Animal & Conservation Biology BSc (Hons)

Prepare for a career in wildlife conservation by exploring how animals adapt to their environment and interact with each other


Gain hands-on experience and prepare for a career in wildlife conservation by exploring how animals adapt to their environment and interact with each other.

Animal & Conservation Biology introduces the diversity of animals, their form and function. You'll study how animals have evolved and adapted to different environments in terms of their ecology, behaviour and physiology.

You'll learn how this knowledge can be put to use to guide conservation and understand the impacts of pollution and climate change on animals. Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside is rich in biodiversity and you'll visit local sites of scientific interest gaining valuable fieldwork experience, as well as going on residential trips, including to the Algarve.

In second year, students do have the option of undertaking 'Volunteering and Employability'. This can include an element of work placement. 

You'll leave equipped with a range of skills for a career in animal conservation or management, including species identification, field surveying techniques and collection and analysis of biological data, or you could continue on to postgraduate study.

We are 2nd for Animal Sciences among UK modern universities in the Sunday Times' Good University Guide 2022.

We have a 100% satisfaction rate for our Biological Science (non-specific) courses (National Student Survey, 2022).

Three Wildlife Biology and Conservation students crouch down to examine their sample collections in a bucket

Mode of Study:

Part-time (available as full-time)


6 years

Start date:


Study Abroad:


Course details

You'll discover how studies in animal behaviour, ecology, physiology and evolution help us to understand animals in their natural environment. You'll explore the main environmental threats faced by animals, how to assess their habitats and appreciate the many ways to enact effective conservation.

You'll get hands-on fieldwork experience, including residential field trips to the Isle of Cumbrae and the Algarve. Your learning is also supported by internationally recognised research and you'll get the opportunity to conduct your own research project, benefitting from the knowledge of our diverse staff and links with external organisations.

You'll develop a range of specialist skills relevant to future career paths such as:

  • species identification
  • field surveys in terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments
  • collection and analysis of behavioural data
  • laboratory-based investigations

The applied nature of this course develops skills that enhance your employability, including team working, problem solving, research, communication and IT. You'll also acquire specialist analytical and numerical skills, be able to collect a range of biological data and communicate scientific information effectively.

Local industry links help you with gaining work-related experience and project opportunities, which will enhance your ability to compete for jobs after graduation.

The emphasis on research also equips you with the knowledge and skills to continue on to postgraduate study, including possible PhD study within Edinburgh Napier University.

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    How you’ll be taught

    You will learn through a variety of different methods, including lectures, tutorials, field studies and laboratory classes. 

    More than two-thirds of our permanent academic staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy, reflecting their dedication and formal training in teaching undergraduate students. Together with our accreditation by The Royal Society of Biology - which is your assurance of the quality and relevance of our course to the needs of employers - this is your assurance of the up-to-date knowledge of our teaching staff and guarantee of a supportive learning environment.

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    Work placement

    In second year, students do have the option of undertaking 'Volunteering and Employability'. This can include an element of work placement.

    Placement and Study Abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

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    Study abroad

    Erasmus Programme and International Student Exchange Program opportunities are available in the second and third year of study for one or two trimesters.

    Placement and Study Abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

Popular modules

Year 1

Year 2

  • Comparative Anatomy and Physiology (info) 
  • Practical Skills in Biodiversity (info) 
  • Cell Biology: Structure and Function (info) 
  • Animal Behaviour (info)

Year 3

  • Genes and Inheritance (info) 
  • Ecology and Sustainability (info) 
  • Physiology, Adaptation and Disease (info)
  • Option module

Year 4

Year 5

  • Habitat Assessment and GIS (info)
  • Professional practice (info)
  • Marine Biology (info) or Freshwater biology (info) 
  • Research Project (split over two years)* (info)

Year 6

  • Current Topics in Ecology (info)
  • Advances in Animal Behaviour (info)
  • Research Project (split over two years)* (info)


You can discover more about particular modules at



Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Animal and Conservation Biology?

Our entry requirements indicate both Standard and Minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

The University does not sponsor students to study on part-time programmes in the UK under the Student Visa route. International Applicants must therefore have other valid immigration leave to study on this programme.

Can you go straight into second year of university?

Advanced entry into Year 2 or Year 3 is possible for students with suitable qualifications.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the undergraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

Minimum Year 1

SQA Higher

Standard Entry Requirement: BBBB including Human Biology, Biology, Chemistry or Physics.

Minimum Offer Entry Requirement: BBCC including Human Biology, Biology, Chemistry or Physics.

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet our specified minimum entry requirements within our widening participation criteria, and outlined in our Contextual Admissions Policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies.

A Level

  • BCC including Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Applied Science.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

  • Minimum grades DMM (Distinction, Merit, Merit) in a related subject.

BTEC (QCF) National Diploma Level 3 plus A Level

  • Minimum grades DM (Distinction, Merit) in a related subject.
  • A Level grade C

Irish Leaving Certificate

  • Grades H2/H2/H3/H3 including a Science subject (Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics)

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Award of Diploma with 28 points overall with three HL subjects at grades 6, 5, 4 including a Science (Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry or Physics) at minimum grade 5.

European Baccalaureate

  • 70% with Grade 7 in three subjects including Human Biology, Biology, Chemistry or Physics.

T Level 

  • Grade M
  • T Level must be completed in a Science subject or A Level Science may be required. Please contact to check if you meet the subject specific requirements.


Minimum Year 2

SQA Advanced Higher

  • BBC to include Biology

A Level

  • BBB to include Biology


  • Pass in a related subject* with B in the graded unit.
  • *Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Applied Science, Applied Bioscience, Applied Animal Biology, Wildlife and Conservation Management

Minimum Year 3


  • Pass in a related subject* with Grades BB at SCQF Level 8 in the graded units.
  • *Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Applied Science, Applied Animal Biology, Environmental Management and Sustainability, Wildlife and Conservation Management


If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland £910 £910
England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £4,625 £4,625
Overseas and EU £8,790 £9,670
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
If additional compulsory costs other than the tuition fees are applicable, these will be detailed in the course details.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


Two students photographing wildlife on the cliffs at St Abbs

What can you do with an Animal & Conservation Biology Degree?



By studying Animal & Conservation Biology at Edinburgh Napier University, you will have gained invaluable knowledge and practical insight in how animals adapt and interact with each other, along with their evolution, ecology and behavioral aspects, and how their environment affects this. You will become an effective communicator and team player, with a good level of analytical and problem-solving skills which you can take into the workplace along with key practical skills including species identification, field surveying, habitat assessments and the ability to read and analyse biological data. If you enjoy a hands-on, practical focus to your work, and want to become an expert in animal ecology, then this might be the right course for you. Careers you may consider on graduating from this programme include, wildlife conservation, environmental management, field surveying, working for environmental charities, ecological consultancy, and government agencies. 


Gaining a degree in Animal and Conservation Biology gives you discipline-specific knowledge and skills, but it is not restrictive. You will gain a range of highly desirable transferable (meta) skills, including teamwork, communication, numeracy, computer literacy and data analysis, which are valued by employers within, but also outside the Life Sciences sector.


What does a wildlife conservation officer do?



As a wildlife conservation officer, you will have effective communication skills and be a team player who works with local communities to protect at-risk species and their habitats. Within this role, you will likely work in wildlife agencies, a government department or for a university to make vital habitat management decisions and put them into practice.


Daily tasks and responsibilities in this role may include: 


  • Monitoring animal environments 
  • Habitat management
  • Public Campaigns and fundraising
  • Advising on government policy
  • Fieldwork and analysis 
Student holding a water sample on Wildlife Biology and Conservation field trip