AVAILABLE BRAND: Cornwall College | LEARNING AREAS: Wildlife Conservation & Zoology COURSES

FdSc Conservation & Ecology

For 2017 start - Available with a Science Gateway qualification

Cornwall College Newquay LEVEL: 5 Wildlife Conservation & Zoology

Ecology is the study of relationships of organisms, their environment and with each other. At the end of the course you will be confident in surveying and identifying species and their habitats as well as understanding conservation and management.

This is an inspirational field-based practical programme situated on the Newquay campus, adjacent to Newquay Zoo. The programme provides you with the academic and work-based skills needed to go forward with a career in ecological and environmentally related subjects.
If you are interested in wildlife and nature conservation, this programme will teach you about observing, surveying, monitoring and the management of species. This will include knowledge of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), as well as other relevant field and research skills needed for work within industry and research. During the programme you will be given opportunities to travel, either as part of the FdSc Conservation & Ecology or as a member of Cornwall College Newquay, including some international destinations such as an optional residential field trip to Borneo or South Africa.

At the end of the programme you will be equipped with the academic qualifications, personal qualities, vocational skills and techniques essential for a career in ecology or ecological consultancy. You will be assessed in a variety of ways such as practicals, seminar presentations, exams, in-class tests and problem-based learning exercises.

Work-related learning is a valuable part of the programme. You will gain experience of the type of work that you hope to do and an idea of the expectations of those who may employ you. You will also be encouraged to take part in industry placements as part of the learning experience.

Possible careers available with this qualification:

  • Field Ecologist or Ecological Consultant
  • Work in Charities, e.g. Wildlife Trust Media, Environmental Journalism
  • Work in Government Organisations, e.g. Natural England, Environment Agency
  • Research or Teaching
  • Field Guide in the UK or abroad

Year 1 will  consist of some of the following HE Level 4 modules:

ZOO6 Fieldwork (20 Credits) 

Fieldwork equips students with the skills and knowledge to carry out surveys on a wide variety of groups including birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, using appropriate techniques and equipment. Trips include visits to the beach, grasslands, rivers and woodlands, and also includes an optional bird survey boat trip along the River Exe.

CORN107 Habitats & Communities (10 Credits)

Identification of plants and invertebrates is the focus of this module. By the end you’ll be able to recognise key species and use guides with confidence.

CORN115 Diversity, Classification & Evolution (20 Credits)

This module provides an introduction to the main characteristics of the different life forms of life on earth and how they evolved. The history of evolutionary thought in relation to plants, invertebrates and vertebrate groups are discussed.

CORN106 History of the British Countryside (10 Credits)

This module explores the processes which have shaped the British Countryside, including geology, climate, agriculture and human activity. Current environmental trends within the UK are debated and considered in the light of future land use and climate change.

AQU105 Ecology of Aquatic Systems (20 Credits)

Students learn techniques for studying, surveying and monitoring aquatic wildlife and habitats in the field; along with the vital supplementary skills in data handling, analysis and report writing.  This module aims to provide students with a sound basis of aquatic ecological relationships and food webs through to nutrient flows, competition and predator-prey relationships.

CORC1013 Personal and Employability Skills Development (20 Credits)

PESD equips students with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop themselves in terms of their personal and employability skills.

CORN157 Introduction to Ecology (10 Credits)

Students learn a sound basis of ecological concepts through lectures, workshops and an optional trip to the Eden Project. Topics include food webs, ecosystem services, biogeography and species relationships.

CORN145 Bird Survey Techniques (10 Credits)

Students are introduced to the survey techniques used for the main groups of birds and their natural environment. Various survey techniques are undertaken and visits made to sites in Cornwall to improve identification skills. One of these visits is to the Newquay Orchard, a local charity run by a former Conservation and Ecology student.


Year 2 will  consist of some of the following HE Level 5 modules:

CORN215 Surveying and Management of Mammals (20 Credits)

Students will learn the practical skills and theory to survey for mammals and manage landscapes for them. Practical surveys include dormouse nest box monitoring, otter surveys along the River Gannel, using bat detectors and camera trapping for deer and badger.

CORN271 Reptile and Amphibian Ecology and Survey (10 Credits)

This module examines the ecology of reptiles and amphibians and surveying, with management methods to improve habitats for species. As well as work on our native species, this module also has strong links with Student Invasive Non-Native Group (SINNG) to examine possible impacts of non-native amphibians and reptiles.  By the end of this module students are skilled in making equipment for and carrying out surveys, as well as being able to identify all native species.

NQS219 Individual Research Project (20 Credits)

This module gives students the opportunity to conduct their own research. Guided by tutors, students produce a research proposal and their project – from researching relevant literature, to day to day management of the project, fieldwork, analysis and interpretation of data, report writing and presentation.

CORN218 Genetics for Conservation (10 Credits)

Genetics for Conservation provides grounding in key aspects of molecular biology and its applications to the monitoring of threating populations, their management and conservation.

