Marine and Terrestrial Conservation BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year, 4 years with placement)


January, September

Intermediate awards: CertHE, DipHE


Our oceans need protecting. Gain a deep understanding of the concerns surrounding marine environments and the specialist skills to tackle them on this Cambridge-based course. You’ll go on field trips in the UK and Europe and have opportunities for viewing wildlife and ecology in Africa and marine biology/diving overseas. With Cambridge becoming a world centre for wildlife conservation, you’ll be equipped to work in marine biology, ecology or conservation with governments, environment agencies and research establishments.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

Helping to protect our planet’s habitats and wildlife is fascinating and rewarding work. When you graduate, you’ll have built a deep understanding of issues relating to marine biology, backed up by your own practical experiences on a variety of field trips.

You’ll have the specialist skills you need to work in your chosen area of marine biology, ecology or conservation. You could apply for work in the UK or internationally, for employers such as governments, environment agencies, education institutions and research establishments.

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us. If you’d like to continue your studies we offer a wide range of full-time and part-time postgraduate courses including MSc Animal Behaviour: Applications for Conservation and MSc Applied Wildlife Conservation.

Modules & assessment

  • Foundation in Optometry, Medical and Life Sciences
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in courses related to Optometry, Medical Science and Life Sciences. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. In addition to these fundamental study skills, Students will be given an introduction to the various scientific disciplines underpinning the life sciences. Fundamental mathematical skills will be covered in order to support students’ other subjects and give them confidence in manipulating data. Students will be introduced to molecular and cellular biology, and how these fields are applied to real-world investigations. Students will also study the biology of micro and macro organisms, with reference to both human and animal structures. Students will be introduced to the core concepts of chemistry, with a particular focus on organic chemistry, and will also be given a grounding in the core principles of physics, applied to living organisms. The module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Critical Thinking; Maths for Scientists; Cellular Biology; Biology – Physiology; Chemistry; Physics for Life Sciences.

