Ecology and Conservation Biology MBiol, BSc

Year of entry

2024 course information

Open Days 2024

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UCAS code
C189
Start date
September 2025
Delivery type
On campus
Duration
4 years full time
Work placement
Optional
Study abroad
Optional
Typical A-level offer
AAA (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
ABB
Full entry requirements
Accredited
Yes

Course overview

Ecology and Conservation Biology MBiol, BSc

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 your skills and experience in ecology and conservation, from your doorstep to the globe. With exciting field courses in wonderful landscapes, to observations of animals behaving in the lab, you will learn how to measure the distribution and abundance of different species, how organisms interact with each other and their environment, and you will be challenged to think creatively about the application of ecology to conservation problems. Personalise your degree by studying from a wide choice of optional modules including animal behaviour, evolution, climate change science, sustainability and environmental law.

This integrated Masters (MBiol) gives you an additional year of specialist training, to study advanced research topics and undertake your own extended research project. 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.

Course highlights

  • One of the broadest ecology degree programmes with optional modules from across the University, which will build your knowledge of ecology and conservation from a wide perspective.
  • Gain experience in a wide range of ecological and conservation contexts through specialised modules, field courses and research projects.
  • Develop your practical field-based skills by confronting different ecological problems and conservation issues during residential field courses in Spain and Scotland, as well as an optional field course in South Africa.
  • Learn about sustainable cities and the value of biodiversity on your own doorstep during the urban ecology field course.
  • One year of additional specialist training culminating in an original, cutting-edge extended research project that will equip you with the skills necessary for a research career, and set you apart in the graduate job market.

Wellbeing and support

The University of Leeds features an extensive network of excellent services dedicated to you and your wellbeing. We are here to help throughout your time in higher education, ensuring you have everything you need to succeed. For more information on the different facets of support you will have access to, please see our Wellbeing and Support page.

Flexible degrees:

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.

Facilities

Your degree will be based in the Faculty of Biological Sciences, one of the largest centres for biological sciences research in the UK and home to cutting-edge research facilities. You’ll have access to field research stations based in the UK, Europe and Africa to help you learn about ecology and conservation in contrasting landscapes. The city’s green spaces and nearby Yorkshire Dales National Park also provide a range of habitats that support modules in the degree programme. The University’s research farm is where you can learn about sustainable agriculture, while you could examine biodiversity interactions in the Faculty’s extensive greenhouse and plant growth facilities.

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?

Find out more

Click here for a full list of our online courses.

Accreditation

Accredited by The Royal Society of Biology

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).

Course details

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

For more information and a list of typical modules available on this course, please read MBiol, BSc Ecology and Conservation Biology in the course catalogue.

Year 1

You will study a wide range of topics, including ecology, biodiversity, evolution and genetics. Choose modules such as creating sustainable futures and climate change science to broaden your ecological perspective.

Topics in ecology and conservation are best understood through observation and practical experience so you’ll explore whole organism biology in the lab and field, as well as travel to Scotland to undertake the first of the residential field courses we offer. Through small group tutorials, you’ll be introduced to the exciting world of ecological and conservation research.

Year 1 compulsory field course: coastal and uplands habitats in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland.

At the end of year 1, our flexible degree structure offers you the opportunity to transfer onto other suitable degree courses.

Compulsory modules

Living Planet (20 credits) - You’ll be provided with an overview of the evolution and diversity of life, the key features that define each group and the role of those taxa in ecological processes. Each group of organisms will be linked to a major global challenge including food security, disease, and wildlife conservation, to demonstrate how fundamental science informs important societal issues.

Practical Skills for Zoology and Ecology (20 credits) - You will develop core scientific practical and field research skills that you will use throughout your degree program. A broad range of standard laboratory skills will be developed, including the essential fundamentals of good laboratory practice, routine calculations, and analytical methods. Field work will address processes at the whole organism and population level within the broader areas of zoology and ecology.

