BSc Countryside Conservation

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

A man holding a small rodent

Are you passionate about wildlife and want to work in wildlife and habitat conservation? Then this is the course for you. Tailored to meet the needs of the conservation industry it will give you the skills and knowledge you need to get the job you dream about.

Here is why we think Aberystwyth is a great place to study a degree in Countryside Conservation.

  • Industry leader in education and training for countryside careers
  • Enthusiastic and experienced staff
  • Regular site visits to stunning conservation and wildlife sites and study weeks in Wales, Ireland and Borneo
  • Opportunities for foreign exchanges

Click the tabs below to find out more . . . .

100% student satisfaction on our Countryside Conservation degree scheme (NSS 2016)

 Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS): 91% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates from IBERS who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

Overview

Studying BSc Countryside Conservation will give you the qualification, skills and knowledge you need to develop a career in conservation. Past student have gained work as conservation officers, biodiversity officers, conservation site managers and rangers for organisations such as national parks, the National Trust, county wildlife trusts, or the RSPB. Some also work for environmental consultancies and one has just set up a bird watching guiding company in the Gambia! Our past students are regularly seen on Countryfile.

Passionate teaching staff who are expert in their field

Many have won awards for their teaching and they come from a diverse range of backgrounds and with a wide range of expertise. Make no mistake, you will be learning from the best.

What will you be taught?

This is an interesting and diverse course. You will study areas such as:

  • Ecology
  • Wildlife surveying
  • Habitat management
  • Species conservation
  •  Food, farming and the environment
  • Global biodiversity conservation

Unrivalled wildlife and countryside

  • The Dyfi National Nature Reserve on our doorstep
  • Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire and the Brecon Beacons National Parks in driving distance
  • Ynys Hir RSPB reserve just up the road (as seen in Springwatch)
  • The Cambrian mountains as a backdrop
  • Cardigan Bay with its bottle-nosed dolphins. 

A prize-winning institute that can help you achieve your full potential

  • Our students have won the “Biology Student of the Year” award at the European Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) Awards, and the Welsh Ornithologists’ Society Student Prize!
  • Our Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) received the ''Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology'' award at the 2013 Times Higher Education Awards. 
  • Our Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) in conjunction with Bangor University had the 5th strongest submission in the UK for the Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014).

Want to study in Welsh?

Some of our modules are taught in Welsh as well as English. If you study through the medium of Welsh you may be eligible for a generous bursary.

Our Staff

The majority of teaching staff at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry.  The Institute has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (80 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Introduction To Biology BR11610

Making The British Countryside BR11920

People And The Countryside BR12300

Animal Life BR13110

Semester 2

Land Use BR11810

People And The Countryside BR12320

Studying The Dynamic Countryside BR12610

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 2

Datblygu A Rheoli Cynefinoedd Ym Mhrydain BG10810

The Development And Management Of British Habitats BR10810

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Sgiliau Astudio A Chyfathrebu BG12410

Study And Communication Skills BR12410

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 2

Llystyfiant Ac Ecosystemau BG12920

Vegetation And Ecosystems BR12920

Year 2 Core (50 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Wildlife Management BR24100

An Introduction To Geographic Information Systems (gis) BR24810

Semester 2

Human Impact On The Environment BR22110

Wildlife Management BR24120

Landscape Assessment, Protection And Enhancement BR24910

Year 2 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 2

Arolygu Ecolegol BG21420

Ecological Surveying BR21420

Year 2 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Bwyd, Ffermio A'r Amgylchedd BG21920

Food, Farming And The Environment BR21920

Year 2 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Profiad Gwaith BG24200

Work Experience BR24200

Semester 2

Profiad Gwaith BG24210

Work Experience BR24210

Year 2 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Dulliau Ymchwil BG23400

Research Methods BR23400

Semester 2

Dulliau Ymchwil BG23420

Research Methods BR23420

Final Year Core (60 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

The Agri-environment BR30420

Semester 2

Global Biodiversity Conservation BR33420

Wildlife Conservation BR34520

Final Year Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Traethawd Estynedig BG32300

Dissertation BR32300

Semester 2

Traethawd Estynedig BG32330

Dissertation BR32330

Final Year Options Choose 30 credits to accompany a field course/study week. EITHER 10 credits with an accompanying 20 credit field course, OR 20 credits with an accompanying 10 credit field course/study week. Where modules are offered bilingually or in EITHER semester: choose your preferred language or semester if applicable

Semester 1

Cwrs Maes Ecoleg Ddaearol, Iwerddon BG32110

Tropical Rainforest Ecology And Conservation (trec) Field Course BR30120

Countryside Management In Practice (study Week) BR31910

Terrestrial Ecology Field Course BR33110

Semester 2

Biodiversity Of Birds BR31320

Threats To Natural Ecosystems BR34210

Environmental Law BR34610

Both Semesters

Cyfathrebu Ymchwil BG31710

Communicating Research BR31710

Employability

You will be fully supported with developing your employability skills throughout the degree scheme. The degree will allow you to develop specialist skills such as the ability to carry out a range of botanical and wildlife surveys and the ability to plan the conservation management of a site as well as developing a range of transferable skills highly valued by employers. You will join a department that has excellent facilities to support your studies; £55 million pounds has been invested over the last five years in IBERS infrastructure. These facilities enable students to develop their specialist skills and knowledge preparing them for a successful transition into the workplace. You will have easy access to outdoor natural facilities such as Dyfi Natural Nature Reserve, Snowdonia National Park and Cardigan Bay. IBERS staff have close links with many learned societies which provide a route for students to network with others in their discipline and explore funding opportunities and recognition for their work. Guest lecturers and expert external teachers also contribute to the curriculum to pass on their expertise and knowledge.

