Overview


Ecology is the study of species and how they interact with one another and their environment. It forms a bridge between biology and environmental sciences and addresses important issues, such as species responses to climate change and maintaining biodiversity and conservation.

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

  • Our ecology course will allow you to study species and how they interact with one another and their environment. You will study a range of topics from animal physiology to behavioural ecology.
  • A highlight for many students are the field courses we offer throughout the degree. There is also the option to visit the Mpala Research Centre in Kenya in your fourth year of the MBiol.
  • The common first year provides you with a broad foundation as a scientist, flexibility, and the opportunity to specialise in your chosen area in Years 2, 3 and 4. A key benefit of having a common first year is that you can easily switch between our degree programmes within the school of biology.
  • In each year you will choose modules from our specialist degrees across the biology area (Biology with Enterprise, Genetics, Ecology and Conservation Biology, and Zoology), allowing you to follow your own biological interests.
  • This course offers you the opportunity to undertake an industrial placement and study year abroad.
  • Extensive practical ‘hands-on’ experience. We offer several field courses in locations as diverse as North Yorkshire, the Mediterranean and Africa. You will also have access to the University farm.

Accreditation

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
Ecology and Conservation Biology BSc
Zoology BSc
Biology MBiol, BSc
Zoology MBiol, 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 MBiol, 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.
Year 3 on the MBiol will offer preparation modules to ensure you are ready to step up to the Masters level. Year 4 will offer a choice of Masters modules, including conservation genetics and an optional field course to Africa. The African field course is based at Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia, Kenya. It provides a first-hand appreciation of the ecology and conservation concerns of an African savannah community, both for the wildlife and the people who live in the area.

You will also undertake an extended research project on an original, cutting-edge topic specific to ecology that will equip you with the skills necessary for a career in research as well as setting you apart in the general graduate job market.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

You will be required to study 120 credits

COMPULSORY MODULES

You will study the following compulsory modules:

Biology Practicals and Data Analysis 20 credits
Living Planet 20 credits
Introduction to Genetics 10 credits
Coastal and Upland Habitats Field Course 10 credits
Research Experience and Skills Level 1 10 credits
The Basis of Life 20 credits
OPTIONAL MODULES

You must take at least 20 credits and up to 30 credits from the following optional modules.

Career and Professional Development for Life Scientists 10 credits
How can Biological Sciences change the world 10 credits
Applied Biology and Agriculture 10 credits
Practical Genetics 10 credits
Practical Applied Biology 10 credits
Vertebrate Evolution 10 credits
Environment and Ecology 10 credits
Introduction to Meteorology and Weather Forecasting 10 credits
Introduction to Creating Sustainable Futures 10 credits
DISCOVERY MODULES

You may study up to 10 credits of discovery modules

Year 2

COMPULSORY MODULES

You will study the following compulsory modules:

Population and Community Ecology 20 credits
Experimental Design and Analysis 10 credits
Animal Behaviour 10 credits
Organismal Evolution 10 credits
Research Experience and Skills Level 2 10 credits
Mediterranean Ecology Field Course 10 credits
OPTIONAL MODULES

You will study at least 40 credits from the following optional modules:

Employment, Career planning and Professional Development for Life Scientists 10 credits
How Plants Work 10 credits
Human Populations 10 credits
Sustainable Food Production 10 credits
Animals as Pests 10 credits
Animal Physiology: from Ants to Whales 10 credits
Terrestrial Ecology and Behaviour Field Course 10 credits
Skills in Communicating Research beyond the University 10 credits
Climate Change: Science and Impacts 10 credits
Climate Change: Society and Human Dimensions 10 credits
Computer Systems and Programming 10 credits
DISCOVERY MODULES

You may study up to 10 credits of discovery modules

Year 3

COMPULSORY MODULES

You will study the following compulsory modules:

Advanced Topics in Ecology 20 credits
Conservation Biology 10 credits
Research Project and manuscript 20 credits
Research Literature Review and Poster 20 credits
OPTIONAL MODULES

You will study at least 40 credits from the following optional modules:

Social Insect Biology 10 credits
Advanced Topics in Behaviour: from sex to death 20 credits
Plant Growth, Resources and Food Security 20 credits
Advanced Topics in Zoology 10 credits
Advanced Topics in Evolution 20 credits
Level 3 Field Course (South Africa) 20 credits
Law and the Environment II: Development and Nature Conservation 10 credits
Environmental Risk: Science, Policy and Management 10 credits
Dynamics of Weather Systems 10 credits
Earth Observations from Space 10 credits
DISCOVERY MODULES

You may study up to 10 credits of discovery modules

Year 4

COMPULSORY MODULES

Extended Research Project 80 credits
OPTIONAL MODULES

You will study 40 credits of advanced research training from the following optional modules

Community Ecology 15 credits
Conservation Genetics 15 credits
Advanced Statistics 10 credits
Introduction to GIS Skills for Ecologists 10 credits
Population Dynamics 10 credits
African Field Ecology 20 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Ecology and Conservation Biology MBiol, BSc Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Ecology and Conservation Biology MBiol, BSc Part Time in the course catalogue

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, while you’ll also benefit from our range of online resources such as Virtual Labs @ Leeds.

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.

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.

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

Entry requirements

A-level: AAA

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.
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.

GCSE:

Typically Grade 6 (B) or above at GCSE Maths and Grade 4 (C) or above at GCSE English.

Alternative Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

We do not accept Access to HE.

BTEC

We do not accept BTEC qualification.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3/D3/D3 including D3 in Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

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 Highers (Leaving Certificate)

H1,H1,H2,H2,H2,H2 including H1 in Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AA in 2 Advanced Highers including Biology and another science or science-related subject. General Studies and Critical Thinking excluded. Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Welsh Baccalaureate

AAA 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.

International

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

Fees

UK/EU: See fees section below

International: £21,500 (per year)

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 MBiol, 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.

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 fourth year of the MBiol 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.