Year one, core modules

  • Animal Physiology and Behaviour
    The ways in which animals cope with the demands of everyday life, from feeding, moving and respiring to sensing the outside world and each other are as diverse as the animals themselves Within this module you will examine the ways in which an animal’s anatomy, physiology and behaviour allow them to adapt for survival and reproduction. You will examine the variety of ways in which an animal's anatomy and physiology are adaptations to the many tasks it faces to survive. Particular emphasis will be placed on comparing the solutions evolved to similar tasks by the various animal groups both vertebrate and invertebrate. Through a series of integrated lectures, practical sessions and active learning, you will examine main themes of cell biology, homeostasis, communication, locomotion and the function of the different organ systems in a variety of different organisms. Our study of animal behaviour will investigate the philosophy and multidisciplinary origins of the scientific study of behaviour. A synthesis of the fields of psychology and animal behaviour will be presented to you using a framework of proximate (developmental and mechanistic) and ultimate (functional and phylogenetic) explanations. You will also investigate behaviour through evolutionary processes, gene expression and environmental contributions. You will develop a strong scientific foundation in animal physiology and behaviour and the ecology of the animal. You will also develop transferable employability skills including self-management, organisational skills, resilience, critical thinking. IT, teamwork and communication & literacy; necessary in subsequent modules and biological careers.
  • Introduction to Ecology and Conservation
    Ecology is the science of how organisms relate to each other and their surroundings. Without a thorough understanding of ecology, we cannot develop effective conservation actions to ensure species and habitat protection. You will be introduced to the key aspects of these crucially important issues, building your knowledge of terminology and the role of ecological science in creating a sustainable planet. You will explore organisms and their environment, the interactions between them and the concept of the ecological niche. To start with you will consider key taxonomic groups such as birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, with some focus on species found in Britain. You will then explore the key conservation and management issues for each major group and for exemplar species. You will also consider changes in the distribution and abundance of wildlife, for example the challenges around invasive species, climate change, pollution and habitat loss and fragmentation. Next you will take a broader look at ecology across a range of taxa including plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. You will learn through a variety of lectures, practical lab work and team-based learning. You will enjoy hearing from guest speakers and participating in field trips, such as visiting nature reserves and a grey seal colony. You will therefore build the basic skills and knowledge required for a range of careers in ecology, conservation or wildlife biology.
  • Principles of Biology
    Biology is a wide-ranging scientific field, and encompasses the study of all life on Earth. A thorough understanding of the underlying principles of biology will pave the path for your course and is crucial for in a career in the biological sciences. We will start at the beginning of life on Earth, exploring theories of the origins of life and the various theories of evolution. You will study organisms from all the major groups of life, including microbes, plants and animals, and how they arose. We will integrate core principles from other scientific disciplines, particularly chemistry, physics and geology as they are fundamental to understanding biology. You will learn via a combination of theory, laboratory, computer and field practicals developing graduate skills in diverse and fascinating topics from the molecule to the animal. These may include DNA extraction, genetics, microbiology, and plant and animal biodiversity, and gaining skills in microscopy and computational analysis of data. You will also examine scientific research ethics and the broader philosophy of science. In short you will be prepared not only for the rest of your course and be equipped with practical scientific skills which will make you a better biologist, but will also become a confident scientist in a wide range of different practical settings.
  • Quantitative Techniques and Tools for Biologists
    Quantitative skills are essential for understanding biological systems and undertaking biological research and are relevant to a wide range of graduate employment opportunities. These skills will also allow you to critically evaluate whether quantitative information is being honestly and clearly communicated, whether in a scientific, commercial or political context. You will develop your skills in a range of mathematical and statistical techniques and software tools. As you do so you will develop your ability to analyse data, construct and use graphs, write and run code, think logically to solve problems, and report quantitative information effectively. Mathematical topics in which you will build competency are size & scale, ratio & proportion, using formulae & equations, modelling and describing rates of change. Statistical topics in which you will build competency are understanding data and sampling, descriptive statistics, estimation, null hypothesis significance testing and the Generalized Linear Model. Types of software in which you will build competency are spreadsheets (such as Excel or Google sheets) and statistical programmes (such as SPSS or R). Material introduced during interactive lectures and tutorials is reinforced with hands-on computer practical sessions. There is an emphasis throughout on the use of real datasets within a biological context and reference to a wide range of biological examples.
  • Personal and Professional Development - Level 4
    At Anglia Ruskin University we strive to ensure that you receive an outstanding academic education and student experience - and understand that, whilst embedding employability skills within the credit-bearing curriculum is important, it is only part of the set of achievements needed to obtain employment. This zero-credit module will be used to track and verify the progress you've made with respect to key employability skills and endeavours. You'll work closely with your personal tutor, Students' Union Volunteering Service, Study Skills Plus, and Faculty Employability Advisor to engage with co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities and activities to enhance your personal attributes.

