Ecology degrees | course guide
Ecology is the study of living organisms and their ecosystems. Read about the subject to decide if a degree and career in the area are for you.
Ecology studies the behaviour of plants, animals and organisms within their environments and ecosystems. Degree courses cover areas of biodiversity, conservation, genetics and environmental management, where you learn how to protect and preserve our natural world.
Undergraduate Ecology degrees on offer in the UK include:
- Conservation Biology and Ecology MSci
- Ecology MBiol
- Ecology and Conservation BSc
- Ecological and Environmental Sciences BSc
Several options include a year abroad or placement year as part of the course.
Most undergraduate Ecology courses ask for around 104–144 UCAS points. Not every university will base an offer on UCAS points, and some courses may have lower or higher requirements.
- A Levels: ABB–BCC
- BTECs: DDM–DMM
- Scottish Highers: AABB–BBBC
- International Baccalaureate: 32–28
- Universities will usually ask that you have studied biology and another science subject
Other good subjects to have studied include:
- Environmental science
Experiences that would look good on your application:
- Volunteering or work experience in a conservation environment, such as with a wildlife trust
- Helping in a park or nature centre
Typical modules for courses in this subject include:
- Global environmental challenges
- Evolution and environmental physiology
- Animal behaviour
- Aquatic ecology
Depending on your modules, you could be assessed through:
- Coursework such as essays and reports
- Written examinations
- Group presentations
- Oral presentations
- Field assessments
Courses often involve lots of practical experiences in the lab and also in the field, as most universities have access to ecological environments.
- Data interpretation
- Survey techniques
- Development and testing of hypotheses
- Ecological research
- Critical thinking
- IT literacy
- Associateship of the Royal College of Science (ARCS)
- Royal Society of Biology
When starting as a graduate ecologist, you can expect an entry-level salary of around £18,000.
The average salary for an ecologist in the UK is around £25,000. Salaries can be higher than £40,000 for those with lots of experience in senior positions.
Ecology graduates work in fields like conservation, research, health, forensic science and sustainability for organisations such as charities, NGOs, government agencies, universities and environmental groups. Examples of graduate roles include:
- Ecological consultant
- Data manager
- Experimental officer
- Research analyst
- Business development executive
- Laboratory technician
- Clinic coordinator
- Data manager
- Medical writer
Examples of postgraduate courses available at universities in the UK:
- Ecological Survey Techniques PgCert
- Ecology MSc
- Ecology and Evolution PhD
- Tropical Forest Ecology MRes
Other subject areas that might appeal to you include:
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