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This course has a highly practical emphasis involving hands-on exercises in field and laboratory settings. In the field, you will cover identification skills for a wide range of species, as well as industry-standard survey techniques such as phase 1 habitat surveying, habitat condition assessments, national vegetation classification and bird territory mapping. Laboratory sessions will include use of microscopes in taxonomy and analysis of environmental parameters such as water oxygen levels and soil nutrient status to enable better understanding of species–environment interactions.

There will be opportunities to work on projects with linked organisations, including wildlife trusts, nature reserve managers, charities and public authorities. There is also the option to take a residential field trip; this currently takes place on a wildlife reserve in South Africa. The course is underpinned by the applied research expertise of the teaching team, which includes optimising conservation of species, bird and mammal biology, insect behaviour and evolution, non-native species introductions, population and community ecology, and environmental biology. An additional theme of citizen science develops awareness of the role of public engagement in surveying and conserving species in the wider environment.

There is considerable optionality in the course, both in choice of modules and in assessment topics within modules, to allow students to tailor course content to their own interests and career aspirations.


  • Applied Conservation
  • Practical Ecological Methods
  • Field Ecology
  • Ecological Interactions
  • Citizen Science and Public Engagement
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Environmental Pollution and Remediation
  • Environmental Governance and Decision Making

Study style

This course is block taught on two days per week (currently Thursday and Friday). There is a range of coursework with an emphasis on field and laboratory research and consultancy reports, often involving live project briefs from external partners. It is our expectation that assignments, and especially dissertation work, will have direct impact on the understanding and management of species and habitats. There are no written examinations.

Course modules

Take a look at the course map for a breakdown of modules that you'll study to complete the course.

Industry links and accreditation

Put your academic theory into practice by working on projects with linked organisations including the Royal Society of Biology, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, The Mammal Society, Natural England, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Birdlife International.

This programme is accredited by the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences (CHES), the education committee of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES). CHES is the collective voice of the environmental sciences academic community and serves to enhance the quality of environmental education worldwide. A programme accredited by CHES is assured to meet high standards, contain a strong component of practical, field and theoretical activities, and has excellent opportunities for training, work experience and links to the professional environmental sector. Students enrolled on CHES accredited programmes can apply for free Student Membership of the IES and for a fast-track route to membership once they graduate, starting you on a route towards becoming a Chartered Environmentalist or Chartered Scientist.

Underpinned by applied research expertise

Benefit from the applied research expertise of our teaching team, including conservation of species in the wild and in captivity, biotic responses to climate change, avian and mammal biology, insect behaviour and evolution, non-native species introductions, population and community ecology, and environmental biology.

Amazing field trips, near and far

To help you build your experience you will be able to take part in field trips to locations such as nature reserves in the Severn Vale, Cotswolds, Forest of Dean and South Wales. There are also opportunities to undertake residential fieldwork at the Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa.


  • Field-based or research roles within ecological, environmental and conservation organisations
  • Ecological Consultancy
  • Careers in ecological communication, policy or education

Visit the Applied Ecology - PgCert/PgDip/MSc page on the University of Gloucestershire website for more details!




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