Natural history is the study of organisms and the environments in which they live. This is a diverse and exciting subject that covers the study of animals, plants and their environments, along with earth and environmental sciences. On the Natural History degree you will study different organisms – how they are identified, their life history, relationships, behaviour and conservation. You'll also understand the processes that shape our land, coastlines and climate. This natural sciences 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, Portugal and Iceland, and on the optional Natural History expedition to Botswana (additional costs apply for optional overseas fieldwork). There will also be a number of UK excursions in each year.
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 filmmaking, allowing you to record and communicate the wonders of the natural world that you will experience during the Natural History course. You’ll explore the diversity of life, wildlife management for conservation, animal biology, geo-sciences and environmental survey skills. The optional expedition to Botswana offers the exciting opportunity to look at the ecology of wildlife and of the Mashatu region, plus you’ll learn tracking skills and 4x4 driving. Wildlife photography and film making is another exciting part of the course. You’ll gain skills in still photography and film production.
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 Portugal or 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.
Your first year modules aim to give you the underlying foundation knowledge in the subject areas that you will be pursuing. In the second year we explore 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. During the final year you will undertake a substantial project of your choice. This can involve conducting an original scientific research project, or producing a documentary film or photographic portfolio.
We also offer a Foundation Year designed for applicants who do not meet the admissions criteria for the Natural History degree.
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
You will be 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, whist 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 University of South Wales is the only University in Wales to be accredited by CIEEM.
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 wildlife trackers. 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.
The Natural History degree 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 the course leader Dr Tim Cockerill as soon as possible.
By studying Natural History, you will benefit from the huge investment in facilities that has taken place at the University’s Glyntaff Campus. 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 history 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.
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.
Key staff include:
The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.
BCC - CDD to include a Science such as Geography or Mathematics but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level to include a Science (which may be Geography or Mathematics) but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with higher grades of between 655-445 to include Geography grade 5 or Mathematics grade 5. (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points)
Pass the Access to HE Science or Maths Diploma with 60 credits overall – the credits should equate to between 106-80 UCAS tariff points (examples below)
45 Level 3 credits equating to 15 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 6 Passes (106 UCAS Tariff Points)
45 Level 3 credits equating to 12 Distinctions, 6 Merits and 27 Passes (80 UCAS Tariff Points)
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C 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.
This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.
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.
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment) *||£50 - £180||
Field work requires rugged walking boots/shoes and waterproof and thermal clothing.
|Field Trips *||£60 - £100||
Field trip to Southern Spain. The cost is paid for by the University, but students will have to pay for some food.
Please note that students who successfuly secure a placement in industry or abroad to complete their projects would be expected to pay for their own travelling 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. Students are provided with reading lists but are not expected to buy any books, instead students are actively encouraged to make use of the extensive learning resources of the University. Many books are available as ebooks. The course uses the many computing facilities of the Glyntaff campus (students are not expected to buy their own computer but having a personal PC will help with their studies)
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.