie within the broad…

Louise Gentle

Principal Lecturer

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Dr Gentle is a Principal Lecturer and Leader of the Conservation provision for the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences. She teaches modules on Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology and Experimental

Sally Little

Senior Lecturer

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Dr Sally Little is the Course Leader for BSc Environmental Science and teaches modules including Marine and Freshwater Ecology and the UK Field Course. Sally's research interests include the impact

Guaduneth Chico

Lecturer

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Dr Guaduneth Chico is a Lecturer in Environmental Sciences & GIS at Nottingham Trent University. His research interests include studying how peatlands can help us to mitigate Climate Change and

Julia Davies

Acting Deputy Dean

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Julia is Head of Environmental Sciences at the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, encompassing a broad portfolio of courses across Food Science, Environmental Science, Geography and Conservation. Her

How you’re assessed

  • Year 1 coursework (67%), written exam (33%)
  • Year 2 coursework (83%), written exam (17%)
  • Year 3 coursework (83%), written exam (17%)

Careers and employability

Your future career

We pride ourselves on having an excellent track record of graduate prospects. Our course is designed to set you up ready for the workplace, giving you industry-ready skills (e.g. specific field-based and IT software skills) and transferable skills (e.g. critical thinking, professional writing and problem-solving), enabling you to work in the diverse field of ecology and conservation.

You will also be provided with the opportunity to talk to potential employees through work-like experience, which is embedded into the degree programme, and via a showcase at the end of your final year, which gives you the chance to demonstrate your skills to potential future employers.

This course will enable you to progress in the ecology and conservation industries. Our graduates have gone on to work for bodies such as ecological consultancies, the National Trust, the Wildlife Trusts, FrogLife, and local government and statutory agencies.

Some of our students also go on to further study. Our Employability team at Brackenhurst Campus are dedicated to helping you find and apply for suitable jobs during and after your studies.

Industry sandwich placement opportunities

During the course you will have the option to do a year's placement in industry. The vital experience you will gain in a vocational position will make you more employable when you graduate.

Sandwich placements take place between Year Two and Year Three. This is an excellent chance for you to explore an aspect of ecology or conservation that interests you as a career while significantly improving your employment prospects.

Placements can be undertaken with one or several organisations, either in the UK or abroad. A placement diploma is available for students who have undertaken a substantial placement of at least 36 weeks. A placement certificate is available for students who have undertaken a shorter placement of at least 6 weeks. Our Employability team can help you to secure your placement.

Students have recently undertaken placements with Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group, Earth Trust, National Trust, Canals and Rivers Trust, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England and ecological consultancies such as United Environmental Services.

What are the benefits of a work placement?

Practical work experience has many benefits for you. It can help you in your day-to-day studies and is often paid. It can enhance your commercial awareness and your ability to link theory and practice which will be an invaluable skill in your future career. Although a work placement is highly recommended, obtaining one is based on an individual’s efforts and is not guaranteed.

International Exchange

This course also offers the opportunity to get involved in our International Exchange programme and study abroad at another university for part of the second year, with potential opportunities spanning Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Students have previously been involved in exchanges with Brock University, Canada.

NTU Enterprise

You'll also have the opportunity to turn your ideas into a viable business with help from NTU Enterprise, NTU's purpose-built Centre for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, a support centre to help students create, develop and grow their own businesses.

Campus and facilities

You will be studying in the ideal environment for Wildlife Conservation. Brackenhurst Campus is a 200-hectare estate and wildlife haven that we use as an outdoor classroom.

Student research

  • Conservation students are involved in tracking, mapping and recording a wide variety of species at Brackenhurst.
  • These have included hedgehogs, badgers and roe deer.
  • Many of the techniques learnt at Brackenhurst with native species have been transferred to global research projects on wolves, hyenas and vultures.

Conservation Society

Brackenhurst Campus has an award-winning student-led Conservation Society who organise events throughout the year. These include a variety of activities such as seminars, species surveys, bird ringing, field trips, social events and practical tasks such as habitat management, both on campus and for local organisations. This is an excellent way to obtain voluntary conservation work, helping to boost your CV.

Entry requirements

  • 104 - 112 UCAS Tariff points from up to four qualifications.
  • GCSE English and Maths grade C / 4.

To find out what qualifications have tariff points, please use our tariff calculator.

Contextual offers

A lower offer may be made based on a range of factors, including your background (such as where you live and the school or college you attended), your experiences and individual circumstances (you may have been in care, for example). This is called a contextual offer and we get data from UCAS to make these decisions. NTU offers a student experience like no other and this approach helps us to find students who have the potential to succeed here but who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Find out how we assess your application.


