BSc (Hons) Ecology and Conservation

The Course

The BSc (Hons) Ecology and Conservation degree at Lincoln is taught by research-active staff who take part in internationally-renowned research. The degree aims to provide a broad understanding of the subject, encompassing the study of key aspects of modern ecology, evolution, and both plant and animal biology.

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

Students will participate in two residential field trips in the UK, enabling them to study animals and plants in the wild. These trips are part of two core modules: ‘Ecology’ in the first year and ‘Conservation Biology’ in the second year. For UK based field trips the University will cover costs of transport, accommodation and meals at the field site.

There is also an overseas field trip available in your final year as part of the optional 'Overseas Field Course' module. Further details on the Overseas Field Course, including costs, can be found in the Features tab.

As students study, they will have the chance to develop 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 valuable professional experience by undertaking a placement year, between the second and third year of their studies. Potential costs incurred on a placement year are outlined in the Features tab.

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

During the second year, more specialist modules include evolution, conservation biology and plant-animal interactions. 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.

Contact Hours and Reading for a Degree

Students on this programme learn from academic staff who are often engaged in world-leading or internationally excellent research or professional practice. Contact time can be in workshops, practical sessions, seminars or lectures and may vary from module to module and from academic year to year. Tutorial sessions and project supervision can take the form of one-to-one engagement or small group sessions. Some courses offer the opportunity to take part in external visits and fieldwork.

It is still the case that students read for a degree and this means that in addition to scheduled contact hours, students are required to engage in independent study. This allows you to read around a subject and to prepare for lectures and seminars through wider reading, or to complete follow up tasks such as assignments or revision. As a general guide, the amount of independent study required by students at the University of Lincoln is that for every hour in class you are expected to spend at least two to three hours in independent study.

Comparative Form and Function in Animals (Core)
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Comparative Form and Function in Animals (Core)

This module 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 morphological and physiological problems. Through this, an understanding of anatomically distinct and shared features across animal species can be developed using examples of how organisms from different taxa address key aspects of their life histories.

Ecology (Core)
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Ecology (Core)

Ecology 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 world

Environmental Data Monitoring & Analysis (Core)
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Environmental Data Monitoring & Analysis (Core)

The aim of this module is to provide basic training in several key laboratory and field methods. This is provided via introductory lectures followed by a series of integrated computer and laboratory practical sessions, workshops and local fieldwork.

The lectures aim to demonstrate the importance of laboratory and field experimentation within modern geographical enquiry. The practical exercises aim to provide hands-on experience of the collection, synthesis, analysis and presentation of environmental data within the contexts of geomorphology/soil science, and meteorology/hydrology.

This module therefore aims to provide vocationally-relevant practical tools and insight that enable an informed judgement of the safety and health of the environment in the context of rapid human change.

Genetics (Core)
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Genetics (Core)

This module is designed to provide students with an introduction to genetics by discussing the development of genetics as a field of science, from molecular genetics through Mendelian genetics, to genetics at the population level. Students have previously studied cell biology and biochemistry, and this knowledge is built on in order to consider the replication, maintenance and expression of the genome. This module aims to provide the knowledge necessary to study applications of molecular biology at a higher level.

Plant Structure and Function (Core)
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Plant Structure and Function (Core)

This 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.

It 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.

Practical Field Skills in Ecology (Core)
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Practical Field Skills in Ecology (Core)

Practical field skills are essential for the BSc (Hons) Ecology and Conservation degree. This module introduces students to a range of skills including field identification, sampling of specimens to 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.

Research Methods for Life Scientists 1 (Core)
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Research Methods for Life Scientists 1 (Core)

This module aims to introduce the skills and knowledge necessary to assimilate and judge scientific knowledge. Students are 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. Students can develop an understanding of hypothesis testing, experimental design, data collection, basic mathematical and statistical concepts and data presentation, and are shown how these methods are put into practice through a series of research seminars.

Sustainable Environments & Ecosystems (Core)
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Sustainable Environments & Ecosystems (Core)

The 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.

Animal Behaviour (Option)
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Animal Behaviour (Option)

This module is based on the four ethological levels of explanation for animal behaviour; mechanism, development, function and evolution. The concepts underlying the study of animal behaviour will be covered in a range of taxonomic groups. The module will also consider the scientific approach to behavioural studies.

Animal Nutrition (Option)
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Animal Nutrition (Option)

This module covers wide ranging aspects of animal nutrition using examples from insects to primates, and considers how, why and what animals eat, in terms of the anatomical, physiological, behavioural and ecological factors which influence nutrient intake in conditions of health and disease.

