BSc (Hons) Ecology and Conservation

  • Study Abroad Option Available
  • Sandwich Year Option Available
  • International Students Can Apply
  • Work Placement Opportunity
  • Fieldwork

Overview

UCAS Code:C180
Course Length:3 Years Full-Time
Start Dates:September 2017
Department:Department of Biology
Location:Edge Hill University
  • Biology at Edge Hill University ranked in the top two in the UK for teaching and overall satisfaction and top in the North West for personal development in the National Student Survey 2016;
  • Gain an understanding of current developments in ecology and conservation and exhibit a firm grasp of their underlying principles;
  • Undertake detailed fieldwork in a rich diversity of habitats and complete extensive practical work in modern and well-equipped laboratories, developing skills to enhance your employability.

The study of ecology and conservation is vitally important as it addresses significant contemporary questions including climate change, the impact of a growing human population and the threat to biodiversity. As such, this degree has been designed give you a solid grounding in the theories of the subject, knowledge of a range of biodiversity and awareness of recent advances. It will appeal to those with a broad scientific understanding and a keen interest in wildlife and the environment. Introducing you to the essentials of ecology and conservation, allied to knowledge of biodiversity, the programme enables you to undertake a detailed study of environmental problems and conservation, providing you with a strong foundation for your future career.

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Department of Biology

Course in Depth

What will I study?

Year 1 covers the basics of ecology and conservation and the evolutionary origins of biodiversity. It includes a period of overseas field work. In addition, you will explore cellular genetics and biochemistry, gaining an insight into the organismal basis of ecological specialisation and experiencing some of the molecular tools used by modern ecologists. Study through research is also introduced.

Biodiversity is a key element of Year 2 with a variety of organisms studied through extensive field work across a range of habitats. Modules explore topics such as marine biology and terrestrial invertebrate ecology. A placement with a conservation organisation will place ecological theory into a wider context.

The practical experience and theoretical background in Years 1 and 2 allow you to develop your own areas of investigation in Year 3 supported by a diverse team of researchers. You will also study the boundaries of the discipline, with modules covering themes such as conservation issues, ecological interactions, ecological genetics and practical applications of conservation.

How will I study?

You will study via a combination of lectures, practical work and tutorials which are generally taught in four hour sessions. The programme has a strong practical base including three residential field courses and additional site visits. You will also be expected to hone your practical skills using the departmental facilities in your own time. The degree also involves a residential field course in Cyprus plus the option of other UK based field courses.

An optional Year 2 placement provides a professional setting in which you can apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the programme. Possible placements include nature reserves managed by Natural England, The Wildlife Trusts, The RPSB, The National Trust or local authorities. The placement therefore represents an opportunity to work at some of the best ecological sites and conservation areas in the country.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is through a mixture of coursework and examinations tailored to suit the knowledge and skills required for each module. A wide range of coursework is employed which may include practical portfolios, project reports, individual and group presentations. Examinations include seen papers and open book assessments.

Who will be teaching me?

You will be taught by research-active experts in the fields of ecology and conservation who take pride in the quality of their teaching and academic studies. The programme team are up-to-date with current developments in their areas of interest and frequently share this knowledge through directly engaging students in their research. Visiting speakers assist in the delivery of the programme, often providing novel approaches to, or presenting unique aspects of, particular subjects.

The Biology department is friendly and approachable and of a size that enables us to know our students personally and be able to respond to their needs.

A Great Study Environment

BSc (Hons) EcologyOur Biosciences building incorporates impressive, modern laboratories, offering exciting and highly relevant practical experience in some of the best equipped facilities in the country. Resources include confocal, fluorescence and scanning electron microscopes, DNA extraction and analysis equipment, and climate controlled insectaries.

A number of the leading nature reserves in the country are in close proximity. You will be taught within a short travelling distance of impressive field sites such as one of the finest saltmarsh and dune systems in Europe, restored mires of international importance, hay meadows and limestone woodlands. Almost adjacent to the University is a farm sympathetically managed for biodiversity and a mixed woodland.

The Department of Biology also has specialist information technology facilities and is home to an active research culture. An extensive network of relationships has been established with relevant environmental organisations and other universities in the UK and overseas, ensuring a rich, diverse and rewarding student experience.

Modules

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Year 1

SCI1106 Variation, Evolution and Heredity (20 credits)

Variation, Evolution and Heredity examines the molecular processes that cause genetic information held in DNA to be expressed in the form of proteins and how this in turn leads to variation in the phenotype. The module also studies how genetic information is passed on to the next generation. This is a fundamental feature of life and central to any understanding of biology. Moreover, molecular genetics concepts are central to a grasp of recent biomedical developments.

