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Field courses

All of our undergraduate degrees offer you the chance to take a field course in the UK or elsewhere in the world. They are a fantastic opportunity to carry out your own research and develop an understanding of the ecology and biodiversity of wide range of different habitats across the globe.

You will also get to improve your analysis and presentation skills, and interact with academic experts and other students. Most field courses take place in the summer between your second and third year and are optional for all APS students except those on the Ecology and Conservation Biology course, who have core field course modules.

Borneo field courseTropical biology: Borneo

Location: Danum Valley Field Centre, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo
Open to: All APS undergraduates, between second and third year

The Danum Valley Field Centre is at the edge of 400km2 of rainforest, where you can often see orang-utans, elephants, gibbons, clouded leopards and many species of bird. You’ll learn about how the rainforest is structured, the threats it faces from the palm oil trade and ecotourism, and how scientists are working to conserve it.

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Sweden field courseArctic ecosystems: Sweden

Location: Abisko Research Station in sub-arctic Sweden
Open to: All APS undergraduates, between second and third year

You'll go to the Abisko Research Station in mid-summer, during a period of 24-hour daylight. Based on the shore of the Torneträsk lake, 200km north of the Arctic Circle, you can study a range of organisms, from carnivorous plants to grazing reindeer. Climate change is having a huge impact on this area, so understanding the local ecosystem and ecological processes is a key aim of this course.

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Portugal field courseBehavioural ecology: Portugal

Location: Quinta de Sao Pedro Field Centre, near Lisbon
Open to: All APS undergraduates, between second and third year

The area around the Quinta de Sao Pedro Field Centre is full of insects that you can study – ants, aphids, territorial beetles and many more. The chief aim is to look at how different species behave, interact and evolve. Your research project will help you develop skills in asking scientific questions, observing natural systems, designing experiments, and working with and presenting the results.

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Wales field courseMarine ecology: Anglesey

Location: A campsite by the shore in Anglesey
Open to:
All APS undergraduates, between second and third year

This is a chance to look at marine intertidal and coastal ecosystems. You’ll be based at an adventure field station right by the sea, and will visit seabird colonies and the coastal habitats Anglesey is famous for. From learning sampling techniques, you’ll go on to develop your own research project – possible topics include ecological processes, biodiversity, distribution and intertidal zonation.

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Peak District field courseAnimal ecology and behaviour: Peak District

Location: Across the Peak District National Park
Open to: All APS undergraduates, between second and third year

We make the most of the fact that campus is only 20 minutes’ drive from the Peak District. There, you can assemble your own insect collection when you take this field course which focuses on insect diversity. As a group, you’ll learn about effective research methods and look at the many conflicting pressures that affect the management of biodiversity in the Peak District.

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Ireland field courseFreshwater ecology: Sheffield

Location: Across the waterways of Sheffield
Open to: Ecology and Conservation Biology undergraduates, between first and second year

Sheffield is famed for its river systems and this course lets you study their ecology, particularly in urban areas. Topics like pollution are covered as you look at the effect humans have had on the local waterways, how they’ve been damaged over years, and how they are being saved. All ecology and conservation students take this course in second year, learning how to monitor water quality, habitat quality and rare species.

Ireland field courseIreland

Location: Petersberg Outdoor Education Centre, County Mayo
Open to: Environmental Science undergraduates, plus other APS undergraduates where available, in Easter of second year

There are many different types of habitat for you to study around the Petersberg Outdoor Education Centre: grasslands, woodlands, peatlands, beaches, and formerly cultivated fields that were abandoned after the Irish potato famine. You’ll look at vegetation composition, species distribution and environmental variation, studying how the landscape has been shaped over many years.