Year two, core modules

  • Marine Biology and Conservation
    We are living on a 'blue planet' as around two-thirds of the Earth is occupied by oceans and coasts. This wondrous environment helps to fill our lungs with the air we breathe, provides food to sustain us and regulates our climate. In Marine Biology and Conservation we will explore the diversity of organisms living in marine habitats, from the tropics to temperate and Arctic ecosystems. How do they survive and thrive in harsh conditions? What adaptations do they need to make in order to cope with changes to salinity and temperature? Through a mixture of interactive lectures, hands-on practical classes and collaborative discussions, we will explore the behaviour, cognition, life cycles and ecological interactions of the wealth of organisms living in marine habitats; from microscopic bacteria, to worms, crabs, fish and whales. The majority of humans live within 100km of the coast, sometimes placing enormous pressure on these vitally important ecosystems. What impact are humans and human activities having on the oceans? We will discuss a range of conservation issues including overfishing, climate change, and pollution, and will explore cutting-edge solutions to these problems. This module provides you with the basis for further study in marine, ecology and conservation modules. You will gain species identification skills as well as transferable communication skills.
  • Principles of Genetics and Evolution
    Genetics unifies the biological sciences. Whether you are interested in animal behaviour, biodiversity, conservation or zoology, genetics is pivotal, offering a biological basis for morphological, physiological, and even behavioural traits in an organism. Genetics also gives us a molecular mechanism for the generation and maintenance of variation, and the raw material for evolution. Building on your knowledge of genetic concepts, you will learn how the rules of inheritance translate into the organisation of the gene-pool of a population and species. You will develop a detailed understanding of the relationship between genetic variation and evolution and will also be introduced to some of the genetic techniques used to answer behavioural, ecological and evolutionary questions. Your understanding of genetic processes will be developed through a variety of integrated lectures, workshops, case studies and laboratory sessions. You will expand your skill-set, developing your expertise in laboratory techniques and report writing useful in research and industry settings, as well as teamwork, problem solving, collection, handling and presentation of data.
  • Biological Oceanography
    Oceans cover two thirds of our planet, and the deep ocean covers half of it. We will explore the biology, ecology and exploitation of the less familiar pelagic (open ocean) and deep-sea realm. We will examine ocean structure in terms of currents and environmental gradients, and, ocean biodiversity, with a novel focus on bacteria and other microbes as well as the ‘usual’ phytoplankton, zooplankton, fishes and top predators (cetaceans, seabird and seal). You will discuss how these organisms have adapted to the ocean environment with an emphasis on buoyancy, feeding, camouflage and signalling. Ocean food chains are incredibly productive, and yet very fragile, and you will explore this by evaluating fishing and other exploitations of marine resources that can impact on ocean ecology and socially responsible conservation. Biological oceanography will equip you with transferable skills that have a broad range of application to your other modules and in your future studies or employment. You will develop these skills through weekly hands-on practicals where you will gain experience of handling, sorting, identifying and recording organisms in plankton samples; culturing and recording marine microbes; and the computer analysis of oceanographic, plankton distribution and fisheries data.
  • Ruskin Module
    Ruskin Modules are designed to prepare our students for a complex, challenging and changing future. These interdisciplinary modules provide the opportunity to further broaden your perspectives, develop your intellectual flexibility and creativity. You will work with others from different disciplines to enable you to reflect critically on the limitations of a single discipline to solve wider societal concerns. You will be supported to create meaningful connections across disciplines to apply new knowledge to tackle complex problems and key challenges. Ruskin Modules are designed to grow your confidence, seek and maximise opportunities to realise your potential to give you a distinctive edge and enhance your success in the workplace.
  • Field Skills in Biology
