BSc (Hons) Environmental Biology and Conservation with Foundation year

Southwark Campus

Mode: Full-time

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Course is subject to validation.

If you have non-traditional qualifications, or don’t have the tariff to enter directly onto the BSc. (Hons) Environmental Biology & Conservation degree, our four-year extended degree with foundation year can provide you with an alternative route onto the course.

Our extended degree will bring you up to speed with chemistry, biology, maths and scientific methods and will make sure you have the skills to succeed on the following three years of the course. Our experienced tutors have structured your studies so you can progress at a pace that suits you and will provide plenty of support to build your confidence. You’ll also learn transferable skills that will equip you for life after graduation such as problem solving and critical analysis, and there is a strong focus on preparing you for future employment.

For the first semester of study all of our foundation students will take the same modules, so if you choose to you may swap to another degree at the end of the first semester. Once you have completed your foundation year you will join the main degree and study with your peers who may have come from many routes into higher education.

Our laboratories and fieldwork

We have a wide variety of laboratories, which offer you an extensive experience of scientific investigation and analysis. The University's purpose-built biochemistry laboratory is equipped with facilities for carrying out a wide range of chemical and biological tests. Our state of the art laboratories feature the latest analytical equipment enabling a range of cutting edge environmental techniques such as the analysis of e-DNA, electron microscopy and environmental biochemistry. Additionally you will study animals and plants in the field in a series of one day, and longer, field trips.

Why Environmental Biology and Conservation at LSBU?

We are ranked 1st among London moderns for Research Quality in Biological Sciences (Complete University Guide 2022)
Gain real-life experience on the work placement module and experience a variety of exciting opportunities such as field trips and site visits to conservation charities, rescue centres, zoological collections and sustainable businesses
Our mix of multi-purpose and specialist laboratories offer you state-of-the-art space and the latest equipment for analysis and research, and you'll have the chance to work with bats, amphibians, marine mammals and other species. You'll use technology such as camera traps, bat detectors and geographic information systems
This course combines on-campus and online teaching, with no exams after the first year
You'll develop a broad range of skills to tackle environmental and wildlife issues, and techniques such as building an evolutionary tree or surveying for lizards.


Foundation Level

The foundation year modules will introduce the scientific disciplines which underpinning the study of Environmental Biology and Conservation (general biology and chemistry). They will develop an understanding of the role of Environmental Biology and Conservation in the context of general biology, ecology wildlife and environmental topics in solving real world problems. The modules will introduce different disciplines of the subject and their role in contributing to relevant investigations. The interdisciplinary nature of Environmental Biology and Conservation will also be highlighted. Further skills in the application of academic and scientific theory, including numerical and statistical methods, academic and scientific writing, communication, and presentation will be developed along with the application of appropriate scientific knowledge and understanding to facilitate the understanding of Environmental Biology and Conservation theory, laboratory methods, data collection, processing, and interpretation.

  • Introduction to Academic Skills for the Applied Sciences
    This module provides an introduction to the skills needed for undergraduate academic study, with a particular focus on those of writing, to ensure a successful entry into level 4 of the BSc programmes of the School of Applied Sciences.
  • Foundation Maths for Science
    This module is designed to provide students with the mathematical knowledge and skills necessary for transition to level 4 study of science subjects. The module is designed for a mixed cohort of students with some prior learning experience and students with below A-level mathematical background.
  • Foundations of Biology
    This module is designed to introduce the fundamental principles of biology at a foundational level. It serves as a preparatory module for students who plan to undertake a science-based degree programme. Areas of study will include the organisation of living things, control and coordination of biological processes and genetics.
  • Foundations of Chemistry
    This module builds on the concepts and skills introduced in semester 1, at a level between GCSE and Advanced level. It builds knowledge of basic chemistry elements and continues building on the mathematical understanding developed in semester 1. It serves as a preparatory module for students intending to undertake science-based undergraduate degree courses in the university.
  • Foundations of Human Nutrition
    This module will deliver foundation knowledge in nutrition, covering the basics of the science of nutrition, supporting students to progress to study baking, bioscience, biomedical, forensic science, sports science or psychology.  The module will provide both scientific information and skills required to interpret nutritional guidelines into practical recommendations.
  • Foundations of Environmental Biology and Conservation
    The module is designed to introduce the topic of environmental biology in a way which fully engages students, using a combination of practical fieldwork, formative assessment (which becomes a portfolio for submission for the summative assessment), and task-based learning of computer skills and Excel in an ecological context. This will be complemented by visits to relevant organisations, as well as viewing the BBC documentary Earth Story and discussing its context in groups.

