floppyfish
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What are the main differences between these undergrad courses and which is the most respected by employers? If it’s any help I’d like to work in wildlife conservation.
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University of Sheffield Students
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Hi there,

I'm a current student at The University of Sheffield. If your interests are in wildlife conservation I would recommend either a degree in ecology or in zoology because these will provide you with more opportunities to learn about the things you are interested in. Each course may different compulsory modules after second year which will help you develop specific skills relevant to your degree.

I hope this helps but have you got any other questions related to going to studying a biological science at university?

Daniel
Third Year
MBiolSci Biology with a Yeare Abroad
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OxFossil
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(Original post by floppyfish)
What are the main differences between these undergrad courses and which is the most respected by employers? If it’s any help I’d like to work in wildlife conservation.
There's often not a big difference between ecology and zoology at UG level, particularly in the first year or two. Cell biology, genetics and biochemistry are so fundamental that any biology=based course is going to have to cover them at least in Y1. Likewise, its impossible to understand zoology without ecology, or ecology without some grasp of systematics and evolution. The differences are going to come later where you'll be offered more options and probably a dissertation to do.

Environmental science will usually have less of the particularly "animal-y" aspects, like evolution, animal behaviour and genetics, and instead cover geology, climate science and planetary systems in more depth.

Overall, despite these differences, I suspect employers in the conservation sector will not have a strong preference. Do look at the prospectuses of a bunch of your favourite universities to see exactly how much choice there is - go for the course and the uni that most suits you.

Having said that, if you want a career with conservation and/or fieldwork, the competition is stiff. A particular problem is that not many UG courses include work on the issues that make up the bulk of real life work in these areas - practical estates management and the policy environment. It's likely you will need significant further training and experience eg a Masters in Conservation Policy and /or volunteer work on a reserve or research project. Wherever you go, my advice would be to be very proactive in networking with postgrad researchers. See if there are volunteering activities in the vacations with conservation organisations - anything from doing survey work to helping organise a conference. Getting a feel for current issues in the political and policy environment, as well as the pure science, is important for a lot of jobs in the sector.
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floppyfish
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(Original post by OxFossil)
There's often not a big difference between ecology and zoology at UG level, particularly in the first year or two. Cell biology, genetics and biochemistry are so fundamental that any biology=based course is going to have to cover them at least in Y1. Likewise, its impossible to understand zoology without ecology, or ecology without some grasp of systematics and evolution. The differences are going to come later where you'll be offered more options and probably a dissertation to do.

Environmental science will usually have less of the particularly "animal-y" aspects, like evolution, animal behaviour and genetics, and instead cover geology, climate science and planetary systems in more depth.

Overall, despite these differences, I suspect employers in the conservation sector will not have a strong preference. Do look at the prospectuses of a bunch of your favourite universities to see exactly how much choice there is - go for the course and the uni that most suits you.

Having said that, if you want a career with conservation and/or fieldwork, the competition is stiff. A particular problem is that not many UG courses include work on the issues that make up the bulk of real life work in these areas - practical estates management and the policy environment. It's likely you will need significant further training and experience eg a Masters in Conservation Policy and /or volunteer work on a reserve or research project. Wherever you go, my advice would be to be very proactive in networking with postgrad researchers. See if there are volunteering activities in the vacations with conservation organisations - anything from doing survey work to helping organise a conference. Getting a feel for current issues in the political and policy environment, as well as the pure science, is important for a lot of jobs in the sector.
Thanks for the answer. I’m probably going to do a wildlife conservation masters, or maybe even a PhD with ZSL if I’m up to it.
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OxFossil
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(Original post by floppyfish)
Thanks for the answer. I’m probably going to do a wildlife conservation masters, or maybe even a PhD with ZSL if I’m up to it.
good luck!
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burleys
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(Original post by OxFossil)
There's often not a big difference between ecology and zoology at UG level, particularly in the first year or two. Cell biology, genetics and biochemistry are so fundamental that any biology=based course is going to have to cover them at least in Y1. Likewise, its impossible to understand zoology without ecology, or ecology without some grasp of systematics and evolution. The differences are going to come later where you'll be offered more options and probably a dissertation to do.

Environmental science will usually have less of the particularly "animal-y" aspects, like evolution, animal behaviour and genetics, and instead cover geology, climate science and planetary systems in more depth.

Overall, despite these differences, I suspect employers in the conservation sector will not have a strong preference. Do look at the prospectuses of a bunch of your favourite universities to see exactly how much choice there is - go for the course and the uni that most suits you.

Having said that, if you want a career with conservation and/or fieldwork, the competition is stiff. A particular problem is that not many UG courses include work on the issues that make up the bulk of real life work in these areas - practical estates management and the policy environment. It's likely you will need significant further training and experience eg a Masters in Conservation Policy and /or volunteer work on a reserve or research project. Wherever you go, my advice would be to be very proactive in networking with postgrad researchers. See if there are volunteering activities in the vacations with conservation organisations - anything from doing survey work to helping organise a conference. Getting a feel for current issues in the political and policy environment, as well as the pure science, is important for a lot of jobs in the sector.
Hi! The info was really useful.
Are courses in ecology and conservation really that competitive? I've just applied for the one at Exeter and was hoping that since it's not a very common subject it wouldn't be too competitive.... :') I really want to get in!
It's also the study abroad variant which ups the entry requirements... guess I'll have to keep praying haha
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OxFossil
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(Original post by burleys)
Hi! The info was really useful.
Are courses in ecology and conservation really that competitive? I've just applied for the one at Exeter and was hoping that since it's not a very common subject it wouldn't be too competitive.... :') I really want to get in!
It's also the study abroad variant which ups the entry requirements... guess I'll have to keep praying haha
I dont know that the competition for degree places is particularly tough. It's getting a job after that's the hard bit. Exeter is a good department; good luck.
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burleys
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(Original post by OxFossil)
I dont know that the competition for degree places is particularly tough. It's getting a job after that's the hard bit. Exeter is a good department; good luck.
That's fair enough. Thank you!
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