    Having gained extensive background knowledge, you will have the opportunity to develop your skills in the various components of field biology and put them into practice in a week-long residential field course. You will acquire the research techniques necessary to conduct fieldwork in temperate habitats, starting with the use of taxonomic keys to identify UK fauna and flora, a key skill for those wanting to work with conservation programmes and ecological consultancies. You will complete a set of exercises during the first part of the field course, where you will receive training in field techniques within marine, terrestrial and behavioural ecology. These short-term group exercises will be your introduction to conducting comprehensive field research projects from start to finish. You will then as a group choose to present the results from one of these exercises. Presentations are a major part of scientific conferences where research findings are formally discussed; thus this process will introduce you to the important transferable skills of field project implementation, analysis and communication. Careful project design is vital to ensuring the successful completion of field-based investigations. In the second part of the module, you will learn how to develop a specific research question under the guidance of an academic supervisor, and review relevant literature to support your idea. You will then develop appropriate methods of data collection and analyses, and carry this project out on the field trip, culminating in the production of an individual research project report. This module therefore also allows you to develop key transferable skills in self-management, problem-solving, teamwork, and scientific communication, ideal for future employment in the ecological sector and in research roles more widely.
  • Marine and Terrestrial Communities
    What is a species? What is a community? The answers to these questions are not as simple as they may sound. In this module you will apply ecological theories in the lab and field to learn how the complex interactions between biological organisms scale up to form communities and functioning ecosystems. You will be challenged to create your own aquatic microcosm, a task that will require you to consider the fluxes of nutrients and energy that must be balanced in a stable ecosystem. You will learn about the ecological principals that influence species distributions within marine and terrestrial communities. Lectures will be backed up by workshops and computer sessions that will teach you about sampling and interpreting patterns of biodiversity, strengthening skills in IT and numeracy. These skills will be directly applied in the field, where you will investigate how bird communities differ between habitats in a coastal Nature Reserve. You will analyse and interpret your own ecological datasets, using techniques such as the calculation of biodiversity metrics and the creation of ecological interaction networks. By the end of this module, you will have a new understanding of the complexity and structure of natural systems, essential for anyone considering a career in biodiversity, conservation or ecology. You will also have developed a range of desirable and transferable employability skills, such as statistical analysis, report writing and critical thinking through the interpretation of literature and complex datasets.
  • Biological Research Skills
    Learn how to plan research projects in preparation for the rest of your studies. These skills will be key to your final year where you will develop your own research project. You will be introduced to the knowledge and skills needed to ask critical biological questions and plan a project to discover the answers in a scientifically valid, ethical and safe way, through lectures. You will then consolidate your knowledge and practice what you have learnt during hands-on workshops. The quantitative, communication, critical thinking and IT skills that you’ll gain from this module are applicable to a wide range of graduate employment opportunities.
  • Personal and Professional Development - Level 5
    At Anglia Ruskin University we strive to ensure that you receive an outstanding academic education and student experience - and understand that, whilst embedding employability skills within the credit-bearing curriculum is important, it is only part of the set of achievements needed to obtain employment. This zero-credit module will be used to track and verify the progress you've made with respect to key employability skills and endeavours. You'll work closely with your personal tutor, Students' Union Volunteering Service, Study Skills Plus, and Faculty Employability Advisor to engage with co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities and activities to enhance your personal attributes.