Year 1

  • Biology of the cell
    This is an introductory module providing a foundation for further studies in all areas of biology and biosciences. You'll be introduced to the cellular organisation of living organisms and you'll explore the organisation and functions of eukaryotic cells. You'll focus on the regulation of cellular homeostasis and metabolism, including the flow of energy and genetic information, cell death, renewal and differentiation and their relation to human health and disease. In addition, you'll be introduced to current research approaches and methods for studying cells and manipulating genes. 
  • Environmental Biochemistry
    The module will cover topics such as the basic chemistry of abiotic factors and the biochemistry of living things, highlighting the similarities and differences between biotic and abiotic factors in the environment, as well as exploring the key interactions between these.  It will consider how organisms cope with environmental stresses at the biochemical and molecular level and will look at some ways in which biochemistry and molecular biology can be used to devise more environmentally friendly ways of using natural resources.
  • Microbiology
    This module introduces the students to the microbial world, through the historical significance of microbiological discoveries, fundamental concepts of microbiology and how these are applied. In parallel, students will undertake a series of practical activities to develop Good Laboratory Practice, Aseptic Techniques and an understanding of Standard Operating Procedures.
  • Biology of organisms
    This module introduces students to the form and function – the anatomy and physiology – of animals and plants.  Outline descriptions of morphogenesis and the developmental processes that result in formation of a mature organism will be given.  Differentiation of cells and tissue and organ formation will be the basis for subsequent coverage at systems level.  At the level of the organism, anatomical and physiological principles will cover terrestrial and marine animals, birds and plants with human biology represented as contrast to the terrestrials.  Life processes of plants and animals will be directly compared.
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
    This module will introduce the fundamentals of genetics and molecular biology. It will explore the underlying principle of the central dogma of molecular biology while defining the structures and functions of DNA, RNA, proteins and human genes, up to chromosome level. The basics of genetic variation in humans will be extended to understand population genetics and evolution.
  • Employability module
    Students will examine the skills, competencies and behaviours required to optimally perform in their chosen career. Students will explore how reflection and mentoring can impact on their career development and learning within an applied setting. Action planning together with a critical analysis of skills and competences for employment and career progression will be explored during workshops. Students will use enquiry skills to investigate a range of roles within the environmental, animal and ecology / conservation sectors. Workshops and tutorials will allow students to use collaborative approaches to solve problems.
  • Year 2

    • Research methods
      This module is intended to develop students’ understanding of the research process in the area of bioscience. It will provide knowledge about main research principles and methodologies for data collection and analysis. The students will gain practical experience in developing a research proposal and analysing data with parametric and non-parametric statistical methods using IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The module will also teach bioinformatics approaches relevant for ecology, conservation and animal behaviour, and a basic introduction to Python programming
    • Biodiversity, phylogenetics and Evolution
      This module will introduce students to the range of biological diversity on Earth, Linnaean classification, taxonomy, phylogenetics and evolutionary relationships. Students are introduced to the concept of biodiversity and how to measure and monitor it.
    • Nutrition, Health and Disease
      This module will introduce the students to animal and plant nutrition and how this is related to animal and plant health and disease, with reference to crop species, as well as domestic, zoo and wild animal species. The module will progress to cover basic immunology, veterinary epidemiology and parasitology. The four main classes of disease will be considered: physiological disease, infectious disease, deficiency disease, and genetic and non-genetic hereditary disease.  Management of animal health and its importance in maintaining bio-security will be considered.
    • Animal Behaviour & Welfare
      The module will introduce the topic of animal behaviour (classical ethology and selfish gene approaches) with a focus on how knowledge of behaviour can be used for improvements in animal welfare and animal management. A range of species including vertebrates and invertebrates will be considered.
    • Ecology and Census Techniques
      The module aims to introduce the student to fundamental ecology with a strong practical fieldwork element. As well as introducing core knowledge in ecological theory, the emphasis will be on monitoring and survey methods for indicative taxa including plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians fish, mammals and invertebrates. Species of special interest in the UK will be studied in detail e.g. GCN, bats, invertebrates and invasive species e.g. Ring necked parakeets, cane toads. Standard methods of population estimation such as mark-recapture will be taught alongside methods of marking and surveying animals in ethical and non-invasive ways. The use of technology in measuring and monitoring will be discussed (e.g. camera traps, e-DNA) and students will be taught a range of practical techniques.
    • Professional Work Placement
      Students will undertake placements in various organisations, such as conservation organisations, Sustainable development enterprises, circular economy companies, waste management companies, animal rescue charities, animal welfare / rights organisations, wildlife trusts, ecology consultancies, research institutes, zoos, ecotourism organisations, pet day-care / boarding, veterinary surgeries, environmental biotechnology and other relevant organisations. Students may also do their placement with voluntary groups which carry out hands on conservation such as bird ringing, toad patrols, etc. which are related to their career interests. Students may carry out work for a virtual organisation such as “Save the frogs” or they may physically visit the organisation.