CORN214 Invertebrate Ecology & Survey (20 Credits)

Invertebrate ecology is a huge topic, so this module is tailored to the students, with the subjects studied being decided by the students. This year woodlice and their habitat preferences has been a chosen topic with data collection carried out in the deciduous and pine forests of the Glyn Valley. Other areas covered could include beetles, butterflies and moths, invertebrates on rocky shores and survey techniques.

CORN247 Ecology and Conservation in Practice (20 Credits)

All the foundation degree students complete an ‘in practice’ module which has strong links to relevant organisations. This year students have had guest lectures from Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Student Invasive Non-Native Group, National Trust, PhD students and ecological consultants. The module also had a visit to a beaver breeding site and a trip to Paignton Zoo. It is an excellent chance to meet people in the industry and help students plan possible future careers.

CORN248 Habitat Survey & GIS (20 Credits)

An introduction to GIS (Global Information Systems), explores advanced habitat surveys and discusses different modelling systems used and reporting techniques for ecology. This includes the use of ecological mitigation techniques linked to climate change prediction, detailed plant and advanced habitat identification and classification. This module is involves data collection and planning in association with the Eden Project, where in the past students have mapped trees in the biomes and outdoors or invasive plants and then presented their findings to Eden staff.

CORN241 Vertebrate Zoology and Conservation (20 credits)

Specifically looking at terrestrial vertebrates this module will further look at the anatomy and physiology of various animal examples and interrelate all body systems. The module will go on to relate the anatomy and physiology to the life history and reproductive strategies of these animals and evaluate captive breeding and reintroduction programmes. Discussion of CITES, BAPS and reintroduction guidelines and legislation will also be covered.

CORN212 Freshwater Ecology (10 credits)

This module develops understanding of freshwater plants and animals, their interactions with their surroundings, seasonal changes and nutrient cycles. Students will also study typical species and biodiversity of aquatic environments, including how biodiversity indices can be used to assess ecological health.

The application process for full-time and part-time degree level courses with The Cornwall College Group starting in September 2017 is still open and we are taking applications.  Full-time applicants should apply via UCAS and part-time applicants directly via the College website.

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code: C180
  • Institution codes: CORN C78
  • Awarded by: Cornwall College & Plymouth University
  • Course Fee (per annum): £7500
Entry Requirements

48 UCAS points from AS and A-Levels (at least 32 points must be at A2-level) or relevant level 3 qualification, ie BTEC National Diploma / BTEC Extended Diploma - PPP Grades required. Access to HE Diplomas - 45 credits at level 3. Plus GCSEs at grade C/grade 4 or above in English Language, Science and Mathematics: alternatives at Level 2 may be considered. Mature applicants with relevant experience but without the stated qualifications will be considered individually and are encouraged to apply.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Silver Award


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Course Documents

FdSc Conservation & Ecology


Indicative Modules Year 1

- Fieldwork

- Ecology of Aquatic Systems

- Bird Survey Techniques

- Diversity, Classification & Evolution

- History of the British Countryside

- Introduction to Ecology

- Habitats & Communities

- Personal & Employability Skills Development

Indicative Modules Year 2

- Genetics for Conservation

- Individual Research Project

- Vertebrate Zoology & Conservation

- Habitats & GIS

- Ecology & Conservation in Practice

Optional Modules

- Survey & Management of Mammals

- Invertebrate Ecology & Survey

- Freshwater Ecology

- Reptile & Amphibian Ecology & Surveying

*Modules are subject to change and availability


FdSc Conservation & Ecology

Start Date

September 2017




2 years full-time

Extra Information

Annual tuition fee is £7500

FdSc Conservation & Ecology

Start Date

September 2017




3 years part-time

Extra Information

Annual tuition fee is £5000

FdSc Conservation & Ecology - with Science Gateway

Start Date

September 2017




3 years full-time

Extra Information

This option includes an additional Science Gateway year which is ideal if you don’t have the right qualifications to apply for a degree programme straight away. If you are applying for the FdSc Conservation & Ecology - with Science Gateway route on UCAS you will need to use UCAS code: F16G. Please note that when studying the Science Gateway programme, you will be based at Cornwall College Newquay. Annual tuition fee is £7500

*Courses listed on this website are indicative of the subject, nature and level of study. The college reserves the right to alter specific qualifications titles, awarding bodies and levels of qualification, which can change in year. Any cost may also vary, based on personal funding eligibility.

Careers advice available

If you are considering an undergraduate programme with us, you may wish to access our free Careers and Employability advice service. This gives you the opportunity to talk with an advisor about career options before, during and after your study with us. To make an appointment, please e-mail: H.E.Advice@cornwall.ac.uk

If you come into the International category (non EU*) and Channel Island (inc. Isle of Man) the tuition fee may vary – click here for full fee information