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Animal Biology and Conservation
September 2023 / September 2024
Full time: 3 years, or 4 years sandwich
Part time: part-time study is possible
Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM)
UCAS Tariff Points
On our Animal Biology and Conservation degree you will study conservation ecology, evolution and developmental biology. And try to answer questions such as:
- How do we best conserve rare and endangered animal species?
- What adaptations help animals cope with life in changing environments?
- How can conservation respond to climate change?
Laboratory and field work are a core part of the degree. And you can put your skills into practice through field work in France and Devon.
You will develop excellent skills including:
- research practice
- data collection and analysis
- research presentation skills
- animal identification and survey techniques required by conservation practitioners.
We have great links with regional environmental organisations and local employers. We help to provide exciting work placements and career opportunities for our students. Our students have gone on to work with:
- conservation trusts
- government agencies
- wildlife centres
How to apply
Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.
UCAS Tariff Points: 104
A Level: BCC
IB Points: 29
UCAS Tariff Points: 88
A Level: CCD
IB Points: 27
Further offer details
We aim to admit students who have the potential to make good scientists, and we believe that qualifications are not the only indicator of future potential. If your combination of qualifications doesn't match our typical offer, please contact the Admissions Office.
Specific entry requirements
A Level: Including one A Level or a comparable Level 3 qualification in a science subject (e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physical Education, Physics, Psychology).
If you do not have a background in science, we encourage you to consider our Life Sciences foundation year, taught at Abingdon and Witney College. Successful completion of the foundation year enables direct entry into Year 1 of many life sciences-related BSc degrees at Oxford Brookes, including Animal Biology and Conservation.
Please also see the University's general entry requirements.
English language requirements
Please see the University's standard English language requirements.
International qualifications and equivalences
English requirements for visas
If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.
Pathways courses for international and EU students
If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.
If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.
Terms and Conditions of Enrolment
When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.
Many of our courses consider applications for entry part-way through the course for students who have credit from previous learning or relevant professional experience.
Find out more about transferring to Brookes. If you'd like to talk through your options, please contact our Admissions team.
Full time Home (UK) applicantsApply through UCAS
Part time Home (UK) applicantsApply direct to the University
International applicantsApply direct to the University
Full time international applicants can also apply through UCAS
Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088
Please note tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.
Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.
Financial support and scholarships
Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.
All students are required to have a lab coat which you can bring with you from home or buy once you get to Brookes. There will also be additional costs for learning resources such as books (although these can be acquired second hand and are all available in the library), stationery and for the production of some coursework.
Learning and assessment
Compulsory modules in Year 1 include:
- Biodiversity (double)
- Cell Biology & Genetics
- The Physical Environment: The Underlying Science
- Field Course: Identification and Methodology
- The Practising Scientist
In Year 2 and Year 3 you acquire the laboratory and field based skill sets necessary to the discipline. You will focus on techniques that conservation professionals need, such as animal identification and survey techniques. With a mixture of academic and practical skills, you'll be trained and ready for a range of careers within animal biology and conservation.
- The Green Planet
- Special Study in Life Sciences
- Environmental Processes, Pollution and Climate Change
- Data Carpentry
- Geographical Information Systems
- Field Course: Surveys and Licensing
- Animal Behaviour
- Threatened Species
- Science and Humanity
- Environmental Change
- Environmental Consultancy
- Interpreting Environmental & Ecological Complexities
- Independent Study in Life Sciences
- Work Experience
- Professional Skills & Techniques
- Advanced Topics in Wildlife Conservation
This module takes an integrated approach to the diversity of life. It looks at the classification of the living world, the theory of evolution that links all biology and interactions between organisms and their environment. The module concentrates on major structures and patterns in plants, animals and fungi, how they vary within each kingdom and the interrelationships of some of the phyla. Structure is related to function throughout, with the ecological context and importance of each group. Populations and communities and the impact of environment on behaviour are addressed. The interactions between primary producers, mainly plants and animals, both antagonistic and mutualistic and between both and the wider environment will be examined to understand the functioning of ecosystems and the biosphere.
Cell Biology and Genetics
The Physical Environment: The Underlying Science
Field Course: Identification and Methodology
A residential one-week field course based in France, which uses the rich natural history, habitat and landscape diversity of the area to focus on the introduction and development of interdisciplinary field study skills. These include: identification of terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna, ecological and biogeochemical sampling techniques for the study of terrestrial and aquatic environments, chemical analysis of soils and waters, quantitative description and data analysis, and designing field investigations. The field course runs soon after the start of the summer vacation and is supplemented by lectures and practical activities that run at the end of the preceding semester. These activities are designed to introduce some of the techniques and approaches used on the field course. The module does not include assessed group work.
