Undergraduate School

Ecology and Environmental Biology

C180 BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology
C189 MBiol, BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology (Integrated Masters)

Society of BiologyLeeds is an exceptional place to study ecology, where world-class ecologists and biologists work closely with expert geographers and earth scientists.

Ecology and Environmental Biology (Integrated Masters) - has received interim accreditation by the Society of Biology.

This course offers:   

Africa Field Trip  2008
An African sunset
  • exciting contemporary topics such as principle and practice in conservation biology, climate change, sustainable agriculture and wildlife, ecosystems services and the ‘value’ of the environment.
  • Leeds University Farm facilities for project and fieldwork
  • the chance to study in a Faculty ranked 4th in the UK by the leading scientific journal ‘Nature*’
Marine life on the Scarborough Field Course
Marine life on the Scarborough Field Course

 

*based on the numbers of staff producing research that was “world leading or internationally excellent”

What is Ecology?

Lizard

Ecology is the study of species and how they interact with one another and their environment.

Ecology forms a bridge between biology and environmental sciences and addresses important issues, such as species responses to climate change, maintaining biodiversity and conservation.

 

Why study Ecology?

Great Barrier Reef

Because it is endlessly fascinating. It encompasses many areas of biology, but from a unique perspective, exploring the mechanisms and functions of ecosystems and the interdependence of the organisms within them.

We are trying to solve fascinating biological puzzles in space and time.

Because it is relevant to global-scale challenges. Human pressure on the Earth, through climate change, population growth, pollution and many other processes is stressing ecosystem function, with potentially disastrous consequences.

Ecologists have a vital role to play in monitoring, understanding and reversing environmental degradation.



Entry Requirements

2014 entry requirements

BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology - UCAS code C180

A Level or Advanced Higher: AAA-ABB from 3 A2/Advanced Higher 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 consider applications on an individual basis and an offer will depend on the information given on your UCAS form. Applications are assessed from a combination of the following; the balance, nature and quality of A2, AS and GCSE subjects (or equivalents); the referee's comments and your personal statement.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF): DDD in Applied Science, including distinctions the following units: Fundamentals of Science, Mathematical Calculations for Science, Biochemistry and Biochemical Techniques, Genetics and Genetic Engineering, Chemistry for Biology Technicians.

International Baccalaureate: 35-34 (with 18-16 at higher level) including 6 in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Irish Leaving Certificate: AAAAAB-AAABBB including an A in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers are not accepted on their own.

Cambridge Pre-U: D3/D3/D3-D3/M2/M2 including Pre-U Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

Science subjects: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics.
Science- related subjects: Computing, Environmental Science, Food Science, Geography, Geology, ICT, P.E, Psychology, Science in Society, Statistics and Sports Science.

BSc (Hons) Ecology and Environmental Biology with Industrial Placement

If you are interested in this programme, apply via UCAS for the standard BSc programme above. We will provide you with further details of the placement and study abroad schemes in year one, and you can transfer at the end of year two (subject to academic performance).

Read more about Industrial Placements

BSc (Hons) Ecology and Environmental Biology with Study Year Abroad

If you are interested in this programme, apply via UCAS for the standard BSc programme above. We will provide you with further details of the placement and study abroad schemes in year one, and you can transfer at the end of year two (subject to academic performance).

Read more about Study Year Abroad

MBiol, BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology (Integrated Masters) - UCAS code C189

A Level or Advanced Higher: AAA from 3 A2/Advanced Higher including Biology and another science or science-related subject. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

International Baccalaureate: 35 (with 18 at higher level) including 6 in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Irish Leaving Certificate: AAAAAB including an A in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers are not accepted on their own.

Cambridge Pre-U: D3/D3/D3 including Pre-U Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

Applications are assessed from a combination of the following; the balance, nature and quality of A2, AS and GCSE subjects (or equivalents); the referee's comments and your personal statement.

Science subjects: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics.
Science- related subjects: Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, ICT, P.E, Psychology, Science in Society, Statistics and Sports Science.


Duration of the course 3 Years Full Time (C180)
4 Years Full Time (C189)
An Industrial Placement or Study Year Abroad will add a year to the duration of the course
English language requirements If English is not your first language, please check our minimum English language requirements. UG brochure 2014
Admissions policy Download our Admissions Policy for 2014 entry. (PDF format). This includes information on the application process, our admissions intake and the selection process.

Admissions enquiries

Carolyn Giles
Tel. +44 (0) 113 343 2829
Email: fbsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk

Admissions tutor

Dr Henry Greathead
Tel. +44 (0) 113 343 3063
Email: h.m.r.greathead@leeds.ac.uk

Department

Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate School

Programme Leaders

Dr Steven Sait

Course brochure

Download a course brochure

Course Structure

The structure of your course will vary dependent upon which of the following pathways you choose:

Qualification Course Title Duration
BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology 3 years
BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology with industrial placement year 4 years
BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology with a study year abroad 4 years
MBiol, BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology 4 years
MBiol, BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology with industrial placement year 5 years
MBiol, BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology with a study year abroad 5 years

BSc Course Structure

JellyfishIn the first and second year, lectures, practicals and tutorials are the most important forms of teaching. You will have lectures each week, and regular tutorials and laboratory sessions. In the final year, you will be able to choose your favourite topics to study under the guidance of leading scientists; your research project will take up about one third of your time with the rest devoted to lectures and tutorials. You will have the opportunity to attend field courses in all three years. Formal examinations are held twice a year, in January and May/June, to spread the assessment load.

