BSc (Hons) Wildlife Conservation – Bath Spa University

Wildlife Conservation

BSc (Hons)

Undergraduate degree - single honours

Key facts

Award
BSc (Hons) Wildlife Conservation
School/s
School of Sciences
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
Three years full time, or four years full time with professional placement year. Part time available.
UCAS codes
Institution Code: B20
Course Code: WC11 or WC12
Campus Code: A,BSU

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed under 'Typical offers' in the main column below. For combined courses, please check both subjects. If your qualification is not listed, please email admissions@bathspa.ac.uk with your specific details.

An exciting new degree with a creative interdisciplinary approach. Explore conservation biology, ecology and human-wildlife interaction, and help develop ways to protect the natural world.

  • Explore the biology of animals, plants and ecosystems in the UK and around the world.
  • Learn in the field, laboratory, classroom and using new technology.
  • Engage in creative interdisciplinary approaches to help tackle one of the world’s greatest challenges.

Due to Covid-19, we have made some changes to teaching and learning for the 2020-21 academic year: we have blended high-quality virtual engagement with in-person teaching on campus when possible. Blended learning will continue to some extent in the 2021-22 academic year and we will continue to keep the situation under review in light of ongoing Government guidance. If you’re planning on joining us in September 2021 we will communicate with you about specific details of how your course is taught nearer the time.


This new wildlife conservation degree will give you the opportunity to learn about the lives of wild animals and plants, and explore how you can help to overcome the challenges that they face.

You'll look at the rapidly developing field of conservation biology, including threats to biodiversity and opportunities for habitat management and creation. You'll learn about the biology and behaviour of animals, the importance of a variety of biomes, and the different flora and fauna that they support. You'll consider how we can use this understanding to aid their protection using interdisciplinary approaches.

The course is rooted in biology and will also cover the social and economic issues related to wildlife conservation and the place of wildlife within our lives. You'll be encouraged to explore and develop brave and creative approaches to protecting the natural world including elements from the arts. Fieldwork will form an important part of your study, and you'll build experience and develop practical skills by interacting directly with nature.


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“The Newton Park campus is a fantastic resource for studying conservation. I've learned industry-standard sampling techniques on site, practising on vegetation and watercourses, and I've designed and run a research project here. I've also assisted with great crested newt surveys on campus. The department has decades of wildlife records for Newton Park, providing rich context for many studies.”

Hayley Butler, Biology (Conservation Biology) student

What you'll learn

Overview

You'll learn about the lives of animals and plants, how they function together in ecosystems across the planet, and the threats they face in the modern world.

You'll learn about British wildlife in detail using the beautiful Newton Park campus as a natural laboratory, along with UK field trips. You'll also have the opportunity to contrast this with a different ecosystem on an international field trip.

You'll learn practical skills in identification and surveying, using both established techniques and new approaches, and explore how we can use an understanding of human society to create positive change for wildlife. There will also be opportunities to develop your creative side, including activities such as artistic workshops and an optional module in wildlife photography and filmmaking.

Course structure

Year one

You'll study the fundamental concepts of biology, ecology, conservation and natural history. You'll learn key scientific, analytic, practical fieldwork and communication skills that you'll use throughout your degree and beyond.

Year two

Your second year introduces more applied content, and includes key research skills, a work placement opportunity, animal behaviour, ecology, environmental management, and an independent project. You'll learn practical techniques, such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS), both on campus and on a residential field course, and you will carry out small group projects. There will also be opportunities for multidisciplinary study including fields such as environmental philosophy, creative arts, geotechnologies and education.

Year three

In your third year, you'll learn how to put what you have learned into practice, with a focus on more specific skills needed for the workplace. The year will start with a choice between an international and UK field course which will bring together many of the things you have learned in the first two years. You'll conduct your own dissertation research project and explore how you can work with society to create change through a choice of optional modules. Opportunities for multidisciplinary study will continue, allowing you to take novel approaches to conservation tailored to your interests, for example, environmental politics, marine biology, behavioural psychology and wildlife filmmaking.

How will I be assessed?

The assessments will include written coursework, practical and field work, production of digital materials, creation of artistic work, presentations and some traditional exams. Coursework will typically include practical files, laboratory/field reports, essays and technical reports, as well as reflective blogs, filmed pieces, and resource creation.

Many assessments will allow you to choose the precise focus and tailor your studies around your own particular interests.

How will I be taught?

Most modules, with the exception of some final year independent study units such as the dissertation, will have lead lectures which will introduce the key topics. These lectures will be supported by fieldwork, workshops, laboratory practical classes, seminars, and tutorials, both individual and group. You will also carry out group and individual supervised project work.

Course modules

This course offers or includes the following modules. The modules you take will depend on your pathway or course combination (if applicable) as well as any optional or open modules chosen. Please check the programme document (below the main image on this page) for more information.

Year one (Level 4) modules

  • Conservation Biology
  • Biological Techniques
  • Communicating Science
  • Endless Forms: Evolution, Diversity and Biophilia
  • Analysing Nature
  • Sustainability in Life and Work

Year two (Level 5) modules

  • Ecology and Biodiversity
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • The Wild Muse: Creative Explorations of Nature
  • Research Skills for Wildlife Conservation
  • Ecology and Nature
  • Biological Systems 
  • Biology in Society
  • Biology Work Placement
  • Environment and Education
  • Environmental Management
  • Science Journalism and Publishing
  • Geotechnologies for Society and Environment

Year three (Level 6) modules

  • Wildlife Conservation Field Course
  • Dissertation Planning for Wildlife Conservation
  • Dissertation Publication for Wildlife Conservation
  • Conservation in Africa
  • Wildlife Photography and Filmmaking
  • Marine Biology and Conservation
  • Environmental Practice
  • Learning in Science
  • Environmental Politics
  • Applied Behavioural Psychology
  • Evolutionary Neuroscience and the Origin of Human Mind

Opportunities

Study abroad

Opportunities to study abroad for a semester are available in the second year. Work placements can also be undertaken abroad. You can also choose to take a course in Global Citizenship alongside your degree.

