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What makes studying Ecology at Worcester special?

Please note this course is no longer running. You may be interested in other School and Science and Environment courses.

Ecology is a science that matters, and a thorough understanding of the interactions between species and the wider environment is becoming increasingly important to address the environmental impacts of humans. Studying Ecology at Worcester will ensure you learn and develop essential skills for a career in which you will be confident of making a difference. It is a Joint Honours course and must be studied in conjunction with another subject

At Worcester, students are provided with an unrivalled amount of hands-on ecological experience, coupled with invaluable underpinning knowledge. The course has been developed in conjunction with professional ecologist ensuring the programme meets the demands of this exciting and rewarding sector.

Undeniably your learning will be enhanced by Worcester's superb proximity to numerous sites of high wildlife value, including nature reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). Contrasting environments further afield can also be explored during a residential field trip to France.

The Worcester course covers a wide range of topics from how to support pollinators in the UK, to conserving orangutans in Borneo. The extensive range of modules available enables the course to be tailored to meet your own requirements. At Worcester, you get the degree you want.




Key features

  • Small class sizes (typically 15-30 students)
  • Exceptional staff contact time (typically 12-16 hours per week)
  • Numerous fieldwork opportunities, including the Mediterranean Environments Field Course
  • Opportunities to study abroad (Erasmus)
  • State-of-the-art facilities to support your learning, including lab-based analytical equipment and a wide range of specialist field equipment
Students walking past red brick buildings

Places available for 2019

We have places available on a range of courses starting this September.

Find out more and register your interest for Clearing 2019
Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

Please visit individual Ecology Joint Honours pages to view the specific entry requirements for each programme.

The University will consider each application on its individual merits and will recognise a range of qualifications not currently included in the Tariff, including Access courses, European Baccalaureate and pre-2002 qualifications such as GNVQ.

Other information

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the Admissions Office on 01905 855111 or email for advice.

Further information about the UCAS Tariff can be obtained from 

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Course content

What will you study?

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice.

The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative.

For a full list of modules, please visit each Ecology Joint Honours option page.

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

We enable you to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.

A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of modules on the course. The team includes professors in atmospheric science, senior academics with strong research backgrounds, and guest lecturers from outside the University (e.g. Marine Conservation Society, Environment Agency). Practical sessions are fully supported by a dedicated team of technicians, which serves to enhance the student experience.

Teaching is informed by research and consultancy, and more than 85% of lecturers have a higher education teaching qualification and/or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.

The small class sizes allow you to get to know your lecturers well, which ultimately benefits your learning. It also means you get to know all the students on your course and become part of a vibrant student community.


You are taught through a combination of lectures, field trips, laboratory practicals and interactive workshops.

Interactive workshops take a variety of formats and are intended to enable the application of learning through computer based activities, discussion and small group activities.
Seminars enable the discussion and development of understanding of topics covered in lectures, and laboratory and field practicals are focused on developing subject specific skills and applied individual and group project work.

Talks by environmental practitioners are also an important part of the course relating theory to practice.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least four occasions in the first two years of the course and in the third year close contact should be kept with your Independent Study supervisor.

You use industry-standard analytical equipment throughout the course and have access to computer laboratory facilities with the latest software for geographical information systems (GIS), statistical analysis, and meteorological modelling. You also use a wide range of field equipment.

You have an opportunity to undertake a semester long work placement module in the second year of the course, and are strongly encouraged to undertake environment-focussed paid or voluntary work during vacations and/or volunteer during semester. We have close links with environmental and conservation organisations which offer numerous opportunities.

Contact time

The academic year is divided into two semesters, each consisting of 12 weeks of teaching. In year’s one and two, you can expect to have 12-16 contact hours of teaching each week, whilst in your final year you will normally have slightly less contact time to enable student-led independent study.

