BSc

Ecology

Due to the urgent need to document, understand and ultimately prevent the decline of biodiversity, graduate ecologists are in high demand. The Ecology degree at Aberystwyth University aims to provide you with the academic knowledge and practical skills to meet this demand, and train you to be part of the next generation of ecologists who will respond to environmental threats, identify solutions and help conserve biodiversity into the future.

Course Overview

Royal Society of Biology Accredited DegreeOn the Ecology degree, you will study the interactions between organisms and their environment, building the essential foundation on which to develop your understanding of how wildlife will respond to current and future environmental threats, including pollution, climate change, invasive species and habitat destruction.

At Aberystwyth you will be studying in an area rich in a variety of stunning landscapes, providing excellent fieldwork opportunities in natural and semi-natural habitats and ecosystems including the Cardigan Bay coastline, freshwater environments, woodlands, heaths, moorland and alpine habitats. Many nature reserves are within easy reach, including Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons National Parks. 

Fieldwork and practical classes form an integral part of the course throughout. Overseas field courses are also available to you, depending on module choice, enabling you to learn about tropical ecology first-hand. 

Our teaching staff conduct research in all areas of ecology and in different parts of the world. We have established links with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, National Botanic Garden of Wales, Natural Resources Wales, Snowdonia National Park Authority, the RSPB and various wildlife and woodland trusts. 

This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology.

Our Staff

The majority of teaching staff in the Department of Life Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry. The Department has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.

Modules September start - 2023

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.

Core

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Climate and Climate Change BR16620 20
Comparative Animal Physiology BR14110 10
Ecology BR13510 10
Evolution and the Diversity of Life BR14310 10
Exploring Genetics BR14410 10
Introduction to Conservation BR10110 10
Microbial Diversity BR12110 10
Study and Communication Skills BR12410 10
The Development and Management of British Habitats BR10810 10
The Green Planet BR13610 10

Options

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Introduction to Palaeobiology BR16510 10
The Biosphere BR13210 10

Core

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
An Introduction to Landscape Ecology and Geographic Information Systems BR25520 20
Climate Change: Plants, Animals and Ecosystems BR21120 20
Ecological Surveying BR21420 20
Research Methods BR27520 20

Options

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Environmental Microbiology and Monitoring BR26020 20
Freshwater Biology BR22020 20
Invertebrate Zoology BR25420 20
Marine Biology BR22620 20
Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Conservation BR24020 20
Vertebrate Zoology BR26820 20

Core

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Environmental Regulation and Consultancy BR35620 20
Population and Community Ecology BR33920 20
Research Project BR36440 40

Options

Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Anthropogenic threats to the Biosphere BR36720 20
Behavioural Neurobiology BR35320 20
Global Biodiversity Conservation BR33420 20
Terrestrial Ecology Fieldcourse BR36620 20
The Agri-Environment BR30420 20
Wildlife Conservation BR34520 20

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh

Careers

Many of our graduates find employment in conservation and environmental protection, or in environmental education in schools, colleges or nature reserves. Our graduates can be found working for organisations such as DEFRA (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs), the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, Natural England, ADAS, Forestry Commission, wildlife trusts, the Wales Environment Link, the National Grid and water authorities. 

How will my degree prepare me for the future?

Employability is embedded in our teaching. Our students leave Aberystwyth University with: 

  • research and data analysis skills
  • enhanced mathematical and computational skills
  • effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills
  • a thorough grounding in information technology skills
  • the ability to work independently
  • time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
  • the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
  • self-motivation and self-reliance
  • team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement.

What work experience opportunities are available to me while I study?  

Find out about the various opportunities that our Careers Service offers.  

Enhance your employability prospects with GO Wales and our Year in Employment Scheme

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

In the first year you will explore the amazing diversity of life on Earth. You will be introduced to fundamental and topical elements of ecology and will consider future challenges such as responding to global climate and conserving biodiversity. You will consider the importance of conserving biodiversity at a range of scales, from genetic diversity to biomes and ecosystems, and will look at the science underpinning climate and climate change. You will learn about land flora and British habitats and gain the skills and knowledge necessary to underpin careers in ecological surveying or management. 

In the second year you will consider habitats, landscapes and the communities of species that reside within them, and gain the practical skills required by today’s professional ecologists. You will receive a thorough grounding in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to investigate spatial distribution patterns of habitats and understand their ecological implications. You will further investigate the impact of climate change as one of the major future challenges to global biodiversity, and apply your learning to problems and solutions through field excursions and practical classes. Optional modules in aquatic biology, zoology and environmental microbiology enable you to specialise in particular areas, and you will have the opportunity to visit some of the world’s key biodiversity hotspots through an optional tropical field course. 

In the final year you will look at environmental protection and sustainability and will consider the legislation and principles governing the regulation of the environment in the UK, including Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). You will explore population and community ecology and undertake a compulsory research project, which will allow you to perform in-depth research under the guidance of a supervisor. Your project may be based on laboratory experiments or fieldwork exercises, comprise a computer modelling exercise or involve data analysis. You will also take optional modules from a selection available, which include wildlife conservation, studying the impacts of intensive, extensive and organic agriculture and other forms of agricultural system on the environment, global biodiversity conservation, and a variety of anthropogenic impacts on the biosphere, including pollution, climate change and over-exploitation of resources. You will also have the opportunity to go on field courses, including a tropical rainforest ecology study trip. 

How will I be taught? 

The course will be delivered through lectures, workshops, tutorials, seminars, field courses and practicals.  

Assessment 

You will be assessed through essays, practical exercises, oral presentations, worksheets, experiments reports, conservation plans, statistical exercises, posters, wikis, literature reviews, field notebooks and exams. 

Personal Tutor  

You will be assigned a personal tutor who will be your main contact throughout the duration of your studies. Your personal tutor can help you to settle in when you first arrive and will be available to help you with academic or personal matters. 

Student Testimonials

Pippa - BSc Ecology

"The Ecology course at Aberystwyth has provided me with a good set of skills which I can utilise and apply to my current role. The field work part of many modules within the Ecology degree scheme has ensured that I have experience of working in outdoor environments, a necessity for many ecological careers."

Alex - BSc Ecology

"I am very pleased I chose the degree scheme. Interesting content throughout, great support from the lecturers, and comprehensive feedback. A great choice, no regrets."

Typical Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff 120 - 104

A Levels BBB-BCC with B in Biology

GCSE requirements (minimum grade C/4):
English or Welsh and Mathematics

BTEC National Diploma:
DDD-DDM in a specified subject

International Baccalaureate:
30-28 with 5 points in Biology at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
75%-65% overall with 7 in Biology

English Language Requirements:
See our Undergraduate English Language Requirements for this course. Pre-sessional English Programmes are also available for students who do not meet our English Language Requirements.

Country Specific Entry Requirements:
International students whose qualification is not listed on this page, can check our Country Specific Entry Requirements for further information.

The University welcomes undergraduate applications from students studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma or T-level qualifications, provided that relevant subject content and learning outcomes are met. We are not able to accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas or T-levels as a general qualification for every undergraduate degree course.
Our inclusive admissions policy values breadth as well as depth of study. Applicants are selected on their own individual merits and offers can vary. If you would like to check the eligibility of your qualifications before submitting an application, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for advice and guidance.

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