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C183 - Biology (Ecology and Conservation)

Biology (Ecology and Conservation)

MBiol Honours

  • UCAS code: C183
  • Full time
  • 4 years
  • Next start date: September 2020
Year :

Our four-year Ecology and Environmental Biology MBiol Honours degree is very similar in content to our BSc but includes a year of master's-level study, which offers significant research experience.

Fees (per year)

  • Home: £9250
  • International: £22800

Entry requirements

  • A Level: AAB-BBB
  • IB: 32-34 points

UCAS Institution name and code:

  • NEWC / N21
Work placement opportunity Study abroad opportunity

Course overview

You focus on plants, animals and micro-organisms, but with a strong focus on whole organisms and their roles in the environment. You study specialist topics related to ecology and the environment, such as:

  • biodiversity, ecology and conservation
  • UK wildlife 
  • population genetics
  • plant biology
  • pollution science
  • vertebrate biology

You also have the opportunity to choose from specialist topics such as ecosystem management, management of wildlife disease and epidemiology, and global species conservation principles and practice.

Like our BSc students, you learn the scientific skills required by professional biologists. You take these to a higher professional level during your fourth year, where you work alongside our research-active staff to explore advanced topics in ecology.

You will also enjoy a species identification field course, as well as a week-long project-based residential field course.

BSc or MBiol?

Some of our degrees are offered at two levels:

  • three-year Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • four-year Master of Biology (MBiol)

Our MBiol degrees involve an additional year of advanced study at master’s level, during which you will gain significant research experience to increase your employability.


Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

See our terms and conditions for more information

View our Frequently Asked Questions

Your course during COVID-19

Whilst things will not be the same when you join us in September, this course page is intended to give you insight into what to expect from your course and your learning experience for the duration of your degree.

We have updated all course information where there are specific changes in the first semester.


Most of our student services are now available online. As COVID-19 restrictions lift, we'll be opening up our on-campus facilities as soon as it is safe to do so, so that you can get the best out of your studies.

Your learning experience

Your teaching will be a mixture of online and in-person on-campus teaching. In semester one, as a result of physical distancing requirements, all lecture materials will be delivered online along with many tutorials, workshops and labs.

Our aim, if Government guidance allows us, is to deliver up to three hours of labs, seminars and tutorial teaching in-person on campus where this is possible and safe to do so. We'll review this regularly and plan to return to full in-person, on-campus teaching in semester two if restrictions allow.


In semester one, we will not be running face-to-face, on-campus examinations. We will instead use different approaches to assessment. These will test and support your learning.

Field trips

We will be running some but not all of our planned field trips. Some of those that do run, will be run virtually. For those that do not run, we will be offering alternative learning activities. These learning activities will give you the opportunity to achieve the same learning.

Terms and conditions and student complaints

The University has terms and conditions which create a positive environment for learning and academic achievement.

Further information

Our COVID-19 Study page gives more information about your Newcastle University 2020 study experience.

Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitments outlined are subject to the guidelines that may be in place at the time.

Quality and ranking

Biology at Newcastle ranks in the top 150 in the world in the Life Sciences category, Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject 2020.

Modules and learning


The information below is intended to provide an example of what you will study.

Most degrees are divided into stages. Each stage lasts for one academic year, and you'll complete modules totalling 120 credits by the end of each stage. 

Our teaching is informed by research. Course content may change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback.

Optional module availability
Student demand for optional modules may affect availability.

Full details of the modules on offer will be published through the Programme Regulations and Specifications ahead of each academic year. This usually happens in May.

To find out more please see our terms and conditions.

The first year of this degree is shared with other degrees in the School. This provides all students with a thorough knowledge of the fundamentals of biology.

You can transfer to one of our other Biology degrees before the second year should your interests change (subject to achieving the appropriate grades).


