BSc (Hons)
Ecology and Conservation

Key Information


3 years

Typical Offer

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Brayford Pool



Academic Year

Course Overview

Conserving biodiversity and avoiding the extinction of species are huge global challenges. It has never been more important for scientists to understand organisms and ecosystems, and how they respond to the threats they face.

Ecology and Conservation at Lincoln seeks to explore the natural world, from individuals to populations, and communities to ecosystems. Students are able to examine how organisms interact with each other and their environment, and how these processes are affected by human activities. This helps them to understand the planetary ecosystem and how it responds to environmental change. ​Students can learn key practical skills that professional ecologists and conservation practitioners are looking for in graduates.

The course offers a diverse programme that aims to provide a firm grounding in the principles of ecology and conservation. It aims to enable students to specialise in the areas that interest them. It is taught by research-active staff in both the Department of Life Sciences and Department of Geography, who specialise in a wide range of disciplines across evolution, ecology, zoology, and environmental health. Key industry-relevant skills are taught by practitioners that have included guests from Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and Forestry England, as well as speakers from a range of employers from across the sector.

Alongside fully-funded day trips throughout the degree to locations which have previously included Kew Gardens and the Millennium Seed Bank, this course also includes a residential field trip in the UK to study ecology in a field setting. There is an additional optional overseas field trip in the final year where previous students have visited the Andean Cloud Forest in Ecuador, the Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa, and boreal forests in Finland.

Why Choose Lincoln

Subject area ranked in the top 10 for student satisfaction*

Optional overseas field trip to locations around the world

Optional placement year

Taught by experienced research-active staff

Fully-funded residential field trip and day trips in the UK

Available with a Science Foundation Year

*Complete University Guide 2024 (out of 96 ranking institutions)

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How You Study

This degree is designed to provide a broad understanding of the key aspects of ecology and conservation, and emphasises gaining practical skills in the field and laboratory.

Students have the chance to develop practical skills in species identification and environmental surveying, as well as 'soft' skills in scientific methods and communication, which can be invaluable in many workplaces, but are especially critical for ecology and conservation. There is also an opportunity for students to gain professional experience by undertaking a placement year, between the second and third year of their studies.

In the first year, students have the opportunity to develop a broad understanding of biological concepts, including ecology, animal and plant anatomy and physiology, as well as key skills in environmental monitoring.

During the second year, more specialist modules include conservation biology, evolution, and managing of ecosystems. Students can choose from a selection of optional modules to align their studies with areas of particular interest.

There is an emphasis on independent research in the third year, and students are expected to undertake a substantial research project, as well as modules to develop critical scientific skills. This degree combines demonstrations with hands-on work in-lab or in-field.

Students will also have the opportunity to develop their ability to communicate scientific knowledge effectively, in different contexts, different formats and to different recipients.


† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Comparative Anatomy and Physiology of Animals 2024-25ZOO1001MLevel 42024-25Comparative Anatomy and Physiology of Animals is concerned with the principles of the diversity of anatomical form and function in animals using a comparative approach. Anatomical adaptations will be explored across taxa within the animal kingdom in order to show how different types of organisms use their anatomy to solve the similar physiological problems. Through this, an understanding will be developed of how organisms from different taxa address physiological aspects of their life histories.CoreEarth Observation & GIS 2024-25GEO1006MLevel 42024-25The aim of this module is to teach students the fundamental theory and practical applications of Earth observation (remote sensing) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Geospatial technologies (involving remote sensing and GIS) have changed the way businesses and policymakers solve problems and the way scientists understand Earth system processes and hazards. These technologies are routinely used by people in their work and their daily life (e.g. via Google Earth). This module aims to introduce students to some of the important sources of geospatial data and the technologies underpinning them, and will highlight ways in which they are used both within geographical science and more widely. In addition students can gain hands-on, skills-based experience in processing and analysing data using GIS and Remote Sensing software. These are vital tools that will enable students to more rigorously assess the safety and health of the inhabited Earth.CoreEcology 2024-25BGY1010MLevel 42024-25Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environment. These interactions can be studied across different levels of biological organisation including individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems. This module will examine how these different levels of organisation are interconnected and how the study of ecology allows us to better understand patterns in the natural worldCorePlant Structure and Function 2024-25BGY1006MLevel 42024-25This module aims to provide a broad overview of plant form and function by reviewing the key structural characteristics of cells, tissues, and organs in a range of plant species. The module investigates the diversity of plant form and the evolutionary history of plant life; emphasis is placed on the adaptations of plants to their environment. It focuses on the relationship between anatomy and the mechanical role of cells, tissues, and organs. On completion of this module students would be expected to have a broad understanding of form and function in plants, key elements of plant-animal and plant-fungal co-evolution / interactions, and an appreciation of the diverse range of structures and tissues utilised by humans.CorePractical Field Skills in Ecology 2024-25ECL1002MLevel 42024-25Practical field skills are essential for the Ecology and Conservation degree. This module introduces students to a range of skills including field identification, sampling of specimens, and laboratory analysis. Teaching will cover a range of skills for environmental monitoring and ecological assessment, and introduce students to a range of species protected under UK legislation, and therefore of particular interest to conservation organisations, government departments, and professional ecologists.CoreResearch Methods for the Life Sciences 2024-25BGY1012MLevel 42024-25Research methods for the Life Sciences aims to introduce the skills and knowledge necessary for students to assimilate and judge scientific knowledge. Students will be introduced to the tools required to search and evaluate the scientific literature relevant to their studies, and some of the key philosophical constructs around which scientific knowledge is based. They will be taught about hypothesis testing, experimental design, data collection, basic mathematical and statistical concepts, and data presentation, and gain hands-on experience of their application.CoreSustainable Environments & Ecosystems 2024-25GEO1001MLevel 42024-25The aim of this module is to introduce students to the links between ecosystems and human health. The module focuses heavily on the role of human activities in changing ecosystems, covering aspects of human impacts on ecosystems as well as policy and regulatory actions to improve and safeguard vital ecosystems. Impacts are assessed in terms of both human and wider environmental factors such as quality of life and access to safe and healthy resources as well as biodiversity, landscape assets and climate resilience. Local and global case studies will be drawn to assess issues such as the sustainable design of built environments, sustainable approaches to waste management and threats linked to overconsumption of natural resources and excess pollution. By exploring a range of relevant case studies we will question assumptions about environmental/ecosystem interactions and equip students with the necessary critical knowledge and overview for deriving real-world solutions to a representative range of current environmental problems.CoreConservation Biology 2025-26BIO2107MLevel 52025-26This module provides a critical insight into the application of the principles of conservation biology. It will give an overview of the nature, value and complex threats to biodiversity and will detail the biological problems faced by small populations of animals, in particular. The module will also deal with the practice of population conservation and management, including methods to assess population