BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology (with integrated foundation year)

Course details

UCAS Course code C152

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Are you concerned about the growing threats to the global environment? Want to find out more about how to protect the world around us? Then it sounds like you're ready for a degree in Conservation Biology. We are dedicated to showing the effects of damage to the environment, looking at the increasing loss of biodiversity and elevated rates in extinction levels. More and more employers are in need of professionals who have the commitment to manage the conservation of species and ecosystems.

During your foundation year, you will learn all the information you need about biodiversity, ecology and conservation to help you advance to the BSc (Hons) degree. With a campus ideally situated to access the highly diverse habitats of Cumbria, you will engage in active learning on location and develop the real-world skills highly desired by employers. Our staff are fully involved in what they teach, passing on their knowledge and advice in classes that value you as part of the team.

During the course you will examine the theory and practice of conservation biology, studying ecology, threats to biodiversity, landscape ecology, GIS, wildlife management and conservation policy.

After your foundation year, you will go on to build knowledge of the world's biodiversity (including animal and plant identification skills), ecology and the principles and practice of conservation lectures and field sessions. In your third year you will undertake professional-standard surveys and learn research techniques which you put into practice during a fieldwork module, currently delivered in either West Africa or India. You are also introduced to studies of landscape ecology, GIS and conservation policy, along with a range of optional modules, including aquatic conservation, conservation genetics, and wildlife and recreation management.

Between your third and fourth years, you have the option of a year-long academic/vocational placement (students must maintain an Upper Second Class Honours profile to take an academic placement).  

Your final year will consist of a year-long research project, as well as your choice of a range of specialist modules linking the theory and practice of conservation biology. These include conservation and society, conservation strategies, GIS and remote sensing, and genetic applications in conservation.

Practical laboratory work and an inter-disciplinary approach to science as well as developing your academic knowledge are all part of the four year course at our Carlisle Fusehill Street and Ambleside campuses.

Programme specification

For detailed summary of all course content please read our programme specification for this course.

Download the programme specification (PDF)

2017 entry

56-72 UCAS tariff points.  Potential to succeed can be measured in a number of ways including academic qualifications and skills obtained outside academic study such as work experience.  We have a points range so we can take into account all of the information on your application form and adjust the offer from the evidence provided.

You can find out more about the tariff and qualification options from the UCAS tariff table

Please check selection criteria for any additional entry requirements.

2018 entry

56-72 UCAS tariff points.  Potential to succeed can be measured in a number of ways including academic qualifications and skills obtained outside academic study such as work experience.  We have a points range so we can take into account all of the information on your application form and adjust the offer from the evidence provided.

Please check selection criteria for any additional entry requirements.

Selection criteria

Must have studied Biology or Applied Science at Level 3 and have GCSE English, Maths and Science at grade C/4 or above.
If you are returning to learning or have the ability to benefit from an IFY programme, your application will be considered on an individual basis and you may be telephone interviewed by a tutor.

If you have completed but failed your Biology or Applied Science at Level 3, you must have a GCSE in Biology at grade B or above (or equivalent BTEC qualification).
Students who are accepted to the course will normally be able to provide evidence that they have studied biology to an advanced level.

Making your application

Full-time courses

Apply online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), between September and January; they will send your application on to us. Applications submitted after this date will be considered late and the course you have applied for might be full by this time; however, we will consider you for alternative suitable courses.

Their website provides all the information you need about universities, courses, locations, entry requirements and financial support. You are allowed to select up to five course choices. You need to use the correct UCAS campus and course codes as not all courses are offered at every campus. You will be asked for the following information when you apply online:

Institution code name: UoC

Institution code: C99

Campus location:

  • A Ambleside
  • B Brampton Road, Carlisle
  • E University of Cumbria at Energus, Workington
  • F Fusehill Street, Carlisle
  • L Lancaster
  • T University of Cumbria in London
  • Y University of Cumbria at Furness College, Barrow-in-Furness

Part-time courses

Applications should be made online directly to the university; visit our website or contact for details and guidance. There is no official closing date but we would encourage you to apply as early as possible, as many courses are competitive.

What makes a good application?

We consider all aspects of your application, not simply your qualifications and grades. We look at your academic background and performance, relevant experience (particularly for professional courses where some voluntary or paid experience is required) and your reference. Above all, we look for motivation, commitment and potential-evidence that you can benefit from study at higher education level.

Make sure you include:

  • Relevant qualifications/evidence of ability: check our website for the specific entry requirements required for each course. Tell us your previous academic results and your projected grades.
  • A supportive reference, from an employer or your school or college.
  • A good personal statement.
  • Explain clearly what attracts you to the course and tell us about your wider interests and experience. If you are applying for a course that incorporates professional training and placements, you should include any relevant experience or visits you have made in the workplace. Highlight your individual strengths and qualities, personal skills, capacity for teamwork, contribution to the community and your enterprise, originality and determination. Select some activities which bring out these qualities.

What next?

When we receive your application, we will send you an acknowledgement and if you are successful at this stage you will get either an offer (with an invitation to visit the campus to which you have applied), or an invitation to interview on a particular date. If we are not able to offer you a place on your chosen course we will usually try to offer you a place on a similar course and will contact you to discuss this. Alternatively, if we think you are suitable, but cannot offer you a place on your preferred campus because of the level of competition, we will offer you a place at another campus if one is available.

And if I accept?

The admissions team will contact you and send further information from February onwards about accommodation, and from May/June onwards about preparing to join the university. If you have any other queries, please telephone the admissions offices for information and advice on 0845 6061144.

Deferred entry

We welcome applications for deferred entry on some courses. If you have specific plans during your year out, indicate these on your personal statement as they may be relevant to your course and could enhance your application.

International students

Applications for full-time undergraduate study are made through UCAS. Please see the international pages of our website for full details of our entry requirements (including English-language skills) as well as contacts for advice and support.

From 2009 the UK Border Agency introduced a Points-Based Immigration System (PBS) for students coming to the UK from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Students entering higher education will need to obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) plus finance confirmation to obtain a Tier 4 student visa. UK education providers are licensed by the UK Border Agency. When students apply for their visa (or entry clearance) they will need a valid Certificate of Acceptance of Studies from the university. Please note that a CAS is not a guarantee that a visa will be issued.

See the following websites for further details:

Successful completion of the foundation year will lead to an automatic enrolment into the three year BSc programme. This will help you gain a firm foundation in scientific, intellectual and investigative skills and knowledge that will prove invaluable to those seeking a career in conservation, zoology or biology-based subjects.

Our National School of Forestry has over 50 years of experience in producing career-ready graduates, thanks to our exceptional range of facilities enjoyed by students and researchers alike. Over a hundred hectares of Cumbrian countryside can be explored, giving you direct access to a wide range of habitats including coniferous woodland, wetland, willow plantations, arable farmland and more.

We also have a large arboretum that is still growing, a tropical plant house, temperate and research glass houses and gardens. All this diversity allows many classes and field visits to be conducted just outside the lecture rooms, giving you the chance to study in the real world as well as in our excellent laboratory facilities.