Accessibility statement

Field courses

As part of several modules across our programmes we offer field courses to enhance your learning and provide opportunities to study outside your usual realm. Each course includes an amount of field work, where you will gather and analyse data to form the basis of a research paper.  We currently offer opportunities to study marine and coastal biology environments in Scotland, the colourful flora and fauna of Portugal, or experience equally stunning locations in Yorkshire.

These field courses are open to undergraduates on Biology courses undertaking the relevant modules. Please check the additional fees section of the course you are applying to for details of costs and funding.

Modules with field courses

The trip was great fun, and also very interesting [...] Towards the end of the week we started designing and conducting our own mini research projects. - Zoe

Benefits of field courses 

These extended courses provide the opportunity for you to gain practical field experience in a range of ecological settings and habitats. You will learn how to design an experiment and apply the theoretical knowledge that you have developed in lectures and workshops to real world settings. Analysing this data will give you an insight into the exciting questions that ecologists can answer and the complexities that this can involve. These courses offer you the opportunity to work as part of a team when collecting your data, so you can build friendships and enjoy visiting new places as part of these field courses. You'll lay the groundwork for later research, so you can feel confident in approaching a final year research project if you choose to focus on an ecological question. 

Throughout our field courses you’ll learn from our academics and local experts about the species you’ll commonly encounter, develop your identification skills and gain hands-on experience in ecological sampling techniques, whether your focus is plants, animals or more of an entire ecosystems approach. You’ll come away from these courses understanding how to recognise commonly found species, and with an in-depth knowledge of the study system related to your research question.

The skills you develop on our field courses are also beneficial for careers in ecology, conservation and the environment. You can apply the skills you have learnt to careers in ecological consultancy or management, conservation and ecological research for example. Following on from our field courses, some of our students also decide to develop their fieldwork skills even further by completing a Year in Industry in an ecological field. 

Examples of research projects

  • Monitoring changes in the grassland flora from year to year
  • Investigating the habitat requirements of rare plants
  • The effect of forest tracks on biodiversity
  • Understanding how bird/mammal/invertebrate diversity are associated and how each varies across habitats
  • Environmental factors determining the distribution of legumes
  • The influence of tree litter on soil characteristics and composition
  • The relationship between floral diversity and distance from a beehive
  • Morphology of intertidal snails depending on environmental conditions 
  • Zonation on the shore
  • Adaptation to environmental conditions 

The information provided here is indicative of current courses and is subject to change.