The Practising Scientist
The module emphasizes the importance of observation and experimentation to our understanding of behaviour and develops deep reading skills through the study of key primary research papers. Consideration is given to the influences of resource type and quality on animal behaviour, the evolution of behavioural traits and the acquisition of new behaviours.
The module aims to provide essential training in professional career management skills designed to assist you in actively planning and preparing for your future career. It will take you through a career development cycle starting with discovering your potential, exploring opportunities (jobs, post graduate study or training), plotting a way forward and making it happen.
A study of the environmental systems and processes that highlight interactions between organisms and the physical environment. The module also draws attention to changes in those systems and processes brought about by human activities, how they impact on living things, and the legislative, technological and management responses to those impacts.
Field Course: Surveys and Licensing
This module will develop students competency in designing and executing field sampling techniques for UK flora and fauna, in line with protected species legislation, where applicable. The key focus of this module is on understanding and employing current best practice field techniques for assessing the status of key habitat types and species, with emphasis placed upon the development of taxonomic skills. This creates the opportunities to apply (subject to demonstrating suitable competency) for statutory body (Natural England) licences to survey protected species. By undertaking this module, students will have gained appropriate field experience for employment in field based careers in ecology and conservation.
The Green Planet
Without plants, life on Earth would look very different to what it is now. Plants provide us with energy and food, shelter, and the oxygen that we are breathing. They form the biggest biomass on earth, outnumbering all other organisms by far. We cannot afford to ignore plants when it comes to tackling global issues like climate change, sustainability, preserving biodiversity, finding new medicines, understanding societal inequalities, and living a healthy life.
Emphasis will be placed upon the role of captive populations and their management, with an exploration of in-situ versus ex-situ conservation as a consequence. Included in this debate will be an in-depth examination of our understanding of conservation genetics as it applies to captive populations, with emphasis placed on the student’s own research of a named threatened species.
This module introduces students on how to get biologically meaningful answers from data while providing a generic introduction to concepts of ‘big data’ and machine learning. This conceptual framework is delivered via a more practical approach where students learn how to program, analyse, manage and communicate data from diverse biological disciplines using the R language for statistical computing.
Geographical Information Systems
This module is concerned with concepts, components, and functions of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Students will develop a critical understanding of spatial data, including methods for data capture and spatial analysis within a GIS environment. The module involves extensive practical experience of ESRI’s ArcGIS, including the creation and editing of digital maps and the incorporation of third party sources of spatial data, followed by the subsequent use of these data for spatial analysis, modelling and decision support.
This module focuses on patterns of genetic inheritance at different scales from individuals to populations to evolutionary lineages. It will develop an understanding of Mendelian/transmission, quantitative, population, ecological and evolutionary genetics and an ability to analyse and interpret genetic data.
Year 3 (optional placement year)
The Industrial Placement module lets you gain first-hand experience of applying theoretical and practical science within a professional environment, for example within an industrial biotechnology company or a laboratory. You will gain insight into the work of a professional scientific employer and develop both practical laboratory skills and the ability to self-assess. We will suggest employers but experience tells us that successful students are usually those who are pro-active in searching out their own placements. Many placements do come with a salary, but sadly some employers do not feel they are obliged to offer a salary, and that the expenses they incur by hosting and training you are sufficient outlay for them. This issue of salary will have implications for you and for your funding status. We will give you advice on this during the application process, but you should make sure you understand your situation fully by talking with the Student Finance department.
Year 4 (or year 3 if no placement)
Advanced Topics in Wildlife Conservation
The module will identify and deliver the concepts and practical skills used in wildlife conservation, integrating conservation at the landscape scale with other wider countryside land management. This will develop understanding of the use of practical conservation management in maintaining and enhancing biodiversity. The inter-disciplinary nature of the module is emphasised in identifying the role of policy and statutory controls for wildlife management, and the role of conservation science in their development and delivery.
This module focuses on research which underpins our understanding and interpretation of environmental change. Students will develop the tools for critically assessing existing research and formulating proposals for new areas of study. Focus is placed on current environmental issues in a rapidly changing world and the scientific approaches needed to fully understand these issues and develop approaches to mitigate them. Approaches for understanding and monitoring impacts and systems are considered. Students produce a review in the form of an oral presentation and a mock grant proposal in relation to one aspect of global environmental change of their choice.