Year two, optional modules

  • GIS and Spatial Ecology
    Modern technological developments that enable us to study the natural world include Geographical Information Systems (GIS), an invaluable tool which allows us to monitor a variety of aspects in nature, including species distribution. You will learn valuable practical skills in the use of GIS within biological sciences, includes the concepts of the system and the training on how to use the tools. You will learn how to use the software and the various techniques during practical sessions and will also apply your knowledge to relevant case studies. During your practical sessions, you will explore a variety of online spatial data resources relevant to the study of terrestrial and marine organisms in the context of ecological and behavioural studies and wildlife conservation, at both local and global scales. These include species distribution, protected areas, habitat maps, physical and climate data, and remote sensing. You will be introduced to free-to-use Open Source GIS software (QGIS) and will also learn to apply your Global Positioning System (GPS) skills to capture locations in the field and map them. The latest developments in tracking device technology will also be covered, and you will learn how to represent and analyse data acquired from these devices. Knowledge of GIS and the uses of these techniques are valuable practical skills, both on this course and in your future employment in a wide range of industries due to the transferable nature of the software. Furthermore, the skills you develop in data management and analysis, scientific writing, problem solving and critical thinking will prepare you for a wide range of careers.
  • Evolutionary Bases of Behaviour
    Evolution is a key driver in determining animal behaviour. The evolution of behaviour is a broad subject, encompassing the evolutionary history of the behaviour, the genetic underpinnings, and the current function of the traits we see today. You will explore the genetic basis of behaviour, how it develops in individuals, and how it is modified over time through process of learning. You will discuss the organisation of behaviour, covering topics such as migration, communication, and the ultimate problems of survival and reproduction. Through your lectures you will explore how researchers have reached their conclusions in the study of behaviour and learn to interpret their data and figures, exploring what this means in the context of behavioural biology of the specific animal system. The ability to critically interpret this biological data is a key skill for those who are interested in a career in research, while data interpretation more broadly is an important transferable skill for a broad range of careers.
  • Mammalogy
    There are approximately 6,400 known species of living (extant) mammals on the planet. They range in size from tiny shrews to the blue whale - the largest animal that’s ever lived. Mammals are found right across the planet, from orcas and leopard seals in the Arctic Ocean to Bactrian camels in the Gobi Desert; from semi-aquatic desmans in mountain streams to moles burrowing beneath our meadows. You will learn about the biology of the mammals and consider mammalian taxonomy, morphology, physiology, ecology, distribution, evolution, and behaviour. A key theme of the study of mammalogy is the analysis of underlying similarities and differences between mammalian taxa (also known as comparative zoology), based on an understanding of mammalian evolution and adaptive radiation. You will explore and make comparisons between mammals adapted for terrestrial, aquatic, fossorial (underground) or arboreal (living in trees) lifestyles. You will learn how to identify all extant Orders of mammals, on the basis of distribution and morphology, in particular, the anatomy of their skulls and dentition, whilst exploring the large collection of skulls and other bones held in our labs. You will gain hands-on experience through weekly practical classes. You will develop your understanding of mammalogy through team-based learning, supported through on-line videos, active learning sessions and laboratory-based practical classes. The online videos, accompanying notes and other materials are accessible via Canvas, allowing you to learn about the exciting diversity of this order of animals at your own pace. This module will thus provide you with key skills within the field of mammalogy, as well as relevant skills in team-work, problem solving, and critical thinking. These are transferable skills that would be relevant for a wide range of careers.

