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BSc (Hons) Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation Science

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3/4 years full-time. Part-time available.

Course Options: 
Professional Placement
Typical Offer: 

2023-24 and 2024-25 entry; 112 UCAS tariff points (or above), BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC), Merit (T Level). 




  • State-of-the-art laboratory and teaching facilities.
  • Our location allows for fieldwork in a diverse range of coastal habitats and sites of scientific and conservation importance within short distance of the campus.
  • Work closely with national and international wildlife and conservation organisations.
  • Gain real-world practical experience by undertaking a work-based experience module and/or a one-year professional placement.
  • Opportunity to study at the private UmPhafa nature reserve in South Africa.


The natural world is as fragile as it is fascinating. If you share our passion for understanding and conserving nature and wildlife, this course is ideal for you, and opens the door to many established and emerging careers.

We draw on a range of related disciplines to bring the subject to life, covering aspects of animal and plant ecology, marine and freshwater biology, wildlife behaviour, and environmental and conservation science.

A willingness to get your hands dirty is essential. Our students engage in fieldwork at numerous sites of scientific and conservation importance across Suffolk, and have the opportunity to study abroad to experience even more diversity in wildlife and habitats.

We’ve designed our degree to be more comprehensive than similar programmes elsewhere. In order to equip you with the skills required for careers in emerging new areas, we provide you with a firm foundation in modern biology and laboratory research techniques.

The degree is run in close association with a wide range of environmental and conservation organisations, including Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Essex Wildlife Trust, Colchester Zoo, Muntons, Eden Rose Coppice Trust, the Environment Agency, Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust, the Field Studies Council (FSC), and the world-famous Flatford Mill.


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Course modules

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Diversity of Life

This module follows chronologically the development from biomolecules and the first basic cells through to the more complex organisms such as hominids and modern plants. Students will gain an appreciation of the process of evolution through natural selection which will furnish them with knowledge to underpin much of their further studies. 

Ecology and Ecosystems

In this module, we will examine what controls the distribution and abundance of organisms, how energy is transferred through ecosystems and explore how the principles of ecology underpin effective conservation practice. The module will include field trips to a diverse range of habitats and introduce key surveying and ecological assessment skills.

Practical Conservation and Field Research Skills

This predominantly field-based module will introduce some of the common techniques used in wildlife research and provide experience of the skills required to carry out ecological surveys. We will visit a diverse range of local habitats, learn how to track and identify common and protected British wildlife species, and carry out a range of biodiversity and ecology assessments.

Environmental Science

This module is designed to provide an understanding of the environmental challenges facing the world’s ecosystems. The module will examine the human impact on natural habitats, aquatic and terrestrial life and explore how to balance societies needs with the sustainability of the environment.

Scientific Skills

This module will provide students with the core skills required to carry out basic scientific procedures and communicate their research in an appropriate scientific format. The module is based on a series of practical sessions and is designed to develop the skills required for subsequent advanced modules on the course.

Cell Biology and Genetics

To understand the physiology and behaviour of life on earth, it is essential to have an understanding of how living organisms function at the cellular level. We will examine the structure and function of the subcellular components of microbial, plant and animal cells, and explore the genetic principles that are central to our understanding of inheritance, organismal diversity and evolution.

Principles of Conservation

This module introduces the concepts of conservation. Students will investigate strategies for managing and conserving wild animals and develop an understanding of the economic, social and political issues that impact on management.

Marine and Freshwater Biology

Freshwater and marine ecosystems cover more than three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, however the world’s aquatic environments are increasingly under threat. In this module we will study the diverse range of life that inhabit aquatic environments and explore the issues involved in the management, conservation and restoration of aquatic resources.

Zoological Management

The module includes the management of health, nutrition and breeding programmes for exotic zoo species and will encompass other key topics such as welfare, behaviour, training, record keeping, enclosure design, legislation and the global community in a zoo context. 

Data Analysis and Statistics

Effective scientists need to understand how experimentation, qualitative and quantitative analysis drives science forward via the process of attempted falsification and how this is quantified and presented. This prepares students for further study and employment by providing an understanding of inferential statistical analysis of scientific data; it prepares them for the Dissertation module.

