FdSc Wildlife & Conservation (part-time)

Investigate the importance of conservation and current issues, supported by the study of a wide range of species in our Animal Management Centre.

Have a passion for nature conservation?

This course is also available part time and as BSC top up.

Merrist Wood is highly regarded in the animal industry as the leading animal education establishment in Surrey, with a wide range of animal care courses. It was awarded a zoo licence in June 2018, allowing it to share its collection of exotic animals, some of which are of conservation importance, with the wider community. The College has wide links with industry and tuition is by highly qualified and experienced tutors who will ensure you gain the best possible grounding in your chosen career.

This programme provides you with the opportunity to develop an understanding of ecology, habitat management as well as conservation science, policy and practice. Underpinning theory is delivered in the classroom, but the College’s extensive grounds are used to provide experience in ecological survey and assessment, including in woodland, wetland and grassland habitats. Learning is reinforced through visits to local protected or restored sites owned and managed by voluntary and statutory bodies. There are also opportunities to study or work with captive animals in our Animal Management Centre.

Industry experience, assessed through the professional development module over two years, will be undertaken in a related field and will give you invaluable experience in your specialism with 200 hours to be undertaken each year. You can tailor this work experience to your particular interest, whether in the UK or oversees, in research, practical habitat management, campaigning or surveying.

During this course you will benefit from the following:

  • Taught by expert, passionate tutors with industry experience.
  • Extensive grounds which include ancient woodland, species rich grassland and wetland areas. Rich fauna, including protected species of bats and amphibians.
  • Friendly learning environment with small class sizes and excellent student support.
  • Merrist Wood College is highly regarded in the animal industry as the leading animal education establishment in Surrey
  • Animal Management Centre including facilities such as a desert biome, tropical biome and nocturnal room.
  • Industry experience provides an invaluable opportunity to work in a variety of settings to support your chosen career path.

Course duration: 4 years. This course can also be taken on a full-time basis over 2 years.

Tuition Fees

Home/EU* Fee for September 2024 entry: £4,000 per year

Please note: Tuition fees are published for the first year of entry only and may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by the Office for Students.

*Fee information for European Union (EU) students: If your course starts on or after the 1st August 2021, you will no longer be eligible for financial support from Student Finance England unless you meet one of the following criteria:

  • you are able to benefit from the citizens’ rights agreements
  • you are an Irish national living in the UK or Republic of Ireland – benefits of Irish nationals under Common Travel Area guidance arrangement will continue

Additional costs include:

Optional trips for work experience, especially if you wish to volunteer overseas, as some of our previous students have done. Additional printing over and above the £10 allowance provided by the college, and the cost of books that you might wish to purchase.

We strongly recommend purchasing a laptop to support you in your studies on the course.

If you need any further information or guidance, please contact us at HE@activatelearning.ac.uk 

Year 1: professional development in the work environment 1 (30 credits), animal breeding programmes and husbandry (30 credits), animal health, welfare and nutrition (30 credits), fundamentals of ecology and ecological field skills I (30 credits). Total 120 credits.

Year 2: professional development in the work environment 2 (30 credits); research methods (30 credits); global biodiversity and conservation issues (30 credits); native wildlife and ecological field skills II (30 credits). Total 120 credits.

All students are supported with academic development with access to a dedicated HE Study Support team and you will also have access to a personal tutor.

A range of theory, practical and work placements. Assessment is by course work and exam.

Progress on to a one-year Top-up Wildlife & Conservation BSc (Hons) degree at Merrist Wood College.

Progress into employment as:

  • Countryside ranger
  • Wildlife reserve manager
  • Ecological surveyor
  • Conservation / biodiversity officer
  • Farming and wildlife advisor
  • Environmental education officer

The minimum entry qualifications for the programme are:

A levels: 64 UCAS points normally in science based subjects
BTEC: 64 UCAS points normally in science based subjects
Access Diploma: Pass
Plus: English and maths GCSE Grade C/4 and it is advantageous to have a science (biology) or psychology.

A minimum IELTS score of 6, TOEFL equivalent is required for those for whom English is not their first language.

These entry requirements are subject to change.

The academic regulations for this programme can be found on Kingston University’s website

You are advised to ensure that anti-tetanus protection via a course of injections or booster is up to date prior to the commencement of the course. You should also ensure that you have adequate clothing for outdoor work in inclement weather. Fees shown are per year. Please contact the College if you require further information.

For more information, or information regarding International fees, please Book a Call

Merrist Wood offers accommodation for new and existing full-time students who wish to live in our halls.

Applicants should apply online through the Activate Learning website.


Dawn Rigby

Tutor Dawn Rigby I believe that young children need a special environment in which to grow and deserve practitioners who are inspiring, dynamic, reflective and passionate about their learning.
Read Dawn's full story here

Why Merrist Wood College?

  • Clear routes of progression with qualifications ranging from foundation level to degree level!
  • Industry experienced teaching staff give you the responsibility and independence you need to take charge of your own future.
  • 100+

    different courses

  • 50+

    years of experience in teaching land-based subjects

  • 400

    -acre campus specialising in the land-based industries

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