Modules

All degree programmes are modular and offer wide choice.

Modules may be core (you have to take them), optional (you can choose from a list of alternatives) or elective (you have a free choice); the balance depends upon your year and programme of study. We offer a wide range of modules. Subjects areas include:

Ecology Year 1

Ecology in a Challenging World

Introduces the principles of ecology, using examples from different habitats and ecosystems, with a focus on the major environmental challenges facing mankind. Explains the effects humans are having on these ecosystems and what we must do to maintain healthy ecosystems. Taught by staff engaged in cutting-edge research across the globe on areas such as climate change, sustainable agriculture, marine ecology, tropical ecology and many more.

Diversity of Life

Covers the full range of life on Earth; plants, animals and micro-organisms, how they are classified, how they evolved and how they interact. Look at the origins of life, its diversity, and the way that the environment has shaped the evolution of organisms over geological time. Syudents learn about systematics, taxonomy, evolution, physiology and morphology. These topics will allow you to understand the complexity of life on Earth as it is today, and in the past.

Ecology Year 2

Population and Community Ecology

Explores the fundamental processes and mechanisms that affect the distribution and abundance of organisms across habitats and how they respond to constantly changing environments. Shows how these principles are applied in human activities such as the conservation of endangered species, fisheries management and pest control.

Mediterranean Field Course

A chance to apply the knowledge and skills you have gained in lectures and practicals to real-world ecological questions. Working in small groups, with the help and guidance of experienced field ecologists, you will take a scientific investigation from conception to presentation.

Animal Behaviour

Explains the evolutionary and ecological processes that underlie animal behaviour, including migration, optimal foraging, evolutionary arms races and the evolution of mating systems, with examples from the lecturers own research.

Ecology Year 3

Advanced topics in Ecology

The latest developments in ecological research by the people who do the research. A constantly updated set of subunits in topics such as the effects of scale in ecology, disease in ecology and conservation, and the ecology and evolution of multispecies interactions.

Bats: Biology and Behaviour

The evolution, ecology, behaviour and conservation of the world's most diverse group of mammals. The diversity of bats and their ability to fly, echolocate and hibernate provide a unique opportunity to explore and integrate many aspects of biology.

Current Module Details

This link takes you to detailed information (on another part of the University of Leeds website) about this degree for the 2012/13 academic year. Please bear in mind that programme details may change and that entry requirements refer to previous years.

Research Projects

Final year students choose an individual project from a wide range of topics to suit their interests and career aspirations. The project is an original field, laboratory, literature or computer-based study, supervised by an academic member of staff. Projects are the most effective, exciting and rewarding way for students to learn about independent scientific research and develop important skills for future employment.


A large proportion of Ecology & Environmental Biology students opt for field based research projects, which may be carried out here in the UK or overseas. Some students have published their final year research project in a scientific journal or special interest magazine . Recent examples include:

Cave use and conservation of bats

Many bat species mate in a spectacular autumn ‘swarming’ event in caves. A large scale survey of this behaviour across the limestone landscape of the Yorkshire Dales helped determine which caves were important and why. The project student collected her own data using automatic logging devices but also became involved in the research team’s detailed behavioural studies that involved catching many of the bats. The resesarch appeared in Mammals UK Autumn 2006 (download pdf) .

MBiol Course Structure

To find out more about how the MBiol differs from the BSc programme, download our PDF guide to MBiol degrees.

Current Module Details

This link takes you to detailed information (on another part of the University of Leeds website) about this degree for the 2012/13 academic year. Please bear in mind that programme details may change and that entry requirements refer to previous years.

Visit the Studying with us pages to find out more about studying in the Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate School.

Please be aware that course details do change from time to time. ...

... If in doubt, please contact us to verify course content and availability. Whilst the University endeavours to ensure that the information on this website is accurate at the date of publication it does not accept liability for any inaccuracies. The University reserves the right to change or cancel its courses or services at any time without liability even after students have registered at the University. The University's contract with its students does not confer third party benefits for the purposes of Contracts (Right of Third Parties) Act 1999.

