A contemporary skills based course producing highly employable, professional conservation biologists.
- Opportunity to specialise in ecological topics.
- Practical course using contemporary learning methods.
- High employability of graduates.
Our specialist Conservation Biology pathway enables you to develop your skills in a contemporary and practical degree. You'll study the latest practical technique for studying conservation with a particular emphasis on the real world and its constraints.
You'll graduate with skills tailored for the practical job market, well placed for a career in environmental / ecology consultancy, research or further study in conservation.
'The Bath Spa Biology team gives you the confidence to go on and achieve any aim you set for yourself, and the freedom to explore science in the most incredible environment.'
Liza Stanley, Biology graduate
What you'll learn
All Biology students cover a broad range of fundamental biology topics from cell biology and genetics to plant, animal and human biology. In additional to these core topics, you'll take specialised modules in conservation biology, gaining a range of appropriate knowledge and skills.
The course is 'real-world' focused, you'll graduate as a professional biologist prepared to solve a range of problems and keep up to date with scientific advances.
The first year focusses on fundamental topics such as cell biology, genetics, anatomy and physiology, evolution, classification, food production and ecosystems. Associated practical classes give you hand-on experience of these concepts. You'll also study a biodiversity and conservation module to develop your knowledge and skills in many contemporary themes of plant and animal conservation. You may choose to study modules in human biology, biochemistry, nutrition or earth science.
The second year covers a range of important human, animal and plant biology. You'll also consider important concepts in biology such as ethics, biosecurity, genetics and technology. Additional topics you can study include ecology, biodiversity monitoring, environmental sustainability, biodiversity and microbiology. Modules in business, psychology and science publishing are also available.
There is an optional Sandwich Year in Professional Practice between your second and final year, giving you the opportunity to put your classroom knowledge and skills into practice and experience a relevant job.
You'll carry out a dissertation in the final year. This substantial research project gives you the experience of being responsible for planning, implementing and reporting on a conservation biology topic. In addition you may study topics in nature conservation, animal behaviour, marine biology, digital imaging and plant biology. Modules in business, psychology and science publishing are also available.
How will I be assessed?
Assessments are varied, designed to be appropriate to the particular skills required for each module. Some modules have coursework and examinations, but many are coursework only. The practical nature of our assessment contributes to our high levels of graduate employment.
Types of assessment include scientific papers, posters, oral presentation, interviews, essays, reports, reviews, leaflets and video presentation. There are also plenty of opportunities to choose the biological theme on which you are assessed, allowing you to have deeper understanding of aspects of biology of interest to you.
How will I be taught?
You'll be taught using a range of teaching and learning methods. Interactive lectures provide you with fundamental knowledge, enhanced by the practical skills you learn in supporting sessions. Around half of your contact time will be in lectures, and half in practical or workshop sessions.
Biology (Conservation Biology) with a year in professional practice (UCAS code: D157)
Subject to approval, you can opt to take a year in professional practice ('sandwich year') between your level 5 (year 2) and level 6 (year 3) studies.
This placement will enable you to put theory into practice, build professional networks and meet and work with potential employers. It will also help with work management and give you experience to bring back to your studies in your final year.
Your degree title will include the phrase 'with a year in professional practice', so it is clear to all employers that you have this experience as part of your degree.
You'll have the opportunity to study in a wide range of locations around the world. Our students have completed Erasmus+ and Exchange programmes in a variety of countries including Spain, Sweden and the USA.
From Kew Gardens to Haverfordwest, you'll have opportunities to participate in field trips across the Biology modules. Please note that you'll have to pay a contribution towards the cost of some of these study visits.
Work placements, industry links and internships
Our students have worked with clients such as the NHS, Bristol Zoo, Operation Wallacea, English Nature and local authorities.
Biology graduates have a range of professions including environmental consultant, wildlife trust warden, livestock manager and science technician. Graduates have been employed by companies including Nicholas Pearson Associates, New Zealand Department of Conservation and RSPB.
100% of Biology students are in work or further study after 6 months of graduation.
Competitions and awards
We'll encourage you to participate in local and national science festivals.
Each year we award five prizes to our students. These are:
- the Bath Spa University Biology Prize for best performance (one per year of study);
- the OUP Prize;
- the CIWEM Prize.
Facilities and resources
Where the subject is taught
You'll have access to our:
Located in the Gardens area of the Newton Park campus, we have a number of well-equipped recently refurbished laboratories dedicated to a variety of practical work. Some are used for specialist microbiological culturing and analysis, others for biochemistry and physiology.
- Low Hazard Laboratory Space
We have 'low hazard' laboratory space where you can carry out activities such as the preparation and assessment of food, exercise or psychological studies.
- Biology Resources Room
- Commons building
- Newton Park library
- Virtual Learning Environment
Biology students can hire out equipment using SISO, Bath Spa University's free equipment loan service. We provide a huge variety of equipment from binoculars, to telescopes and video cameras.