SCI1107 Biology in Practice (20 credits)

Biology in Practice looks at the nature of biological enquiry, the ways that biological knowledge develops, and the contribution biology makes to society. Part of this module will be delivered during a field trip to Cyprus (costs included in fees).

SCI1108 Cellular Form and Function (20 credits)

Cellular Form and Function provides an introduction to cellular physiology and biochemistry. Through a range of practical activities you will examine the molecular components that determine the structure, biochemical nature and physiology of different cells and will develop essential skills and confidence in scientific laboratory techniques. The module is designed to help you understand biological phenomena at a variety of levels, from molecular through to whole organism.

SCI1112 Ecology (20 credits)

Ecology introduces concepts from across the full breadth of the subject, such as microbial ecology and the population and community ecology of plants, in addition to animals and aspects of human ecology, with humans as both population and habitat. The module covers the basic subject-specific skills required for ecological study, including plant and animal identification, survey techniques and data handling. Fieldwork activities include studies on both animals and plants which will be used to develop concepts such as energetics, food webs, limiting factors and population dynamics. You will gain an appreciation of the broad application of the subject to environmental, medical and resource issues.

SCI1113 Biodiversity (20 credits)

Biodiversity provides an overview of the key evolutionary processes that have led to the evolution of life and the major forms of biodiversity and examines the ways in which biologists classify the variety of life. The module also explores the diversity of organisms on the planet from a broad range of groups including microbes, invertebrates, amphibians, mammals and birds.

SCI1114 Human Body Systems (20 credits)

Human Body Systems focuses on developing your knowledge of the structure and function of the human body and builds your understanding of the inter-relationship between the systems of the body in the context of human health and disease. There will be a considerable emphasis on laboratory-based activities, including molecular techniques and practical physiological investigations.

Language modules in French, Spanish or Mandarin, delivered at the Edge Hill Language Centre, are available to study as an integral part of this degree. A single Language module can be studied instead of SCI1107 Biology in Practice.

Year 2

SCI2308 Research Methods in Biology (20 credits)

Research Methods in Biology introduces you to essential biological research methods and data analysis. You will examine experimental design and analysis with varied types of data and subsequently design a study of your own.

SCI2327 Marine Biology (20 credits)

Marine Biology investigates marine communities on shores and in deeper waters (using a research vessel) during a residential field course. In addition to enhancing your field skills, you will have the opportunity to examine and identify animal and plant species found only in marine environments and to understand their patterns of distribution.

SCI2333 Biogeography (20 credits)

Biogeography examines spatial and temporal patterns of living organisms over the Earth’s surface and highlights the fundamental processes and causal factors which determine these patterns. This includes themes such as climate, evolutionary history, continental drift, spatial area, isolation, succession and disturbance. Key themes such as biodiversity and the history and development of ecological communities through time run through the whole module. The module culminates in exploring the impacts of human mediated changes to organism distributions, particularly the effects of habitat fragmentation and invasive non-native species.

You will select a total of 60 credits from the following modules:

SCI2317 Invertebrate Ecology (20 credits)

Invertebrate Ecology explores the diversity of invertebrates in terrestrial habitats, examining their life cycle and basic physiology alongside their importance to the functioning of a range of ecosystems. Through field and laboratory work you will gain a sound knowledge of taxonomy and the use of a wide range of sampling techniques.

SCI2319 Laboratory Masterclass (20 credits)

Laboratory Masterclass provides extensive experience and underpinning theory in such fundamental tools as an electron microscope, a confocal microscope and DNA technologies to provide a thorough insight into the use and application of such equipment.

SCI2328 Biological Placement (20 credits)

Biological Placement provides you with a professional setting in which you can apply the knowledge and skills acquired in your other modules. The placement is five weeks in duration and provides an ideal opportunity to gain experience in a branch of biology in which you are considering a future career.

SCI2330 Field Botany (20 credits)

Field Botany is a field-based module, providing you with an opportunity to conduct detailed study of a particular group of organisms. The module introduces the full range of plant diversity across a wide range of habitats alongside supporting laboratory work using keys and microscopes. The module also incorporates coverage of the National Vegetation Classification (NVC), the standard method for classifying British vegetation.

SCI2331 Life on the Edge (20 credits)

Life on the Edge provides you with an understanding of how life reacts, adapts, and thrives under different types of environmental extremes. The module includes different extreme biotopes and conditions (e.g. high temperature, salinity, acidity), their inhabitants, and specific adaptations.

