- UCAS code
- Start date
- September 2023
- Delivery type
- On campus
- 4 years full time
- Work placement
- Study abroad
- Typical A-level offer
- AAA (specific subject requirements)
- Typical Access to Leeds offer
Full entry requirements
As populations grow and human activities threaten the natural world, ecology and conservation biology has never been more important. With this degree, you will discover how we sustain biodiversity and the fundamental importance of the ecological processes involved.
On this course you’ll gain cutting-edge knowledge and develop skills and experience in the lab and in the field. Learn how to determine the distribution and abundance of different species, how organisms interact with each other and their environment and how to put your ecological knowledge into conservation practice. Personalise your degree in a multidisciplinary way by studying optional modules including climate change, sustainability or environmental law.
This integrated Masters (MBiol) gives you an additional year of specialist training, to study advanced research topics, with the option to study savannah ecology and conservation in Kenya. You may also choose to apply for our 3 year BSc and transfer to an MBiol up until the end of your second year, subject to suitable academic performance.
This programme offers you the opportunity to study the modules that you are passionate about.
One of the broadest degree programmes in this topic with optional modules in Faculties across the University, such as the Faculty of Earth and Environment and the School of Law.
Gain experience in a wide range of ecological and conservation contexts through specialised modules, field courses and research projects.
Confront different ecological problems and conservation issues and develop practical field-based skills during your residential field courses in Spain and Scotland. An urban ecology field course will introduce you to the topic of sustainable cities.
One year of additional specialist training culminating in an extended research project.
Ecology and conservation biology is a degree within the School of Biology which offers you flexibility throughout your time studying at Leeds.
All of our biology degree courses share the same set of compulsory modules in the first year. A key benefit of having a common first year is that at the end of year 1, there are opportunities to transfer onto degree courses in Biology, Zoology and Genetics, subject to approval. Additional degree courses may be available depending on your academic background.
Ecology and Wildlife Conservation online course
Get a taste of Ecology and Conservation Biology MBiol with our exceptional online course, Ecology and Wildlife Conservation. Designed for anyone with an interest in the subject matter, this short course is particularly useful for high school students who would like to study Biology, Zoology, or Ecology and Conservation at University level.
With this two-week programme, you will discover how conservation biologists and the study of ecosystems can help protect wildlife and conserve the natural world. You’ll have the chance to explore the impact of wind farms on populations of seabirds, and investigate highly diverse ecosystems such as coral reefs.
Are you ready to take your first steps towards protecting our world’s incredible biodiversity?
Click here for a full list of our online courses.
This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. Advanced Degree Accreditation by the Society recognises academic excellence in the biosciences, and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders and innovators of the future. The Advanced Accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from the programme meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including gaining a substantial period of research experience.
This accreditation is applicable to the following course variants: BSc Ecology and Conservation Biology (Industrial); MBiol Ecology and Conservation Biology; MBiol Ecology and Conservation Biology (Industrial); MBiol Ecology and Conservation Biology (International).
You will study a wide range of topics, including ecology, biodiversity, evolution and genetics. Choose modules such as creating sustainable futures, to broaden your perspective.
Best understood through observation and practical experience, you’ll be introduced to the exciting world of ecology and conservation research from the word go. Explore whole organism biology in the lab alongside travelling to Scotland to undertake the first of the residential field courses we offer.
Year 1 compulsory field course: coastal and uplands habitats in Millport, Scotland.
At the end of year 1, our flexible degree structure offers you the opportunity to transfer onto other suitable degree courses.
You’ll specialise in key issues through core modules such as population, community and conservation ecology, and build on your skills as scientists through studying experimental design.
Your fieldwork skills will be further developed during two field courses; Mediterranean ecology in southern Spain and the new urban ecology and conservation field course, designed with a low carbon footprint.
Animal behaviour is an optional module that will introduce you to the range of behaviours that affect how organisms interact with each other, while in sustainable food production you will examine the issues around food insecurity, a key global challenge. In the optional managing biodiversity module you can also examine the threats to biodiversity and the practical steps taken to halt their losses
Year 2 compulsory field courses: Mediterranean ecology in Spain and urban ecology and conservation
In addition to a range of taught modules, you will conduct two short research projects that will provide essential preparation for your year 4 extended research project. The emphasis in this year is placed on project design and planning, as well as providing the practical skills that will be essential in the final year.
In the final year of your MBiol you will work on an extended research project focusing on an original, cutting-edge topic specific to ecology and conservation. This will equip you with the skills necessary for a career in research, as well as setting you apart in the graduate job market. In addition, choose from a range of Masters-level modules, such as conservation genetics and introduction to geographic information systems (GIS), which are key topics in modern ecology and conservation.
You’ll have the option to study savannah ecology and conservation on the African field course, based at Mpala Research Centre, Kenya. This field course provides a first-hand experience of the ecology and conservation concerns of an African savannah community, both for the wildlife and the people who live there.
Year 4 optional field courses: African field course is based at Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia, Kenya.
The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.
