The foundation course is designed for applicants who do not meet the admissions criteria for the Natural History degree. You’ll start by completing a foundation year, which provides well structured support, allowing you to develop your scientific skills and knowledge. Following successful completion of the foundation year, you will progress to the first year of the BSc (Hons) Natural History degree.
You'll study the principles of natural history, taxonomy, ecology and biology as well as learning about the scientific research process and data analysis.
The Natural History course has a strong practical field element for you to gain key skills in a range of environments. Presently, students go on field courses to Pembrokeshire, Iceland, and on the optional expedition to Botswana*.
Through the study of habitats and environments, you will learn to identify animal behaviour and ecological interactions. Complementing these areas are modules on digital photography and film-making, allowing you to record and communicate the wonders of the natural world that you will experience during the course.
*Field trip locations are subject to change
The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.
On our Natural History degree you will get to explore the diversity of life, wildlife management for conservation, marine biology and environmental survey skills. A key feature of this natural history degree is gaining practical skills that you can apply on land, in freshwater environments and in the oceans. To develop these skills, you will go on a range of one-day and residential field courses operating in both the UK and overseas. Overseas field trips presently go to Spain, Iceland and an optional module to Botswana. Wildlife photography and film-making is another exciting part of the course where you will develop your skills to produce a documentary.
On this natural history degree, you will study modules on Geographic Information Software (GIS) and research methods to help you understand how to analyse and interpret data collected during experiments, and how to communicate your findings to inform wildlife conservation objectives. Topics in these modules include manipulating spatial data with ArcMap, and statistical computer programming skills.
Your first year modules aim to give you the underlying foundation knowledge in the subject areas that you will be pursuing. Your second year studies develop this knowledge and start to expand your laboratory and field skills. The third year will develop the biological, geo-physical and ecological themes, whilst enabling you to choose an optional module in one of the subject areas. The final year builds on your knowledge and skills, and again allows you to choose an optional module. Each year has a residential field course which will consolidate much of your theory, whilst developing more field skills. The final year has an optional field expedition to Botswana.
Plus one of the following optional modules;
Plus one of the following optional modules;
You will learn from a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions, tutorials, practicals, and field trips. The number of hours of formal teaching will vary depending on your module choice and year of study.
The Natural History course has a focus of hands-on learning to ensure you gain practical survey and research skills. The degree also involves work in a variety of field settings both in the UK and overseas. Several modules are entirely fieldwork-based. Others involve lectures and laboratory work, including half or full day field excursions. The work placement and dissertation modules develop work-related skills and can involve organisations in various countries
Our students are assessed using a range of approaches depending on your module choice and year of study. A number of modules are assessed through a combination of examination and associated assignments, whilst other modules are continuously assessed through assignments. Your assignments can range from laboratory write-ups, open book tests, structured essays, oral presentations and field reports through to a photographic portfolio and field note books.
In your final year you will write a dissertation, worth two modules, based on a topic that you pick from a list of subjects or a topic of your choice which is developed in conjunction with your project supervisor.
The BSc (Hons) Natural History degree is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.
The optional work-based learning module enables you to take a placement for up to four weeks, either in the UK or in some of the world’s exciting wildlife locations.
The Natural History degree is practically oriented and you will have opportunities to further develop practical skills by attending residential field courses. Current residential fieldwork destinations include Pembrokeshire, Portugal/Spain, Iceland and Botswana* (optional). Additional costs may apply to field courses.
The Natural History Field Expedition module to Botswana is undertaken in a camp established to train professional safari guides and game rangers. As part of this optional module, you will study the wildlife and ecology of the Mashatu region and develop your tracking skills. Please note, the exact locations of all overseas field trips may vary each year and are based on the area’s suitability.
This Natural History course has modules with significant fieldwork elements, which come with certain physical demands. If you have a disability that is likely to be affected by physical demands, please get in touch with us as soon as possible.
*Field trip locations are subject to change
By studying Natural History, you will benefit from the huge investment in facilities that has taken place at the University’s Glyntaff Campus in Pontypridd. In addition to recently built and refurbished laboratories, the School has developed a state-of-the-art media room for natural history, plus you will have access to a range of media equipment including DSLR and video/film cameras that are dedicated to our Natural History students.
