Students investigating forest dynamics

Why should we conserve biodiversity? How is biodiversity generated and maintained? How can we manage and restore habitats? How do we identify the best strategies for conserving species threatened with extinction? Conservation biologists need to have a passion for their work but to be effective they also require a sound understanding of the underpinning pure and applied science. 

We’ll equip you with the scientific tools to address these complex issues, developing the knowledge and skills that are required to understand and conserve plant and animal biodiversity both in the UK and overseas. You will develop your knowledge of key academic areas including population ecology, evolutionary processes, behavioural ecology, conservation genetics, and habitat management. Partnered with a focus on developing expertise in organism identification and habitat monitoring and assessment, we’ll provide you with the academic background and skills training for a future career in ecology, conservation, environmental monitoring, and habitat management.

We have designed the course to be 'hands-on', with plenty of practical classes in the laboratories in Plymouth and out in the field. Not surprisingly, we make good use of the outstanding range of local habitats, from the marine reserves to Dartmoor National Park’s uplands. We have excellent links with conservation organisations such as the Devon Wildlife Trust, the Eden Project, Dartmoor National Park and Paignton Zoo. But, we also promote an international outlook, with field courses to Spain and Mexico, so you can learn about conservation in other parts of the world.

You will be taught by over 30 full-time lecturing staff, 24 of whom are specialists in conservation biology. They all carry out cutting-edge research as well as teach, so they speak from personal experience and are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their subject. They will regularly incorporate their own research into classes and will encourage you to do your own research too. Few other universities can offer this level of expertise and support. Some of these staff will act as personal tutors with a mentoring role, meeting up with you regularly to discuss the course, helping to sort out problems, and offering you advice on careers and opportunities.

We hope that by the end of the course you'l be knowledgeable, competent, rational and creative about your subject, with a good grasp of the practicalities. But most important of all, we hope that you will be inspired and enjoy learning for the rest of your life, whatever comes your way.