Environmental Biology

BSc (Hons) (NFQ Level 8)

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Curricular information is subject to change.

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Why is this course for me?

Environmental Biology focuses on the biological aspects of environmental science. It equips students with a strong background in ecology and its application to environmental assessment and management. Marine, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems are studied through the disciplines of plant, animal and microbial ecology, evolutionary biology, conservation biology, global change biology, pollution biology, soil science and wildlife ecology. There’s a strong emphasis on vocational skills and links with industry. Core modules include mock environmental impact assessment, field-based sampling in Ireland, Spain and Costa Rica, and guest lectures from environmental managers and consultants.

Course Pathways
What Will I Study

Environmental Biology is one of the degree subjects available through either the Biological, Biomedical & Biomolecular Sciences OR Earth & Environmental Sciences streams in the common entry Science course.

Students study similar modules for all degree subjects in the Biological, Biomedical & Biomolecular Sciences stream in first year and will study modules for a minimum of two degree subjects in second year. At the end of second year, students choose their degree major. Assuming students meet all the academic requirements in first and second year, students are guaranteed a degree subject from the stream they are studying in second year. We do our best to ensure that students go on to study their top degree subject choice. As we offer plenty of degree subjects in each stream, students have a number of similar degree subjects to choose from as their degree major. This is a sample set of modules that an Environmental Biology student could study each year in UCD.

First Year

  • Scientific Enquiry
  • Cell Biology & Genetics
  • Basis of Organic and Biological Chemistry
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Biology in Action
  • Life on Earth
  • Linear Algebra for Science
  • Calculus for Science
  • Optional Science Modules
  • Elective Module

Second Year

  • Biomolecular Lab Skills
  • Scientific Communication
  • Principles of Environmental Biology & Ecology
  • Chemistry for Biology
  • + modules for 2 other Science Subjects
  • Elective Modules

Third Year

  • Wildlife Conservation & Fisheries Management
  • Analysis of Environmental Materials
  • Working with Biological Data
  • Diversity of Plant Form & Function
  • Ecological and Environmental Microbiology
  • Optional Modules
  • Elective Modules

Fourth Year

  • Research Project
  • Bioassessment of Freshwaters
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Peatlands and Environmental Change
  • Tropical Field Ecology
  • Ecological Mapping
  • Foodborne Pathogens
  • Ornithology
  • Conservation of Biodiversity
  • Marine Community Ecology
  • Biological Invasions

Timetables & Assessment

Each student will have their own timetable based on their individual module selection. This is a full time course and classes may include lectures, practicals and tutorials, depending on the subjects. Students will also be expected to study independently (autonomous student learning). Assessment varies with each module but may comprise continuous assessment of practicals, written exams and online learning activities.

For detailed information on subject content click here

International Study Opportunities

Students in third year have spent time at the following universities:

  • University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
  • University of Melbourne, Australia
Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

Environmental Biologists pursue a wide range of careers such as:

  • Fisheries managers
  • Environmental consultants
  • Habitat ecologists
  • Pollution biologists
  • Wildlife and conservation officers
  • National park supervisors
  • Technical and scientific supervisors
  • University researchers and professors

Graduate opportunities are also available for students to pursue MSc or PhD programmes. Taught MSc programmes at UCD include Applied Science (Environmental Science), Environmental Sustainability (Online) and Global Change: Ecosystem Science and Policy.

Other Entry Routes

“I had the opportunity to travel to the Costa Rican Rainforest for a two-week field trip with my classmates and lecturers. The trip to the rainforest allowed us to put the theory we had learned into practice. We had the chance to advance our skills in field sampling, monitoring and data handling and we also got to live in one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world with pumas, monkeys, parrots, giant butterflies and snakes. I am a member of the Choral Scholars of UCD, as well as President and Co-Founder of UCD Women+ in STEM Society. Being a Choral Scholar has been fantastic because I have been able to earn academic credits, record CDs and travel to New York to sing in Carnegie Hall!”

Sadhbh McCarrick, Student

Contact Information

Dr Jan-Robert Baars
UCD School of Biology & Environmental Science
Science Centre (West)
Belfield, Dublin 4

Email: askscience@ucd.ie

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