An opportunity for students to gain real-life experience of environmental consultancy. In small groups, students work for an external client on a consultancy brief that the client has proposed. Following an initial meeting with the client, students write a proposal, carry out the work, produce a report and give an oral presentation for the client. Lectures are designed to support students in this process.
Interpreting Environmental & Ecological Complexities
A residential one-week field course that focuses on developing high level survey design and field work skills and advanced methods of data analysis and interpretation needed to address current and topical ecological and environmental questions. The field course runs in the summer vacation, but is supplemented by timetabled activities in the following semester.
Professional Skills & Techniques
This module focuses on the development of the professional skills, personalised to your career ambitions. You will select three ‘podules’ from a selection of podules, which draw upon our research expertise and links with external partners. Podules will cover a wide range topics relevant to your degree, such as advanced microscopy, protein biochemistry, species identification, geographic information systems, entrepreneurship or science communication. Each podule consists of an introductory lecture, plenty of hands-on experience, and a seminar in which you will learn more about the application of ‘your’ skill in different contexts.
An individual project related to some aspect of the student's degree subject. The associated practical work may be conducted in a research or industrial laboratory or in the field, depending on the nature of the project.
Independent Study in Life Sciences - (single credit module that can be taken in either semester)
A study (normally library-based) of a topic of the student's choosing that is relevant to the student's programme but not formally offered as part of the taught course. A learning contract is agreed between the student and a supervising member of staff in the semester prior to the one in which the study is to be undertaken, and this must be approved by the Subject Examination Committee. Only once the learning contract has been formally approved will the module be registered on the student's programme of study.
Science and Humanity
Science has had a huge impact on all aspects of our lives, and the overall aim of this module is to set that influence in its social and historical context. We will address alternative views of the world, how they have been developed or replaced in the context of science and have a clear look at the strengths and weaknesses of a scientific world view. We will address ideas about the value of other life forms and introduce environmental philosophy.
Work experience module - (single credit module that can be taken in either semester)
The ‘Work Experience’ module is a supervised work-based learning experience. You will spend a minimum of 60 hours in a working environment that is relevant to your future career path. By learning how to reflect on your learning and professional development, and how to present your insights in a written essay and in a video, you will develop useful skills for your future job applications.
Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.
Learning and teaching
Teaching methods include:
- group projects
- practical exercises.
Throughout your course you will develop transferable skills such as:
- public speaking
- using industry-standard specialised software
- report writing.
Our teaching staff are experts in research work.
Practical and field work is an important part of the course and you will have the opportunity to participate in research projects.
The course involves field courses in the Cevennes (in southern France), Devon and locally around Oxford. These give our students the opportunity to gain practical skills.
Our students have also had opportunities to study habitats and species management abroad. One example of such an opportunity is a trip to India. Professor Stewart Thompson is leading a project in the Ranthambore National Park in northern India researching the population dynamics of tigers. More locally, there are opportunities to develop your understanding of captive breeding via zoo visits, for example some students have gained work experience at the Cotswold Wildlife Park.
We encourage our students to take part in organised scientific trips overseas with groups. Wildlife African Conservation Team and Operation Wallacea are both fantastic way of gathering fieldwork data for honours research projects. We have links with other conservation organisations that our students can make use of. Through organisations such as the RSPB and Butterfly Conservation, students are able to develop their research skills to address practical conservation issues in the UK.
Our many field work opportunities equip you with the skills you need to further a career in conservation.
Field trip costs: your course tuition fee covers the cost of the compulsory field courses in your course. The cost of any optional field trip (eg visit to Ranthambore National Park in northern India) is not included in your course tuition fee, and a separate fee will apply.
Assessment methods used on this course
Our assessment methods are rigorous and engaging and include:
- laboratory or field notebooks
- scientific reports
- mock grant proposals
- industry reports
- business plans
- oral presentations.
We encourage you to to reflect on what you learn. By using feedback on assignment together with reflective diaries, you can analyse areas to improve.
You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.
After you graduate
The course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM). This has professional recognition, which should enhance your career prospects once you graduate.
Our graduates have developed careers in a variety of roles in biological conservation. Some of our recent graduates have gone on to work for conservation trusts (eg RSPB) and government agencies (eg Environment Agency). Our students have been employed as ecological consultants and research biologists at wildlife centres and zoos.
Employers also value the transferable skills you gain at Oxford Brookes. Many of our graduates go on to have diverse careers in management, journalism and the media.
Many of our graduates will go on to research positions or enrol on specialist Masters Programmes including our MSc Conservation Ecology.
Free language courses
Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.
Information from Discover Uni
Programme Changes:On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.
For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.