Work placement (optional placement year)

  • Work Placement Life Science
    Your Work Placement module cover a period of 38 weeks. It's a pass/fail module which does not affect your progression from level 5 to level 6 of your course. If you started your course in September, you'll commence your placement at any point from 1 July to 30 September. If you started your course in January, you'll commence your placement at any point from 1 February to 31 March. The module is designed to give you an opportunity to analyse and evaluate industrial organisational structures, industrial roles and functions and industrial self-awareness. It covers human relationships, team relationships, problem evaluations, solutions and analysis and an evaluation of an industry/business sector. The aim of the module is to allow you to use the academic skills developed during your first two years of university study to support learning during your work placement. The module aims to give you experience of work in an industry and/or business environment including familiarisation with a professional work environment. The module will be underpinned by employability skills training, reflective assessment and support from academic tutors. You'll be expected to reflect on your experience orally and in writing, and demonstrate how you have applied theory and learning to date in a work-based environment. The assessment aims to support and develop your ability to demonstrate your professionalism, leadership and managerial skills to a prospective employer while also learning key communication and personal skills.

Year three, core modules

  • Biogeography
    Biogeography explores the distribution of living things in both space and time, and how they have been affected by global change. This 'synthetic' science contains elements of climatology, geology, geography and computer applications, but is firmly rooted in biology. Many 19th-century naturalists, including Darwin, wrote the fundamental theories on large scale distribution patterns within the natural world. We will use computer technologies to verify and model these theories. You will use a group of animals, plants or microbes that is of interest to you, as a model to show your understanding of ‘biogeography’ through computer analyses of distribution and physical and molecular characteristics appropriate to your group. You will combine your analyses with maps of modern and ancient Earth to develop an integrated, evolutionary history of your chosen group. You will become proficient with a range of relevant computer techniques including cluster analysis, ordination methods, area cladograms, and track analysis, as well as phylogenetic analysis of both the structure and DNA of your chosen group of organisms. This module will enable you to become familiar with arrange of computer software which will support your work and give you key competencies in data handling.
  • Current Topics in Marine Biology
    With expanding human population, the marine environment is increasingly under threat from a range of anthropogenic and natural disturbances. At the same time it provides vital ecosystem services that sustain human life. Finding a balance between economic growth and conservation is a challenge for marine scientists that requires evaluation of the needs and perspectives of key stakeholders and the ability to effectively communicate scientific information to each of these audiences. We will explore some of the most cutting edge contemporary environmental challenges and technological developments in marine science, including resource exploitation, energy generation and climate change. You will have the opportunity to hone your practical skills including research, data-handling and analysis by recording, collecting and analysing data from marine environments using a variety of software. This module is designed to help prepare you for employment in the marine sector by focusing on essential key skills required for employment in a range of marine science jobs and to help you develop an awareness of current issues and key economic developments in marine science. Current Topics in Marine Ecology will build on the knowledge and skills that you have obtained previously.
  • Practical Marine Biology
    Practical Marine Biology is comprised of a series of lectures and practical workshops in preparation for a residential field course at a UK marine biology field station. On the field course you will learn advanced skills relevant to marine science including species identification, interpretation of oceanographic data and experimental design. The fieldwork will focus on four aspects of British coastal and inshore marine biology: surveying and collecting samples from varied shore environments. You will go on to use these samples to explain the distribution of fauna and flora in terms of ecological gradients and biological pressures. Collecting samples from offshore environments via a research vessel. These samples may include plankton, mid-water and/or benthic trawls, grab samples, electronic (GPS, sonar, sounding, photographic etc) data. Creating a detailed diagnostic guide to a shoreline or offshore collected material. Analysing the behaviour of animals in the field and/ or within a holding facility, working within the confines of appropriate ethical constraints. Your skills and knowledge acquired from this field course will help you to develop key project design, project management and team-working skills on site at a marine laboratory. This field course would normally run at the end of Semester 2 in your third year. Please see the 'Fees and funding' section for any costs relating to this module on your course.
  • Wildlife Conservation
    Conservation science applies scientific methods to the challenges of maintaining and restoring global biodiversity and ecosystem services. We shall critically evaluate current research underlying conservation biology and explore the multi-dimensional issues faced by professional wildlife biologists. You will examine real-life conservation problems, including their important socio-political dimensions and the ways in which conservationists set out to find solutions to these issues. You will evaluate the principle that protecting biodiversity is not only about protecting species, but also about protecting functioning ecosystems, habitats, evolutionary and ecological processes, and genetic diversity. Conservation genetics is an increasingly important area within this discipline - and you will discuss the application of new genetic technologies in conservation, including the management of captive breeding of endangered species. Identifying priorities for the conservation of global biodiversity and assessing the successes and failures of conservation initiatives are key areas that you will critically examine. You will also explore how to make conservation initiatives more effective by discussing the principle that human interests must be included during conservation planning. The complexity and multi-faceted nature of wildlife conservation will be explored using a range of examples. A substantial part of the scheduled teaching will include group discussion and active learning sessions. You will learn, through a combination of lectures and practical exercises, how to plan conservation projects and apply for funding. This approach will help you develop key skills in grant writing, team-work, communication, and critical analysis, which are applicable to a range of careers in conservation and wildlife management.
  • Sustainable Land Management
    The way in which we manage our land has profound implications for biodiversity and ecosystem function. If you are interested in halting the degradation of our ecosystems and building a sustainable future, then this module is for you. Following on from your earlier learning, you will develop the practical and theoretical skills needed to evaluate the ecological impacts of land management practices. You will learn through a combination of lectures, field trips and computer workshops that will address the sustainability of current UK land management practices and teach you about the policies that influence nature conservation. Topics include national and international legislation, urbanisation, ecological restoration, agriculture, national parks, charity-led initiatives, and trade-offs in ecosystem service provision. You will also develop key skills relevant to those considering careers in ecological consultancy. In particular, you will learn how to conduct your own UK Habitat Classification Survey and prepare a report assessing the ecological impact of a proposed housing development. You will also critically evaluate and debate the environmental and social trade-offs associated with alternative land management practices. Guest speakers will provide firsthand insights into how different organisations (ecological consultancy firms, local councils, charities) influence land management and conservation.
  • Undergraduate Project
    You will create in a substantial piece of individual research and/or product development work, focused on a topic of your choice. You could choose your topic from a variety of sources including research groups, previous/current work experience, your current employer, a suggestion from your tutor or a topic you are specifically interested in. You will identify problems and issues, conduct literature reviews, evaluate information, investigate and adopt suitable development methodologies, determine solutions, develop hardware, software and/or media artifacts as appropriate, process data, critically appraise and present your finding using a variety of media. Regular meetings with your project supervisor will ensure your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.