The type of teaching activities varies per module, but a typical week in Year One would be structured around:

  • 3-4 hours of group lectures
  • 3-4 hours of supervised lab practicals
  • 4 hours of field trips
  • 4 hours of interactive workshops or seminars

Independent self-study

In addition to contact time with University teaching staff, you are expected to undertake around 28 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve: reading through your lecture notes and adding to these; reading additional material provided by lecturers, undertaking research in the library and online; collecting information for individual and group projects; and working on module assignments.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including The Hive and its library resources, the virtual learning environment (Blackboard), and extensive on-line learning resources (e.g. e-books). 


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or ‘formative’ assignments.  Each module has one or more formal or ‘summative’ assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.  

Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, laboratory and field reports, presentations and a final year independent studies project.
The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken, but a typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

Year 1

8 x essays/reports/laboratory reports
2 x group presentations 
2 x formal examinations or in-class tests of 1-1½ hours’ duration 
1 x reflective/field diary/notebook
1 x portfolio

Year 2

6 x essays/reports/laboratory reports/critiques
2 x group presentations
6 x formal examinations or in-class tests of 1-1½ hours’ duration
2 x portfolios

Year 3

7 x essays/reports/laboratory reports
1 x group presentations 
3 x individual presentations
1 x formal examination of 1½ - 2 hours’ duration
1 x case study report
2 x reflective/field diary/notebook
1 x Dissertation (Independent Study report)


Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with your personal academic tutor and module tutors as appropriate. You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of submission.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.


Dr John Dutton

Dr John Dutton joined the University of Worcester in May 2009 with a strong and extensive lecturing background having lectured at the Associate Faculty of UWE, Hartpury College and at Otley College, Suffolk. He has eclectic research experience, which includes investigating the role of rabbits in sand-dune conservation, small mammal habitat use, restoration ecology and the reintroduction of European beavers, wild boar in the Forest of Dean and expedition-based ecological research.


Dr Duncan Westbury

Dr Duncan Westbury joined the University of Worcester in 2011 after nearly 10 years of post-doctoral research and lecturing at the University of Reading. He has gained a very strong background in applying ecological principles to habitat creation and management, with specific research experience on the management of agro-ecosystems to support biodiversity whilst simultaneously supporting ecosystem services within agricultural landscapes.

Previously, Duncan has been a lead plant ecologist on several Defra-funded agro-ecology projects investigating methods of promoting biodiversity in arable and grassland habitats. At the University of Worcester, he leads the Ecology and Environment Research Group (EERG), which focusses on the delivery of ecosystem services, and wildlife management.


Where could it take you?


As an Ecologist at the University of Worcester, you will be able to develop a wide range of intellectual, practical and social skills that are much in demand by employers. These include primary research and critical evaluation skills, communication skills (written and oral), and a range of technical and IT skills such as the use of GIS, IT-based data analysis and applied statistics.

Potential employers include Natural England, Defra, RSPB, Environment Agency, National Trust, Wildlife Trusts, Forestry Commission, Local and County Councils, and ecological consultancies. Many of our students also continue their education by studying further for MSc, MRes or PhD qualifications. Opportunities to pursue research careers at universities or research institutes are also available.

Recent graduates are currently:

Undertaking PhD research; Studying for an MSc; Working for different Wildlife Trusts; Self-employed; Working for various ecological consultancies.

Please see Environment Post for examples of current jobs available for graduates in Ecology.

Cover of the 2020 University of Worcester prospectus

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How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international (non-EU) students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £12,400 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students registering on this course in the academic year 2019/20 will be £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module and £2,313 per 30-credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience, and our welcoming student communities are great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our halls of residence. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £102 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £165 per week (2019/20 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Please note this course is no longer running. You may be interested in other School and Science and Environment courses.

Applying through UCAS

Ecology must be studied as part of a joint degree with another subject.

Animal Biology and Ecology - CC31
Biology and Ecology - C193

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.



Dr John Dutton

Course Leader, Ecology joint

SSE Academic Support Unit