Take a look at your smart phone, your tablet, your laptop, your computer. In your hand, under your fingers, is the final result of mathematical theory, engineering know-how, scientific understanding and technological inspiration. It is fused with design and art so it appeals to your sense of aesthetic and to your emotions. It allows you to be creative.
So should a degree course. Single subject courses made sense in the twentieth century but in the twenty-first, life, employment, is a lot more complex and inter-disciplinary. Global problems require an ability to understand a range of subjects and combine them to propose global solutions. This is the case for conservation. Understanding the conservation science is one thing but explaining the issues and proposing the solutions to the general public is quite another. Most conservation science jobs require these skills: educators in zoos, aquariums and nature reserves, science journalists, wildlife media creators, wildlife guides, wildlife campaign managers, project coordinators, fundraisers for charities.
The FdSc Wildlife Education and Media course does just that. It teaches you the zoological conservation science that makes you a conservation scientist but it also provides skills in educating a range of audiences, both in person and through a range of media. It is a theoretical course but it is also a practical and applied course: Pop-Up Nature Centres, British Science Week activity, interpretation development, storytelling, writing journalistic copy, producing films and podcasts. You don’t just learn but do. Employers like that and this is why this small course has been successful in getting graduates into jobs, especially if you complete the one-year top-up in BSc (Hons) Applied Zoology. You produce a portfolio to evidence your skills. You learn industry standard software. We guide you to become more employable.
Other skills and knowledge you’ll gain include:
• Learning subjects like ecology, zoology, biodiversity, evolution, animal behaviour and species/habitat conservation
• Developing environmental interpretation for use by the public
• Learning how to teach through running our dedicated pop-up nature centre
• Planning and running an educational event for British Science Week
• Learning how to use digital cameras for wildlife photography/film-making and industry-standard specialist software for media creation
• Developing independent research skills in a second year project in conservation science, education and/or media.
The course can be carried out on a full time basis, which is two years at our Newquay campus adjacent to Newquay Zoo, or on a part time basis over 3 or 4 years, where you will be infilled with full time students. During the course you will have the opportunity to visit various science communication centres and also to gain first-hand experience of teaching in the classroom.
Would you like to know more? Read on below…
Overseas field work
The college also organises trips further afield, at your own cost. These trips are a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills and practise your skills learnt at the college. They could also be considered highly valuable if you are looking to pursue a career in ecotourism, as a wildlife tour guide. Past trips have visited the forests of Borneo, the reefs of Egypt, nature reserves in Portugal and the beautiful island of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. More recently, we have run fantastic trips to the Kruger National Park in South Africa and to the cloud forests and coral reefs of Honduras. Both of these trips offer great opportunities for a wildlife educator or a wildlife media creator to practice what you have learned in the class room.
Find out more about the field trips on offer HERE
If you want to stay at Newquay after your FdSc, you could progress onto our BSc (Hons) Applied Zoology top-up. This course has a module called Communicating Zoology that is well-worth choosing. This means you would get a BSc (Hons) qualification in three years – exactly the same amount of time as if you picked a BSc qualification from the start.
You could also progress onto the BSc (Hons) Environmental Resource Management, a 1 year top-up that is also based in Newquay.
There is an official progression route at University of Plymouth. You could progress onto the 1 year BSc (Hons) Animal Conservation Science.
The above options mean that you could achieve a bachelor-level degree after three years – the same time as a degree in a traditional institution.
Finally, there are other degree courses around the country that you may find of interest. However, acceptance and year of entry is at the discretion of the institution that you apply to.
The Wildlife Education & Media course is an ideal platform to pursue these potential careers:
• Wildlife education officer in zoos, wildlife parks, aquariums and nature reserves
• Education officer in museums, particularly in natural history sections
• Wildlife tour guides leading holiday expeditions for ecotourism companies
• Teaching/instructing for outdoor education providers
• Ranger for outdoor organisations
• Education officer for wildlife charities
• Media relations officer
• Science journalism
• Wildlife campaigns manager
• Teaching science, particularly biology, in primary and secondary schools (would require a PGCE)
These are just a taster of the jobs you could progress onto. Our Careers Service is available to give information, advice and guidance on all aspects of education, training and career progression.