Research & Study Skills Level 1 (20 credits) - You'll develop core research, scientific and study skills that will underpin your degree. You will gain in-depth understanding of the scientific process, the formulation and testing of hypotheses, and making best use of scientific literature. Hands-on computer practical sessions will help you develop an appreciation of scientific data, and the key skills needed to solve problems.

Introduction to Genetics (10 credits) - You’ll be provided with essential foundational knowledge in genetics, exploring the different meanings of ‘genetics’ and how this concept has changed over time. More importantly, you will explore what genetics means for us as organisms. To what extent do genes determine our inheritance? And how do our genes make us the distinct and unique organisms we are?

Coastal & Uplands Field Course (10 credits) - You’ll take a combination of field studies at various sites on the Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland, followed by laboratory-based analysis to develop skills in sampling and monitoring field populations, and identification of diverse organisms. Projects will involve developing hypotheses related to their ecology and testing these using appropriate analytical techniques.

Optional modules

40 credits from the following

Using Biology to Feed the World (10 credits) - Agriculture’s most basic function is to provide adequate food for the world’s population. Agriculture is the foundation of civilisations and is the world’s largest industry. This module is about how knowledge derived from biological research is applied to and exploited in agriculture. We will consider food production from animals, plants and microorganisms, the different systems of production, the use of biotechnology for crop improvement and the opportunities and challenges facing a changing world.

Introduction to Cell Biology (10 credits) - You'll develop a basic understanding of cell biology and the underlying biochemistry, which underpin the fundamental processes of life. You can apply this knowledge in later optional studies in applied biology or plant biology.

Introduction to Creating Sustainable Futures (10 credits) - You'll identify the challenges we experience in a changing world, such as climate change, pollution, increasing populations and poverty. This module will give you knowledge of sustainability issues, identify solutions, and develop the skills to influence future change.

Ecology (10 credits) - You'll be introduced to the main theories and principles of ecology. You will explore the characteristics of individuals and how they determine patterns seen in populations, the dynamics of species and their interactions in communities, and how these communities interact with the environment to create the ecosystems we find across the world.

Vertebrate Evolution (10 credits) - Fascinated by dinosaurs? Intrigued by human origins? Worried by whaling? Want to know how birds came to fly? Is so, then this module is for you. We will cover the major features of vertebrate evolution from the origin of the group around 430 million years ago in the Cambrian period to their present-day diversity, taking in many of the well-known (e.g. dinosaurs and pterosaurs) and less well-known extinct forms. We will also examine how geological processes have influenced this amazing story of the vertebrate animals.

Discovery Modules (10 credits) - As well as the compulsory and optional modules that make up your programme of study, you may be able to choose something different to your main subject as a Discovery Module.

Year 2

You’ll specialise in key ecological and conservation issues through studying core modules such as population, community and conservation ecology, and build on your skills as scientists through studying experimental design and data analysis.

These core modules will be complemented during two field courses, which will further develop your fieldwork skills. You will study the unique ecology of semi-arid environments of the Mediterranean in southern Spain, while the Urban ecology and conservation field course, designed with a low carbon footprint, will introduce you to urban green spaces and the value of biodiversity in building sustainable cities. During these field courses, you’ll be putting your ecological knowledge into practice.

You can tailor your degree by choosing optional modules that you are passionate about. Examples of optional modules include Animal Behaviour, which 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 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

At the end of year 2, you will have the opportunity to complete a work placement, study abroad, or combined study and work abroad. This will add an additional year of study to your degree.

Compulsory modules

Population, Community & Conservation Ecology (20 credits) - You’ll cover the factors that control the distribution and abundance of different populations and introduces the application of these principles to population management. You will understand the interactions between species and their environment and the properties of ecological communities and the application of these principles to key challenges in ecology. You will cover practical conservation approaches to population dynamics and community management and the use of a range of practical and analytical techniques to examine and quantify population and community dynamics.

Research & Study Skills Level 2 (10 credits) - This module further develops the core research and scientific skills that were developed in Level 1 and helps to prepare students for their third year research projects and beyond.

