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BSc Ecology and Wildlife Conservation - What you'll learn – University of Reading

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  • Protector of life

    Your opportunity to start a career in the vital field of natural preservation

BSc Ecology and Wildlife Conservation - What you'll learn

Learn about the complex web of ecology, from under the microscope to the macro-ecosystem level - and what we can do to preserve it.

Your degree will give you the opportunity to learn about facets of ecology ranging from the biology of individual animals through to the development of new ecosystems such as urban environments. This is a field where the work is very diverse, and so our teaching structure is diverse too. You will learn in the lecture hall and out in the open air of the campus: in our new suite of laboratories and out on field trips. You will work in small groups to allow direct interaction with your peers and lecturers. Through this blend of teaching methods, you will be able to best decide what aspect of the subject you are most passionate about. The course has an excellent array of modules, allowing you to build a degree suited to the path you want to pursue.

Wide ranging and fascinating courses

Shown below are just a few of the diverse modules you can choose as part of your degree.

Conservation Biology (first year)

Urban foxes

This is a core module in Part 1 which, along with Ecology and Environmental Management, provides a solid grounding in the diverse field of ecology. The subjects covered are wide ranging to capture the nature of the subject to design your learning through Part 2 and into Part 3. In this module, you will learn about the factors driving population abundance and distribution at local and global scales. The fundamentals of community structure and how species interact with biotic and abiotic factors are covered. Students also learn how animal behaviour is studied and analysed. Elements spread across the module are synthesised to review how ecology is of fundamental importance to vertebrate management and wildlife conservation. The learning material is delivered partly through lectures but mostly through laboratory and field based work.

Management of Vertebrate Pests (second year)


Vertebrates, in particular mammals, are often versatile and highly adaptable. They are able to utilise resources in a wide range of habitat types, a feature that makes them very competitive. These characteristics bring some species into conflict with man, either because they are impacting on agricultural or cultural activities or because they are non-native, invasive species (such as American Mink, Grey Squirrel and Muntjac Deer). Often the immediate reaction to these situations is lethal control but this approach does not always deliver the desired effect. Sometimes, different management processes are more effective, such as exclusion methods and repellents. Pest vertebrate species can have a profound influence on the activities of ecologists and interfere with wildlife conservation aspirations. Students will learn how vertebrates can develop into pests and how their management dovetails with other elements of ecology and wildlife conservation.


Conservation Biology (third year)

new elephant eyeThe principles behind conservation biology are quite simple: to manage habitats and populations to minimise the rate of loss of biodiversity. Peoples' reaction and understanding of what constitutes the conservation process is varied and includes factors such as socio-economic status, religion, age and geography. In this module, we delve into the multitude of activities that generate the need for wildlife conservation and learn how it is carried out. Successful conservation programmes require a certain philosophy and attitude; these interactions are studied in detail. The material is delivered through lectures and draws on learning from other modules in Parts 1 and 2. As part of the module, experts working in particular fields of conservation are invited to speak to the students to provide a perspective on working at the 'conservation coalface'.

Find out more about BSc Ecology and Wildlife Conservation

For information about this course, entry requirements and funding, take a look at our course specifications page.

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