With human activity increasingly transforming the planet, its never been more important to understand what determines the distribution and abundance of different species, how they interact with each other and their environment, and how they respond to threats such as climate change, over-exploitation and habitat destruction. This course provides practical insights into these processes and how to manage them to conserve species and ecosystems in a rapidly-changing world.

Ecologists have a vital role to play in monitoring, understanding and reversing environmental degradation. If you choose to study ecology and environmental biology at Leeds, you are choosing a fascinating subject that encompasses many aspects of biology but from a unique perspective. It explores the mechanisms and functions of ecosystems and the interdependence of the organisms within them. The skills and knowledge you develop will be relevant to ecology related careers as well as broader opportunities after graduation.

You’ll learn from experts in world-class facilities, and you can apply your knowledge and skills outside the lab – we offer a variety of exciting field courses from North Yorkshire to Kenya.

Course highlights

  • The course is delivered by internationally-recognised staff, drawing extensively on their expertise at the cutting edge of research in ecology and conservation, and working closely with geographers, Earth scientists and environmental biologists on a broad range of interdisciplinary research topics.
  • We offer a range of residential field courses throughout the programme where you can gain first-hand experience of different ecosystems and learn key research skills in the field.
  • The course combines a structured programme of core modules to ensure a good grounding in the topic with the flexibility to specialise in the areas that most interest you.
  • Our graduates leave with a strong portfolio of practical skills including project management, data analysis, communication skills and group working, making them ideally placed for further study or employment.
  • Our MBiol and industrial placement year programmes have received Advanced Accreditation 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 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.

Related courses

Biology BSc
Biology with Enterprise BSc
Genetics BSc
Zoology BSc

Student Profile

ecology and conservation

"I am aiming for a career in academic research, so ultimately my research in my final 2 years is helping me improve the research skills I intend to use throughout my career."
Read more

Sam Ross , MBiol Ecology and Environmental Biology

Course content: Ecology and Conservation Biology BSc

Through modules such as ‘Living Planet’ and ‘The Basis of Life', year one will introduce you to a broad range of concepts in ecology and biology. Covering a wide range of topics including biodiversity and evolution, you will develop grounding in the key skills required for your degree. Ecology is best understood through observation, so year one will also see you undertake your first of the residential field courses that we offer.
Year two will see you focus on core issues within ecology, studying modules such as ‘Population and Community Ecology’ and ‘Animal Behaviour’. The compulsory Mediterranean ecology field course and the optional terrestrial ecology and behaviour Yorkshire Dales field course offer excellent opportunities to hone your fieldwork skills that are an essential part of ecology.
The focal point of year three is the independent research, literature, or computer-based project which you will undertake under the guidance of a leading academic. Alongside this you will work with field-leading experts on advanced topic modules such as ‘Evolution' and 'Conservation Biology', developing your research techniques, knowledge and transferable skills. You will also have chance to attend the optional South African field trip.

Course structure

Details of typical modules/components for this course will be published on May 1st. These may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. On this course you broaden your learning through core and/or optional modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Our degrees are delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals. The first and second year will see a focus on these three teaching methods, building your skills, understanding and knowledge for your final year research project, which will see independent research and learning complemented with the guidance of leading experts.

Typical timetable (3 year BSc):

Year one includes twelve hours of lectures, a three hour practical session in the lab, additional workshop and seminar sessions, plus private study.

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 you will have nine hours of lectures and extended time in a research laboratory, plus private study.

Independent study and research are also crucial to every year of the course. We have excellent library and computing facilities to support your learning, and the University Library offers training to help you make the most of them.


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.

Entry requirements, fees and applying: Ecology and Conservation Biology BSc

Entry requirements

A-level: AAA-AAB

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 subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: computing, environmental science, food science, geography, geology, PE, psychology, science in society, statistics, use of mathematics.

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.


Typically Grade B or above at GCSE Maths and Grade C or above at GCSE English.

Alternative Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Overall pass with 60 credits and a minimum of 45 credits at Level 3. Distinctions must be achieved in at least 30 of the Level 3 credits, which must include Biology, and Maths or Chemistry units; merits must be obtained in all the remaining graded credits.
Accept Access courses in Applied Science and Science. Will also consider (depending on subject content):

  • Biochemical Sciences
  • Biological and Environmental Science
  • Biological and Health Science
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biosciences
  • Combined Sciences
  • Environmental Science
  • Life and Biological Science
  • Life Science
  • Medical and Health Science Professions
  • Natural Sciences
  • Physical & Natural Sciences.


Applicants with BTEC qualifications (Diploma or Extended Diploma) are required to have A2 level Biology (Maths, Chemistry and Physics may be acceptable alternatives depending on the BTEC subject). Distinctions in the BTEC subject and an A or B grade (BTEC subject dependent) for the A-level subject are required.
Applicants with BTEC Subsidiary Diploma qualifications must have at least 2 A2 levels and at least one of these must be in Biology.

Cambridge Pre-U

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

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 Highers (Leaving Certificate)

AAAAAB-AAAABB including an A in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

Advanced Higher: AAA-AAB from 3 Advanced Higher 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.
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.

Welsh Baccalaureate

AAA-AAB including Biology and another science or science-related subject. General Studies and Critical Thinking excluded.
We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: computing, environmental science, food science, geography, geology, PE, psychology, science in society, statistics, use of mathematics.

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 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.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications.

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.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

How to apply

Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

It is also possible to study this programme part time. The programme content is the same but you will study at a lesser intensity. Find out more about how to apply, support available and the part-time student experience at the Lifelong Learning Centre.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU 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 policy

Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2018, the fee for 2018/19 will be £9,250. 

The fee for undergraduate students starting in 2019 will be confirmed in September 2018.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% in 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students in 2018-19 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

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.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

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

Career opportunities: Ecology and Conservation Biology BSc

Number 1 for employability – the Faculty of Biological Sciences is ranked highest for employability amongst Russell Group universities. Higher than Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Durham, Edinburgh, Kings College, Liverpool, Manchester, York.

Ecologists have a vital role to play in monitoring and understanding our environment, how and why it is changing, and its impacts on biodiversity now and in the future. The skills and knowledge you develop will be relevant to ecology-related careers as well as broader opportunities after graduation.

96% of our graduates are employed or in further study six months after graduation.Graduates in Ecology and Conservation Biology go on to do many different things. Some remain in academia and choose to further their studies at Masters or PhD level. Others go on to careers in conservation, ecological research or environmental consultancy, while the practical skills provided by this degree are ideally suited to a wide range of professions including journalism and teaching.

Many of our students go on to work in research laboratories, conservation organisations, environmental consultancies, museums and environmental education. Some also choose to further their studies at Masters or PhD level.

Careers support

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.

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 at the Careers website.

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. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities 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 the BSc 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.

We have a dedicated Employability Officer in the Faculty of Biological Sciences who works closely with the University’s Careers Centre. We offer a host of additional opportunities beyond core course content, including volunteering and placements. We also organise regular careers workshops designed specifically for sport sciences students to develop their career opportunities. These include our annual Bioscience Networking Event, which gives you the chance to meet bioscience employers, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information.