SCI2332 Molecular Genetics (20 credits)

Molecular Genetics provides an understanding of several aspects of molecular genetics for both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The module is essential preparation for studying more advanced topics in the field of genetics and biotechnology. You will investigate the major techniques in molecular genetics including polymerase chain reaction (PCR), quantitative PCR, gene expression, gene cloning and sequencing. Several concepts of bioinformatics will be introduced and you will gain hands-on experience of using several web-based tools and software for handling and analysing molecular data. Furthermore, you will be exposed to the latest technical advances in whole genome sequencing, gene cloning, and genetically modified organisms.

SCI2900 Study Abroad Placement (40 credits)

Study Abroad Placement enables you to enhance your employability by spending a period of time studying abroad. The module involves undertaking part of your studies at a partner university in another country, experiencing a different culture and a different education system. It provides an opportunity to improve your language skills, stand out in the professional job market, and open up new opportunities in the competitive international marketplace. You will be asked to describe and reflect upon scientific techniques and investigations undertaken at  the partner institution, where the curriculum content studied will be highly relevant to your degree.

If you studied a Language module in Year 1, you may wish to study a further Language module in Year 2. This would form an integral part of your degree in place of one of the optional 20 credit modules above.

Year 3

SCI3308 Dissertation (40 credits)

Dissertation is widely regarded as the pinnacle of undergraduate academic achievement as it enables you to draw heavily on your subject knowledge and understanding while at the same time putting your skills into practice. You will develop an initial idea of your own into a suitable project, undertake the practical work, summarise and analyse the data appropriately and then place your findings in the wider context of the subject. A project log will record all stages of the project and include an employability portfolio.

SCI3309 Biodiversity and Conservation (20 credits)

Biodiversity and Conservation is a field-based module providing you with an opportunity for a detailed study of habitats and conservation issues at protected sites. A diverse range of management issues across a range of organisms will be explored through fieldwork in varied habitats. This will be placed in the context of ecological theory, conservation legislation and wider pressures on the landscape.

SCI3325 Ecological Interactions (20 credits)

Ecological Interactions equips you with an advanced understanding of the interactions that underpin ecological relationships in populations, communities and ecosystems. You will gain an understanding of the variety of interactions amongst animal, plant and fungi species and the key theories underpinning them. A combination of lectures, case studies and practical work (in the field and laboratory) will demonstrate the importance of these mechanisms to ecosystem function and in applied contexts including conservation, agriculture and forestry. The module will highlight the importance of various interactions to wider society and to achieving sustainability.

You will select two of the following modules:

GEO3077 Wetlands (20 credits)

Wetlands explores the largest terrestrial carbon store; wetlands. The module studies the flora and fauna that have adapted to and formed these environments. You will examine the sensitivity of these environments to climate change and analyse the historic, current and future management strategies required to preserve these ecosystems.

SCI3014 Applications of Genetics (20 credits)

Applications of Genetics examines the applications of genetics including the areas of conservation, food production, health and medicine. You will evaluate relevant ethical considerations as appropriate. The module will utilise a series of detailed case studies, exploring the relevant primary literature and examining how this has actual or potential practical applications. These examples will cover the broad range of disciplines in which genetic understanding is now being applied. The module covers a number of important fields including medicine (e.g. disease diagnostics), food production (GM crops), conservation, taxonomy and forensics.

SCI3015 Genomics and Bioinformatics (20 credits)

Genomics and Bioinformatics centres on how the combination of sequencing and increased computational power has led to a revolution in the way genetic information is utilised and applied. From a human perspective, the sequencing of entire genomes will allow more precise diagnosis and intimations of risk, with attendant tailored treatments. Beyond humans the complex interplay between genome, epigenetic and life history is starting to be unravelled. This module takes you to the leading edge of the discipline and to the forefront of conservation and medicine.

SCI3311 Ecological Genetics (20 credits)

Ecological Genetics allies fieldwork to molecular genetic methods to understand the factors influencing genetic variation in populations. This includes speciation, gene flow, reduced population size and the impact of historical events such as glaciation.

SCI3314 Current Issues in Biology (20 credits)

Current Issues in Biology considers the role of biologists in recent and current projects that often involve controversy between science and society, such as the applications of the Human Genome Project, badger culling, genetically modified organisms and stem cell research. Such work shows that biologists do not work in isolation from society and that complex moral and ethical issues are involved. This module explores how topics like these involve complex issues which do not have a simple right or wrong answer. Solutions need to be underpinned by sound, scientific thinking, but must also be aware of the social dimension.