Year three, optional modules

  • Tropical Ecology and Management
    The tropical regions of our world have always held a fascination for biologists due the amazing and varied biodiversity that can be found there. You will be able to experience some of this firsthand on the tropical ecology field course, which forms the core of this module. You will also have a series of classroom-based learning sessions with a mixture of lectures and interactive learning. On the field course you will work in groups to undertake fieldwork on a range of aspects of tropical ecology and you will visit one or more locations to observe, record and interpret various aspects of tropical fauna, flora and habitats. Through your experience of the country where the field course takes place and the classroom-based sessions, you will be made aware of a range of anthropogenic influences and pressures on tropical habitats (e.g. effects of population growth, tourism, economic development etc) and how these relate to conservation. The field course normally takes place in the time of between levels 5 and 6 (years 2 and 3) and is self-funded. The field trip can be challenging physically, and you will find yourself living in more basic conditions than you may be used to. If you are interested in researching in the tropics or in conservation-based careers more generally, this module provides very valuable practical experience. You will gain a greater understanding of complex ecosystems and conservation issues as well as the very different cultural contexts that can be found in the tropics. The fieldwork you will practise in this module are valued in ecological consultancy and research-based jobs. You will also gain further practice in transferable skills such as teamwork, data analysis and written communication skills that are useful in a wide range of employment.
  • Behavioural Ecology
    Behavioural ecology has been an established discipline within the natural sciences since the 1970s, bringing together the theoretical understanding of evolution and ecology with the observational practices of early ethologists. The underlying premise is that the survival value of behaviour depends on environmental circumstances, both physical and biological. You will explore this premise across four major themes: communication; finding resources and avoiding being eaten; living with others of the same species; and producing the next generation. You will discover the different analytical approaches used by behavioural ecologists, through a wide range of examples and in what context these have been used. You will also examine cost-benefit analysis to predict optimal behavioural strategies, which is a key feature of research in this field. Through this module, you will take a research-focussed approach, critically evaluating and discussing relevant primary literature from a range of sources. You will acquire a skill base relevant to a range of careers, including any roles that require data interpretation and analysis. In addition, the quantitative and critical evaluation skills you will develop are applicable to a wide range of graduate employment opportunities. You will develop your understanding of this subject through lectures, workshops, group discussions, research seminars, practical exercises and reading textbooks and journal articles.
  • Population Ecology and Wildlife Management
    Population ecology is the study of the factors that affect a population, and how and why a population changes. Knowing how populations will respond to interventions is vital to wildlife management. You will explore the first principles of population ecology and the quantitative methods used, prior to seeing how these theories are applied practically in wildlife management. We will study the demography and dynamics of wildlife populations and you will be guided in how to use the mathematical tools and models to understand population change. Population ecology can also be explored in the wider context of current developments in population genetics, evolutionary biology and animal behaviour. Through the study of examples, you will review and assess the factors which are important in the population dynamics, management and conservation of wild populations. The current scientific literature is a critical resource; you will read scientific papers relating to marine and terrestrial ecosystems, looking at both exploited and threatened populations that are conservation priorities. You will work in groups to address practical challenges in population ecology, developing skills in teamwork, problem solving and the application of IT. An important theme throughout the module is the development of critical thinking skills and their application in understanding the advantages and limitations of population models when applied to real world ecological systems. These are skills that are relevant to a wide-range of careers in biology and ecology, as well as in other industries.


We’ll assess you regularly so that you can check your progress. We’ll use a range of methods, including exams, essays, practical reports, computer-based assessments, presentations, reviews of scientific papers and laboratory skills tests.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Engineering is one of the largest of the four faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full-time or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate.

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science, technology and engineering fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Additional study information


This course gives you the opportunity to take a work placement year between years 2 and 3 of your studies. You’ll get experience of seeking and securing a job and working in an industry relating to your course. You’ll also get the practical experience and industry contacts to benefit your studies and enhance your long-term career prospects.

Although they can’t be guaranteed, we can work with you to find a placement using our contacts with a large number of employers. You’ll have regular contact with one of our course tutors and be supported by a supervisor from your placement company. Together they’ll monitor your performance and give you feedback.