Biogeography & Planetary Health (Core)
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Biogeography & Planetary Health (Core)

Understanding and predicting the impacts of climatic- and human-induced changes on the distribution and functioning of biomes and terrestrial ecosystems are two of the most urgent current environmental challenges. Increases in global temperatures, changes in precipitation and radiation patterns, droughts, floods, fires and land-use change can all have major effects on the distribution and functioning of ecosystems, directly influencing their biogeographical patterns and their role in mitigating or alleviating current climate change.

This module provides an introduction to biogeography and ecosystem functioning and planetary health concepts; it also gives an overview of techniques (e.g. field vegetation surveys and climate-ecosystem modelling) that are used to monitor and quantify ecosystem health and predict changes in current ecosystem patterns and therefore delimit the implications for the future safety of the inhabited Earth.

Climatology & Hydrology (Option)
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Climatology & Hydrology (Option)

This module provides students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of global meteorology and climatology, focusing on the atmosphere but with some consideration of interaction with the ocean, and global hydrology, including ecohydrology, hydrogeology and water quality with an emphasis on water resources and management.

The first part of the module will consider the main characteristics of, and processes behind, climate from global to regional scales. The second part covers global hydrology, including consideration of the physical characteristics of rivers and their geographical variation, and related aspects of river-catchment science and the role of the rivers in the wider environmental system. The meteorological/climatological and hydrological insights gained can enable an improved appraisal of the safety and health of the inhabited Earth. Throughout the module links with the geology and/or engineering industries will be highlighted.

Conservation Biology (Core)
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Conservation Biology (Core)

This 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.

Ecological Statistical Techniques (Core)
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Ecological Statistical Techniques (Core)

Analysing and interpreting data is a key skill in ecology and conservation. In this module we will look at how to design experiments, how to analyse, interpret and present the data obtained and how to communicate those results to others. The module will help to develop your statistical and IT skills and teach you how to apply them to environmental, ecological and biological data sets.

Evolution (Core)
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Evolution (Core)

The 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.

Invertebrate Zoology (Option)
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Invertebrate Zoology (Option)

This module is an introduction to the invertebrates, which represent more than 97% of the animal kingdom. Invertebrate animals are organized in nearly 15 major higher taxa. For each taxon the student will first learn the body plan and topics including diversity, evolution, phylogeny, classification, anatomy, physiology, behaviour, natural history, and biomechanics.

Topics will be covered with lectures and laboratory practices, starting with the origins of invertebrates, following subsequent major advances in the evolution of aquatic and terrestrial groups. For instance the module will consider the transition from sea to land. The module will also emphasise different aspects of invertebrate biology: their development, diversity of reproduction, life history traits, behaviour, and their medical, forensic and agricultural importance.

Managing Ecosystems (Core)
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Managing Ecosystems (Core)

This 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.

Molecular Biology (Option)
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Molecular Biology (Option)

Molecular biology is of critical importance when understanding biological systems. This module is designed to provide students with an insight into the techniques used and applied by molecular biologists in a number of specific contexts.

Plant-Animal Interactions (Core)
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Plant-Animal Interactions (Core)

In this module students have the opportunity to 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.

Students will have the opportunity to 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, interpret and evaluate the evidence available in the primary literature.

River & Coastal Systems: Science & Management (Option)
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River & Coastal Systems: Science & Management (Option)

This module will focus on coastal and river geomorphological processes, as a key component of the safety and health of highly-populated floodplain and coastal regions. It aims to develop an understanding of key methods of monitoring and modelling contemporary river and coastal morphodynamics, and include the use of hydraulic and hydrological models for monitoring river and coastal flooding and its impacts. As well as providing an in depth theoretical framework of catchment and coastal processes and exploring hands-on tools for investigating these processes, the module emphasises links with the environmental/flood protection agencies and/or consultancies.

Vertebrate Zoology (Option)
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Vertebrate Zoology (Option)

The Vertebrate Zoology module introduces the biology and diversity of vertebrates. Vertebrates have colonised all environments on Earth, and include several model organisms that have played an unsurpassed role in analyses of the dynamics of ecological and evolutionary processes.

The module places emphasis on the history of all vertebrate groups, their extinct and extant biodiversity, and their classification. It provides general descriptions of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, and uses case studies from each of these groups to illustrate patterns and processes underpinning radiations, ecological adaptations, evolutionary transitions and genetic proliferation. The lectures detail anatomical, functional, palaeontological, and ecological aspects of vertebrate biology. Ultimately, the aim is to allow students to develop a proper understanding of the key events in vertebrate evolution, from their early diversification in the oceans to the conquest of land.