Year 1 compulsory modules
|Introduction to Genetics||10|
|Exploring Whole Organism Biology in the Lab and Field||10|
|Coastal and Upland Habitats Field Course||10|
|Research and Study Skills Level 1||10|
|Biology Practicals and Data Analysis||20|
Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
|Introduction to Cell Biology: from Molecules to Cells and Tissues||10|
|Applied Biology and Agriculture||10|
|Introduction to Creating Sustainable Futures||10|
Year 2 compulsory modules
|Population, Community and Conservation Ecology||20|
|Experimental Design and Analysis||10|
|Urban Ecology and Conservation Field Course||20|
|Research and Study Skills Level 2||10|
|Mediterranean Ecology Field Course||10|
Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
|How Plants Work||10|
|Sustainable Food Production||10|
|Skills in Communicating Research beyond the University||10|
|Climate Change: Science and Impacts||10|
Year 3 compulsory modules
|Advanced Topics in Ecology||20|
|Advanced Topics in Conservation Science||20|
|Advanced Research Skills and Experience||40|
Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
|Social Insect Biology||10|
|Advanced Topics in Behaviour: from sex to death||20|
|Plant Growth, Resources and Food Security||20|
|Advanced Topics in Evolution||20|
|Level 3 Field Course (South Africa)||20|
|Environmental Risk: Science, Policy and Management||10|
Year 4 compulsory modules
|Extended Research Project||80|
Year 4 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
|Introduction to GIS||15|
|African Field Ecology||20|
|Conservation Decision Science||15|
Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.
This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.
Learning and teaching
You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials and lab practicals. Your first and second years will focus on these three teaching methods, building your skills, understanding and knowledge in preparation for your final year research project, which will see you take on independent research and learning with the guidance of leading experts. The field courses enable you to put your knowledge into practice.
Across all years, additional workshop and seminar sessions will complement your lectures, lab practicals, and private study.
A typical week in your first year will include nine to twelve hours of lectures, three to six hours of practical sessions in the laboratory, tutorials, workshop and seminar sessions, plus private study.
Independent study and research are crucial to every year of the course. We have excellent library and computing facilities to support your learning, and the University Library offers comprehensive training.
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
We use a variety of assessment methods to help you develop a broad range of skills. These include practical work, data handling and problem-solving exercises, multiple-choice tests, group work, online and face-to-face discussion groups, computer-based simulations, essays, posters and oral presentations.
Including biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. If biology is the only science subject then an A grade is required. Critical thinking and general studies excluded.
We accept the following:
Science: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics.
Science-related: computing, environmental science, food science, geography, geology, PE, psychology, statistics.
Applicants taking a Science A-level (in England) will be required to achieve a pass in the practical element in addition to the standard A-level grade requirement.
When an applicant is taking any of the following:
Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
Cambridge International Project Qualification (Cambridge IPQ)
Core Maths (if A-level Maths or Further Maths isn't studied as a full A-level)
AS Maths (if A-level Maths or Further Maths isn't studied as a full A-level)
Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate
It will be considered alongside A-levels and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A-levels, this would be a 1 grade drop from the standard offer. For example an A in one of the above qualifications with AAB at A-level (MBiol applicants).
GCSE: Grade 6 (B) or above at GCSE maths and Grade 4 (C) or above at GCSE English. The Faculty of Biological Sciences will accept Level 2 Functional Skills English in lieu of GCSE English.
D3/D3/M1 including biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. If biology is the only science subject then a D3 grade will be required. Global Perspectives excluded.
D3/D3/D3 including biology and preferably another science subject. Global Perspectives excluded.
When an applicant is taking Global Perspectives this can be considered alongside Pre-U subjects and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. This would be D3/M1/M1 and grade D3 in Global Perspectives (BSc applicants) or D3/D3/M1 and grade D3 in Global Perspectives (MBiol applicants).
BSc: 6,6,5 at higher level including Biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. If Biology is the only science at higher level, a 6 will be required.
MBiol: 6,6,6 at higher level including Biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. If Biology is the only science at higher level, a 6 will be required.
Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)
BSc: H2,H2,H2,H2,H3,H3 including H2 in biology and preferably another science or science-related subject at higher level.
MBiol: H2,H2,H2,H2,H2,H2 including biology and preferably another science or science-related subject at higher level.
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers
Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AB in 2 Advanced Highers including biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. General studies and critical thinking excluded. If biology is the only science subject then an A grade is required.
Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AA in 2 Advanced Highers including biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. General studies and critical thinking excluded.
Science subjects include: biology, human biology, chemistry, maths and physics.
Science- related subjects include: computing, environmental science, geography, geology, P.E, psychology, science in society, statistics, food science and use of maths.
Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.
Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.
Were committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.
Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.
Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.
Typical Access to Leeds offer
Specific A Level subjects required – see entry requirement section above.
GCSE: Grade 6 (B) or above at GCSE Maths and Grade 4 (C) or above at GCSE English.
Access to Leeds: Pass
International Foundation Year
International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.
