The BSc in Wildlife Conservation provides comprehensive training in natural science aspects of conservation (including genetics, ecology, wildlife management and species reintroductions) together with training in the human dimensions of conservation (for example environmental economics, international biodiversity regulation, the politics of climate change and work with rural communities).
The programme includes a significant lab-based and field-based component. Additionally, there is an opportunity to conduct a research project in the UK or abroad at the end of the second year. Recent locations include South Africa, Borneo and the Peruvian Amazon.
Follow the experiences of some of our students:
Katrine Burford-Bradshaw - follow her blog about her experiences in India
Toby Scriven - testimonial about his year working with elephants at Chester ZooWill Clothier - video about his work with rhino in South Africa, you can also follow him on Instagram
Queen’s Anniversary Prize
The University of Kent was awarded a highly prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for the work of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE).
DICE leads projects in over 50 countries, including research on human wellbeing and nature, human-elephant conflict, oil palm deforestation, online illegal trade in protected species, national park planning and ecotourism projects and the mapping of biodiversity through eDNA.
Our degree programme
In your first year, you are introduced to biological, social and environmental sciences and the foundational skills required for wildlife conservation and management. Optional modules allow you to expand on areas of particular interest, which may include: Animals, People and Plants; Foundations of Biological Anthropology; Contested Environments; or Sustainable Land-Use Systems. You also benefit from practical learning through lab-based sessions and a number of visits away from the lecture room.
In your second and final years, you take compulsory modules that further your skills and understanding, such as: Spatial Analysis in Wildlife Conservation; Data Analysis for Conservation Biologists; Methods and Research Design in Contemporary Conservation Science.
You also enjoy a wide and varied choice of modules enabling you to expand your perspectives or focus more on the natural or social science aspects of conservation. Optional modules may include: Human Wildlife Conflict and Resource Competition; Tropical Ecology and Conservation; Primate Behaviour and Ecology; Evolutionary Genetics and Conservation; Creative Conservation; Conservation and Communities; Human Ecology; Global Biodiversity and Species Conservation.
In your final year, you undertake a research project, choosing your topic with your project supervisor. Students often undertake their field research abroad with many joining our annual expedition to our research vessel on the Peruvian Amazon.
Year in professional practice
The year in professional practice is a wonderful opportunity to spend up to a year, between the second and final years, undertaking work placements with organisations relevant to your degree programme. You spend a minimum of 24 weeks on placement at one or more organisations. Placements can be at home or abroad and give you the opportunity to apply your academic skills in a practical context, offering you rare and unique experiences which will set you apart. Previous placements have included: environmental consultancy for Afzelia Limited, Zambia; forest impact surveying a the Danau Girang Field Centre, Borneo; project co-ordination for the Uganda Conservation Foundation; project work for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Germany; wildlife crime mapping for the Freeland India Consultants Private Limited; and small animal and bear monitoring for the Administration of Rodna Mountains National Park, Romania.
Alternatively, you can take our three-year Wildlife Conservation degree, without a work placement. For details, see Wildlife Conservation BSc (Hons).
Due to the practical nature of this degree, there is a strong emphasis on fieldwork. We aim to undertake two UK field trips per term. Potential excursions (linked to specific modules) may include:
Howletts Wild Animal ParkStodmarsh National Nature ReserveKing's WoodPowell Cotton MuseumAshford Community WoodlandMonks Risborough nature reserveDurrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Jersey Zoo).
Students on the Tropical Ecology and Conservation module spend two weeks at the Danau Girang Field Centre in Borneo. You'll explore the beautiful, picturesque rainforest before venturing deeper into the jungle to the field studies site. The Centre is located in an area where huge swathes of jungle have been removed and replaced by plantations. You work on the front line between managing the needs of the community and the impact on biodiversity.
These opportunities may change from year to year and may incur additional costs. See the funding tab for more information.
The School of Anthropology and Conservation has excellent teaching resources including dedicated computing facilities. Other resources include:
conservation genetics laboratoriesecology laboratoryfield trials area and field laboratoryrefurbished computer suite with 32 PCs with HD screensupgraded visual anthropology suite with 16 iMacsan integrated audio-visual system to help provide stimulating lecturesstudent social spaces.
