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BSc Hons Ecology and Conservation

Mode of Study: Full Time Department: Lancaster Environment Centre
UCAS Code: C180 Duration/Length: 3 Year(s)
QAA Subject Benchmark: Biosciences Director of Studies: Dr MR Menendez Martinez
Total Credit Points: 360 Credit Points Year 2: 105
Credit Points Year 3: 135

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

  • PartI
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • PartII (Year 2)
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • The student must take 2 modules from the following group:
  • PartII (Year 3)
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • The student must take 7 modules from the following group:

Educational Aims: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Students begin their degree with an integrated first year, which combines subject-specific topics, such as Evolutionary Biology, and Biodiversity and Conservation, with broader topics which introduce key environmental issues. In their second year, students can study topics, such as: Populations to Ecosystems and Principles of Biodiversity Conservation. In their third year study students can study more specialised topics such as Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, and Conservation in Practice. Students undertake their own research project, with guidance from our internationally-renowned academic staff. There are also opportunities to carry out projects with a commercial partner, or at a European university via the Erasmus scheme. In addition, we offer specialist topics with visiting lecturers from leading UK environmental agencies and charities, such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). 


    The programme aims to:

    Provide a flexible but structured, progressive and thematic training in Ecology and Conservation which will provide students with a knowledge and understanding appropriate for subject-specific graduate employment.

    Develop key transferable skills to prepare students for more general graduate employment.

    Develop the intellectual and practical skills necessary for progression to postgraduate research and training.

    Encourage academic curiosity which will prepare students for lifelong learning.

    Offer a broad range of modules within which students can select a specialised route.

    Offer all students the opportunity to conduct a substantial research project.

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Graduates with Honours will be able to:

    Demonstrate a broad understanding of biological, physical and chemical processes in ecosystems and how they interact with society.

    Discuss and critically analyse patterns of distribution of organisms in relation to environmental factors.

    Demonstrate a comprehension of: nutrient and energy flow in Ecosystems; population processes, dynamics and interactions; and of processes governing community structure and the functional significance of biodiversity.

    Critically analyse the effects of human populations on ecosystems.

    Demonstrate a comprehension of the benefits of Ecosystem Services to humanity and other justifications for the conservation of biodiversity.

    Undertake ecological survey of a range of taxa, and demonstrate understanding of the principles and practice of habitat management.

    Design and execute experiments in the laboratory and field.

    Distinguish major taxanomic groupings, and to successfully use identification keys.

    Analyse and interpret data from a range of sources and formally communicate it in written and oral presentations.

    Undertake risk assessments and safely undertake field and laboratory work.

    Work independently and as part of a team, appreciating collective goals and applying negotiation skills.

    Manage time effectively and have well developed skills of organisation, planning and management.

    Competently use IT including spreadsheets, word processing, presentation software and statistical analysis.

    Communicate professionally via written reports, posters and oral presentations.

Learning and Teaching Strategies and Methods: Knowledge, Understanding, Skills

  • Knowledge is acquired mainly through lectures and student-centred learning, supported by practical classes, smaller group workshops sessions and tutorials.

    Teaching is hierarchical, with a relatively broad-based introductory-level first year, and becomes progressively more specialised in years two and three. A mixture of core, compulsory modules and optional modules will be offered from across a range of disciplines within LEC. This will ensure the required range of biological, environmental and geographic knowledge relevant to ecology and conservation biology will be imparted to students. The third year will include a research project on a relevant topic in ecology or conservation biology. There are also three residential field courses available to students taking this degree which provide important subject knowledge and practical skills.

    In summary:

    Knowledge and understanding is developed through a combination of lectures, workshops, practical sessions, coursework exercises and undertaking reading from a range of literature sources.

    Intellectual skills are developed as follows:

    Analytical skills are developed through workshop sessions, practical work, field work and the dissertation, and are informed by lectures and reading.

    Skills in interpretation of data (e.g. survey and numerical) are developed through practical classes, field work and projects.

    Skills in critical analysis are developed through lectures, workshops, practical work, projects and through reading of primary research papers.

    Practical skills are developed as follows:

    Test, measurement (including ecological surveys and identification), and evaluation skills are developed through lectures, workshops, practical classes, field work and the dissertation.

    Experimental design, data collection and risk assessment skills are developed through practical work, field work and the dissertation.

    Skills in project management techniques are developed through practical work, field work and the dissertation.

    Numerical skills (including statistical skills) are developed through practical classes and workshops.

    Transferable skills are taught explicitly in first year tutorials. These are also embedded and developed in modules throughout the curriculum  including dissertation projects and field courses.

    Communication skills are developed through instruction and practice in writing reports, essays, projects and giving presentations.

    General ICT skills are developed through use of computers in several aspects of the course and for communication in the university and beyond.

    Information retrieval skills are developed in coursework and projects.

    Data manipulation and presentation skills are developed through practical classes, field work, report writing and projects.

    Independent-learning skills are developed through coursework and projects.

    Time management skills are developed through coursework and student projects.

    Employability skills are developed in a second year skills module.

    Team working skills are developed through practical and field work classes and via group work conducted in workshops and tutorials.

Assessment Strategy and Methods: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Knowledge and understanding is assessed through unseen examinations and end of modules tests (multiple choice or short answer questions). Examinations are mainly of the essay type but also include data analysis questions in some modules. Coursework assignments, which include: essays, practical class and fieldwork reports, literature reviews and summaries, poster and oral presentations, also test students' knowledge and understanding. The relative weight of these components varies according to the type of module and its intended outcomes.

    Many modules also employ formative assessment, often using on-line tools such as the QuestionMark Perception system, to enable students to directly assess their own knowledge. In addition, students receive individual feedback on coursework which enables them to identify areas for improvement and provides suggestions on how this can be achieved. For many pieces of coursework, students are also given generic feedback in the form of model answers.

    Intellectual skills are assessed by a combination of coursework exercises, practical, field and project work and written examinations. 

    Practical skills are assessed by a combination of practical, field and project work, laboratory/field reports and data analysis examination questions.

    Transferable skills such as written and oral presentation skills, graphical presentation of data, general IT skills and information gathering are assessed by a variety of coursework assignments as listed above. The ability to critically assess information from a variety of sources and construct a reasoned argument will be a central element of several styles of assessment, especially written coursework and essay questions in examinations. Data collection, presentation, analysis and interpretation will be assessed through practical and fieldwork reports, and through data analysis questions included in examinations. Other forms of coursework will assess oral and visual presentation skills through the use of poster or slide presentations.

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