FdSc Wildlife Conservation and Countryside Management




Royal Agricultural University Campus


2 Years (Full-time)

Academic Year

30 September 2024 to 30 May 2025

The effective conservation of species, ecosystems and natural resources is vital for future sustainable development. On this course you will gain the academic knowledge, applied ecological theory and extensive hands- on field experience needed to manage habitats and conserve wildlife.

Course overview

You will also enrich your knowledge by exploring wider topics such as rewilding, environmental issues, agri-environment schemes, and the work of conservation organisations. With this combination of academic knowledge, practical skills and work experience, it’s no wonder that our graduates have gone on to work for prestigious organisations such as The Wildlife Trust, The National Trust and The Forestry Commission.

After successfully completing the Foundation degree you may wish to consider enrolling for additional year of study on the BSc (Hons) Wildlife and Countryside Management (Top-up) to obtain an Honours degree.

Work placement

You will complete a 30-day work placement usually during the summer between your first and second year. This will give you essential skills and experience of wildlife and environmental management activities within the sector. Field visits to conservation sites and organisations are not only exciting but essential to this course. Previous destinations include Knepp Estate, Rhossili Bay, British Wildlife Centre, Elan Valley and many more.

Course content

You will also gain practical rural skills training through our John Oldacre Rural Innovation Centre with the cost included in the tuition fee.

Right from your first year, you will gain grounding in work-related situations as well as academic study before developing a deeper understanding of the key issues in your second year. You will be assessed through field reports, research projects, examinations, case studies, portfolios, presentations and practical skills.


Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and societies activities.


Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Each credit equates to 10 hours of total study time. Total study time includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

Full-time students normally take modules worth 60 credits per 15 week semester but this can vary depending on your elective choice. Part-time students taking proportionally fewer credits per semester. All students take a total of 120 credits per level and 240 credits for the foundation degree as a whole. The overall grade for your foundation degree is based on marks obtained for modules taken at level 4 and level 5 (weighted 30:70) accordingly.

The modules available for this degree are shown below. They may change for your year of study as we regularly review our module offerings to ensure they’re informed by the latest research and teaching methods.

Year one

  • 1007 Soil and Environmental Science: Carry out practical field and laboratory soil analyses related to soil health
  • 1430 Wildlife Ecology and Survey: Understand the principles and basic concepts of ecology ranging from single organisms to ecosystems
  • 1436 Practical Conservation Skills & Work Placement: Weekly opportunities for students to work as a team on practical conservation activities such as woodland management and hedgelaying
  • 1445 People and Environmental Change: An introductory module including a 2 day field trip to a range of sites hosted by different environmental organisations
  • 1446 Ecosystem Services and Human Wellbeing: Explore the range of goods and services that ecosystems provide that support human well-being such as food, fibre, pollination, flood mitigation and many more
  • 1449 Wildlife Handling, Ethics and Conservation: Learn how to safely handle a range of animal species
  • 1451 Species Identification and Ecosystems: An introduction to the scientific study of ecosystems, including fieldwork and data analysis

Year two

  • 2136 Landscape Conservation: Gain theoretical and practical insights in how to manage wildlife at a landscape scale
  • 2349 Resilience of Agroecosystems: Explore key concepts and theories around sustainable agriculture and different methods for promoting it
  • 2360 Supervisory Skills & Volunteer Management: Initiate a practical conservation project, including its organisation and implementation, with a focus on supporting first year students
  • 2361 Habitat Classification & Management: Create a habitat management and monitoring plan for a real location
  • 2378 Research and Evidence: Explore the wide range of research methodologies available, and learn how to select the optimal approach for a given scenario
  • 2381 Biodiversity Recording and Citizen Science: Make a difference by contributing to a real world citizen science project and evaluating the social and ecological biases in biological recording
  • 2382 Wildlife Conservation Study Tour: A study tour of up to 1 week to visit case study sites demonstrating a range of conservation management approaches
  • 2383 Connecting with Land: Evaluate the various issues related to access in the countryside, including challenges and opportunities, alongside the associated legislation

Disclaimer information

The University has established various rules and regulations that you must agree to and follow if you accept an offer to study with us. View our full disclaimer notice.