As well as making use of the great outdoors, our Natural hHistory students work in modern laboratories and classrooms. The Upper Glyntaff buildings comprise two distinct parts. Our new George Knox laboratories are part of a £15m investment in science for the University, meaning you will be taught in new and well-equipped spaces. These join the Grade II-listed Alfred Russell Wallace building, which is also used for teaching.
Deputy course leader Dr Anthony Caravaggi lecturer in Conservation Biology, conducts research that increases our understanding of species-specific and community ecology. Dr Caravaggi uses field studies and historical data, along with R code and GIS software, to answer robust questions related to species distributions, community ecology, habitat selection, and anthropogenic impacts. Dr Caravaggi's work has implications for and informs conservation and management processes, policy and commercial enterprises.
Dr Caravaggi is the Editor of the journal Birds in Wales; Associate Editor of Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, a member of the British Ecological Society Welsh Policy Group and creator and organiser of the twitter-based science communication project @Biotweeps.
His recent research Where’s Wallaby? reveals how wild wallabies are thriving in the UK.
Natural History is a broad subject and you will be taught by experts in the different subject areas. However because staff are all based in one school and on one site, your teaching team are easy to get to know. We encourage an ‘open door’ policy so that you can speak to any lecturer whenever they are available. Staff are active and passionate ecology researchers, undertaking and supporting field research in the Azores, Costa Rica, Honduras, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa and the UK.
Key staff include:
Entry criteria detail typical offers but USW considers all applications on an individual basis which means that we could make offers based on qualifications, personal profile and experience. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.
EE to include a Science subject but exclude General Studies
BTEC Extended Diploma Pass Pass Pass or BTEC Diploma Pass Pass in a relevant Science subject
Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points from Higher Levels to include Science or Maths.
Pass the Access to HE Diploma with 45 Level 3 credits
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 3 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C/Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances
We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.
In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.
However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.
Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.
Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.
This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.
International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.
Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.
Students undertaking courses that contain elements of outdoor fieldwork must wear appropriate outdoor clothing, which includes suitable wet weather gear, rugged boots/shoes and hat/gloves. The location and weather will determine the nature of clothing/footwear worn, and therefore the cost, and students will be informed of these requirements at the start of their studies. Please note that inappropriate clothing/footwear may prevent students from participating in an activity. The School of Applied Sciences subsidises the cost of compulsory fieldwork in the UK and overseas. Although kept to a minimum, some overseas compulsory fieldwork may have additional costs applied. Optional fieldwork modules are typically at the cost to the student. Generally, students will be expected to pay for their food unless specifically included within the field course. Students will need to supply suitable field notebooks in order to take observations/notes during field courses. Please note that some fieldwork may require visas and vaccinations, which are at the cost to the student and will vary depending on individual circumstances.
|Kit/Equipment *||£0 - £10||
Media storage card and USB memory stick for Digital Production for Natural History.
|Field Trip||£1400 - £1600||
Natural History Field Expedition presently conducted in Botswana and generally covers a 2 week period studying the ecology of the region plus training in tracking and field guide skills. The costs include ‘internal’ transport – generally between Johannesburg (S. Africa) and Mashatu (Botswana) – accommodation at the training camp plus accommodation the night before and after the camp (Johannesburg) – all food and soft drinks at the camp.
Students who successfully secure a placement in industry to complete their project would be expected to pay their own travel costs to and from the venue during the period of placement. The cost of this will of course vary and some students have also paid for accommodation close to their place of work for the duration of their placement.
Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly.
Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU.
By graduation, you will have the professional skills to work for national parks, nature reserves, environmental and planning consultancies, national and international wildlife bodies, national, regional and local government, utility companies and regulatory agencies. Your analytical skills will give you excellent prospects in research and policy development. You can even make wildlife films to gain career options in visual media and environmental education. Typical roles include:
Our Natural History course give students opportunities to gain practical experience and develop transferable skills to help them when they enter the world of work. For many students, a degree is an important step in achieving their career ambitions. Our courses generate motivated and able graduates with a range of key skills. They are highly valued by employers for the scope of their knowledge, and have excellent communication and critical thinking skills. Laboratory work and field projects ensure our students have strong research and team working skills.
Employability skills and work-based learning are built into our natural science courses. For example, we build in the practical skills that are outlined by the professional bodies. In the second year, research and report writing skills are developed alongside field skills and the writing of field reports. The final year gives you the opportunity to undertake work-based learning and to conduct project work.