Field courses

Invaluable practical skills

Our MSc/MRes Biodiversity and Conservation offer the opportunity for your skills to be developed through practical field courses.

These will benefit you from both an academic and careers perspective, as demonstrating field experience is often essential in a very competitive job market.

The field courses, along with the research project are one of the highlights of the course for many students.

There are two optional field courses as part of the degree; 

African Ecology Field Course

View of Mount Kenya

Zebras fighting in front of mount kenya

The African field course is based at Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia, Kenya.

You’ll gain a first-hand appreciation of the ecology and conservation concerns of an African savannah community, both for the wildlife and the people who live in the area.

As well as learning about the local environment, flora and fauna, and field safety procedures, you’ll spend most of the time designing and carrying out group research projects.

You’ll produce project reports when you return to the UK.

You’ll also give short presentations about key topics in the ecology and conservation of savannas, and where possible resident researchers will also provide guest lectures. These are always fascinating accounts of the science being undertaken at Mpala. View the photo galley here.

Mediterranean Ecology Field Course

Stick insect captured at Mediterranean field trip

Lizard photographed during field trip

The Mediterranean field course takes you down to southern Spain to experience an entirely different ecological landscape.

Andalucia is among the most arid areas in Europe, with a flora and fauna that are very different to those of the UK.

You’ll carry out projects on the unique plant communities that thrive in the gypsum soils, and the diverse array of pollinators, butterflies, beetles and scorpions that are abundant on the site.

You’ll also have the opportunity to study the migratory birds that use the area as a pathway from Africa back to summer breeding grounds in Europe, the wild boar that roam the abandoned farm on which the field station is based, the bats that roost in the nearby gypsum caves, and the lizards that bask on the rocky outcrops throughout the site.

Ahead of the visit, you’ll work in small groups to develop a research topic in collaboration with a member of staff, and produce individual literature reviews.

You’ll then carry out research work in your groups during the field course, making use of the range of habitats and taxa available on the site.

The course also gives you the opportunity to visit a nearby coastal town and the local cave system.

The field course ends with team seminars before you travel back to the UK to produce a short, individual research paper. View the photo galley here.

Specialist Field Work

As well as the optional abroad field courses you have the opportunity to undertake fieldwork within our Leeds-based modules.

Your course will start with an introductory residential weeken in the Yorkshire Dales, and throughout the year a number of modules are largely field-based.

For example, Practical Conservation with the National Trust involves five days in the Yorkshire Dales working with Trust staff, while the plant identification module involves visiting different locations around Yorkshire including Ilkley Middleton Woods.