Field trips

Fieldwork will form a vital and integral part of your degree. You’ll have opportunities to participate in fieldwork across the three years of study. This will range from use of the natural environment on the campus to residential field trips in the UK and abroad. Field courses, day trips and optional field trips associated with particular modules may require a student financial contribution.

Work placements, industry links and internships

There is an optional work placement module in year two. An optional sandwich (Professional Placement) year runs between the second and third year, allowing you to gain a year’s professional experience during your degree. Previously, our biology students have worked with organisations such as Bristol Zoo, Operation Wallacea, Natural EnglandSnowdonia National Park and local authorities.

Careers

A degree in wildlife conservation could lead to a range of professions including conservation advocacy, reserve management, wildlife education and environmental consultancy.

Competitions and awards

Students are eligible for a number of Bath Spa Awards and grants, in addition to prizes such as the best dissertation. There is also a possibility of applying for grants to help with funding international field trips.

Professional placement year

Overview

This optional placement year provides you with the opportunity to identify, apply for and secure professional experience, normally comprising one to three placements over a minimum of nine months. Successful completion of this module will demonstrate your ability to secure and sustain graduate-level employment.

By completing the module, you'll be entitled to the addition of 'with Professional Placement Year' to your degree title.

Preparation

Before your Professional Placement Year, you'll work to secure your placement, constructing a development plan with your module leader and your placement coordinator from our Careers and Employability team.

How will I be assessed?

On your return to University for your final year, you'll submit your Placement Portfolio, detailing your development on your placement.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

The course is based at Newton Park Campus with field locations in the UK and abroad. We will also make use of the university’s other campuses such as the newly refurbished Locksbook Campus, home of the Bath School of Art. You'll have access to our:

  • Laboratories
    Located in the Gardens area of the Newton Park campus, we have a number of well­-equipped and recently refurbished laboratories dedicated to a variety of practical work. Some are used to support field work, others for specialist microbiological culturing, biochemistry and physiology.
  • Low Hazard Laboratory Space
    We have ‘low ­hazard’ laboratory space where you can carry out activities such as the preparation and assessment of food, exercise or psychological studies.
  • Biology Resources Room
  • Commons building
  • Newton Park library
  • Virtual Learning Environment

Resources

The campus acts as a natural laboratory, offering woodland and agricultural sites as well as a lake, with access to an IR camera system, bat detectors, and weather stations.

There are recently refurbished teaching laboratories and project/research laboratories, with appropriate analytical equipment and physiological data collection systems. High-tech Instrumentation includes HPLC, mass spectrometry, PCR, DNA and protein electrophoresis, and GIS, all of which can be used for student projects.

Interdisciplinary work may take place in other specialist areas, such as publishing studios or arts workshops, within the University’s campuses.

Fees

Please note: Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are no longer eligible for the UK (Home) fee status. Please refer to the international student rate.

UK students full time

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £9,250
Year 2 Published Jan 2022
Year 3 Published Jan 2023

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023
Year 3 Published Jan 2024

2023/24 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2023
Year 2 Published Jan 2024
Year 3 Published Jan 2025

UK students part time

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £4,625
Year 2 Published Jan 2022
Year 3 Published Jan 2023

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023
Year 3 Published Jan 2024

2023/24 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2023
Year 2 Published Jan 2024
Year 3 Published Jan 2025

International students full time

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £14,925
Year 2 Published Jan 2022
Year 3 Published Jan 2023

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023
Year 3 Published Jan 2024

2023/24 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2023
Year 2 Published Jan 2024
Year 3 Published Jan 2025

All students full time - with professional placement year

During the placement year, the fee is reduced to 20% of the full time fee. Otherwise, fees are the same as for full time study. This applies to UK, EU and International students.

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We are looking for potential students with:

  • a love of nature
  • a desire to develop a scientific understanding of wildlife
  • a creative approach to conservation, and
  • a willingness to take on the interdisciplinary challenges of conservation in the modern world.

Applicants should be driven to put theory into practice in the field, and be willing to pursue their own research and creative outputs on topics of interest.

Typical offers

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - grades BBC-CCC including a Grade C in a science related subject.
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades from Distinction, Merit, Merit (DMM) to Merit, Merit, Merit (MMM) in a related subject.
  • International Baccalaureate - a minimum of 27 points are required with a minimum of Grade 6 in a science subject at Higher Level.
  • Access to HE courses - typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher) in a science or related subject.

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Course enquiries

For further information about the programme or entry requirements, please email us at admissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the 'apply now' button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.

Get ahead

If you have not studied A-level (or equivalent) Biology then a general biology textbook would be a very useful preparation. There are also a number of popular science texts and free online talks and courses that will provide useful background.

A few examples of relevant popular science/conservation books:

  • Few and Far Between by Charlie Elder
  • Elephants by Hannah Mumby
  • The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
  • Wilding by Isabella Tree
  • Tamed by Alice Roberts
  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
  • No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

Please contact us if you would like more information.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Email: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk
Course leader: Dr Ralph Thompson
Email: r.thompson@bathspa.ac.uk

Three year course

Website feedback to web@bathspa.ac.uk