size, survival rates and how to use this information to assess the viability of populations.CoreData Skills for the Life Sciences 2025-26BGY2011MLevel 52025-26Data-centric skills are crucial for any life scientist undertaking any form of data collection, management, visualisation, and/or analysis. This module introduces students to skills in data storage, handling, and manipulation; understanding different data types; visualising data; fitting statistical and analytical models; interpreting and reporting statistical and analytical results; and using these skills in experimental designs. In the age of information, computational skills are becoming ever more relevant, and this module will hone different computational skills. All these skills can aid students in undertaking future research projects, including the third-year honours project.CoreEvolution 2025-26BGY2009MLevel 52025-26The Evolution module aims to introduce the fundamental concepts and theories that explain and predict how biodiversity evolves as a result of multiple factors emerging from both ecological and sexual interactions. The integrative nature of this module guarantees that a broad diversity of the central topics in the field of evolution is covered.CoreManaging Ecosystems 2025-26ECL2002MLevel 52025-26This module deals with managing ecosystems in a range of contexts, and includes assessing and addressing the impacts of human activity on ecological systems. It also examines the suitability of different management strategies to deal with a range of environmental problems.CoreUK Field Course 2025-26ECL2003MLevel 52025-26This module aims to help students understand theory, develop skills, build tacit knowledge and importantly, integrate and apply know-how and skills acquired from prior learning to novel situations. The module is built around the principle of scientific enquiry and the ownership of that process by students in order to develop cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills. Student ownership will be developed throughout the module, culminating in an independent, residential in-situ field study in which they design a study, collect & analyse data and present their findings.CoreAnimal Behaviour 2025-26BIO2033MLevel 52025-26This module is based on the four ethological levels of explanation for animal behaviour as introduced by Nikolaas Tinbergen, one of the fathers of ethology, in the 1960's: mechanism, development, function and evolution. It will deal primarily with the ethological concepts underlying the study of animal behaviour supported by classic experimental studies of domestic and wild animals from a wide range of taxonomic groups. The module will also cover the design, data collection, analyses and interpretation of behavioural studies in a variety of species both in the laboratory and in zooOptionalBiogeography & Planetary Health 2025-26GEO2006MLevel 52025-26This module introduces the key concepts of biogeography and planetary health. The aim of the module is to develop students’ understanding of the impacts of climatic- and human-induced changes on the distribution and functioning of biomes and terrestrial ecosystems. The module consists of three broad themes. The first theme consists of an introduction to the course and examples of human and climate-induced change from a local to global context. The second part covers the techniques that are used to monitor and quantify ecosystem health and predict changes in current ecosystem patterns. The final theme of the module covers the implication of these changes and strategies to mitigate or cope with these changes.OptionalClimatology and Quaternary Science 2025-26GEP2011MLevel 52025-26This module will examine the environmental changes, particularly climate, at global, regional, and local scales of the past and present. Students will gain an understanding of these changes and processes that have implications for past, and present climate and environments. The first part of this module will cover climate and environmental change over the last 2.6 million years of Earth’s history (Quaternary period). Students will gain knowledge in how natural variability can be distinguished from human activity, and the contribution of both observational analysis and modelling to understand environmental change. The second part of this module will give students an understanding of global climatology and meteorology on contemporary (present-day) timescales. It covers the main characteristics of, and processes behind, climate and weather from global through regional to local scales. A field excursion, practicals and seminar sessions will provide tools and techniques to investigate climatology and Quaternary science. The critical appraisal collected field and practical datasets will develop students’ critical thinking and analysis skills of past, and present climate and environmental change.OptionalHuman Impacts on the Environment 2025-26GEO2001MLevel 52025-26This module uses the concepts surrounding environmental health to introduce students to a wide range of critical environmental issues facing the world today. Using a range of global and regional environmental problems, incorporating case studies on climate change, natural resources, land-use change and agriculture, pollution, degradation and threats to environments, ecosystems, and society. Students will critically explore the causes, consequences, and impacts of humans on environmental health issues, as well as learn how to question assumptions about the underlying processes.OptionalInvertebrate and Vertebrate Zoology 2025-26ZOO2002MLevel 52025-26This module is an introduction to