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Teaching and Assessment

Field course on Coastal and Upland habitatsOur approach to teaching and learning is based around developing your knowledge and skills, and training you to be independent and to think critically. This means that you will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials with additional time allocated to private study, project work, laboratory practicals and fieldwork, the balance of which will vary through your course and as you become more confident and experienced. At Leeds you will learn in many different ways:

 

Typical timetable (3 year BSc)

A typical week:

  • in year one includes twelve hours of lectures, a three hour practical session in the lab, additional workshop and seminar sessions, plus private study.
  • in year two includes nine hours of lectures and nine hours of practicals, with a one hour tutorial or workshop, plus private study.
  • in year three week includes nine hours of lectures and extended time in a research laboratory, plus private study.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods including:

  • multiple-choice testing
  • practical work
  • data handling and problem-solving exercises
  • group work
  • discussion groups (physical and online)
  • computer-based simulation
  • essays
  • posters and oral presentations

Current assessment details for each individual module can be accessed via the programme catalogue.

Careers

Ecology and Environmental Biology graduates enjoy excellent career prospects as their training opens up opportunities in scientific and non-scientific careers alike.

Ecologist taking samplesA growing awareness of the environmental impact of human activity is leading to increased demand for ecologists in both the public and commercial sectors. Our Ecology and Environmental Biology programmes foster the development of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers throughout the world.

" Studying biology at the University of Leeds gave me the diverse set of skills that has allowed me to work in roles as varied as research, journalism and advocacy. "

Dr Mike Shanahan, BSc Biology 1995

View scientific careers

Ecology graduates can become research scientists in universities, museums, institutes, NGOs (e.g. RSPB, National Trust, WWF), public sector ecologists with e.g. Natural England and national parks (reserve management, research, policy formulation and enforcement), consultant ecologists with commercial firms, e.g. major developers, wind farm companies, landscape architects), teachers, science and conservation communication in the public and private sectors.

View non-scientific professions

Our graduates acquire skills of numeracy, analytical thinking, creativity in problem solving and data handling, all of which equip them for jobs in non-scientific careers e.g. sales and marketing, accountancy, finance, patent work and journalism.

View further study

Graduates also go on to further study e.g. MSc, PhD, PGCE.

Careers Support

Faculty careers events

We organise regular careers workshops especially for biological sciences students. We also organise an annual Bioscience Careers Networking Event, offering a chance to meet bioscience employers, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information. Browse the careers fair photo gallery.

University Careers Service

Our on-campus Careers Centre is one of the largest in the country, with experienced advisers and strong relationships with graduate recruiters. The Careers Centre will help you to find out how to develop your employability right from the start and provide support after you graduate. Find out what the Careers Centre has to offer. .

Gaining work experience

Work experience is increasingly important in a competitive job market and Leeds offers many opportunities to gain experience and develop skills valuable to employers, including our industrial placement and year abroad schemes, laboratory placement schemes, and volunteering via Leeds for Life..

Industrial Advisory Board

Our Industrial Advisory Board gives employers the chance to input directly into programme and module content. This ensures that our programmes include appropriate training and skills so that our students and graduates are desirable to a broad range of graduate employers.

Join a global network of Leeds graduates

A remarkable variety of opportunities result from our relationships with our graduates, including access to the Leeds Graduate Careers Network.

Recent graduate jobs include:
Recent graduate employers include
  • Civil Servant
  • Ecological Consultant
  • Landscape Architect
  • Press Officer
  • Research Technician
  • Science Teacher
  • Andrew McCarthy Associates
  • International Institute for Environment and Development
  • University of Leeds
  • White Young Green

Read graduate profiles...

See more graduate profiles.

Careers resources

For more information on our approach to graduate employability, please see: www.leeds.ac.uk/employability

Field Courses

We see great value in the learning opportunities offered by practical field courses and offer five field courses for undergraduates in locations as diverse as North Yorkshire, the Mediterranean and Africa.


Not only are field courses highly enjoyable, but participants benefit from:

  • Applying university-learnt techniques in real life situations
  • Individual and team working
  • High staff /student ratios
  • Tutor support on location
  • First-hand experience of collecting and analysing data
  • Opportunies to develop individual research skills
  • Skills development valued by employers after graduation
  • A chance to get to know staff and fellow students even better

Students on Scarborough Field Course Compulsory Field Courses

Year 1:

Coastal and Uplands Habitats, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Year 2:

Mediterranean Ecology Field Course

 

Optional Field Courses

You also have the opportunity to participate in optional field courses:

Year 2:

butterfly - Meditteranean field courseMarine Zoology Field Course, Dale Fort, Pembrokeshire

Terrestrial Ecology and Behaviour Field Course, Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Year 3:

Africa Ecology Field Course

 

What will it cost?

2012 entry - Any field courses that are compulsory for your degree programme will be free of charge, however, for optional field courses you will be charged relevant out of pocket costs (principally travel, subsistence, accommodation and insurance), for which there may be help available.


Africa Field Course 2007 Recent field course case studies:


Natalie Coles (BSc Zoology) Africa Field Trip 2007

Amy Backhouse (Bsc Zoology) Africa Field Trip 2008





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Students' Experiences

Danny GraingerDanny Grainger

"I decided to come here because of the University's excellent reputation for ecology and the exciting field trips they have on offer."


Christopher Heward

"When you get a lecture about something really genuinely interesting, presented by someone who obviously knows a lot about the subject, it makes you realise how different university is to school."


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