The department has resources on the virtual learning environment, Aberlearn Blackboard to support your development and has a dedicated Twitter feed to keep students informed of developmental opportunities and work experience. 

The department has a close working relationship with the Careers Service who can help and support you sourcing work experience opportunities locally and nationally. You can also participate in the Year in Employment Scheme (YES) to gain graduate level work experience and IBERS students have successfully gained placements with a number of employers including Cheshire Wildlife Trust and Conwy County Borough Council.

Your BSc in Countryside Conservation opens up a range of exciting opportunities for employment and further training. Graduates from this course have had little difficulty in finding employment in a conservation capacity. Past students are now employed on a range of nature reserves as wildlife rangers and wardens, as ornithological researchers or as conservation and biodiversity officers. Organisations that employ students from this course include county wildlife trusts, the Forestry Commission, local authorities and environmental consultancies.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will I learn?

In the first year you will study the natural geoforces that have shaped the landscape, and you will look at the ways in which man has interacted with, and helped shape, the British landscape over time by focusing on periods of invasion, settlement, development and change. You will explore the concepts attached to land ownership, transfer and management as well as rural and agricultural business activity, and will examine the roles, responsibilities and actions of the main governmental and non-governmental organisations involved in the management of an increasingly multi-functional countryside. You will take an introductory module in biology and will additionally focus on vegetation and ecosystems. You will also look at the interrelationships between natural factors and human actions which result in the development of the main groups of terrestrial habitats found in Britain: woodlands; grasslands; coastal, upland and mountain communities; heaths and mires, swamps and fens; marginal and transitional habitats; and arable lands.

In the second year you will further explore the human impact on the environment, biota, water, soils and atmosphere, and will gain an awareness of the impact of agriculture and food supply systems on the environment. You will study the ecological principles and acquire the practical skills of species conservation and monitoring through habitat management that are required by today’s professional conservation practitioner. 

In the third year you will gain the scientific knowledge and study the ecological concepts that need to be applied to the conservation of endangered flora and fauna in terrestrial and aquatic habitats. You will explore the impacts of intensive, extensive and organic agriculture and other forms of agricultural systems on the environment in terms of biodiversity, genetic diversity, habitat quality, habitat fragmentation, pollution and sustainable resource use. You may also study subject areas such as environmental law, threats to natural ecosystems, avian biodiversity. You will have the opportunity to take part in a week-long residential field course, putting your theoretical knowledge to practical application. Present destinations for these field courses are the west coast of Ireland, Borneo and Wales. Please note that these destinations change and that the number of places on some of them may be limited. You may also be required to make a finacial contribution to the costs.  You will also produce a final-year dissertation, for which you will perform in-depth research on a topic that is relevant to your degree. Your project may be based on laboratory experiments or fieldwork exercises, a computer modelling exercise based on secondary data sources, or the development of a detailed business plan. Alternatively you may choose to write a critical review of published scientific literature.

How will I be taught?

This course will be delivered through a programme of lectures, seminars, workshops and field experience. You will have plenty of opportunities to apply your academic learning in practical activities and workshops. You will examine the interconnection between agriculture, other land use and environmental protection, and you will learn to mitigate the problems caused by their competing priorities.

Methods of assessment include experimental and field reports, field diaries, practical tests, surveys, portfolios, presentations, examinations, and essays. Among many skills, you will learn to: review and select relevant information from a wealth of scientific literature; understand and explain the impact of developments in subjects such as sustainable development and the environment; communicate the urgency of conservation; and plan projects and manage them in simulations and practical exercises.

Among many skills, you will learn to: review and select relevant information from a wealth of scientific literature; understand and explain the impact of developments in subjects such as sustainable development and the environment; communicate the urgency of conservation; and plan projects and manage them in simulations and practical exercises.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Student Views

The Countryside Conservation degree scheme is great for anyone wanting a career in the great outdoors. The variety of modules from agriculture and forestry to sustainable energy and wildlife management encourage you to think of the countryside as a mosaic of landscapes. Fortunately, this mosaic of landscapes is right on the doorstep of Aberystwyth University, and the frequent field trips the course has to offer place you in many different habitats, from wetlands, forest, heathland, organic farms and the fantastic Ynys-las sand dunes. If you have a passion for wildlife and the outdoors I would highly recommend this scheme! Tomos Iwan Jones

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Aberystwyth, and the course gave me a wealth of knowledge and skills, which along with voluntary experience got me to where I am today. The quality of the course tutors is what really made it for me though – they really brought the subject alive.
Helen - Area warden for Snowdon working for the Snowdonia National Park Authority

I am extremely proud of what I achieved at Aberystwyth. The course was intense and required a lot of hard work but if you are willing to apply yourself fully then it will provide you with an essential grounding in conservation that you can take further after completion
Sophie - Volunteer Conservation Officer (VCO), The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire (BCN)

Key Information Set

Places available in Clearing

0800 121 40 80 (Freephone)

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Key Facts

UCAS Code: D447

Please note that the tariff below may not apply during Clearing. Contact us on 0800 121 40 80 or fill in the form above for more information.

Tariff Required: 250 - 280

Entry Requirements: GCSE: Grade C in English or Welsh and Mathematics and a Science subject. Grade C in relevant A level Science. Students not taking relevant Science A Level may be made an offer based on individual merit following interview.

Course Length: 3 Years

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