BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology

91% overall course satisfaction in the 2016 National Student Survey (NSS).

Course details

UCAS Course code C150

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If you've always been concerned and want to study more about the threats to our environment, then we are here to give you the knowledge and skills you need to succeed. It's more important than ever to have professionals who can manage the conservation of species and ecosystems, so we want to help you become the best you can in this vital field.

You'll love learning at our National School of Forestry, which offers access to over 100 hectares of Cumbrian countryside, encompassing a wide range of diverse habitats. In addition, your second year will see you travel to West Africa or India to explore even more environments. We give you real-world assignments that allow you to learn actively on location, preparing your skills to impress future employers. With highly dedicated tutors who are fully involved in what they teach, we can provide you with everything you need to study conservation biology, opening up your career options.

Many of our full-time programmes can be studied over a longer period on a part-time basis. Please contact the course enquiries team for further details.

You will start by building a 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 second year you will learn professional-standard survey and research techniques, which are tested in a fieldwork module currently delivered in either West Africa or India. You are also introduced to studies of landscape ecology, GIS and conservation policy, with a range of optional modules available.

Between second and third year you can take a year-long academic/vocational placement (students must maintain an Upper Second Class Honours profile to take an academic placement). Students on the three year degree may opt for a shorter placement in second year. Your final year will consist of a year-long research project, in addition to a range of specialist modules linking the theory and practice of conservation biology.

Year one

Compulsory modules

  • Core Scientific Skills
  • Introduction to Conservation Biology
  • Conservation Practice
  • Biodiversity I
  • Biodiversity II
  • Ecology
  • Biodiversity Monitoring - Qualificatory Practice Unit

Year two

Compulsory modules

  • Research Methods and Data Analysis
  • Biodiversity Monitoring
  • Evolution and Biogeography
  • Geographic Information System
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Conservation Policy, Practice and Philosophy

Optional modules (subject to availability and demand)

  • Freshwater Ecology
  • Marine Ecology
  • Marine Biodiversity Assessments
  • Conservation Genetics

Year three

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation
  • Applied Field Studies
  • Conservation and Society

Optional modules (subject to availability and demand)

  • Creating Sustainable Environments
  • Conservation Strategies
  • Woodland Ecology and Conservation
  • Advanced Geographic Information Science
  • Remote Sensing

Programme specification

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

Download the programme specification (PDF)

2017 entry

96 - 112 UCAS tariff points normally including A2 in Biology (16 points can be from other Tariff Based Qualifications). GCSE English, Maths and Science at grade C or above.

Find out more about qualification options from the UCAS tariff table

Please check selection criteria for any additional entry requirements.

2018 entry

112 UCAS tariff points normally including A2 in Biology (16 points can be from other Tariff Based Qualifications). GCSE English, Maths and Science at grade C or above.

Please check selection criteria for any additional entry requirements.

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:

By developing real-world skills through practical courses, you will stand out amongst your peers when it comes to job hunting. The knowledge you learn will help you gain employment in conservation, science and outdoors-related areas, or enable you to continue your studies at a higher level.

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 them chance to study in the real world as well as in our excellent new laboratory facilities.