This course combines research and academic skills with field surveying skills, ready for practical application within the ecological consultancy industry. It’s designed to meet a rising need for highly skilled conservationists. Through practical experience, taught sessions and interaction with experienced field ecologists, you’ll gain taxonomic expertise. This will enable you to accurately identify a wide range of species and communities; use the appropriate field skills and techniques to carry out biodiversity surveys across different habitat types; and produce reports and assessments to professional standards. You’ll also have an additional and distinctive opportunity to be trained in the use of geographical information systems (GIS) – a vital tool in the surveying and management of the environment.
The skills you learn will be underpinned by a thorough knowledge of why some species and communities are conservation priorities in law or policy. You’ll also study the fundamentals of project planning, data collection and statistical analysis, in order to properly conduct your surveys and assessments. You’ll be given the chance to become a critical thinker, capable of evaluating what you do, and adept at reporting your findings to the key audiences.
How do you study
This course is delivered with a strong practical approach to learning. You’ll be taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars, field and laboratory work, and online learning.
Independent learning is required, and you’ll undertake high-quality research. You’ll research your chosen topic in depth, then design and implement a relevant research project, before communicating the findings to an informed audience in a comprehensive scientific report.
Teaching is supported by our Brackenhurst Campus – a 200-hectare country estate and working farm. The campus is part of the DEFRA Environmental Stewardship scheme, which supports effective environmental management of farm land and countryside estates. It offers a good range of wetland and terrestrial habitats, which are invaluable for learning and practising surveying techniques, and the sampling of species.
You’ll also benefit from active conservation projects on the estate, including bird ringing and small mammal trapping and monitoring, alongside environmental impact assessments on construction work and renewable energy technologies.
You’ll have the opportunity to take part in field trips to Rutland and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. There are also opportunities to complete a research project in the UK or abroad.