Compulsory Modules Credits
Genetics and Evolution 20
Diversity of Life: Form and Function 20
Ecology and Conservation 20
Cells and Biomolecules 20
Academic and Professional Skills for the Biosciences 20
Optional Modules Credits
Crop Pests 10
Principles of animal physiology and health 20
Natural Science Research Impact 10
Sedimentology and Stratigraphy 10
Introduction to Scientific Computing for Chemists 10
The Marine Environment 20
Marine Microbiology and Primary Producers 20

In Stage 2, you'll start to focus in on your ecology and conservation specialism, with modules including pollution of air, water, and soil, UK wildlife, vertebrate biology, plant biology, and environmental management skills.


Compulsory Modules Credits
Site Management and Communication Skills 20
Field Identification Skills 10
Pollution of Air, Water & Soil 10
Experimental Design and Statistics 10
Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation 20
Residential Field Course 10
Optional Modules Credits
Sustainable Solutions 10
Animal Behaviour 10
UK Wildlife 10
Vertebrate Biology 20
Plant Biology 20
Molecular Evolution and Systematics 20
Insect and arthropod biology 20
Ecology of Marine Systems 20
Career Development for second year students 20
Developing Enterprise, Entrepreneurship and Employability 20

You'll complete either a week-long mammal surveying project on the University's farm, or a 12-day trip to Tanzania or South Africa, where you'll study ecology, conservation, and management challenges in tropical landscapes.


Compulsory Modules Credits
Mammal Surveying Skills 10
Biodiversity Science and Management 20
Applied Ecology 20
Optional Modules Credits
Environmental Impact Assessment 20
Sustainable Development and Environmental Valuation 10
Zoo Animal Science and Management 10
Molecular Evolution and Systematics 20
Biological Modelling 20
Physiological Zoology 20
Global challenges in plant science research 20
Biological Literature Review 40
Biological Information Project 40
Biological Research Project 40
Creativity, Innovation and Market Research in Science and Engineering UG 10

You build on the knowledge and skills you developed in the first three years, working alongside our research-active staff to explore advanced topics in biology. You undertake a significant research project working with an active research group.

You also have the opportunity to choose from specialist topics such as: biodiversity conservation; ecosystem management; management of wildlife disease and epidemiology; and global species conservation principles and practice.


Compulsory Modules Credits
Optional Modules Credits
Ecosystem Management 10
Global Species Conservation Principles and Practice 10
Invasive Species 10
Wildlife Conflicts and Management 10
Wildlife Research in Practice 10
Management and Visualisation of Data in Ecology and Conservation 10
Dynamics of Coupled Human-Natural Systems 20
Research Project 60
Research Project 60
Data preparation, analysis, interpretation and presentation for MSc 10
Academic and professional skills for MSc 10
Quantitative Ecological Research Methods 20
Problem Solving through Innovation PG 10

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

You'll learn from a combination of teaching methods, including:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • field work
  • lab work

Assessment methods

You'll be assessed through a combination of:

  • Assignments – written or fieldwork

  • Case studies

  • Dissertation or research project

  • Essays

  • Examinations – practical or online

  • Presentations

  • Projects

Skills and experience

Research skills

You'll develop key research skills, conduct your own research, and learn from the research of your lecturers.

During your second year, you'll complete an experimental design and statistics for biologists module, allowing you to develop the problem-solving and statistical skills required by research biologists.

In your final year, you'll have the option to complete an independent biological research project.

Practical skills

This is a practical course and you'll spend time in labs and off campus on field trips. You'll develop practical skills by observing and experimenting in the lab and the field, using scientific apparatus


Study abroad

Experience life in another country by choosing to study abroad as part of your degree. You’ll be encouraged to embrace fun and challenging experiences, make connections with new communities and graduate as a globally aware professional, ready for your future.

You can choose to spend up to a year studying at a partner institution overseas.

If you choose to study abroad, it will extend your degree by a year. 