SCI3318 Invertebrate Ecology (20 credits)

Invertebrate Ecology explores the diversity of invertebrates in terrestrial habitats, examining their life cycles and basic physiology, but also their importance to the functioning of a range of ecosystems. Through field and laboratory work, you will gain a sound knowledge of taxonomy, and the use of a wide range of sampling techniques.

SCI3322 Laboratory Masterclass (20 credits)

Laboratory Masterclass exposes you to the skills required for working in a research laboratory which includes developing working knowledge of the safe use of laboratory equipment. The module also encompasses health and safety, including legal requirements, and good laboratory practice. It will develop your ability to identify research questions in a field of biology in which you have developed an interest and make a preliminary assessment of that research question.

SCI3326 Conservation Issues (20 credits)

Conservation Issues provides an overview of a range of impacts on the world’s biodiversity. Particular emphasis is placed on the impacts of habitat loss, exploitation, pollution and climate change on natural habitats. A common theme through these impacts is the use of computer models which enable calculations of extinction risks, sustainable yields and climate change responses. The module examines important environmental concerns and highlights the role that conservation biologists can play in understanding and managing environmental impacts through monitoring and modelling.

SCI3329 Field Botany (20 credits)

Field Botany is a field-based module providing you with an opportunity to conduct detailed study of a particular group of organisms. The module introduces the full range of plant diversity across a wide range of habitats alongside supporting laboratory work using keys and microscopes. The module also incorporates coverage of the National Vegetation Classification (NVC), the standard method for classifying British vegetation.

Optional modules provide an element of choice within the programme curriculum. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by timetabling requirements.

Disclaimer

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of accrediting bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

Entry Criteria

Entry Requirements

120 UCAS Tariff points on the new UCAS Tariff, normally to include Biology or a related subject, plus GCSE Mathematics at Grade C or Grade 4 or above (or equivalent).

Example Offers

Some typical examples of how you can achieve 120 UCAS Tariff points are detailed below.

  • A Levels – BBB;
  • BTEC Extended Diploma (or combination of BTEC QCF qualifications) – Distinction, Distinction, Merit (DDM);
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma – successful completion of Diploma to include 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be graded Distinction and 15 credits graded Merit.

Please note, the above examples may differ from actual offers made. A combination of A Level and BTEC awards may also be accepted.

As long as you have a minimum of two A Levels (or equivalent), there is no maximum number of qualifications that we will accept UCAS points from. This includes additional qualifications such as the Welsh Baccalaureate and Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE), AS Levels that haven’t been continued to A Level, and General Studies AS or A Level awards.

For further information on how you can meet the entry requirements, including details of alternative qualifications, please visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/offers.

EU students can get country-specific information about the University’s entry requirements and equivalent national qualifications at www.edgehill.ac.uk/eu.

International students should visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/international for information on the entry criteria for overseas applicants.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Edge Hill University recognises learning gained elsewhere, whether through academic credit and qualifications acquired from other relevant courses of study or through recognition of an individual’s professional and employment experience (also referred to as ‘experiential learning’).

Previous learning that is recognised in this way may be used towards meeting the entry requirements for a programme and/or for exemption from part of a programme. It is your responsibility to make a claim for recognition of prior learning. For guidance, please consult the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning Policy and contact the faculty in which you are interested in studying.

Career Prospects

What are my career prospects?

This degree provides an ideal step towards a successful career in ecology as well as progression into many other areas of graduate employment.

Potential career paths include managing nature reserves, ecological consultancy, environmental protection and museum curatorship. Alternatively, you may wish to progress onto postgraduate study or teaching (further training required).

How can I enhance my employability?

It is useful to consider, even before you apply, how you will spend your time while studying and make the most of your university experience.

Optional, additional activities may be available on this degree which could help to prepare you for a stimulating and rewarding career. These include:

  • Sandwich Year – you may have the opportunity to apply to complete a sandwich year placement as part of your programme (usually the third year of a four year degree) and gain highly relevant work experience;
  • Study Abroad – you may have the opportunity to apply to spend an additional year (usually the third year of a four year degree) studying or working abroad;
  • Language Learning – you may be able to select language modules in French, Spanish or Mandarin, delivered at the Edge Hill Language Centre, as an integral part of your degree (for which you will gain academic credits). Alternatively, it may be possible to select the language modules as additional study.

Please note, the availability of these additional activities cannot be guaranteed for all students. Depending on availability and the number of students wanting to participate, there may be a competitive application process for sandwich year placements or study abroad opportunities or you may be required to secure a relevant placement yourself.