Animal Population Genetics (Option)
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Animal Population Genetics (Option)

This module examines the application of molecular techniques to study ecology, evolution and conservation of animal populations and species. It aims to provide the theoretical background for understanding evolutionary and population genetics. Case studies will be used to illustrate how the theory and molecular techniques are applied to inform behavioural, ecological and conservation questions, particularly relating to management of rare and threatened species of animals.

Behavioural Ecology (Option)
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Behavioural Ecology (Option)

This module examines behaviour from an evolutionary perspective.

The module will focus on key topics including: Optimality Theory, Sexual Selection, Communication & Sensory Ecology, Altruism & Cooperation, Arms Races, Fighting & Assessment, Navigation & Migration and Human Behaviour.

Integrative Ecology (Option)
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Integrative Ecology (Option)

The Integrative Ecology module reviews advanced topics that cover core theoretical and applied areas relevant to both Evolutionary Biology and Ecology in the modern world, from a species-level scale to a global, biogeographic scale. By developing bridges between these two strongly dependent and connected fields and between both scales of analysis, Integrative Ecology offers a critical synthesis module that aims to strengthen the knowledge that life science students have gained following the introduction of fundamental evolutionary and ecology concepts provided by previous modules. The module will cover a range of areas of paramount relevance for our understanding of the world and of its biodiversity around us.

Life Sciences Research Project (Core)
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Life Sciences Research Project (Core)

In 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 practical and project-management skills. A wide range of subject expertise exists within the School, and students are expected to select a project that is relevant to their programme of study. Under the guidance of a supervisor, students will review the literature, identify a hypothesis or hypotheses and design a programme of research to test these. They will be expected to manage the project, including obtaining relevant ethical approval and conducting a risk assessment. They will collect and analyse data, recording their activities in a notebook. We currently offer projects in the laboratory or field, or projects that involve mathematical modelling, systematic reviews or meta-analysis of pre-collected data. Students may work individually or in groups addressing similar questions, but must write up individually. The project should be written up in the format of a scientific paper following closely the style of a key journal relevant to their area of study, or as a thesis.

Overseas Field Course (Option)
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Overseas Field Course (Option)

An overseas field course gives students the opportunity to investigate biological phenomena in the field. See the Features tab for more information on potential costs incurred by these opportunities.

Students will be encouraged to view the ecosystem within the wider context of the anthropogenic impacts being imposed on it, and will be expected to work in groups, guided by staff, to develop and test hypotheses with the aim of allowing them to understand more about biological processes operating within the study area.

Palaeobiology (Option)
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Palaeobiology (Option)

Palaeobiology addresses directly major changes in biological systems through time with an emphasis on whole-organism biology and organism-environment interactions. There is enormous popular interest in big evolutionary questions, including in our own evolutionary heritage and position in the Tree of Life. This module will offer students an opportunity to gain insights into the reasons why some groups are extremely diverse, whereas others are lacking. It will shed light upon the role of mass extinctions in shaping diversity, as well as the significance of ecological specialisation and anatomical complexity in determining the likelihood of species’ surviving and thriving. Finally, it will aim to illuminate Life’s complexity at all level of structural and functional organisation.

Practical Skills in Conservation (Core)
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Practical Skills in Conservation (Core)

The aim of this module is to hone and refine practical and transferable skills that have been acquired throughout the degree. As such it will include more advanced field and research skills as well as project management and experience of current conservation practise.

Soil Biology (Core)
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Soil Biology (Core)

This 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.

Urban Ecology (Core)
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Urban Ecology (Core)

This module examines the complexity of urban environments, by looking at what makes an urban environment, both in terms of habitat (past to current changes), biodiversity and changes to the physical environment. It also covers how we manage urban ecosystems both for humans and for biodiversity.

†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.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to students promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date (unless stated differently above)..

Methods of Assessment

The way students are assessed on this course may vary for each module. Examples of assessment methods that are used include coursework, such as written assignments, reports or dissertations; practical exams, such as presentations, performances or observations; and written exams, such as formal examinations or in-class tests. The weighting given to each assessment method may vary across each academic year. The University of Lincoln aims to ensure that staff return in-course assessments to students promptly.

Overseas Field Course (Optional Module)

This optional module in the final year involves an overseas field trip. This will provide the opportunity to do research in a novel environment and to study local plants and animals. Destinations may vary, but in 2016 included the cloud forests of Ecuador, the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa, Peniche in Portugal and the Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland.

Students who opt to undertake a field trip overseas will be expected to cover transport costs (including flight costs). These costs will vary depending on the location of the field trip. Accommodation and meals at the field sites are fully funded by the University.

