BSc Countryside Management

A group of BSc Countryside Management students on a field trip

So you want to work outdoors and have the countryside as your office! It sounds like this course is for you. The course will give you a detailed understanding of how the countryside works and how it can be managed to maximise the benefits to wildlife, habitats, farmers and recreational users. Here is why we think Aberystwyth is a great place to study countryside management

  • Industry leader in education and training for countryside careers
  • Flexibility to change course and choose modules
  • Enthusiastic and experienced staff
  • Regular site visits and study weeks
  • Located in one of Europe’s largest centres for environmental research
  • Stunning coastal location
  • Opportunities foreign exchanges
  • Some modules can be taken in Welsh or English

92% student satisfaction on our Countryside Management 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)


Studying BSc Countryside Management will give you the qualification you need to become a ranger, warden or conservation officer for organisations such as National Parks, the National Trust, county wildlife trusts, or the RSPB. Our past students are regularly seen on Countryfile!

What will you be taught?

Countryside Management studies a broad range of subject matter to allow a holistic approach to managing countryside resources. You will study areas such as:

  • Ecology
  • Wildlife surveying
  • Habitat management
  • Species conservation
  • Visitor management and rural tourism
  • Access and rights of way management
  • Interpretation and environmental education 

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).

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!

Wonderful wildlife and countryside

  • The Dyfi National Nature Reserve on our doorstep
  • 3 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. 

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

Tourism Principles And Impacts MM19010

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 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

Year 2 Options Choose 90 credits. Where modules are offered bilingually: choose your preferred language if applicable

Semester 1

Bwyd, Ffermio A'r Amgylchedd BG21920

Food, Farming And The Environment BR21920

Wildlife Management BR24100

An Introduction To Geographic Information Systems (gis) BR24810

Semester 2

Arolygu Ecolegol BG21420

Ecological Surveying BR21420

Human Impact On The Environment BR22110

Visitor Management BR24020

Wildlife Management BR24120

Landscape Assessment, Protection And Enhancement BR24910

Environment And Economy MM30820

Final Year Core (10 Credits) You must take this module

Semester 1

Countryside Management In Practice (study Week) BR31910

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 80 credits. Where modules are offered bilingually or in EITHER semester: choose your preferred language or semester if applicable

Semester 1

The Agri-environment BR30420

Interpretation And Environmental Education BR33510

Sustainable Tourism MM39520

Semester 2

Global Biodiversity Conservation BR33420

Threats To Natural Ecosystems BR34210

Wildlife Conservation BR34520

Environmental Law BR34610

Both Semesters

Cyfathrebu Ymchwil BG31710

Communicating Research BR31710


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 National 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.

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 Management opens up a range of exciting opportunities for employment and further training. Typical career opportunities include working as a countryside ranger or warden, estate manager, access officer, conservation officer, community worker, environmental educator and interpreter. Organisations employing such staff include national parks, the National Trust, the Forestry Commission and local authorities. Studying for a degree in Countryside Management will also equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

You will study a fascinating blend of science, technology and management methods, starting with a firm grounding in the history, geomorphology and current functions of the British countryside. You will move on to cover topics including habitat and wildlife management; ecology; visitor management; countryside access; community development; countryside law. 

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.

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 also examine the interconnection between agriculture, tourism and the environment and learn to mitigate the problems caused by their competing priorities.

You will be assessed through essays, practical exercises, oral presentations 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.

The university's vibrant culture of vocational learning will support you in your training and encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities within the department and the university to develop your theoretical and practical expertise so that, upon graduation, you are perfectly positioned for the next stage of your career.

Student Views

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Aberystwyth, the course, the town and the lectures were all fantastic and I enjoyed the modules studied. I believe my university course gave a more rounded view of conservation, agriculture and eco-tourism as a whole, which helped my understanding in this sector and aspects of conservation, agriculture and eco-tourism I otherwise wouldn’t have learnt about – rather than ‘just’ the bird knowledge I was learning in my own time.  I had a genuine interest in conservation and especially bird conservation and I spent most of my free time contributing to bird (such as the BirdAtlas / breeding bird surveys at my ringing site and ringing itself) or moth (through moth trapping) data in my free time. I also volunteered for the RSPB on a reserve.  This, along with a degree, is very important to potential employers – you have to be determined with a genuine passion to get anywhere in the conservation sector.
Sarah – Breeding Bird Survey National Organiser, British Trust for Ornithology

Countryside Management brings together just how the natural environment revolves around us as humans. It's an eye-opening course that puts into perspective how geology, ecology, and land-use has shaped an intrinsically diverse countryside into one of the most naturally diverse nations in the world. Unlike other courses, Countryside Management encompasses every aspect of the environment making you the expert in a wide range of studies. The field trips will allow those eager for adventure to traverse great mountain tops such as Cadair Idris and experience the real countryside.
Daniel Creech

Countryside Management is a thought-provoking course with some amazing field trips and visits as well as an awesome study tour in the first year and the staff are really friendly and helpful.
William Wilf Davies

Like everyone I speak to who has studied at Aberystwyth I cannot rate the course highly enough. The lecturers are fantastic and their experience of working in the field combined with research of their particular subject areas means the content of the course is up-to-date. The course has given me the grounding required to start as a countryside trainee and progress up the career ladder.
Anna - Westgate Parks Development Officer, Kent County Council

The BSc Countryside Management course has proven to be the most useful component of my education career so far. I’d highly recommend the course to anyone who wants a head start in the environmental sector. And there couldn’t be a better place to study than Aberystwyth!Luke - Wildlife Biologist, Stantec Consulting Ltd., Canada

I developed my survey skills for protected species such as great crested newt, reptiles, birds, mammals (pine m.arten, wild cat, red squirrel, bats and badger) and habitat surveys during and following my time at Aberystwyth University.
Neil – Ecology Matters Consultancy 

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and my time at Aberystwyth and feel that it has enabled me to pursue and progress my countryside career. It was the breadth of the subjects covered on the course that enabled me to adapt to work successfully in a variety of different countryside posts all over the country. The course taught me excellent scientific and analytical skills and from this starting point I have complemented them with practical skills built up over several years as a countryside ranger.
Paul - Inverewe Estate Manager, National Trust for Scotland

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Entry Requirements

A Levels BCC with C in relevant science subject (Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Environmental Studies, Maths, Physics)

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

BTEC National Diploma:
DMM with specified subjects

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
28 with 5 points in a relevant science subject at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
Pass overall with 70% in a science subject

Key Information Set

Key Facts

UCAS Code: D455

Typical A-level offer
BCC with C in relevant science subject (Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Environmental Studies, Maths, Physics)

Further details on entry requirements

Course Length: 3 Years

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