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BSc (Hons) Marine Ecology and Conservation - Top-up

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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions

This top-up degree will build on  Foundation courses in Marine, Freshwater or Coastal Conservation to provide a university experience and opportunity to co-create research with academics in the discipline. It provides new legislative contexts for conservation, as well as further fieldwork opportunities and chances to learn about ecology of charismatic megafauna.

The importance of the conservation and management of marine and coastal environments cannot be ignored, as human intervention and climate change increasingly impact on the decline of fisheries and protected areas. Anyone choosing a career in this discipline will need to be aware of current themes, debates and concerns, and of the contribution of marine ecology to current debates and controversies. You will be introduced to new contexts for understanding conservation in the marine environment, such as UK habitat directives and legislation and policy frameworks.

The course provides in depth understanding of subjects of general public interest in marine biology, such as marine mammals.

Although the majority of your teaching will take place at BU’s Talbot Campus, you will undertake fieldwork and spend at least one day a week at Kingston Maurward College, which is a stone's throw from the beautiful West Dorset Heritage Coast.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2018, September 2019


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus and Kingston Maurward College


1 year

Relevant subjects:

Marine or Freshwater Biology, Conservation, Ecology, Biological Sciences, Environmental Studies/Science, Geography, Animal Management, Countryside Management

Required subjects:

Foundation degree (FdSc) Marine Ecology & Conservation or equivalent

Entry requirements:

Successful completion of Foundation degree with a minimum of 240 credits or equivalent qualification.

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.0 (Academic) with minimum 5.5 in each component or above. For more information check out our international entry requirements page.

Course details

Core units

Marine Conservation - This unit aims to enable you to critically evaluate approaches to the conservation and management of marine biodiversity including fisheries and protected areas. You will also examine legal processes and mechanisms that are applied to the conservation of marine and coastal environments. 

Independent Research Project  - Your project provides you with an opportunity to gain experience of research in a topic of your choice relevant to your degree and to demonstrate your ability to report that research. Such experience is considered essential for those students interested in pursuing academic and/or professional research at a higher level of responsibility and achievement.

Marine Mammal Ecology and Behaviour - This unit, taught at Kingston Maurward College,  develops a key understanding of Marine Mammals and their interactions with their environment and other marine organisms. You will take an applied approach to aspects of behavioural ecology, aspects of animal behaviour such communication and conservation ecology in relation to Marine Mammals. You may also get the opportunity to observe boat surveys and observe marine mammals in-situ as part of the module.

Marine Field Study Techniques - You will carry out extensive field work studies of marine physical and coastal geomorphological environments, from your base at Kingston Maurward College. You will use range of equipment, enabling you to critically analyse data using geodatabases and create maps using GIS software. You will also create a detailed field book and write up a case study on an aspect of marine studies.

Option units: choose 1

Environmental Law and Management - You will need a critical understanding of the body of law that is concerned with threats to environmental quality and ecosystems. Together, we will examine how environmental law seeks to regulate damage to the environment, focusing on particular areas such as climate change, air pollution control, conservation of natural environment, water, waste and environmental management systems. The focus is primarily on the system of environmental laws and regulations in the UK, but will also consider how this has been impacted by European and international environmental law. The broader themes and ideas underpinning the unit will be explored by reference to examples taken from both the UK and other jurisdictions. 

Freshwater Resource Management  - Providing you with a framework to actively make managerial decisions, this unit enables problems to be identified, analysed and solutions to be proposed including the promotion of sustainable communities and public participation in the planning process and environmental assessment. You will cover a range of aspects of freshwater resource management including sustainable development, conservation and key issues from a planning policy and decision making perspective.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for BSc (Hons) Marine Ecology and Conservation  (Top-Up).

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

2017 entry requirements

Successful completion of Foundation degree with a minimum of 240 credits or equivalent qualification.

GCSEs: This course requires a minimum of 5 GCSEs or equivalent at grades A* to C, including Maths and English.

Numeracy and literacy: We need to be sure that you can express yourself in written English and have basic numeracy skills. We look at Level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework, which includes GCSEs, Key Skills and Functional Skills Level 2. If you do not have formal qualifications to this level or have alternatives, we may still be able to consider your application, please contact the askBU Enquiry Service to find out more.

GCSEs: A minimum of 4 GCSEs grades A* - C (or grade 4 or above in the newly reformed GCSE grading) including a Science, Maths and English or equivalent qualifications.

Other qualifications

If you are studying a qualification that is not listed, please contact the askBU Enquiry Service. It may be that we can still consider it.

Deferred Entry: We are happy to consider applicants for deferred entry.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with minimum 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our international entry requirements page.


Suitably qualified graduates may find opportunities with national wildlife trusts, the Environment Agency, enforcement work with Government Agencies or go on to further research.

Further study

Once you have completed an undergraduate Honours degree, you can further develop your education by studying for a postgraduate degree. Please visit our postgraduate section for further details about our range of Master's degrees.

Meet our staff

Dr Daniel Franklin is the programme leader for the course. Daniel works on the microalgae that power almost all aquatic food webs. Microalgae are organisms such as diatoms, dinoflagellates, coccolithophores and cyanobacteria. I am interested in microalgal life-history and metabolism. I studied for a BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology at the University of Liverpool and for a PhD in Microalgal Ecophysiology at the Queens University of Belfast. In my PhD work I examined cell death in dinoflagellates, both in a free-living (planktonic) species and also in a symbiotic (within coral) species. In this way I worked on the ecosystem-scale process of coral bleaching in collaboration with colleagues in Queensland, Australia. 

Read more about the specialist interests of our Life & Environmental Sciences staff online.

Additional information

Students in Dylans Bar

Fees and funding

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