English language requirements
IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component.. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.
Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.
UK: £9,250 (per year)
International: £27,500 (per year)
Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.
Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.
Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.
Read more about paying fees and charges.
There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.
Scholarships and financial support
If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.
The Faculty of Biological Sciences offer a range of scholarships for UK, EU and International students. Find out more about our scholarships
Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.
International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.
Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.
Visit our admissions guidance page for more information about applying to undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Biological Sciences.
The Faculty of Biological Sciences may consider applications submitted after this date. Availability of courses in UCAS Extra will be detailed by UCAS at the appropriate stage in the cycle.
Alternative Entry Scheme for mature applicants
As per the information detailed in the corresponding section of the University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy the Faculty of Biological Sciences will consider prospective students via the Alternative Entry Scheme run by the Lifelong Learning where appropriate applicants will be referred to the Lifelong Learning Centre, who will advise the applicant further.
This course is taught by
Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office
As well as providing you with subject-specific knowledge, we aim to equip you with the best possible skills for a variety of future careers. All of our degrees have a strong emphasis on practical based teaching, small group teaching, online learning and problem solving.
Throughout the degree, you’ll gain a wide range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. Supported by the faculty student opportunity team, Leeds for Life scheme and your academic and personal tutor, you’ll be ideally placed to focus on your personal development and make the most of your time at university.
Ecologists have a vital role to play in monitoring our environment. They must understand both how and why our environment is changing, and the subsequent impact on biodiversity. The skills and knowledge you develop will be relevant to ecology-related careers as well as broader opportunities after graduation.
Typical graduate careers include:
- Environmental Consultant
- Academic Researcher
- Nature Conservation Officer
Examples of recent graduate destinations include:
- Nature Reserves Officer
- PhD Biology
- Data analyst
We have a dedicated student opportunity team in the Faculty of Biological Sciences who work closely with the University’s Careers Centre.
We offer a host of additional opportunities beyond core course content, including volunteering and placements. These include our annual student-alumni networking event, where graduates are invited back to talk about their work and network with our students, and our STEM Careers Fair, which gives you the chance to meet bioscience employers, such as AstraZeneca, Labcorp, GSK, Nuffield NHS Ecological consultancies, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.
Study abroad and work placements
On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America.
Find out more at the Study Abroad website.
If you choose to undertake a study abroad option, you will spend the third year of your course studying abroad. This will extend your studies by 12 months.
Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.
Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.
Industrial placements are taken after your second year. This will extend your studies by 12 months. For your work placement in industry, the staff at Leeds will help you with your CV and recruitment process and provide details of organisations.
Placements abroad are possible. We work together with your industrial supervisors to make sure you get the most out of this year. A year working in industry gives you an excellent opportunity to get used to the demands of the world of work, to develop new skills and to augment your CV.
Combined study and working abroad
Our new module allows you to combine both a study abroad and industrial work placement into one additional year of study. Over the year you will study for a semester at one of our partner universities and complete an industrial work placement for 6 months abroad or in the UK.
Find out more about Combined study and work abroad.
One of the most exciting aspects of our degrees is the range of opportunities for fieldwork on offer. Field courses offer valuable opportunities to apply your knowledge and practical research skills outside of the lab, so we offer the option of a field course in every year.
Compulsory module: A week’s in-depth study of animals and plants in their natural habitats. Students are allocated to a group and each group has its specialist topic. For example, you may explore diurnal rhythms in insects, rocky shore diversity, seaweed ecology or how parasitic disease affects animal distribution. You will have a chance to observe birdlife, seals and even whales (and the ice cream shop!).
Compulsory module: Usually involving a trip to the Iberian Peninsula, this course allows you to explore issues surrounding biodiversity conservation across Europe, including the challenges of growing human populations and habitat restoration. You’ll work in groups of two or three to conduct independent research projects. Recently these have included social interactions between macaque troops, the effects of feather parasites on bird performance and thermoregulation in lizards.
Optional module: This interactive field course is designed to build upon your knowledge of ecology and conservation, in addition to exploring the value of biodiversity in a stimulating urban context. You will focus on the biodiversity, sustainability and reduced carbon emissions commitments around the University of Leeds.
Optional module: Based at the Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The area is rich in plants, birds and mammals (including the ‘big five’ – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard). Group projects designed by the students centre on the theme of a ‘landscape of fear’, and there are also guest lectures by local experts, a bird diary to complete, night drives in safari vehicles and a boat trip to watch birds and sometimes even whales.
Our MBiol also offers you the chance to go to Kenya in your final year to conduct research at the Mpala Research Centre with a focus on ecological, conservation and wildlife management challenges in a semi-arid savannah environment. The course will be based primarily around small-group projects that are of ecological or conservation relevance to the region. This will reinforce and broaden your knowledge and understanding of the area and build upon aspects of the ecological training received at Leeds.
Student profile: Pooja Balaji
I love that I’m given so many chances to broaden my horizons and learn about all possible branches of biology, instead of being restricted to any particular one.Find out more about Pooja Balaji's time at Leeds