Course details

A Levels AAA-AAB Other entry requirements
UCAS code C180
Duration 3 years
Fees and additional costs Home/EU students International students
Related subjects Biology Ecology Conservation Biology Environmental Science

Any questions?

Admissions Secretary - Ecology
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
Telephone +44 114 222 0123
Email apsadmissions@sheffield.ac.uk
Website sheffield.ac.uk/biosciences/undergraduate/courses/ecology

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

Top 5 for biological research
Research Excellence Framework 2014

7th in the UK for biological sciences
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019

Course description

This course explores the interactions between humans, animals, plants and the Earth's atmosphere that determine their abundance, distribution and activities. You'll learn about human impact on ecological interactions, climate change, biodiversity and sustainability, as well as what we can do to manage natural resources in the face of changing environments.

All of our students study an essential set of core modules that teach you the skills that every professional biologist needs. You'll choose from optional modules that span zoology, ecology and conservation biology and plant sciences. You can mix and match these modules, covering genetics, structure, function, evolution, behaviour and ecology of all organisms, underpinned by the latest research discoveries from our experts across DNA, evolution, biodiversity and beyond.

All of our students study an essential set of core modules that teach you the skills that every professional biologist needs. You'll choose from optional modules that span plant sciences and zoology. You can mix and match these modules, covering genetics for conservation, animal behaviour and physiology, ecotoxicology, food-web network ecology and the microbial diversity of soils, underpinned by the latest research discoveries from our experts.

In your first year, you'll spend your first week on a field course in Sheffield, collecting and analysing data throughout the city's green spaces and out to the edge of the Peak District. Throughout the year, you'll develop practical skills in the lab, including microscopy and genetics, complemented by regular field trips to zoos, aquariums and nature reserves. You'll also have lectures and take part in small group tutorials where you'll enhance your writing, data analysis and presentation skills as you learn about the latest research findings from our world-leading academics.

In your second year, your modules will cover more advanced scientific topics and techniques across ecology and conservation biology. Some students choose to take our science communication module 'Talking the Talk: Getting Science on Film' where you'll get the chance to make your own factual science documentaries, with support and advice from professional filmmakers. All of our ecology and conservation biology students receive training in modern data analysis techniques and get the opportunity to go on an optional two-week long field course between second and third year, giving you the chance to design and carry out your own research and develop an understanding of the ecology and biodiversity of different habitats across the globe.

In your third year, you'll complete a research project and dissertation in an area of ecology and conservation biology, conducted under the supervision of one of our world experts. You'll work in a small group to define questions, develop experimental protocols, conduct the research, analyse the data and ultimately produce a written report in the form of a scientific publication.

If you want to study ecology and conservation biology, but don't meet the entry requirements to go straight into the first year, our Biosciences with Foundation Year could be for you. After successfully completing the one-year programme, you'll progress onto the first year of your chosen degree.

Modules: what you study and when

Financial help from the University - bursaries

If you're a UK student, you could be entitled to a University bursary. A bursary is the same as a grant - you don't have to pay it back.

How our bursary scheme works

Entry requirements

Qualification Grades
A Levels AAA - AAB, including Biology and a second science
A Levels + additional qualifications AAB-ABB, including two sciences + B in the EPQ; AAB-ABB, including two sciences + B in Core Maths
International Baccalaureate 36-34, 6 in Higher Level Biology and a second science
BTEC DD in Applied Science (with Distinctions in all biology units if not offered at A Level) + A in an A Level science
Cambridge Pre-U D3 D3 D3 - D3 D3 M2, including Biology and a second science
Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher AAABB, including a second science subject + B in Biology
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels A+AA - B+AA in Biology and a second science
Access to HE Entry requirements for mature students
Other qualifications Other UK qualifications
Other EU/international qualifications
Other requirements
  • Human Biology is acceptable instead of Biology. Second science from Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, Geography, Psychology, Economics or Environmental Science/Studies
  • GCSE Maths grade 4 or grade C
  • You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade C/4; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification
  • Equivalent English language qualifications
  • Access Sheffield - find out if you're eligible for additional consideration or an alternative offer
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department

Modules - what you study and when

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department direct.

