About this course
You will study biodiversity and conservation in the context of a range of UK ecosystems including woodland, grassland and moor.
You'll develop practical skills in habitat assessment and species identification. You will also expand your academic understanding, contribute to relevant research and meet local practitioners.
The course is suitable for graduates with a background in ecology, biology and environmental science, but also for people with an interest in wildlife who are seeking a career change towards conservation, habitat management or ecological consultancy.
We have strong links with public and private sector organisations including:
- Northumberland National Park
- Natural England
- local Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- local Wildlife Trusts
- Forestry Commission
- National Trust
- local ecological consultancies
What you'll learn
You will develop understanding, practical ability and critical awareness around the following:
- temperate zone ecosystems and wildlife species, for example forest and woodland, moorland, calaminarian, whin, coastal and other grassland, and other habitats
- contemporary conservation issues, for example rewilding, conflict in the countryside, biodiversity threats
- habitat assessment appropriate for ecological consultancy work
- surveying and mapping using technology such as GIS
- plant and animal species identification skills
- practical management planning for selected ecosystems
- communication including presentations, short videos, report writing and team work
Support is available to you if you:
- have been out of education for some time
- have come from different specialisms
- are from education systems different from those in the UK
We offer help in academic and professional skills such as:
- ecology for non-ecologists
- critical thinking for scientists
- information literacy
- data manipulation, analysis and presentation
Our approach to data analysis is suitable for different ability levels. We use R software assuming basic knowledge, but build on it quickly so you can analyse and present dissertation data professionally, and undertake similar research in your future employment.
This course is taught in a block format each block lasting 4 weeks.
You will be taught through:
- lectures and seminars
- practical and field visits
- case studies
- small group discussions
- vocational activities
Independent study outside of these structured sessions is expected. Where possible assessments will be used to develop your employability skills such as:
- presentations: oral or using video skills
- management plans
- consultancy reports
- scientific papers
- group reports
- guided tours of conservation sites
- reflective critical pieces
Exams are avoided wherever possible.
We have two University Farms:
- Cockle Park Farm is a 262ha mixed farm that includes the renowned Palace Leas hay meadow experimental plots
- Nafferton Farm is a 300ha farm with long running organic versus conventional trial plots
The farms have recently entered into an Environmental Stewardship agreement to maintain and enhance important habitats. The farms and facilities are accessible for your project work.
Newcastle is close to some very special natural and man-made habitats. These habitats all have biodiversity interest and many with challenging conservation issues. It is a prime location for study. We are located close to the hills and plains of Northumberland, County Durham and the Lake District.
There will be chances to visit:
- Newcastle University farms
- remote moorlands and bogs
- ancient woodlands
- Kielder Forest
- diverse and threatened grasslands
- rocky and marshy coast
There are also great rail links to Edinburgh and London.