Mediterranean Ecology Field Course (20 credits) - This course takes place at a field station in a semi-arid region of southern Spain. You will work in small groups to carry out projects that explore the ecology, behaviour and adaptations of the unique flora and fauna found in this beautiful location. You will learn how to carry out field-based research and some of the challenges that field ecologists face by carrying out a project on migrating birds, arid landscapes, plants and pollinators, reptiles, or the conflicts between people and nature in this region. Additional opportunities exist for cultural visits to gain a greater appreciation of the wider geographical, cultural, and ecological context of the field course.

Urban Ecology & Conservation Field Course (20 credits) - You will build on core conceptual material in ecology and conservation. You’ll learn about the value of biodiversity in an urban context, with a focus on the biodiversity and sustainability on campus and the University’s reduced carbon emissions commitments. Working in small groups, you will collect biodiversity data across a range of urban sites and produce a biodiversity action plan to support and improve biodiversity on the campus.

Optional modules

40 credits from the following

How Plants Live (20 credits) - You’ll explore the importance of plants in their environments, covering basic physiology and metabolism and revealing key concepts of plant growth and development that enable plants to adapt within the environment. Topics include embryogenesis, meristems and postembryonic development, flower and seed development, gravitropism and phototropism, perception of light, gravity and hormonal signals, model systems and research methodologies.

Human Populations (10 credits) - You’ll be provided with an evolutionary perspective on human origins. You’ll understand the genetic structure of human populations is explained, considering 'normal' variation, geographical variation and changes in human populations including growth migration, language and impact on the environment. You will cover pathology including descriptive epidemiology, classical statistical approaches to understanding cancer and the links between population biology and infectious agents. You will understand core concepts in human population biology including mutation, gene flow, natural selection, genetic drift, founder effects and genetic load.

Parasitology (10 credits) - You’ll be provided with an introduction to parasitology with an emphasis on those that cause diseases of medical and veterinary importance. The main content will be delivered through the use of specific examples including single-celled microparasites, such as Malaria, Toxoplasma, Trypanosoma, Leishmania, and Giardia, and macroparasites, such as Schistosoma, Ascaris, Geohelminths, and the Filarial Nematodes.

Discovery Modules (10 credits) - As well as the compulsory and optional modules that make up your programme of study, you may be able to choose something different to your main subject as a Discovery Module.

Evolution, Adaptation and Behaviour (20 credits) - The module will encourage you to appreciate that evolution unifies Biology and that it explains the facinating diversity of life on Earth. You will examine evolutionary processes to develop an understanding of adaptation to environments, across evolutionary time and in our rapidly changing modern world. The module takes animal behaviour, taught in a behavioural ecology framework, as a specific field in which evolution and adaptation can be explored.

Sustainable Food Production (10 credits) - You'll explore both crop and animal production systems. You’ll review the evolution of farming biodiversity and the challenges we face in maximising production whilst safeguarding the environment.

Climate Change Science and Impacts (10 credits) - Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge facing mankind today. You will discover the fundamental natural processes driving the Earth's climate system from biosphere-climate interactions to El Nino. You will also learn about the human influence on current and future climate, and the science behind the attribution of climate change to human activities. You will also investigate the science behind 'geo-engineering', future climate predictions and regional and global impacts of predicted climate change.

Managing Biodiversity (10 credits) - Biodiversity is the variation of life on earth. You will consider some of the key theories in conservation ecology and biodiversity management in the context of major contemporary threats to biodiversity, and the consequences of biodiversity loss. You will apply your knowledge to evaluate the role of management planning to halt the losses and manage biodiversity sustainably into the future.

Skills in Communicating Research Beyond the University (10 credits) - This module will allow you to develop your skills in communicating current research to selected audiences from outside the University. Within academia we are trained in writing and presenting to colleagues and peers, but little about communicating research at an appropriate level, and in an interesting way, to an audience group from the general public. This module will enable you to develop key skills that both graduate employers and the research community are looking for. You will be able to design, and implement effectively, appropriate activities to communicate the research to a general audience. The skills covered will include an overview of aims and purposes of engaging a wider audience, event management, marketing, communication, role of the media, funding, what makes quality public engagement, skills for effective partnership, working with museums, understanding your audience, using social media to engage, ethics and evaluation for impact. These are all key skills which will make you competitive, and help you succeed in the global research and employment market.