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Careers and graduate destinations

Our graduates have gone on to pursue careers with nationally-recognised organisations and in roles such as:
  • Countryside ranger
  • Wildlife reserve manager
  • Ecological surveyor / consultant
  • Conservation / biodiversity officer
  • Farming and wildlife advisor
  • Environmental education officer

The programme has developed strong linkages with a wide number and range of conservation and environmental organisations including the Wildlife Trusts, National Trust, Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, Cotswold Conservation Board (AONB), Butterfly Conservation, various Ecological Consultancies, Local Authorities, amongst many others.

Students have multiple opportunities to meet with and often work alongside organisations and people from the conservation sector via our practical field activities and teaching sessions.

The programme also provides a step towards into higher-degree levels, research programmes, and other opportunities in academia.

"The course taught me the key knowledge about land and wildlife management, how to evaluate different needs and  approaches and take a wider and more holistic view of countryside management."

Thomas Pagon, Graduate

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Entry requirements

Typical offers

Required: GCSE minimum five GCSEs at Grade C/4 including English Language and Mathematics (or Maths Numeracy for Welsh applicants) plus satisfactory level 3 qualifications:

  • A-Level: (example grades CD) – minimum of 56 UCAS tariff points (applicants should have either two A-levels or one A-level and two AS level subjects or equivalent qualifications)
  • C&G Advanced Technical/BTEC - Level 3 Extended Diploma (1080) at Merit-Pass-Pass
  • International Baccalaureate: 24 points
  • Access to Higher Education: 45 credits at level 3 of which minimum of 15 must be awarded at Merit or higher. (Pass in Functional Skills level 2 are accepted in lieu of GCSE English & Mathematics)

Other level 3 qualifications will be considered.

Visit the UCAS website to calculate your UCAS Tariff points from the qualifications and grades achieved.

Flexible entry

The University welcomes interest from applicants who may not have the standard entry requirements. A wide range of qualifications and experience are accepted in order to join University degree programmes. The University always considers evidence of personal, professional (APL) and educational experience, (APEL), which show an ability to meet the demands of their intended programme of study.

Further information

Alternative entry routes are available for a range of other qualifications. Prior experience is also considered, subject to approval by the programme manager and admissions staff.

Read more general information about our entry requirements.

International students will also need to achieve IELTS Academic or equivalent at the appropriate level for your programme of study. English language requirements for international students.

For any further help, please contact our admissions team:  

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Tuition fees cover the cost of a student’s academic studies. This usually includes teaching costs, registration and examination fees (not repeat or trailing modules, re-sit fees or coursework resubmission). Any costs associated with work placements will be the student's responsibility.

2024-25 Applicants

For the academic year 2024-25 the tuition fees for this course are: 

  UK International
Full-time £9,250 per year £15,300 per year

For part-time study, please contact admissions@rau.ac.uk for further information.

Please also refer to the funding your time at university page.

Tuition fees may be subject to an inflationary increase each year as set out in our Access and Participation Plan 2019/20.

If you are an Irish national you can check if you meet the requirements for Home Fees. Please visit the UKCISA website and consult the pdf guide “England HE – who pays Home Fees”. First check category ‘3 years in Republic of Ireland/UK/Islands, settled in UK’ or ‘Brexit temporary offer for courses starting before 2028: Irish citizens with residence in Europe or overseas territories’. You will possibly need to be fee assessed when you submit an application for study to the RAU.


The University offers a wide range of generous fee waivers and bursaries. To find out more about the these, please visit the bursaries, awards and scholarships page.

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Ready to take the plunge? Apply now

Applications to study at the Royal Agricultural University must be made through the UCAS system. This applies to all undergraduate courses.

Applications should be made by the UCAS deadline to ensure we are able to offer you a place on your first choice course. However, if you have missed the deadline please contact Admissions@rau.ac.uk as there are usually places available.

If you would like to apply during UCAS Extra or Clearing, please check that we have places available.

Applicants wishing to study on a course on a part-time basis will need to apply directly to the RAU.

Please contact admissions@rau.ac.uk to discuss your requirements and obtain an application form.