Higher Education

Start Date: Duration: Level: Study mode: Course location: Course Type:
September 2 Years Level 5 Full-Time Kirkley Hall Campus University Level Qualification Apply Enquire

What’s it all about?

Debate the ethical issues surrounding zoo collections and explore the role of the modern zoo for in-situ conservation and use of captive breeding programmes throughout the Wildlife Conservation FdSc qualification.

You will study a range of species, habitats and ecosystems, nationally and internationally, and help protect these valuable resources from extinction.

Learn to measure and preserve biodiversity, as well as appreciate the challenges of conservation biology.

You'll have opportunities to participate in both in-situ conservation experiences (internation trips and internships) and ex-situ conservation within our on campus zoo.

Northumberland College Zoo is a BIAZA member and has over 100 species to support learning and research.

We also have a range of strong industry and academic links mean you can develop and apply your research skills both on and off site.

Varied assessments that challenge you to dive deeper into chosen subject areas and develop digital, research and transferable skills alongside.

The course is timetabled over two days a week, to reduce travel costs and make studying accessible for mature learners and the self-employed.

Course fees are extremely competitively priced, less than £2000 than other similar offers within the North East (and you may be eligible for an undergraduate student loan.

To enrol on this course, you should have a minimum of 48 UCAs tariff points and GCSEs (or equivalent) at grade 4 (C) or above in Math's, English and Science, along with a satisfactory reference.

If you do not have the traditional entry requirements, you may be able to enter the programme through a ‘non-traditional’ route if you have sufficient experience. Applications will be assessed on their individual merits.

Study level Cost Additional fees
19+ please enquire Current fees for September - £6165 It is not possible to confirm fees for future academic years but the maximum increase each year will not exceed the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The following course-related costs are included in the fees: - Annual £10 printing allowance - Loan of technical and field equipment required for modules and laboratory coat The following course-related costs are not included in the fees: - PPE (e.g. overalls and working boots to work on the zoo specific requirements will be communicated before enrolment) - Day trips (e.g. to nature reserves, zoos) may incur a small entry fee which will be communicated in good time - Laptop/computer - all submitted work must be word processed - Stationary for note taking. Financial support: For more information on Student Finance please go to our HE Finance page.

Students are assessed in a variety of ways to develop graduate level skills. Assessment methods include scientific reports, essays, reflective reports, written examinations, practical examinations, portfolios and individual and group presentations.

GCSE 4/C or above or equivalent in Maths and English are required for this course.

150 hours of work experience in a vocationally relevant placement(s) of the student’s choosing.

We have access to a working zoo, farm, equine yard and dog groomers on site, as well as links to several land-based industries.

Professional networks that we have links with involve Tynemouth Aquarium, Pets Corner in Jesmond, land-based organisations, wildlife rehabilitators and fishery officers.

The course incorporates 150 hours of work placement over the two-year period. In addition to direct contact hours a further 10-15 hours of independent study is expected on a weekly basis.

Attendance on campus is required 2-3 days a week (Monday-Friday, timetable TBC), with self-directed study and/or work experience comprising the remainder of the working week.

Timetables are normally available at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week.

This programme is designed to equip students with the knowledge and ability needed to work within the rapidly expanding wildlife conservation sector.

Year one is designed to develop the essential knowledge, academic and practical skills needed to study and pursue work across the animal management and wildlife conservation sectors. As such, modules that form the first year of the Wildlife Conservation course are also those that form the first year of the Foundation Degree in Animal Welfare and Management. This has the advantage of permitting a switch of programmes after successful completion of year one, should students develop a strong interest in the animal welfare sector during this time and wish to pursue modules more suited to their change in interests.

As the FdSc Wildlife Conservation programme specialises more in year two, students will learn the fundamentals of conservation theory, and how to apply this knowledge in both a natural and zoo setting. Here, students will undertake a practical projects to put their knowledge and skills into practice.

Ultimately, the course is geared towards developing the knowledge and essential practical and transferable skills that we know employers in our sector value. Academic skills development modules run over both years to develop research, academic communication, information technology, project management and critical evaluation skills. Students are introduced to entrepreneurship: a business skills module run in the second year provides practical experience of event management and commercial enterprise, to give graduates a competitive edge and broader career horizons should they wish to pursue self-employed work. Career prospects are enhanced further through a mandatory 150 hours’ work experience component, to be completed at a placement(s) of the student’s choosing and at times to suit the individual and placement provider.


Year 1 -
- Introduction to Academic Skills
- Pre-Industry Skills
- Mammalian Anatomy, Physiology and Nutrition
- Animal Health and Management
- Principles of Biodiversity
- Evolution and Genetics

Year 2 -
- Industrial Experience
- Research Methods
- Event Management
- Zoo Conservation
- Wildlife Ecology and Behaviour
- Wildlife Conservation

University of Cumbria

The entire qualification is worth 240 Credits - 120 credits per year, with each module worth 20 credits.

What’s next?

Professionally, the wildlife conservation sector includes:

– Conservation project officer roles (both government and NGOs)
– Wildlife education roles
– Wildlife ranger/site managers
– Ecotourism sector (local and global)
– Ecological surveying
– Habitat management
– Conservation research
– Campaign organisations
– Volunteer management
– Public liaison and consultation roles
-Zoo conservation projects

Average salaries vary widely depending on the kind of position you take. For an idea of what this might be for you please refer to the Prospects website: https://www.prospects.ac.uk.

Our recent graduates have progressed to a wide variety of roles, such as in education, ecotourism and to Honours and postgraduate study.

Validated by the University of Cumbria

This is a Higher Education course with Sunderland College and is validated by the University of Cumbria.

Visit the University of Cumbria website here.

Read more about the course information:

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