To find out more about placement opportunities, email us at

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


UK students starting 2021/22 (per year)


International students starting 2021/22 (per year)


Placement year


Additional costs

  • Walking boots - £60
  • Waterproof coat - £50
  • Wellingtons - £25
  • Waterproof trousers - £20
  • Poster printing - £20
  • Cost of printing dissertation/individual project

Additional field trip costs

Field trips that are a compulsory part of your course have no additional cost. Optional residential field trips have an additional cost, as indicated below. You may be eligible for a grant to cover the costs of optional field trips.

  • Isle of Rum field trip - £350
  • International Diving trip - £1200
  • Uganda field trip (two weeks) (Tropical Ecology and Management module) - £2100

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

UK students (and EU students starting a course before 1 August 2021) can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments

International students

You can pay your tuition fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes EU students starting a course before 1 August 2021.

Government funding includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a range of ARU scholarships, which can provide extra financial support while you’re at university.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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BTEC modules

We require a final grade of DMM in the BTEC Extended Diploma in Animal Management.

We require the following eight mandatory units and an additional seven optional units to be completed, with at least four of these to come from the recommended units below.

Compulsory/recommended Unit
Mandatory Unit 1:Animal Breeding and Genetics
Mandatory Unit 2: Animal Biology
Mandatory Unit 3: Animal Welfare and Ethics
Mandatory Unit 4: Practical Animal Husbandry
Mandatory Unit 5: Animal Behaviour
Mandatory Unit 6: Animal Health and Diseases
Mandatory Unit 7: Work Experience in the Animal Sector
Mandatory Unit 8: Investigative Research Project
Recommended Unit 9: Practical Skills in Animal Science
Recommended Unit 10: Animal Metabolism
Recommended Unit 11: Advanced Animal Nutrition
Recommended Unit 17: Principles of Animal Nursing
Recommended Unit 18: Aquatic Animal Health and Husbandry
Recommended Unit 20: Human and Animal Interaction
Recommended Unit 21: Exotic Animal Health and Husbandry
Recommended Unit 23: Zoological Animal Health and Husbandry
Recommended Unit 24: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Management

City and Guilds modules

We required a final grade of Distinction in the City and Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Animal Management.

We require you to have studied at least ten of the following modules. Some of these will be compulsory on your City and Guilds course.

Compulsory/recommended  Unit 
Recommended Unit 3202: Undertake and Review Work-Related Experience in the Land-Based Industries 
Recommended Unit 303: Animal Health and Husbandry
Recommended Unit 304: Animal Feeding and Nutrition
Recommended Unit 305: Animal Behaviour and Communication
Recommended Unit 306: Biological Systems of Animals
Recommended Unit 307: Animal Welfare and Breeding
Recommended Unit 308: Wildlife and Ecology Conservation
Recommended Unit 309: Wildlife Management and Rehabilitation
Recommended Unit 315: Animal Nursing
Recommended  Unit 316: Zoological Collections
Recommended  Unit 318: Fundamentals of Science
Recommended  Unit 319: Inheritance and Genetics
Recommended  Unit 320: Chemistry for Biology Technicians
Recommended  Unit 321: Cell Biology and Genetics
Recommended  Unit 322: Biochemistry and Microbiology
Recommended  Unit 324: Science Investigation and Report Writing
Recommended  Unit 328: Ecological Concepts and Application
Recommended  Unit 329: Population Surveys, Ecology and Conservation
Recommended  Unit 367: Undertake a Specialist Project in the Land-Based Sector

Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in 2020-21.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

Entry requirements for foundation year study at ARU College:

  • five GCSE passes at grade 3 or D or above and evidence of two years post-GCSE study at Level 3
  • if you have achieved at least grade E in one A level, or equivalent, you are exempt from the two year post-GCSE study requirement, but you still have to meet the GCSE requirements
  • if English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificate level of proficiency of at least IELTS 5.5 overall including 5.5 in each band/component.

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in 2020-21.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

Suggested courses that may interest you

Animal Behaviour

Full-time, full-time with placement undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year, 4 years with placement)


January, September

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