the key major taxonomic groups of invertebrates and vertebrates. Major invertebrate groups will include inter alia: sponges, cnidarians, flatworms, nematodes, annelids, molluscs, arthropods, echinoderms, and cephalochordates. All major vertebrate classes will be considered in detail.OptionalSLS Study Abroad 2025-26BIO2110MLevel 52025-26The School believes that an option to study overseas is a valuable educational opportunity for our students. Provision of this option supports the educational aims of the School of Life Sciences and enhances the distinctiveness of its degrees at Lincoln. The optional year is intended to: - enable students to benefit from studying within a cross cultural environment; - expose students to a wider academic and cultural experience; - enhance their future employment opportunities; - by increasing their cultural and professional mobility. This module is optional for students within the School. Study Abroad is a year long module which enables students to spend a year studying abroad at one of the University's approved partner institutions. Eligible students must have completed their second year of study to a satisfactory standard and successfully completed the application process for the year abroad. During the year spent abroad, students share classes with local students and study on a suite of locally-delivered taught modules which have been approved in advance by the University. Upon their return, as part of the assessment for this module, students are required to critically reflect upon their experience of living and studying in a different cultural environment and the skills acquired.OptionalWork Experience 2025-26BMS2014XLevel 52025-26OptionalGlobal Change Biology 2026-27ECL3005MLevel 62026-27This module will consider human-caused environmental change that affects a substantial part of the globe and biological systems. Biological responses to these human induced changes will be considered in terms of how organisms, species, and communities may acclimatise, adapt, or change. Specifically, we will consider how organisms can respond genetically and phenotypically, and how and why communities may change in their species and functional composition. After consolidating understanding of the causes of, and biological responses to, global change, we will consider what these impacts mean for ecosystem structure and function, the development of novel ecosystems, and approaches for conservation and ecosystem management under global change. This module will cover a range of differing causes of global change e.g. biological invasions or urbanisation, but content will be flexible to remain relevant to current and emerging challenges.CoreLife Sciences Research Project 2026-27BGY3003MLevel 62026-27In this module, students undertake an independent programme of research under supervision from a member of staff. It provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate original and critical thought, as well as to build discipline-specific research and project-management skills. A wide range of subject expertise exists within the School, and students are expected to work on a project that is relevant to their programme of study. Under the guidance of a supervisor, students will review the literature, identify a research question/aim and objectives, and design a programme of research respectively. Students will be expected to manage the project and work in a safe and ethical manner, which will include undergoing training in and engaging with obtaining relevant ethical approval and risk assessment. Students will collect and analyse data, record their activities and research methodology and results in a “lab book”/ equivalent robust means of recording. We currently offer projects in the laboratory (wet or animal) or field, projects that involve data analysis, literature research, educational research, science communication research and market research. Students may work individually or in groups addressing similar questions, but must write up individually. The findings of the research will be written up and presented orally. The conduct and performance of the student as a research apprentice will be assessed.CorePlant and Animal Interactions 2026-27BGY3011MLevel 62026-27In this module students can gain an understanding of, and an appreciation for, the interactions between plants and animals that have been the driving force for the evolution of the world as we know it. Interactions between the flowering plants and vertebrate and invertebrate animals have led to the huge diversity of flowering plants that maintain the essential life support systems of the planet and are the basis of all current agricultural systems. Despite the huge economic costs of agricultural pests that damage plants, the evolutionary arms race between plants and their herbivores has driven the evolution of many of the important plant secondary compounds we use today as stimulants (e.g. caffeine) or drugs (e.g. salicylic acid = aspirin). Other economically, evolutionarily, or ecologically important plant-animal interactions include pollination and seed dispersal. Students can examine the economic, evolutionary, and ecological consequences of plant-animal interactions at scales from ecosystems to molecules. They will have the opportunity to develop their own perspective on this important topic, and will be asked to review and interpret and evaluate the evidence available in the primary literature.CorePractical Skills in Conservation 2026-27ECL3002MLevel 62026-27Conservation of plants and animals usually involves interactions between multiple stakeholders including