    Year 3

    • Project
      The aims of this module are to provide students with an understanding of the nature of scientific research as well as to acquire, develop and practice skills required to undertake and manage an independent research project. The module will also provide the students with a sound ethical and professional basis on which to build a successful career in the chosen field. This is one of the most exciting modules where you will have the opportunity to carry out your own research project on topics of your choice. Some examples of topics current or past students have researched include:

      - Algae as Sustainable alternatives to fish as an omega 3 fatty acids source
      - Effects of climate change on the timing of breeding
      - Do garden birds exhibit a colour preference for food?
      - Interactions with transparent boundaries in zoo housed reptiles – a welfare issue?
      - An investigation of plastic packaging recycling and reuse schemes in London boroughs
      - Effect of light pollution on amphibian reproductive synchronisation
      - Effects of a plant based (vegan) diet on health
      - Microplastics / nanoplastics: an environmental and food supply threat
      - The role of plant-based packaging materials in mitigation of food waste
    • Ecosystems
      An in depth study of the major ecosystems on the planet (marine, terrestrial, freshwater), and selected biomes (desert, polar, tropical, reef) in relation to global environmental change. Biogeochemistry, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen cycling through ecosystems. Use of mapping tools, remote sensing, big data and biogeographical approaches to model ecosystem flux.  The effect of climate change on ecosystems and how to mitigate the effects of environmental change on ecosystem stability.
    • Advanced Wildlife Conservation
      The module will equip students with cutting edge tools and strategies for the management both captive and free-living wildlife populations, in various contexts such as zoos, aquaria, nature reserves, ecotourism facilities, conservation areas, captive breeding facilities, national parks, protected areas for the purposes of species and biodiversity conservation, as well as in unprotected areas. A key part of the course will be the ability to critically evaluate  conservation strategies and interventions, and propose novel and creative solutions to a variety of real world problems, such as species resilience to threats such climate change; ocean garbage / acidification; pollution; species decline, wildlife trade, habitat loss and fragmentation, deforestation, wildlife poaching, human- wildlife conflict, degradation of ecosystems, zoonotic disease, and other contemporary issues.
    • Current Perspectives in Bioscience
      This module takes a critical look at science and examines how it is perceived by scientists and non-scientists alike. The module will explore the links between pure science and applied science which give rise to technological advances and sometimes controversy. It also considers the way in which science is communicated. The ethical dimension of scientific endeavours is also examined along with the importance of professionalism within the scientific community. A variety of topical issues will be covered.
    • Sustainability and Employability
      Sustainability is one of the key topical and wide-reaching issues of the 21st century. It addresses the maintenance of ecological balance through sustainable management of the natural resources.  It considers all practices, procedures, policies and control that ensure adequate global supply of resources for the current and future generations. It will consider all the practices, procedures, policies and controls in place for adopting sustainable environment, food production, good manufacture and supply. Climate change, waste management, environmental microbiology and biotechnology, renewable energy, bioremediation, employability and the roles of various stakeholders in relation to industry sustainability will be included.


    Graduates from this course can enter the environmental biology and conservation industries in a range of different careers, such as ecological consultancy, wildlife ranger, renewable energy, zoological collection management, water and waste treatment, ecotourism, conservation charities, wildlife rehabilitation and rescue, government (e.g. Defra, Natural England), research institutes and universities, as well as going on to further study.

    Our specialist employability modules will give you the edge over less experienced graduates when you start interviewing for jobs.  At each level of the course there is an employability module designed to give you the skills you need to successfully enter the job market in a graduate level job. In the second year you will undertake a work placement for one semester at a workplace of your choice and which is related to your career goals.

    For example you may work for an animal charity, a conservation organisation such as the RSPB or Save the frogs, a zoo, an ecotourism venture, a veterinary surgeon, a recycling centre, a sustainable business, or other organisation. This will give you real world experience of being in the workplace which will really count when you start going for interviews. Additionally there is an optional one year industrial placement between years 2 and 3.

    Examples of jobs that you could apply for:

    • Ecologist, Maydencroft Limited
    • Biodiversity Specialist, Joint Nature Conservation Council
    • Senior Sustainability Consultant, SRE Ltd.,
    • Adviser, Natural England
    • River restoration Project Officer, Norfolk Rivers Trust
    • Senior Ecologist, Scottish Wildlife Trust
    • Carbon and Soils officer, Farm Caron Toolkit
    • Nature reserve warden, RSPB
    • Schools officer, Ocean Conservation Trust
    • Science Writer, Mongabey
    • Education officer, Whipsnade Zoo.
    • Other jobs can be found at

    I have nothing but praise for the lecturers on my course; they are very supportive and help me whenever I need further explanation on a topic.