Students may 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 they choose to bring.

Student as Producer

Student as Producer is a model of teaching and learning that encourages academics and undergraduate students to collaborate on research activities. It is a programme committed to learning through doing.

The Student as Producer initiative was commended by the QAA in our 2012 review and is one of the teaching and learning features that makes the Lincoln experience unique.

All full-time Ecology and Conservation students may take an optional placement year between the second and third year of the programme. These placements are student-led, but will be continuously supported by academic staff throughout.

Placements provide students with the opportunity to gain valuable workplace experience and a chance to hone their skills in a professional environment. When students are on an optional placement in the UK, they will be required to cover their own transport and accommodation and meals costs.

Tuition Fees

2018/19 EntryUK/EUInternational
Full-time £9,250 per level £15,600 per level
Part-time £77.00 per credit point†  N/A
Placement (optional) Exempt Exempt


†Please note that not all courses are available as a part-time option.

For more information and for details about funding your study, please see our UK/EU Fees & Funding pages or our International funding and scholarship pages. [www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/studyatlincoln/undergraduatecourses/feesandfunding/] [www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/international/feesandfunding/]

Additional Costs

For each course students may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required, depending on their subject area. Some courses provide opportunities for students to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for the travel, accommodation and meals may be covered by the University and so is included in the fee. Where these are optional students will normally (unless stated otherwise) be required to pay their own transportation, accommodation and meal costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that students are required to read. However, students may prefer to purchase some of these for themselves and will therefore be responsible for this cost. Where there may be exceptions to this general rule, information will be displayed in a section titled Other Costs below.

GCE Advanced Levels: BBB, including grade B from A Level Biology, Chemistry or Geography. Practical elements must be passed.

International Baccalaureate: 30 points overall, with Higher Level grade 5 in Biology, Chemistry or Geography.

BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science accepted: Distinction, Distinction, Merit.

If you are currently studying or have studied a BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science from 2016 onwards, the following optional modules will be accepted:

  • Unit 8 - Physiology of Human Body Systems
  • Unit 9 – Human Regulation and Reproduction
  • Unit 10 – Biological Molecules and Metabolic Pathways
  • Unit 11 – Genetics and Genetic Engineering
  • Unit 12 – Diseases and Infections
  • Unit 13 – Applications of Inorganic Chemistry
  • Unit 14 – Applications of Organic Chemistry
  • Unit 17 – Microbiology and Microbiological Techniques
  • Unit 18 – Industrial Chemical Reactions
  • Unit 19 – Practical Chemical Analysis
  • Unit 20 – Biomedical Science
  • Unit 21 – Medical Physics Applications


Access to Higher Education Diploma in a Science subject accepted: A minimum of 45 level 3 credits at merit or above will be required, 15 of which must be in Biology, Chemistry or Geography.

We will also consider extensive, relevant work experience.

In addition, applicants must have at least 3 GCSEs at grade C or above in English, Maths and Science. Level 2 equivalent qualifications such as BTEC First Certificates and Level 2 Functional Skills will be considered.

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 admissions@lincoln.ac.uk.

Learn from Experts

Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may be supported in their learning by other students.


Your Future Career

Career opportunities for graduates with a Ecology and Conservation degree exist in fields requiring scientific training, such as research, teaching, environmental consultancy, working in wildlife conservation, or in museums. Some graduates choose to continue their studies at postgraduate level or pursue a career in pure or applied research.

Careers Service

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with students to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during their time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing a course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise our graduates future opportunities.

The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages for further information http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/campuslife/studentsupport/careersservice/.


Facilities

At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our undergraduates. Whatever the area of study, the University strives to ensure students have access to specialist equipment and resources, to develop the skills, which they may need in their future career.

The purpose-built Science Centre offers specialist laboratories and teaching spaces, including large chemistry teaching laboratories fitted with industry-standard equipment and a dedicated analytical suite.

Students can conduct practical work with industry-standard apparatus. Equipment and facilities available for students undertaking research projects include a cell culture suite, analytical chemistry instrumentation, protein purification equipment, a scanning electron microscope and real-time polymerase chain reaction equipment for the amplification and quantification of DNA samples.


This course has not been running at the University of Lincoln for a period long enough to provide its own data for the Key Information Set provides by Unistats.com. Data is currently drawn from similar subjects at the University of Lincoln rather than from this specific subject. If you would like to know more about this course we would strongly recommend that that you meet us at our next open day. Alternatively, talk to us about your future at the University of Lincoln by calling +44 (0) 1522 886644.
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.