Course information on Department of Animal and Plant Sciences website

First year

Core modules:

Skills for Biologists 1
Biodiversity
Evolution
Genes in Populations
Molecular and Cell Biology
Population and Community Ecology 1

Optional modules:

Animal Behaviour
Animal Physiology, Reproduction and Development
Ecological identification skills
Ecosystems, Climate and Environmental Change
How Plants Work: Physiology, Reproduction & Development

Second year

Core modules:

Animal and Plant Science Tutorials
Careers for Biologists
Conservation Principles
Data Analysis
Plant Habitat and Distribution
Population and Community Ecology 2

Optional modules:

Animal Diversity
Arctic Ecosystems Field Course
Behavioural Ecology
Biology Projects
Biology Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme
Biotechnology and Food Security
Ecosystems in a Changing Global Environment
Environmental Biology Practicals
Evolutionary Biology
Freshwater Ecology Field Course
Genomics and Wildlife Forensics
Insect Biology Practicals
Molecular Evolutionary Genetics
Palaeobiology
Plant, Cell and Environment
Symbiosis
Talking the Talk: Getting science on Film
Tropical Forest Ecology and Conservation

Third year

Core modules:

Research Project
Biological Field Research
Conservation Issues and Management
Dissertation
Topics in Modern Ecology

Optional modules:

Biology and Ethics
Cooperation and Conflict
Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems
Evolutionary Ecology
Future Plants: From Laboratory to Field
Global Change
Human Evolutionary Genetics
Sustainable Agro-Ecosystems
The Ecology of Landscapes
Topics in Evolutionary Genetics

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.

In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Learning and assessment

These figures give an indication of how you'll learn and be assessed. They're a combined average of all the years of the course. The learning and assessment percentages could vary depending on the modules you choose.

Learning
Scheduled teaching 21%
Independent study 79%
Placement 0%

Assessment
Exams/tests 57%
Coursework 37%
Practical 6%

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

The Times Good University Guide 2019 puts Sheffield in the UK top 10 for biosciences. We think this means we're doing something right.

We combine lectures with small group tutorials. You'll also take part in cutting-edge field and lab research, giving you an exceptional breadth of experience. We're a close knit community where every student gets the support and encouragement needed to achieve their best work. Our staff are world leaders in their fields and much of what we teach is based on our own world-leading research.

Our state-of-the-art facilities include controlled environment chambers that simulate natural climates around the world. We also have experimental gardens and glasshouses, artificial stream and pond systems, leading equipment for DNA analysis, biomolecular and elemental analyses, and extensive computing resources.

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences website

What our graduates do

Wherever you choose to start your career, you'll be in demand. Each year our graduates join conservation and environmental consultancies, wildlife trusts, museums, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and local, national and international government. They use their transferable skills - in data analysis, project management and teamwork - and their specialist knowledge and skills to thrive in a range of organisations.

Here are some examples of what graduates in each area are doing now:

Biology
Our graduates work in business, IT, consulting, sustainability, museums, banking, agriculture and health. They also work in biodiversity conservation for local and national governments, charities, wildlife trusts and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Many go on to do PhDs.

Ecology and conservation
Ecology graduates are well qualified for careers in government, charity and industry sectors that focus on environmental management and consulting, sustainable forestry, agriculture and conservation. You could go into research, education, journalism, finance, law or a technical profession. Many of our MBiolSci students go on to PhDs.

Plant sciences
Our graduates have an understanding of ideas and techniques that are in demand, particularly in agriculture, biotechnology, crop protection, environmental management and climate change mitigation.

There are excellent career opportunities in government, academic and industrial research institutes focused on science and policy, as well as in teaching and consulting. Plant scientists are also needed in biotechnology companies and administration, including areas that require scientific training, such as computing, research and management skills.

Zoology
Our students graduate with a deep knowledge of zoology as well as core transferable skills in data analysis, presentation and writing. They're well equipped for positions in environmental consulting, wildlife trusts, and international conservation organisations. Some choose to work in business, IT and consulting linked to sustainability, museums, banking, agriculture and health. Many go on to do PhDs.

Student profile


"One of the big assets of coming to Sheffield was the field courses on offer...being able to come out to the Peak District regularly with my tutor or my lecturer, or going on field courses further afield, even internationally. I'm now an environmental photojournalist."

Ben Cherry
Animal and Plant Sciences


All you need to know about undergraduate study in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at Sheffield.

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Admissions Secretary - Ecology
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
Telephone +44 114 222 0123
Email apsadmissions@sheffield.ac.uk

Department website >

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