Year 3

You will further specialise in your chosen discipline by studying core modules, such as Advanced Topics in Ecology and Advanced Topics in Conservation, while you can choose optional modules that include Advanced Topics in Behaviour, and Environmental Law.

You will conduct an independent research project that you choose from a wide range of topics, reflecting the breadth of research undertaken and the expertise of the lecturers on your course. Projects can be laboratory-based, field research, data analysis or literature-based investigations. The choice of projects include behaviour, marine conservation and ecology and you’ll receive dedicated supervision from a leading expert in the area.

Compulsory modules

Advanced Topics in Ecology (20 credits) - You’ll cover recent developments in ecological research. The module will consist of subunits, each taught by a researcher intimately involved with the research developments being discussed. As such, it will provide you not only with a detailed understanding of key recent developments in ecology but also, with insights into the process of scientific research.

Biology Integrated Research Projects (40 credits) - You will conduct an independent research project that you choose from a wide range of topics, reflecting the breadth of research undertaken and the expertise of the lecturers on your course. Projects can be laboratory-based, field research, data analysis or literature-based investigations. The choice of projects reflects the diversity of biology, including molecular genetic studies, physiology, behaviour, marine biology and ecology and you’ll receive dedicated supervision from a leading expert in the area.

Advanced Topics in Conservation Science (20 credits) - You will explore contemporary and globally important topics in conservation, including biodiversity loss, urban biodiversity, the illegal wildlife trade, and climate change. You will also investigate current theories in conservation science, along with the mechanisms underlying global patterns in the distribution of animals and plants, with a particular focus on the responses of species to climate change. You will develop a critical understanding of how ecological theory informs conservation practice, and how to implement this knowledge to inform conservation decision-making. You’ll cover the biological principles that underpin the observed diversity and distribution of organisms on the planet.

Optional modules

40 credits from the following

South Africa Field Course (20 credits) - Large game is currently being re-introduced to this area, the result of which has been the creation of multiple adjacent sites each containing varying proportions of original African fauna. The intense two week programme (in September before entry into year 3) comprises a short project, lectures by staff and local experts covering geology, vegetation, birds, game management and demonstrations of techniques such as bird ringing and field trips to Addo Elephant Park, Mountain Zebra Park and the coast. Additional costs are required to cover flights and accommodation.

Plant Growth, Resources & Food Security (20 credits) - You’ll learn how crop plants are being improved to help address global threats associated with an increased requirement for food production under increased environmental pressures, providing sustainable solutions to global problems.

Environmental Law (20 credits) - Environmental problems – a warming planet, pollution, the destruction of habitats – are amongst the most complex faced by today’s societies. These problems also pose multiple challenges for legal control and regulation. This module explores the struggle to tackle environmental problems through a variety of forms of environmental law, regulation and governance.

Environmental Risk: Science, policy & management (10 credits) - You will be provided with an understanding of the links between environmental risk assessment, risk management and risk communication, and how these three components have effects on environmental risk decisions. You will examine risk assessment approaches, contemporary environmental risk management strategies, and the role of communication in environmental risk decision-making.

Advanced Topics in Evolution (20 credits) - You’ll participate in group studies of advanced, research-led topics in evolution. Topics may include emerging infectious diseases, variation and speciation, and symbiosis providing a range of approaches to evolution, from molecular to ecological. Each topic will be introduced by a 'scene-setting lecture' by a member of staff and you will then be given a set of references to relevant papers in the library covering recent theoretical and empirical developments in three areas of current research in the field of evolutionary biology.