scientists, landowners, communities, government, and NGOs. A range of practical and transferable skills are therefore beneficial for employment in both conservation research and conservation practice. This module will refine certain such skills that students have acquired through their degree, and help them understand how to apply them in a conservation biology setting. Its focus is to provide opportunities for real world and experiential learning, and to progress relevant employability skills.CoreSoil Biology 2026-27ECL3003MLevel 62026-27This module provides a critical insight into the study of the biological diversity of soils, including their ecological and functional roles, to understand about best management and conservation practices. Students can learn about key issues affecting important soil processes and the methods for measuring and managing soil biodiversity.CoreBehavioural Ecology 2026-27BIO3026MLevel 62026-27Behavioural ecology examines the way in which behavioural repertoires contribute to survival and ultimately reproductive success. The module will focus on key topics including: Optimality Theory, Sexual Selection, Communication and Sensory Ecology, Altruism and Cooperation, Arms Races, Fighting and Assessment, Navigation and Migration, and Human Behaviour.OptionalCoastal Systems and Global Change 2026-27GEP3014MLevel 62026-27This module will focus on the processes governing coastal systems, including river mouth systems, coastal wetlands and open coasts, the ecosystem services that they deliver, and the expected changes that coastal systems are likely experience under the influence of climate change and increasing anthropogenic influences. The theoretical background knowledge on coastal systems, their exposure to global change, as well as mitigation and adaptation strategies will be complemented by hands-on practical sessions, including the use of state-of-the-art computer models and seminar discussions on contemporary debates around coastal processes and management. A particular emphasis of this module will be on developing an in-depth understanding of how coastal systems may help coastal communities to adapt to climate change, an approach that is widely referred to as ecosystem-based management.OptionalEnvironmental Management 2026-27GEO3005MLevel 62026-27This module examines a range of interdisciplinary environmental management techniques that are used to address critical environmental, human and planetary health issues. Students will gain an understanding of the most appropriate techniques and solutions using a range of global, regional and local environmental case studies. There is a strong emphasis on practice-based skills with guest lectures from practitioners in the field, practical and seminar classes. An innovative assessment will give students the opportunity to be involved in actively influencing sustainable behaviour in the younger generation and giving them a chance to become the ‘teacher’. This approach is especially useful in the third year as it exposes students to a wide range of career options in environmental science management and policy/regulation.OptionalOverseas Field Course 2026-27BIO3031MLevel 62026-27This module provides students with the opportunity to investigate biological phenomena in the field at an overseas location. Students work in groups, guided by staff, to develop and test hypotheses allowing them to understand more about biological processes operating within the study area. They are encouraged to view the ecosystem within the wider context of the anthropogenic impacts being imposed on it. This module is optional and courses run subject to sufficient student demand.OptionalPalaeobiology 2026-27BGY3007MLevel 62026-27At the interface between Earth and Life Sciences, Palaeobiology is the study of all aspects of the biology of extinct biota and their relations to the physical environments in which they lived. The discipline documents and explains patterns and processes governing past Life, and is key to our understanding of evolution in deep time and up to the present. Fossils are the currency of Palaeobiology. Their unique and fundamental contribution is their ability to provide measurable models of anatomical, functional, and ecological change over millions of years of evolution. Natural selection theory predicts that organism diversity results from species interacting with each other and with their environments. Consequently, fossils are the natural “time capsules” preserving the historical record of faunal and floral successions on our planet. This record unravels the pathways through which traits observed in extant organisms are selected for, elucidates models of biodiversity rises and falls, and casts light on the complex relationships between the geosphere and the biosphere. Palaeobiology tackles some of the most challenging and engaging topics of modern biology, including the emergence of biodiversity, patterns of recovery, and expansion of ecosystems and species in the aftermath of profound crises (such as mass extinctions), and the interplay between originations and extinctions in shaping the Tree of Life. This module aims to enable students to comprehend the thrust and scope of fossil-based research, progressing from basic observations to formulation of complex macro-evolutionary inference. Palaeobiology is eminently interdisciplinary, absorbing concepts and methodologies from numerous other fields and providing tools and knowledge of wide use to other biologists, particularly those interested in tempo and mode of evolution and the comparative method.OptionalUK Field Course 2026-27ECL3006MLevel 62026-27Optional

