Animal Biology and Conservation may be studied as a single honours degree, either full-time or part-time. You will benefit from the department’s research expertise in conservation ecology, evolution and developmental biology to gain the key theoretical and practical skills you will need to address 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?
Year 1 provides a foundation in biodiversity, cell biology and genetics. You will develop skills in safe field and laboratory working, data handling, statistics and information technology. A feature of your first year is a series of tutorials with your academic adviser. The tutorials are designed to help you adjust to academic life at university and establish good study habits.
Year 2 and the final year include in-depth study of animal behaviour, threatened species, habitat management and field biology skills, including identification, surveying and licensing. Research skills and professional development provide an essential step in your development as an independent researcher and fundamentally underpin your final year project and help you in any workplace placements you undertake.
The final year modules are designed to build on earlier knowledge and skills with an emphasis on self-management and independent learning.
As well as developing your skills as a biologist, you will have the opportunity to gain invaluable professional experience, which will further enhance your career prospects.
As courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown below.
Module titles marked bold in the lists below are those that need to be taken in order to benefit from accreditation by CIEEM (see 'Why choose this course?', above).
You will follow a programme of compulsory modules in Year 1:
Year 2 and final year
You choose from a wide range of subjects, to suit your interests and career aspirations (the modules in bold are compulsory and those required for CIEEM accreditation):
- 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
We encourage our students to undertake a work placement as the experience will give you the competitive edge when you are applying for jobs. There are two optional work experience module, work experience over the summer or during the final year and an industrial placement for a year between the second and final year.
Work experience module
The ‘Work Experience’ module is a work-based, supervised learning experience, in which you will spend at least 115 hours in a working environment that has relevance for your subject. This is equivalent to 3 weeks full-time (7.5 hrs/day) or 6 weeks part time (~4 hrs/day) work. As part of the module, you will practice career management skills by reflecting on your interests and career aspirations and approaching potential employers about opportunities in their organisation. These will be integral elements linked to enhancing your overall employability.
We strongly believe that arranging a placement yourself will give you a head start after graduation, as you will have practiced essential career management skills. Ideally, it will be your responsibility to find, apply for and secure your work experience placement. If you get stuck, your subject lead, your academic advisor or your dissertation supervisor will be able to provide you with some contacts in a wide range of suitable organisations.
Cost of the opportunity: There may be some costs such as travel associated with work experience and these are not included in the course tuition fees
The Industrial Placement module provides the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of
the application of theoretical and practical science within a professional environment. We will do what we can to suggest employers who may offer placements but experience tells us that successful students are usually those who show themselves to be pro-active in searching out their own placements.
You should also look carefully into what you will be paid as a placement student. Whilst many placements do come with a salary, sadly some companies and institutes 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. It is often hard to predict what a company or institute might be prepared to offer if they do not usually host placements; this should not discourage you from approaching potential hosts but you should likewise not feel bound to accept a non-paid placement if it is not possible in your financial situation. This issue of salary (or no salary) will have implications for you in terms of your finances and also for your funding status. We will guide you as best we can and give you advice on this during the application process, but you should make sure you understand your situation fully by talking about your placement, any salary and what this means for you, with the Student Finance department.
Examples of work experience and placements have included:
- conservation work for ADAS, the UK’s largest independent provider of environmental consultancy, rural development services and policy advice
- work for the Cotswold Wildlife Park, helping to construct a database of management considerations for an endangered group of birds (turacos)
- work at Oxford County Council on implementation of the TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) report at a county level
- work with a local wildlife group to survey and catalogue arachnids in the county.
There are also opportunities to work with locally based organisations such as the Centre for Ecology, Environment and Conservation, the Environmental Information Exchange, Freshwater Habitats Trust, BBOWT (Berks, Bucks, and Oxon Naturalists Trust) and TVERC (Thames Valley Environment Records Centre).
There are field courses in Oxford, the Cevennes (in southern France) and Devon, and an opportunity to gain real-life experience of ecological environmental consultancy or other work experience.
Our students have had opportunities to study habitats and species management abroad. For example, Professor Stewart Thompson is leading a project in the Ranthambore National Park in northern India researching the population dynamics of tigers and their prey items.
We also encourage our students to take part in organised scientific trips overseas with groups such as the Wildlife African Conservation Team and Operation Wallacea. This is a fantastic way of gathering fieldwork data for honours research projects. In addition, through our links with other conservation organisations such as RSPB and Butterfly Conservation, students are able to develop their research skills to address practical conservation issues in the UK.
More locally, there are opportunities to develop your understanding of captive breeding via zoo visits. Some students have gained work experience at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, for example.
Through the field work opportunities you learn the skills required to apply for many jobs in conservation nationally and internationally.
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.
You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Oxford Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year for a semester or a year.
Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your studies by:
- increasing your employability within an international market
- boosting your language skills
- building your confidence in adapting to new situations
- improving your knowledge of different cultures.
- While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.
We have more than 100 partner universities around the world. Funding is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via some international programmes such as the Santander Student Awards.
There is also a European work placement programme which gives you the chance to work abroad as part of your studies.
This is an optional part of the course so any costs e.g travel, associated with it are not covered in your tuition fees.
Free language courses for students - the Open Module
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.
Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.
Most of our modules include lectures and laboratory- or field-based practicals. There are on average 20 hours of lectures and 12 hours of practicals per single-credit module (which equals 150 hours of student effort). This represents a minimum of 12 hours contact per week. We have three residential field courses included in our module mix and these involve more practical time.
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), stationary and for the production of some coursework.
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.
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