Find out more about study abroad

Work placement

Get career ready with a work placement and leave as a confident professional in your field. You can apply to spend 9 to 12 months working in any organisation in the world, and receive University support from our dedicated team to secure your dream placement. Work placements take place between stages 3 and 4.

You'll gain first-hand experience of working in the sector, putting your learning into practice and developing your professional expertise.

If you choose to take a work placement, it will extend your degree by a year. Placements are subject to availability.

Find out more about work placements

Facilities and environment


As a Biology and Zoology student, you'll be based in the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at our city-centre campus.

During your studies, you'll have access to two commercial farms near Newcastle. These are used as demonstration facilities as well as a field station with glasshouse and dedicated teaching facilities.

You'll have the opportunity to access purpose-built laboratories. You can also visit the Great North Museum, where there's a range of important biological collections. We also have our controlled-environment aquaria situated in the Ridley 2 Building.


As a new student, you'll receive a tablet, so you can download online learning resources, helping to make our campus more sustainable.

You'll have the support of an academic member of staff as a personal tutor throughout your degree to help with academic and personal issues.

Your future

Graduates specialising in Ecology and Conservation are equipped prepared for exciting careers within organisations including the Wildlife Trust, Nature Trek, WWT, Natural England, National Trust, RSPB.

You'll have opportunities in areas such as environmental management, teaching, environmental education, and science education. You could even become a wildlife film-maker – one of our graduates was the producer on Blue Planet II.

Industry links

Our strong industry links will allow you to benefit from placement, volunteering and networking opportunities.

We have links with many of the leading organisations in the field, including:

  • National Trust
  • WWT
  • Natural England
  • Local Eco consultancies
  • National Parks Authority
  • Great North Museum

Enterprising students

Student discusses the challenge

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Careers support

Our Enterprise Challenge gives students the opportunity to work with industry on a project that tackles real-world issues. Watch the above video to find out more.

Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.

Visit our Careers Service website

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2020 entry.

A Level


International Baccalaureate

32-34 points

Other UK qualifications (and PARTNERS)

Qualifications from outside the UK

English Language requirements


Through our PARTNERS programme, you could receive an offer up to three grades lower than the typical requirements, and get support throughout the application process. To apply through PARTNERS, you must be based in the UK and meet our eligibility criteria. 

Find out more about PARTNERS

Entrance courses (INTO)

International Pathway Courses are specialist programmes designed for international students who want to study in the UK. We provide a range of study options for international students in partnership with INTO. 

Find out more about International Pathway Courses

Admissions policy

This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at Newcastle University, including Newcastle University London. It is intended to provide information about our admissions policies and procedures to applicants and potential applicants, to their advisors and family members, and to staff of the University.

Tuition fees and scholarships

Tuition fees for 2020 entry (per year)

Home Fee Students


International Fee Students


The maximum fee that we are permitted to charge for UK students is set by the UK government.

As a general principle, you should expect the tuition fee to increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation.

Read more about fees and funding

You will be charged tuition fees for each year of your degree programme (unless you are on a shorter exchange programme).

The tuition fee amount you will pay may increase slightly year on year as a result of inflation.

Read more about fees and funding

Year abroad and additional costs

For programmes where you can spend a year on a work placement or studying abroad, you will receive a significant fee reduction for that year. 

Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.

Find out more about:


Find out more about:

Open days and events

How to apply

Apply through UCAS

To apply for undergraduate study at Newcastle University, you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). All UK schools and colleges, and a small number of EU and international establishments, are registered with UCAS. You will need:

  • the UCAS name and institution codes for Newcastle University (NEWC/N21)
  • the UCAS code for the course you want to apply for
  • the UCAS 'buzzword' for your school or college

If you are applying independently, or are applying from a school or college which is not registered to manage applications, you will still use the Apply system. You will not need a buzzword.

Apply through UCAS

Apply through an agent

International students often apply to us through an agent. Have a look at our recommended agents and get in touch with them.

Visit our International pages

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