Advanced Topics in Behaviour: From Sex to Death (20 credits) - Students will study how the behaviour of animals is adapted to their natural environment. The course will focus on animal behaviour from sex to death, covering topics such as: sexual selection, sperm competition, parental care and cannibalism. They will also explore how parasites from malaria to cuckoos can manipulate the behaviour of their hosts. On completion of this module, students should be able to develop a critical understanding of current theories and empirical examples in Behavioural Ecology.

Social Biology (10 credits) - This module is designed to integrate knowledge from across a range of first and second year modules, expanding this to focus on current research in the area of social biology. The fundamental backbone of this course will focus on aspects of social insect biology encompassing ecology, ecosystem services and evolutionary theory. This will be supported by lectures on other social animals such as current research on social networks in vertebrates.

Discovery Modules (10 credits) - As well as the compulsory and optional modules that make up your programme of study, you may be able to choose something different to your main subject as a Discovery Module.

Year 4

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. You can also choose from a range of Masters-level modules, such as Global Challenges in Sustainable Agriculture, and Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which are key topics in modern ecology and conservation.

Compulsory modules

Extended Research Project (90 credits) - You’ll work over both semesters. The topic will usually follow your level 3 project and grant proposal and will be conducted with a named supervisor within the Faculty research teams, sometimes in combination with outside agencies. There will be regular meetings with the project supervisor, normally on a weekly basis, and the project will provide you with experience working in a research group, interacting with research scientists and in the analysis and presentation of scientific data

Optional modules

30 credits from the following

Global Challenges in Sustainable Agriculture (15 credits) - You'll learn about past, current and future challenges for current and future food production. This will include understanding the major drivers for change in food and agricultural systems, UK and global food security, and strategies for increased sustainability, resilience and climate adaptation agriculture.

Conservation Decision Science (15 credits) - You’ll be introduced to conservation decision science in an interdisciplinary context that integrates mathematical approaches, ecology, and socio-economic considerations. It will develop skills in objective-driven decision-making for environmental management problems, in social decision-making in group-based negotiation, in mathematical approaches to decision-making, and in spatial conservation planning. The focus of this module is on critical thinking, integrating across fields, and challenging oneself to combine common sense with appropriate decision-making tools.

Equitable Sustainability (15 credits) - You’ll learn about how the practice and outputs of conservation can be used to enhance not only the success of biodiversity conservation but also ensure that any benefits are equally distributed across stakeholders. The approach will incorporate aspects of practical governance to provide you with an understanding of the mechanics and logistics of equitable conservation activities as well as technical skills. You will also have the opportunity to explore the pedagogy that underpins their conservation training in a critical light, developing their understanding and practice of anti-racism and decolonisation.

Agri-Environmental Monitoring, Economics and Policy (15 credits) - You'll study the goals of circular agriculture, including minimization of raw materials and inputs, closing nutrient loops, waste valorisation and minimizing environmental impacts. This module will also cover the potential integration of agriculture into the broader industrial and energy sectors, with a focus on the costs and benefits.

Community Ecology (15 credits) - You'll focus on biodiversity: how we measure it, how it is maintained in natural biotic communities, and how conservation managers can intervene to help maintain it. You’ll gain a broad understanding of community ecology theory and methods, and experience in applying these to conservation decision-making and action. The practical sessions will provide you with experience in the use of diversity indices, the analysis of biodiversity patterns in space and time, and in conservation planning in the context of limited information.

Advanced Statistics (15 credits) - You’ll be provided with practical training and exercises in the use and interpretation of modern statistical methods including General Linear Models, Generalised Linear Models, General Linear Mixed Models and Multivariate Analysis, and their application to biological problems using the statistical package R.

Introduction to GIS Skills for Ecologists (15 credits) - You'll be provided with an introduction to Geographical Information Systems that assumes no prior expertise. The module consists of a series of lectures and practicals intended to provide you with the skills and tools that will enable you to answer simple ecological questions through basic modelling and additionally gain the confidence to tackle more complex problems.

