BSc Ecology and Conservation

Full Time
Degree of Bachelor of Science

UCAS Course Code
A-Level typical
BBB (2019/0 entry) See All Requirements
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Get ready to deep dive into the key concepts of ecology and discover how organisms behave, evolve and interact with their physical and biological environments.

This course is for you if you have a scientist’s mind combined with a love of nature, animals, plants and ecosystems. You will be fascinated by life science and how it underpins our understanding of the natural world and conservation. You might aspire to work in conservation, research, agriculture, or even conservation communication.

Or you might not yet know which career path you want to take and be excited about exploring the wide range of careers open to ecologists and conservationists.


You will explore topics ranging from the molecular genetics of populations, plant science and animal behavior, to environmental management, biodiversity and conservation – plus the essentials of economics and politics.

You could be discussing the theories behind evolution or behavior in a seminar one day, and experiencing the subject first-hand in the laboratory the next. Here in the lab you’ll develop techniques to explore ecology, from microbes and parasites to model organisms.

You’ll get out into the natural environment too – gaining confidence in practical field skills, survey techniques and field projects. You can choose to join one of our residential field trips to Europe or go further afield in a sub-tropical climate (currently Kenya and/or Swaziland) to test your skills in a totally different environment.

Developing your own unique, independent research takes your learning to the next level. So you’ll work with a member of our world-leading team of researchers to understand a system using the latest scientific techniques.

Course Structure

Year 1

The first year of your Ecology and Conservation degree is all about developing your field skills and theoretical knowledge to give you a solid grounding in the fundamentals of ecology. You will undertake a range of modules which will see you exploring biodiversity and taxonomy as well as evolution which will enable you to explore the processes which have driven the diversity of life on Earth. Alongside this you will also consider the challenges facing ecologists today and think about solutions to some of these problems from an interdisciplinary perspective by studying alongside students from the School of Environmental Sciences. Finally you will also undertake a module based around a programme of field trips exploring some of the wonderful habitats and landscapes found across East Anglia.

Year 2

The second year of your degree sees you further developing your theoretical knowledge with compulsory modules that explore population and community ecology, the management of populations including the role of citizen science and Big Data and a two-week long field course in Western Ireland exploring a range of habitats, refining your survey skills and analytical techniques. You also get to choose three modules to complement all of these and might find yourself exploring the aquatic and marine environment, undertaking a further field course in the tropics, currently in Swaziland in Southern Africa or exploring environmental policy and the role of politics in science and conservation.

Year 3

In your final year of your studies you will undertake an independent ecological research project. Working with one of the researchers from within the School or from one of our affiliated research institutions, this project is your opportunity to explore your own areas of interest, to answer a research question that you may have developed during your studies. Your project can be field or lab-based and take place in the UK or overseas.

In addition to carrying out this research project, you will also choose to study a range of modules that help you to specialise in the areas of ecology that suit your own interests, be they the evolution of social behaviour, the role of parasites in driving host evolution or biodiversity conservation and human society. By the time you finish this final year of your studies you will have had hands-on opportunities to explore a range of temperate and tropical habitats, will have spent time exploring organisms and their anatomy, considered the role of evolution in driving the diversity of life and developed many transferable skills from report writing through to science communication.

You will graduate with an excellent grounding in Ecology and Conservation, ready to apply your skills to this increasingly important field of science.

Teaching and Learning


All teaching in the School of Biological Sciences is research led. This means that you benefit from the teaching expertise of nearly 50 enthusiastic academic staff, who ensure that the most recent scientific advances and new ideas are incorporated into all our courses. This makes for engaging programmes that our students love.

You will learn through lectures, seminars and workshops geared towards helping you understand the theory and concepts behind evolution, behaviour, ecological services, processes and conservation. You will spend time in the laboratory developing techniques to explore ecology, from microbes and parasites to model organisms. You will also learn through fieldwork where you’ll perfect practical field skills and survey techniques. You will meet and learn from working ecologists from key partner organisations to develop practical conservation skills to complement your academic studies.

Independent study

You will conduct your own unique research projects in your third year – and you’re in the ideal place to do so. Our research environment was rated 100% internationally excellent at the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) for Biological Sciences.

You’ll also get the chance to attend regular seminars and workshops exploring the latest research in Ecology. These are often conducted by world-leading scientists and are organised by The Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (CEEC) – one of the largest groups of ecologists and evolutionary biologists in Europe. They regularly feature scientists from UEA, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS).

You can also work with the broader CEEC community in developing your third year research project.


During this course you will develop your skills and knowledge through a range of activities from field-based surveys through lab practicals to lectures. You will be assessed on your learning and progress on this course through a range of methods which may include the presentation of your own taxonomy collection, creating social media articles, group presentations, writing executive reports for clients, as well as the more formal course tests, exams and assessed practical work. Ecology with conservation has a strong emphasis on coursework and practical reporting, preparing you for the workplace after you graduate.

Optional Study abroad or Placement Year

We also offer BSc Ecology and Conservation with a Year Abroad. On this course you have the chance to spend your third year studying at a university in Australasia, North America or Europe. You will then return to UEA to complete the final year of your degree. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience a new culture, see new ecological problems and solutions first hand and make connections with partner universities across the world.

After the course

You will graduate as a skilled ecologist ready to take advantage of East Anglia’s wealth of varied habitats, or range further afield. Either way, you’ll be able to use what you have learned at UEA to make a real difference.

You could go on to a career in many different areas – from ecological research, agriculture and horticulture to environmental management, consultancy and conservation. You might also consider education or science communication and engagement. Many of our students progress to postgraduate study.

Career destinations

Examples of careers that you could enter include:

  • Ecological research
  • Agriculture and horticulture
  • Environmental management and conservation
  • Science communication and engagement
  • Education

Course related costs

You’ll normally be expected pay 50% towards the cost of any optional field trips selected from the range of residential field courses within the schools of biological science or environmental sciences. All Ecologists are expected to have suitable field clothes including walking boots and waterproofs.

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of other course-related costs.

Course Modules 2018/9


Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Entry Requirements

  • A Level BBB
  • International Baccalaureate 31 including HL Biology at 5

Entry Requirement

GCSE Requirements:  GCSE English Language grade 4/C and GCSE Mathematics grade 4/C.

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.  

UEA recognises that some students take a mixture of International Baccalaureate IB or International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme IBCP study rather than the full diploma, taking Higher levels in addition to A levels and/or BTEC qualifications. At UEA we do consider a combination of qualifications for entry, provided a minimum of three qualifications are taken at a higher Level. In addition some degree programmes require specific subjects at a higher level.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students from all academic backgrounds. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including speaking, listening, reading and writing) at the following level:

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall (minimum 6.0 in any component)

We will also accept a number of other English language qualifications. Please click here for further information.

INTO University of East Anglia 

If you do not meet the academic and/or English language requirements for this course, our partner INTO UEA offers guaranteed progression on to this undergraduate degree upon successful completion of a foundation programme:

INTO UEA also offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study:

How to Apply

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

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    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515