Finance

Tuition Fees

If you are a prospective UK or EU student who will be joining this undergraduate degree in academic year 2017/18, we expect tuition fees to increase to £9,250 per annum but this is currently subject to Government approval. You are advised to check this page regularly and once the position has been confirmed we will update this information. Tuition fees for international students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2017/18 are £11,575 per annum.

Financial Support

Subject to eligibility, UK and EU students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the Government to cover the full cost of tuition fees. UK students may also be eligible to apply for additional funding to help with living costs.

For comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK and EU students joining this programme in academic year 2017/18, together with details of how to apply for funding, please view our Money Matters 2017/18 guide at www.edgehill.ac.uk/undergradfinance2017.

Financial support information for international students can be found at www.edgehill.ac.uk/international/fees.

Scholarships

ScholarshipsEdge Hill University offers a range of scholarships with a competitive application process for prospective full-time undergraduate students. These scholarships aren’t linked to academic success and celebrate determination, talent and achievement beyond your coursework, for instance in creativity, enterprise, ICT, performance, sport or volunteering.

Additional scholarships, which you may qualify to receive, reward outstanding grades and are available to eligible UK and EU students.

To find out more about scholarships, to assess your eligibility, and to meet some of our dedicated scholarship winners, visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/scholarships.

Apply

How to Apply

Apply online through UCAS at www.ucas.com.

Visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/applyucas to find out more about the application process.

Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at www.edgehill.ac.uk/studentterms.

Visit Us

If you are considering applying to study at Edge Hill University, the best way to gain an insight into student life is to discover our stunning campus for yourself by attending an open day. You can view dates and book your place at www.edgehill.ac.uk/bookanopenday.

Alternatively, if you are unable to attend an open day, you can find out more about all of our events for prospective undergraduate students, including monthly campus tours, at www.edgehill.ac.uk/undergradevents.

Request a Prospectus

If you would like to explore our full range of degrees before you apply, you can order an undergraduate prospectus at www.edgehill.ac.uk/undergradprospectus.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions about this programme or what it’s like to study at Edge Hill University, please contact:

International students should visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/international or email international@edgehill.ac.uk with any queries about overseas study.

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  • Request a Prospectus
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Course Changes

This page outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented since 1st September 2015.

26th May 2016 - New Module Added

SCI2900 Study Abroad Placement (40 credits) added as an optional module in Year 2.

11th March 2016 - Change of Modules

SCI1112 Ecology (20 credits) replaces SCI1109 Ecology (20 credits), SCI1113 Biodiversity (20 credits) replaces SCI1110 Biodiversity (20 credits), and SCI1114 Human Body Systems (20 credits) replaces SCI1111 Human Body Systems (20 credits) in Year 1.

SCI2330 Field Botany (20 credits) replaces SCI2312 Field Botany (20 credits) and SCI2332 Molecular Genetics (20 credits) replaces SCI2320 Molecular Genetics (20 credits) in Year 2. SCI2333 Biogeography (20 credits) replaces SCI2325 Biogeography and changes from optional to compulsory in Year 2, while SCI2327 Marine Biology (20 credits) also becomes compulsory. SCI2331 Life on the Edge (20 credits) added as an optional module in Year 2. SCI2314 Environmental Physiology (20 credits) and SCI2316 Human Population Ecology (20 credits) removed as optional modules in Year 2. A Language module is also now available as a Year 2 option, providing a Language module is studied in Year 1.

SCI3309 Biodiversity and Conservation (20 credits) changed from optional to compulsory and SCI3325 Ecological Interactions (20 credits) added as a compulsory module in Year 3. GEO3077 Wetlands (20 credits), SCI3014 Applications of Genetics (20 credits), SCI3015 Genomics and Bioinformatics (20 credits), SCI3326 Conservation Issues (20 credits) and SCI3329 Field Botany (20 credits) added as optional modules in Year 3. SCI3310 Tropical Ecology (20 credits), SCI3312 Environmental Change (20 credits) and SCI3319 Field Botany (20 credits) removed as optional modules in Year 3.

11th March 2016 - Change of Programme Title

Programme title changed from BSc (Hons) Ecology to BSc (Hons) Ecology and Conservation.

28th September 2015 - Change to Module Status

SCI1107 Biology in Practice (20 credits) has changed from compulsory to elective in Year 1 in order to accommodate the option of selecting a Language module in French, Spanish or Mandarin as an integral part of this degree.

15th September 2015 - Change to Module Assessment

The module assessment for SCI3308 Dissertation (40 credits) in Year 3 has changed, with the research project log extended to include the creation of an employability portfolio.