Quotes regarding the course
If you want an employer’s view of this qualification, please read this quote from Mark Norris, Education Manager at Newquay Zoo:
“I was really proud to be involved in setting this course and college partnership up, and also a bit regretful, knowing that if this had been around when I was 18 and looking for a varied degree experience, I would love to have been a student part of it!
“The FdSc Wildlife Education & Media course at Cornwall College Newquay grew out of traditional HE conservation and zoology courses, redesigned to equip future graduates with many of the specialist media, interpretation and education skills they need to communicate science and conservation effectively in an evolving social network age.
“We need each student to become, as David Bond’s Project Wildthing says, a marketing officer for Nature in an ever busier world. Taught by enthusiastic tutors and guest speakers with industry experience, students work alongside education staff at Blue Reef Aquarium and Newquay Zoo amongst many other organisations to run events or be part of education and fundraising programmes.”
If you want our External Examiner’s view of this qualification, please read these quotes from Dr Joanna Henley, Senior Lecturer at Falmouth University:
“The films produced by both the first year and second year cohorts were of a high quality, in particular the group plastics film.”
“The British Science Week event and the Pop-Up Nature Centres provide invaluable experiential learning for the students and allowed for some great reflective coursework pieces. Furthermore the online portfolio forming part of WEM102 and further developed in CORN296, continue to be a great industry-facing piece for students to use in the future. This year they were of a particularly high quality.”
“The course continues to be industry facing, helping students to develop transferable skills in presenting and communicating to target audiences and developing their online presences. The learning team remain focused on developing innovative teaching techniques, both in the classroom and on location, to maximise the experiential and reflective learning of students which is highly commendable. Progressive learning from year one to two is also broadly evident, with students commenting on their abilities to apply learnt theories to real educational environments. Jason Birt and his team continue to apply passion and enthusiasm to their teaching which is clearly infectious on the students.”
“Evidence of work based learning as part of the planning and directing of educational events is extremely well placed and assessed on the course.”
“The WEM programme has, under my inspection, continued to adapt to the industries of environmental education and media communication of science extremely well and the pathways into and out of this course are diverse. Career options available to students completing the program are broad and its focus on developing interdisciplinary and transferable skills for students, from and variety of interests and backgrounds, makes the course, in my opinion, truly unique at FE level. It has been a pleasure to be involved in some small way in the development of this course … Experiences of working with Jason, Ruth and the rest of the WEM team have been most memorable and rewarding.”
- UCAS Code: XP33
- Institution codes: CORN C78
- Awarded by: University of Plymouth
48 UCAS points from AS and A-Levels (at least 32 points must be at A2-level) or relevant level 3 qualification, ie BTEC / City & Guilds Extended Diploma - PPP Grades required (specific unit grades may be requested). Any students without Level 3 in a science subject may need to complete an entry assignment. Students without media experience need not worry - you will learn the media skills you require on this course. Access to HE Diplomas in a relevant subject - 45 credits at level 3 (specific unit grades may be requested). Plus GCSEs at grade C/grade 4 or above in English Language, Science and Mathematics: alternatives at Level 2 may be considered. Mature applicants with relevant experience but without the stated qualifications will be considered individually and are encouraged to apply.
Cornwall College Group has been awarded silver in Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)Find out more about TEF
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Indicative Modules Year 1
Year 1 will usually consist of the following modules:
Wildlife Education (20 credits)
This module provides you with an understanding of the biodiversity of this planet and allows you to develop methods of informal and formal teaching delivery to a range of audiences, including our pop-up nature centre, PUNC’T. Being able to communicate difficult scientific concepts to the general public is a key element of a zoo, aquarium or nature reserve education officer, as well as a number of other careers.
Wildlife and the Media (20 credits)
This module explores the variety of media forms available to communicate information about wildlife and conservation. You will be taught through a series of hands-on workshops how to use a range of media, including film, photography, web design, and graphic design: your tutors have all worked extensively in this field. You will have to apply this practical knowledge with other information taught on the degree plus your own interests to compile a web-based portfolio for assessment. This portfolio will be added to in your second year – see below.