    Dennis Watson, Alumnus

    Continuing to postgraduate studies

    Graduates would also be eligible to apply for further study at postgraduate level, including our PhD/MPhil research opportunities. The academic strength of this course means that you can also consider entering the field of academic research. Alumni from similar courses have secured pure research positions in universities and research institutions and applied research roles in the biological-based industries.

    Employability Service

    At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:

    • An online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
    • Our Careers Gym offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and finding work experience, as well as regular presentations from employers across a range of sectors.

    Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.


    In the second year you will undertake a one semester work placement.

    In the third year you'll have the opportunity of working on a year-long industrial placement, where you can start to put your newly acquired skills into practice. This is a great opportunity to understand the way that the industry functions and to gain an appreciation of the priorities in the commercial environment. This (optional) sandwich year in industry will enhance your career prospects and confidence. Many students get their first job offers through this training year.


    As a student here you'll learn to solve real-life problems by integrating fundamental knowledge with the practical dimensions of environmental biology. We have invested heavily in new equipment so that our mix of multi-purpose and specialist laboratories offers you the space and latest equipment for analysis and research, as well as fieldwork.

    Find out more about our facilities.

    Teaching and learning

    Teaching will be a mixture of on-campus and online (hybrid) delivery. We make extensive use of a Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle) to support student teaching, learning and assessment. Personal tutoring support is an integral part of the course. We also offer extra support in the form of extra clinics outside of lecture and tutorial sessions. There is a strong focus on the practical applications of knowledge, supported by hands-on laboratory exercises and fieldwork. A mix of assessment methods is employed in modules and across the course.

    Percentage of time spent in different learning activities
    Time spent in lectures, seminars and lab-based study Self-directed learning
    Year 1 33% 67%
    Year 2 28% 72%
    Year 3 23% 77%

    Personal Tutoring

    As an undergraduate Applied Sciences student, you will be allocated a named tutor during your first three weeks at LSBU. The role of your tutor is to be your primary contact for academic and professional development support.

    Your tutor will support you to get the most of your time at LSBU, providing advice and signposting to other sources of support in the University.

    Your tutor should be the first person at the university that you speak to if you are having any difficulties that are affecting your work. These could be academic, financial, health-related or another type of problem.

    You will have a scheduled appointment with your personal tutor in your first semester. From here you will agree how to keep in touch and how often to meet throughout your course. You can contact your tutor for additional support by email.

    Entry requirements

      To be considered for entry to the course applicants would normally need at least 1 A level in a science subject or a minimum of 32 UCAS points from an equivalent L3 qualification as follows:
  • BTEC Subsidiary/National/BTEC Extended Diploma) but may not have achieved the appropriate grades to immediately join the BSc Programme.
  • English Language and Mathematics GCSE at grade C (grade 4) or above (or equivalent).
  • For an informal discussion about the course, please contact the course director, Dr. Rachel Grant

    Advanced entry

    If you have already completed some studies at another university, we may be able to consider you for advanced entry. Please see our advanced entry page for more information.

    How to apply

    International students

    International (non Home) applicants should follow our international how to apply guide.


    Once we have made you an offer, you can apply for accommodation. You can rent from LSBU and you’ll deal directly with the university, not third party providers. That means we can guarantee you options to suit all budgets, with clear tenancy agreements and all-inclusive rents that include insurance for your personal belongings, internet access in each bedroom and on-site laundry facilities.

    Or, if you’d rather rent privately, we can give you a list of landlords – just ask our Accommodation Service.

    Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.


    You don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance. Read how to pay your fees as an undergraduate student.

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    Applicant events

    After you’ve received your offer we’ll send you emails about events we run to help you prepare for your course.

    Fees and funding

    For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for undergraduate students.

    Please check your fee status and whether you are considered a Home, EU or International student for fee-paying purposes and for our regulatory returns, by reading the UKCISA regulations.

    See our Tuition Fees Regulations (PDF File 391 KB) and Refund Policy (PDF File 775 KB).

    Possible fee changes

    The University reserves the right to increase its fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any government guidance or decisions.

    The fees for international students are reviewed annually and the University reserves the right to increase the tuition fees in line with the RPIX measure of inflation up to 4 per cent.


    We offer several types of fee reduction through our scholarships and bursaries. Find the full list and other useful information on our scholarships page.

    The individual fee for this course is shown above. For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for postgraduate students.

    See our Tuition Fees Regulations (PDF File 391 KB) and Refund Policy (PDF File 775 KB).

    We have a range of PhD Scholarships available in partnership with businesses and organisations; read notices of PhD studentships.

    Contact information

    Course Enquiries - UK

    Tel: 0207 815 7500

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    International team enquiry

    Tel: +44 (0) 20 7815 6189

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  • School of Applied Sciences