Population Dynamics (15 credits) - You will develop an understanding of the theory that describes the changes in population size in animals and plants, and you’ll be trained in techniques for the estimation of population sizes and the description of factors influencing population sizes. You will be able to contribute to the planning and execution of studies on the population status of target species and you’ll be able to make informed contributions to population management discussions.

Learning and teaching

Our teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals (laboratory or field settings dependent on your degree). We take a student-centred approach to learning and so our teaching is designed to enable student engagement through active learning approaches that include creative problem-solving, team-work activities and mini-projects. In this way, you are able to apply the theoretical knowledge learnt to practical, real-life contexts. We put a high value on practical teaching and so a core part of your teaching will focus on developing hands-on practical and associated research skills.

Independent study is an important part of University learning and you will be expected to undertake private study. We will support you in becoming independent learners through our teaching approaches and through regular meetings with your personal tutor who is there to advise you academically.

We use a range of digital tools to enhance your learning. Through our Minerva learning management system, you will be able to access our extensive library of online materials, some of it designed specifically to support preparation prior to attending classroom sessions and discuss content with peers and teachers. In the classroom, educators use a variety of interactive digital tools to help you learn through discussion and debate. Laboratory practicals are accompanied by detailed online preparation guides and use of electronic laboratory notebooks to ensure you get the most out of your time and develop workplace skills. Field courses study the ecology, genetics, behaviour, development and adaptations of organisms in their natural environments.

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.

Assessment

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. We support students in their assessment journey through the provision of practice questions, sessions on how to complete assessment questions and feedback to support learning.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAA

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.

Alternative qualification

Cambridge Pre-U

BSc:
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.

MBiol:
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).

International Baccalaureate

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

BSc:
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.

MBiol:
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 School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is a contextual 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 contextual 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.

Fees

UK: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 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 UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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

Applying

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.

Admissions guidance

Visit our admissions guidance page for more information about applying to undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Biological Sciences.

Application process

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.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

Faculty of Biological Sciences

Contact us

Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office

Email: fbsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk
Telephone:

Career opportunities

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, such as writing and numerical skills, and team working. 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 in the face of global challenges. They must understand both how and why our environment is changing, the impact on biodiversity, and how to apply this knowledge for a more sustainable future. The skills and knowledge you develop will be relevant to ecology-related careers as well as broader opportunities after graduation. The specialist MBiol training and experience you will receive will be invaluable if you wish to follow a research career.

Typical graduate careers include:

  • Ecologist
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Teaching
  • Academic Researcher
  • Nature Conservation Officer

Examples of recent graduate destinations include:

  • Nature Reserves Officer
  • Ecologist
  • PhD Biology
  • PGCE
  • Data analyst

Careers support

We have a dedicated student opportunity team in the Faculty of Biological Sciences who work closely with the University’s Careers Centre.

We offer numerous opportunities in addition to volunteering and placements. This includes 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. The fair is an amazing opportunity for you to meet bioscience employers, such as AstraZeneca, Labcorp, GSK, Nuffield and NHS Ecological consultancies. You will be able to speak to alumni, attend workshops and more.

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

Study abroad

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.

Work placements

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.

Field courses

One of the most exciting aspects of the degree is the range of opportunities for fieldwork. Field courses offer valuable opportunities to apply your ecological knowledge and to develop practical research skills outside of the lab.

Year 1: Coastal & Upland Habitats Field Course

You will take a combination of field projects at various sites on the Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland, followed by laboratory-based analysis to develop skills in sampling and monitoring of field populations, and identification of diverse organisms. Projects will involve developing hypotheses related to their ecology, and testing these using appropriate analytical techniques.

Year 2: Mediterranean Ecology Field Course

The Mediterranean Ecology Field Course takes place at a field station in a semi-arid region of southern Spain. You will work in small groups to carry out projects that explore the ecology, behaviour and adaptations of the unique flora and fauna found in this beautiful location. You will learn how to carry out field-based research and some of the challenges that field ecologists face.

Year 2: Urban Ecology and Conservation Field Course

You will 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.

Year 3: South Africa Field Course

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). You will work in small groups to design a project, 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.

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