What You Need to Know

We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. In addition to the information provided on this course page, our What You Need to Know page offers explanations on key topics including programme validation/revalidation, additional costs, contact hours, and our return to face-to-face teaching.

How you are assessed

Examples of assessment methods that are used include coursework, such as written assignments, videos, reports or dissertations; and written exams, such as formal examinations or in-class tests. The weighting given to each assessment method may vary across each academic year.

Overseas Field Trip

There is an optional overseas field trip in the third year. This will provide the opportunity to do research in a novel environment and to study local plants and animals. Destinations may vary, but have previously included the cloud forests of Ecuador, the Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa, and Molise in Italy.

Optional field trips may incur additional costs, including flights. Students may also be required to pay for overnight stays, local travel, and food close to the destination if their flights arrive the day before the team are scheduled to meet.

Students may bring personal items of clothing and travel equipment, some of which may be specialised for the environment they are travelling to, and recommended medicines and travel toiletries such as anti-malaria medication, vaccinations, insect repellent and sunscreen. These costs will depend on what you choose to bring.


Optional Placement Year

All full-time students on this course may take an optional placement year between the second and third year of the programme. While these placements are student-led, you will be continuously supported by academic staff throughout. Placements provide the opportunity to gain workplace experience and a chance to hone your skills in a professional environment. While you are on an optional placement in the UK, you will be required to cover your own transport, accommodation, and meals costs.

I chose this course as it combined my two favourite subjects: Geography and Biology. I really liked the unique blend and it enabled me to study key elements from both subjects.

What Can I Do with an Ecology and Conservation Degree?

Career opportunities for Ecology and Conservation graduates may include teaching, environmental consultancy, applied conservation in the UK or internationally, and science journalism. Graduates may choose to continue their studies at postgraduate level.

Entry Requirements 2024-25

United Kingdom

104 UCAS Tariff points from a minimum of 2 A Levels or equivalent qualifications to include 40 points from Biology or Geography.

International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma from a minimum of 2 Higher Level subjects to include a Higher Level 5 in Biology or Geography.

BTEC Extended Diploma in Animal Management or Applied Science*: Distinction, Merit, Merit or equivalent.

*not all modules are accepted. Please contact our Admissions team for further information (

T Level in Science accepted. Health or Health Science are not accepted: Merit

Access to Higher Education Diploma: 45 Level 3 credits with a minimum of 104 UCAS Tariff points, including 40 points from 15 credits in Biology or Geography.

A combination of qualifications which may include A Levels, BTEC, EPQ, etc.

Applicants will also need at least three GCSEs at grade 4 or above, which must include English. Equivalent Level 2 qualifications may also be considered.

The University accepts a wide range of qualifications as the basis for entry and do accept a combination of qualifications which may include A Levels, BTECs, EPQ etc.

We will also consider applicants with extensive and relevant work experience and will give special individual consideration to those who do not meet the standard entry qualifications.


Non UK Qualifications:

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications:

EU and Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page:

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-sessional English and Academic Study Skills courses.

For applicants who do not meet our standard entry requirements, our Science Foundation Year can provide an alternative route of entry onto our full degree programmes:

If you would like further information about entry requirements, or would like to discuss whether the qualifications you are currently studying are acceptable, please contact the Admissions team on 01522 886097, or email

Contextual Offers

At Lincoln, we recognise that not everybody has had the same advice and support to help them get to higher education. Contextual offers are one of the ways we remove the barriers to higher education, ensuring that we have fair access for all students regardless of background and personal experiences. For more information, including eligibility criteria, visit our Offer Guide pages.

Fees and Scholarships

Going to university is a life-changing step and it's important to understand the costs involved and the funding options available before you start. A full breakdown of the fees associated with this programme can be found on our course fees pages.

Course Fees

For eligible undergraduate students going to university for the first time, scholarships and bursaries are available to help cover costs. To help support students from outside of the UK, we are also delighted to offer a number of international scholarships which range from £1,000 up to the value of 50 per cent of tuition fees. For full details and information about eligibility, visit our scholarships and bursaries pages.

Find out More by Visiting Us

The best way to find out what it is really like to live and learn at Lincoln is to visit us in person. We offer a range of opportunities across the year to help you to get a real feel for what it might be like to study here.

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The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.