Other qualifications and experience

We may also consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or beyond the beginning of a course where applicable, for example, into year 2. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available for this route.

Getting in touch

If you need more help or information, get in touch through our enquiry form.

  • 112 UCAS Tariff points from up to four qualifications.
  • GCSE English and Maths grade C / 4.

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from all over the world – check yours here:

Undergraduate preparation courses (Foundation)

If you don’t yet meet our entry requirements, we offer Foundation courses through our partner Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC), based on our City Campus:

English language entry requirements

You can meet our language requirements by successfully completing our pre-sessional English course for an agreed length of time, or by submitting the required grade in one of our accepted English language tests, such as IELTS:

Advanced standing (starting your undergraduate degree in year 2 or 3)

You may be able to start your undergraduate course in year 2 or 3 based on what you have studied before. This decision would be made in accordance with our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy.

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

Additional costs

Your course fees cover the cost of studies and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

Library books

Most study modules will recommend one or more core text books, which some students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential text books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

Field trips

Non-residential UK day excursions are included in the tuition fee. You will be charged a maximum of 20% of the price per student cost for any compulsory residential trips or courses in the UK, as a contribution towards travel, accommodation and entrance fees where applicable. For example, a typical 5-day UK residential field trip cost would be approx. £500 per student, and we would ask for a £100 contribution from students. You will be charged a maximum of 30% of the price per student cost for any compulsory overseas residential courses, as a contribution towards travel, accommodation and associated trip fees where applicable. For example, a typical 6-day residential overseas field trip cost would be approx. £600 per student, and we would ask for a £180 contribution from students. Other non-compulsory field trip opportunities, in the UK and abroad, may also be offered, and these will be charged at 80% cost to students. A valid passport and any associated visas will also be required for field trips outside of the UK.

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Other costs

All students will also be expected to provide their own appropriate fieldwork clothing. It is essential that you have steel-toe-capped boots (which can either be walking or wellington boots, but you must have one or the other). Other necessary items are walking boots (with ankle support), wellingtons and waterproof trousers and coat.

Tuition fees for September 2023 entry

Mode of study

International tuition fee

Full-time

£15,600

Full-time with placement

£15,600 + £1,385 (placement year)

Tuition fees are payable for each year that you are at the University. The level of tuition fees for the second and subsequent years of your undergraduate course may increase in line with inflation and as specified by the UK government.

Scholarships

We offer scholarships of up to 50% of your tuition fee. You can apply for your scholarship when you have an offer to study at NTU.

Living costs

Get advice on the cost of living as an international student in Nottingham and how to budget:

Paying fees

Find out about advanced payments, instalment plan options and how to make payments securely to the University:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

Additional costs

Your course fees cover the cost of studies and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

Library books

Most study modules will recommend one or more core text books, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential text books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

Field trips

Non-residential UK day excursions are included in the tuition fee. You will be charged a maximum of 20% of the price per student cost for any compulsory residential trips or courses in the UK, as a contribution towards travel, accommodation and entrance fees where applicable. For example, a typical 5-day UK residential field trip cost would be approx. £500 per student, and we would ask for a £100 contribution from students. You will be charged a maximum of 30% of the price per student cost for any compulsory overseas residential courses, as a contribution towards travel, accommodation and associated trip fees where applicable. For example, a typical 6-day residential overseas field trip cost would be approx. £600 per student, and we would ask for a £180 contribution from students. Other non-compulsory field trip opportunities, in the UK and abroad, may also be offered, and these will be charged at 80% cost to students. A valid passport and any associated visas will also be required for field trips outside of the UK.

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Other costs

All students will also be expected to provide their own appropriate fieldwork clothing. It is essential that you have steel-toe-capped boots (which can either be walking or wellington boots, but you must have one or the other). Other necessary items are walking boots (with ankle support), wellingtons and waterproof trousers and coat.

How to apply

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. So include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades.

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It’s your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place! You’ve got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you’re applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Keeping up-to-date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page. Good luck with your application!

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

You can apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not applying to any other UK universities, you can apply directly to us on our NTU applicant portal.

Application advice

Apply early so that you have enough time to prepare – processing times for Student visas can vary, for example.  After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Writing your personal statement

Be honest, thorough, and persuasive – we can only make a decision about your application based on what you tell us:

Advice on writing a good personal statement

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

The University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

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