Research Methods and Scientific Communication

This module introduces students to the principles of scientific research and the planning and design of experiments. Students will learn how to effectively analyse literature and communicate science in a variety of methods. Students will also study the detailed aspects of research design and planning.

Animal Behaviour (Optional)

Animal behaviour, whether courtship, reproduction, nurturing of young, migration, feeding behaviour, communication or predator and prey interactions is integral in determine an individual’s chance of survival. An understanding of these behavioural patterns helps in defining conservation goals and strategies, as well as a measure of the welfare of animals in captivity.

Microbial Organisms (Optional)

Students will learn about the structural, biological and molecular characteristics of major microorganisms, to include bacteria, viruses, fungi and protists. In addition, the significance of microbes for nutrient cycling and health and disease will be investigated.

Plant Biology (Optional)

Plants are increasingly recognised as the key solution to human generated problems in the world. They are the fundamental supplier of virtually all energy for life including humans, and their development and have ben identified as critical to feeding and increasing human population. They have recently provided a vast majority of the energy needs to power the industrial revolution with replacements only recently being devised. Over the next generation, the role of plants will move away from powering technology and return to feeding a vast human population. 


The dissertation will provide an opportunity for individuals to develop an area of scientific interest arising from either course-based or work-based experience. The focus of the dissertation will be a research-based study, central to which will be some form of hypothesis testing or problem solving. 


During this module you will study the molecular, cellular, and physiological effects of common inorganic and organic pollutants and gain experience of a range of laboratory-based toxicity tests. 

Evolution, adaptive and conservation physiology

The basis of the module is to understand comparative physiology and morphology and how unique traits allow for adaptation to specific niches. Specific convergent evolutionary examples will identify key physiological and morphological processes using examples across the animal kingdom.

Professional development for life sciences

In this module students will explore the numerous career paths available for life science graduates, will gain experience of graduate recruitment processes, and will critically analyse their own skills and capabilities to develop, reflect and improve their professional career prospects.

Fisheries and Aquaculture (Optional)

This module provides knowledge of the basic biology and ecology of fishes and develops an understanding of the principles underlying the utilisation and management of capture, culture and recreational fisheries.

Sustainability and ethics (Optional)

In this module students will examine how anthropogenic impacts on the natural environment create pressure on community and economic resources and gain the knowledge and skills required to work as a sustainable development practitioner.

Work-Based Experience (WESC) (Optional)

Career opportunities

This degree will give you the opportunity to follow many career paths. From basic research in universities, research organisations and museums to working for non-governmental organisations such as the National Trust, RSPB or the WWF.

Graduates can also find employment as planning consultants, conservationists, teachers and science writers, and with government agencies that have statutory responsibilities to devise policy and conserve the natural environment.

Careers within agri-business and agri-tech sectors, wildlife parks and zoos, and sustainability management would also be available to students completing the course.

Fees and finance


  • UK full-time tuition fee: £9,250 p.a
  • UK part-time tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credits (please contact the Student Centre for further information)
  • International full-time tuition fee:  £14,598 p.a (inclusive of lab-based fee)

Further Information

At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with you course that you will need to budget for. 

Entry requirements

Course options

During your studies, you have the option to include a professional placement year UCAS code C182.

Professional Placement

You can opt to include a professional placement year during your course. This would mean your course length would change from three years full-time to four years full-time. 

The professional placement year will give you the opportunity to gain professional experience and relevant practical skills to enhance your prospects of securing graduate employment. 


Course Leader in Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation Science

Head of Life Science

Associate Professor and Course Leader in MSc Regenerative Medicine

Lecturer in Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation Science

Associate Professor and Director of Life Sciences

Sustainability and Environment Manager

Course Leader in Biological Sciences

Lecturer in Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation Science

Facilities and Resources

The course is run by the School of Engineering, Arts, Science and Technology and is based in the James Hehir Building on Ipswich Waterfront.

You will benefit from use of state-of-art laboratory facilities including cell and tissue culture suites, access to several imaging platforms (light, epi-fluorescence and structured illumination microscopes for fast live 3D imaging), molecular biology facilities and high performance liquid chromatography equipment for identifying environmental pollutants.