The Conservation Society is run by Kent students and is a good way to meet other students on your course in an informal way. The Conservation Society also works with local organisations and charities providing lots of opportunities for volunteering, community work and outings.
The School of Anthropology and Conservation puts on many events that you are welcome to attend. We host two public lectures a year, the Stirling Lecture and the DICE Lecture, which bring current ideas in anthropology and conservation to a wider audience. We are delighted that these events attract leading conservation figures from around the world.
Each term, there are also seminars and workshops discussing current research in anthropology, conservation and human ecology.
Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology
This programme is taught by members of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) research centre. DICE, in the School of Anthropology and Conservation at Kent, is a leading international research and training centre dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems around the world.
DICE was founded in 1989 with a clear mission: to conserve biodiversity and the ecological processes that support ecosystems and people. It does so by developing capacity and improving conservation management and policy through high-impact research. That is why DICE is in a School that does research and teaching in anthropology alongside conservation.
One component of DICE’s work is to train a new, interdisciplinary generation of conservationists who think innovatively about the challenges that lie ahead. As undergraduates, you are part of a dynamic and growing community of conservationists whose work spans all major regions of the world.
In our most recent national Teaching Excellence Framework, teaching at Kent was judged to be Gold rated. Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.
Our teaching is research-led as all our staff are active in their fields. In addition to lectures and seminars, we run laboratory-based practicals and field trips. You also have an opportunity to conduct a field-based research thesis in your final year. This gives you practical experience of developing a research proposal and research questions, finding appropriate methods, conducting research, analysing and interpreting results, writing up a full research project and giving an oral presentation, all with the support of a dedicated project supervisor.
We offer you the opportunity to conduct your research project either in the UK or abroad – for example, many students have taken part in the annual expedition to the Peruvian Amazon, one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth.
Most modules are assessed by 50% coursework and 50% unseen exam. Some modules are assessed only by coursework, which takes a variety of forms, including essays, short answer tests, oral presentations, laboratory reports, individual and team projects, field reports, commentaries, management plans and statistical analyses.
Year in professional practice
Assessment is by means of a manager appraisal (10%), a written report by the student (80%) and a presentation by the student (10%); the manager appraisal is carried out by the manager within the placement host organisation whereas the report and presentation are assessed by SAC academic staff.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- ecological and biodiversity-related concepts
- species, habitat and landscape conservation
- practical understanding of wildlife conservation
- principles of sustainable use and wildlife management
- the relationship between local communities and conservation
- issues and practices when managing wildlife within or outside protected areas
- the role of behavioural ecology in conservation
- genetics in conservation issues
- wildlife laws and legislative frameworks
- the role that statistics has in conservation
- the way that an employee can contribute to the organisation in which they work
- specific areas of theory, policy or practice relevant to the host organisation(s) and the agreed placement task(s).
You develop intellectual abilities in the following:
- learning and study
- critical and analytical methods
- expressing ideas in writing and orally
- design, implementation, analysis and write-up of a research project
- ability to interpret scholarly publications
- how to formulate and test theories
- presenting a structured and logical argument
- apply some of the above skills from the perspective of your chosen employment sector
- gain a broader perspective on your individual discipline.
You gain wildlife conservation skills in the following:
- field biology (such as surveys and sampling)
- social science (such as interviews and questionnaires)
- research design, statistics
- analysing case studies
- environmental education
- how to evaluate sustainability of resource use
- management of protected areas
- the ability to apply theoretical and technical knowledge to professional practice.
You gain transferable skills in the following:
- writing reports and proposals
- time management
- using library resources
- independent research
- group work
- professional teamwork
- effective use of information sources.
Our aims are to provide students with:
- knowledge of the science and practicalities of wildlife conservation, including the biological, social and economic aspects of the subject
- an understanding of theoretical issues, methods and practical tools
- awareness of sustainability and wildlife exploitation
- knowledge of wildlife conservation at local, national and international levels
- the abilities necessary for professional development, such as analytical problem-solving, interpersonal skills, autonomous practice and team-working
- the knowledge to play a leading role in the field of wildlife conservation
- innovative opportunities for fieldwork
- experience of work in a professional environment relevant to your degree programme, whether at home or abroad
- employment-related skills, including an understanding of how to relate to the structures and functions in an organisation
- the qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the exercise of professionalism, independent thought, personal responsibility and decision-making.