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Wildlife and Practical Conservation

BSc (Hons)

School - School of Environment & Life Sciences

Subject area - Wildlife

UCAS Code: C190

Start Dates(s): September


Three years full-time
Four years full-time with placement year
Up to six years part-time


UK - £9,250 per year

International - £12,300 per year

In Brief:

  • Acquire the practical skills used in wildlife conservation and zoos
  • A variety of free field trip opportunities on offer [small administration fee may apply]
  • Opportunities to take work placements in the UK, Europe and worldwide
  • Part-time study option
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

Our BSc in Wildlife and Practical Conservation focuses on general conservation, the physical environment and landscape, as well as offering opportunities for you to study the ecology and behaviour of animals in the wild.

The course is designed to provide you with a broad understanding of wildlife, wildlife ecology and environmental problems threatening species, from both theoretical and practical points of view. You will cover both physical and biological components of the environment as well as studying specialist  modules  in wildlife and environmental areas.

Zoos play an important role in the conservation of biodiversity and many species are now bred in captivity as part of national, regional and international breeding programmes. The EC Zoos Directive requires zoos and aquariums in the European Union to have a conservation role. As a result, it is likely  that  zoos across Europe will increase their breeding, scientific and education activities in the future, and with this degree you will have the skillset they are looking for.

University of Salford Wildlife Society 

Here at the University of Salford we have an award winning wildlife student society that organises extra-curricular trips around the UK and abroad, as well as opportunities to get involved with volunteering and conservation projects. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook to see what they get up to!

Find out about our wildlife students' recent trip to Brazil

Discover our £3m Bodmer laboratories

Course Structure

In year 1 you will study a range of topics across several modules covering both theory and practice across the biological and environmental sciences. In your second year the course offers specialist modules in wildlife and environmental areas whilst your final year includes a dissertation on a wildlife, conservation or zoo biology topic of your choice. Students can generally choose between a literature-based, 20-credit dissertation (requiring the selection of two optional modules) or a field/laboratory work-based 40-credit dissertation (requiring the selection of one optional module). 

If you are studying part-time you select two to four modules from each year of study, completing the rest of the modules for the year in the following year. This leads to a maximum six-year duration for a part-time degree. If studying part-time you do not have the placement option.

Year 1    

This module focuses on the origins and diversity of living organisms (including humans), the environmental processes and their role in the generation of biodiversity.
The aim of this module is develop an understanding of basic genetics, evolution and population genetics and how these disciplines are relevant to wildlife studies. You will also look at how wildlife species interact with the ecosystems in which they live.
This module introduces you to the historical development and evolution of zoos, the basic anatomy and physiology of vertebrates, the principles of zoo enclosure design and the methods of handling and identifying individual animals.
This module introduces identification and measurement of organisms in the field, looking at common British species of animals and plants and awareness of their likely distribution, the production of identification drawings and the use of a range of ecological sampling equipment and methods.
In this module you will learn by observation, investigation, comparison and engagement and develop practical learning and presentation methods which can be applied generically during year 1 and beyond. You will also gain an appreciation of Personal Development Planning and effective data handling, calculation        and numerical skills.

Year 2    

This module focuses on the principles of wildlife ecology and animal behaviour with particular reference to mammal and bird species. It also introduces scientific methods in the study of ecology and behaviour.
This module will introduce you to the modern concepts of conservation biology at the level of species and populations, the existing tensions between theory and practice in species conservation planning, and an overview of the interdisciplinary toolbox used by conservation biologists (for example IT        packages and DNA fingerprints). You will also be given the chance to design an appropriate conservation programme for a species or population, including the projection of future survival under varying scenarios.
This module will introduce you to the theory and practice of acquiring environmental data and will demonstrate how natural and human factors have influenced landscapes and ecosystems.
The aim of this module is to show you how to learn by observation, investigation, comparison and engagement and to develop your practical learning and presentation methods which can be applied generically during the rest of the course and beyond.

Plus one option from:

Study the consequence of human actions on the environment from prehistoric times to the present day, the appropriate ecological principles involved in population biology and in the autecology of selected dominant species.
This module aims to provide you with knowledge of the structure and evolution of primate societies. You will look at the Primate Order, its distribution and the conservation priorities for primate species. You will gain an understanding of the ecological and demographic processes that underlie different        types of social systems and an insight into the way in which evolutionary, ecological, genetic and physiological analyses can facilitate this understanding.

Plus one option from:

This module provides an overview of how diversity in the animal kingdom has evolved. It also illustrates the basic principles of evolution as a force to create biodiversity.
This module provides awareness of the biology and ecology of marine environments as well as providing you with the opportunity to undertake field work and encouraging you to adopt an investigative approach to ecological studies. Includes a one-week field trip to Pembrokeshire.

Year 3    

The aim of this module is to develop an understanding of conservation science at the habitat level, including the restoration of ecosystems which underwent human-induced deterioration in the past.
This aim of this module is to develop your comprehension of the factors controlling the design and implementation of GIS solutions to map, monitor and model terrestrial environments. You will also be encouraged to examine the major issues and impacts of GIS evolution and diffusion on society.

