Countryside Management and Conservation (inc work placement year)

Key Facts

Code D4C1
  • Typical A-level offer


  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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Do you want a job outdoors that seeks to conserve wildlife and helps the public gain access and enjoyment from the countryside? This may be just what you’re looking for. This three year course in Countryside Management and Conservation is geared to provide you with the practical skills and knowledge required to gain work for countryside organistions such as the National Trust, national parks, the RSPB or county wildlife trusts. 

Here is why you should consider this course: 

  • Industry leader in education and training for countryside careers 
  • Development of practical countryside skills such as fencing, dry stone walling and tree planting and work experience as an integral part of the course 
  • Regular visits to stunning conservation, wildlife and recreation sites

 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
  • Course Content
  • Employability
  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment
  • Student Views


Here is why the FdSc in Countryside Management and Conservation is such a respected course . . . 

Practical skills training

In year 1 you will develop countryside skills such as building stiles, boardwalks, steps and maybe even build a bridge. You will have the opportunity to enhance these skills in year 2 and gain industry standard certification in areas such as chainsaw, brushcutter, first aid and spraying.

Work experience as an integral element of the course

On this 3 – year version of the Foundation Degree in Countryside Management and Conservation you will do at least nine months of work experience in between years 1 and 3 for a countryside organisation. This will be valuable in developing your confidence, skills and in gaining a position after you have left the university.

Progression route onto a BSc

At the end of the course, if your academic performance merits it, you can progress up onto the final year of BSc Countryside Management or BSc Conservation Management and gain a second qualification! This is a powerful suite of qualifications to gain you employment.

A diverse and interesting curriculum

You will study areas such as:

  • Ecology
  • Habitat management
  • Species conservation 
  • Visitor Management
  • Rights of way management
  • The use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

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’ Union 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).

Wonderful wildlife and countryside on our doorstep

  • The Dyfi National Nature Reserve 
  • 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.

You will be taught by passionate teaching staff who are experts 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!

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 (100 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Making The British Countryside RD10120
Introduction To Biology RD12010
Practical Estate Skills RD12300
Tourism Principles And Impacts RD12510

Semester 2

Studying The Dynamic Countryside RD10210
People And The Countryside RD10720
Land Use RD12110
Practical Estate Skills RD12320

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

Semester 2

The Development And Management Of British Habitats RD11610

Datblygu A Rheoli Cynefinoedd Ym Mhrydain RG11610

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

Semester 1

Study And Communication Skills RD12610

Sgiliau Astudio A Chyfathrebu (fdsc) RG12610

Year 2 Core (120 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Sandwich Year RDW0000
Sandwich Year RDW0100

Semester 2

Sandwich Year RDW0060
Sandwich Year RDW0160

Final Year Core (70 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Wildlife Management RD23100
An Introduction To Geographic Information Systems (gis) RD24810

Semester 2

Visitor Management RD20820
Human Impact On The Environment RD22810
Wildlife Management RD23120
Landscape Assessment, Protection And Enhancement. RD24910

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

Semester 1

Food, Farming And The Environment RD20420

Bwyd, Ffermio A'r Amgylchedd RG20420

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

Semester 1

Professional Skills RD23310

Sgiliau Proffesiynol RG23310

Final Year Options Choose 20 credits. Where modules are offered bilingually: choose your preferred language if applicable.

Semester 1

Advanced Practical Skills RD22100

Research Methods RD23500

Project RD25500

Dulliau Ymchwil RG23500

Prosiect RG25500

Semester 2

Advanced Practical Skills RD22120

Research Methods RD23520

Project RD25520

Dulliau Ymchwil RG23520

Prosiect RG25520


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 undertake a range of practical estate skills and on-site project planning 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.

This three-year course includes at least 36 weeks of work experience in an area related to the subject of the course, undertaken in the second year. On successful completion of this Countryside Management and Conservation Foundation Degree you will have gained practical experience of working in this discipline from organisations such as local authorities, Natural Resources Wales, or the National Trust and you will have the skills and attributes necessary to start a career with one of the many employers in this field.

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. Students have participated in a work experience module to help them identify and reflect on the employability skills they are developing through their work experience.

The department has a close working relationship with the Careers Service and has an IBERS link careers adviser to support students with their career development. Employer events are organised to allow students to gain an insight into different graduate employers and develop their networking skills. The Careers Service can also help and support you sourcing work experience opportunities locally and nationally. 

Your FdSc in Countryside Management and Conservation opens up a range of exciting opportunities for employment and further training. You will be a strong candidate for future work as a nature reserve or country park manager, conservation officer, site warden or ranger. There is also the possibility of a career path in agriculture or environmental sciences.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This three-year foundation course will prepare you for further study and work in this modern yet traditional industry.

In addition to your academic studies in your first year you will spend one day per week gaining hands-on important practical estate skills such as drystone walling, hedge laying, tree planting, fencing, creating and maintaining footpaths and bridges, kissing gates, steps and stiles.

The extended work placement in your second year will enable you to put your vocational and academic learning into practice, and will substantially increase your employability prospects on graduation.

The course will be delivered through a programme of lectures, seminars, workshops and field experience. You will have numerous opportunities to apply your academic learning through practical activities and workshops. You will also examine the interconnection between different kinds of human activity, ecology and environmental needs, and you will learn to mitigate the problems caused by their competing priorities.

In addition to hands-on skills, you will learn to: review and select relevant information from scientific sources; understand and explain the importance of developments in sustainable development and the environment; communicate the urgency of conservation; and plan projects and manage them in simulations and practical exercises.

You will be assessed through essays, practical exercises, oral presentations, reports and exams. You will also be required to complete additional assignments and work with others on particular tasks. In all these areas you will need to demonstrate scientific rigour and apply a systematic approach to the problems with which you are presented.

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 degree! Tomos Iwan Jones

Entry Requirements

A Levels CC-DDD

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh, Mathematics or a Science subject

BTEC National Diploma:

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
24 points overall

European Baccalaureate:
60% overall

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