Plus a minimum of 40 credits or maximum of 60 credits from the options below:

The module focuses on biology relevant to the water industry and organisations which regulate and control the aquatic environment, for example the Environment Agency. The major themes are biology associated with water resources and water pollution. The module will be enhanced by field studies and external        visits.
The aim of this module is to develop an understanding of the cognitive abilities and limitations of nonhuman animals, with a particular focus on nonhuman primates. The course also develops your understanding of the cognitive challenges associated with living in complex social groups.
This module helps to develop an understanding of tropical ecosystems (particularly from the New World). It involves a two-week field course to Costa Rica and an independent research project conducted in a rainforest environment.
This module focuses on the UK, European and international nature conservation law and the statutory and non-statutory organisations concerned with the protection of the natural environment.
This module examines the role of decision-making in the management of natural resources and ecosystem services. You will investigate the role of environmental modelling in supporting environmental decision-making and assess the effectiveness of decision-making tools including Environmental Impact Assessment,        hazard and risk analysis, and life-cycle analysis.

Plus either a 20 credit or 40 credit module from:

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
Diploma in Foundation Studies 96 - 112 points, Merit/Distinction
European Baccalaureate Pass in Diploma of at least 60% including at least one science subject
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
English Language and Maths at grade C or above
UCAS tariff points 96 - 112 points
GCE A level 96 - 112 points
BTEC National Diploma MMM
Scottish Highers 96 - 112 points from Higher Level
Irish Leaving Certificate 96 - 112 points from Higher Level
International Baccalaureate 29 points with at least one science subject

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

Please note that you should discuss the possibility of being considered for the scheme with the Admissions Tutor  before making an application. Please contact the Environment and Life Sciences school office to speak with the Admissions Tutor for this course: +44(0)161 295 4656

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Applicant profile

You will have a genuine broad interest in wildlife and conservation, enjoy working outdoors in all weathers, as well as collecting and analyzing data. We expect you to be interested in biology and geography. We welcome applications from mature students who may not have academic qualifications in relevant subjects, but have experience in zoos or conservation organisations.

Fees and Funding


Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £12,300 per year

Additional costs

  • Field courses - a non refundable deposit of £25 is charged for all residential field courses, with the exception of the optional ‘Tropical Ecology & Conservation’ module, where the Costa Rica residential field course is heavily subsidised by the School but students are expected to pay approx £1200 towards travel and accommodation
  • Field trips - students will not be charged for field (day) trips but are expected to provide their own refreshments.
  • Lab Coats – approx £14, are required to undertake lab activities.

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.


Learning opportunities are varied and teaching is through a combination of lectures, practical sessions, small group tutorials, residential field courses and day visits to sites of conservation interest. Independent learning is through guided reading, assignments and preparation of the dissertation.


Your assessment is based on a combination of exams and coursework throughout. This is about 60% exams and 40% coursework. Continuous assessment includes the dissertation, laboratory reports, field notebooks, essays, data response and presentations.


Bethan Shaw
BSc Wildlife and Practical Conservation graduate

I chose to study at Salford because it was the only university where I could find a very practical course that I was interested in and as soon as I met the lecturers I was hooked. They showed so much enthusiasm for the subject which I hadn't see at other universities. I also chose the course because it had a great combination of module options.

When I started I was worried that I had built the course up before it began but it was everything I wanted from my degree. I am a very practical person and think you can learn so much from being out in the field; this course has so many field trips and lab work that I would recommend this course to anyone with an interest in conservation.

Career Prospects

Zoos play an important role in the conservation of biodiversity and many species are now bred in captivity as part of national, regional and international breeding programmes. The EC Zoos Directive requires zoos and aquariums in the European Union to have a conservation role. As a result, it is likely that zoos across Europe will increase their breeding, scientific and education activities in the future, and with this degree you could be the person they are looking for.

There are also many opportunities to work in voluntary and government conservation organisations operating at local, national and international levels. Opportunities also exist to work in environmental consultancies, environmental education and in zoos. Previous students have gained employment in zoos, country parks, animal sanctuaries and environmental consultancies.

Furthermore, graduates have undertaken research for a PhD including studying orangutans in Borneo, large animals in Tanzania and various projects in urban ecology.

Links with Industry

Because of our close links to industry, you will have the opportunity to go on several fieldtrips which may include visits to Chester Zoo, South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Knowsley Safari Park, Blackpool Zoo, Twycross Zoo, Dudley Zoo and Martin Mere (Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust). In addition, staff from some of these institutions contribute lectures to the course bringing more real world examples to your learning.

Placement Opportunities

Students have undertaken work placements in a wide range of countries including South Africa, Madagascar, Spain, Greece, and the USA, working with a very wide range of animals from donkeys and wolves to seals and turtles. You will arrange your placement with our support.

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