Evolutionary Theories (10 credits)
The basic classification questions that underlie all studies of animal biology, ecology and behaviour are considered in this module. It considers the scientific theory of natural selection and how scientists have amended Darwin’s original theory over time.
Personal & Employability Skills Development: the success module (20 credits)
This module is designed to support you to develop your personal and employability skills to give you the best possible chance of success in your future career. This module has been developed in conjunction with Deloitte, international business specialists.
Introduction to Zoology (20 credits)
This module provides you with an understanding of the key scientific concepts and practical skills which underpin the study of zoological conservation. Delivered in an exciting range of lectures and practical sessions, topics covered range from basic molecular biology and chemistry to whole animal systems. You will develop skills in microscopy, colorimetry and chemical analysis amongst others.
Animals and their Environment (20 credits)
Firstly, you will learn about the ecology of the environment animals live in. Then, you gain an introduction to the basic principles of animal behaviour, an understanding of animal instinct, motivation and knowledge of behavioural research including Pavlov, Skinner, Darwin, Tinbergen and Lorenz. The module will cover the basic concepts of optimality theory and behavioural ecology.
Fieldwork Techniques (10 credits)
This module equips you with the skills and knowledge required to carry out field work using appropriate techniques, data handling and analysis, and effective communication of ecological information.
Indicative Modules Year 2
Year 2 will usually consist of the following modules:
Education & Interpretation in Public Spaces (20 credits)
This module will develop your ability to observe and evaluate wildlife-related interpretation and to develop techniques to communicate information about wildlife and environmental science to an audience within public spaces. You will visit various institutions to evaluate educational programmes offered for informal settings. Then, you will develop the media knowledge you gained in the first year to produce media pieces for use in public setting for a British Science Week event.
Wildlife Education and Media in Practice (20 credits)
This module sums up the whole course: you continue learning the applications in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite from year one. You continue to develop your educational practice. You showcase your work experience. You continue to build your web-based portfolio that showcases your growing skillset and can be used to show potential employers.
Communicating Science & Natural History (20 credits)
This module addresses the diverse ways in which science is communicated to a range of audiences: scientific, lay, young and old. You will study the range of communication methods used for disseminating scientific information and evaluate the effectiveness of each.
Vertebrate Zoology and Conservation (20 credits)
This module builds on the zoology you learnt in Introduction to Zoology in the first year and then introduces the conservation strategies you need to preserve vertebrate species survival. This builds your knowledge-base for educational delivery and media creation.
Individual Research Project (20 credits)
Gives you the opportunity to conduct your own project. Your involvement and responsibility stretches from project conception and planning, through defining the aims and objectives of the project, researching relevant literature, day to day management of the project, to analysis and interpretation of data, report writing and presentation. The project can be a completely scientific piece or it can be an experimental evaluation of an educational or media developed piece of your own devising, allowing you to personalise your craft in the career direction of your choice.
Optional modules in year 2 (choose one from the following three):
Primate Behaviour & Conservation (20 credits)
Our nearest cousins, the primates, display fascinating and complex behaviour giving us insights into the development of our own behaviour and society. Through this module you will explore some of the fundamentals of behaviour as applied to primates, including how they learn and behave in natural and captive situations. Newquay Zoo has an extensive collection of primates providing a wonderful opportunity to develop practical skills in observing and analysing their behaviour.
Marine Vertebrate Biology & Conservation (20 credits)
This module explores the functional biology of a range of marine vertebrate species you will focus and compare the extremes of physiological and anatomical adaptations shown by marine mammals and reptiles. The module also explores the challenges we face to conserve flagship species such as turtles, marine mammals and sharks. A detailed understanding of life history including feeding migration, social and reproductive behaviour will be explored and related to conservation. Newquay’s coastal location provides excellent opportunities to study at least one species – the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) in the wild. For your assessment you will outline a conservation action plan for a named species.
Behavioural Ecology (20 credits)
This module builds up your knowledge of animal behaviour and its relationship to the environment in which they live. With perhaps more of a focus on birds, this module is ideal for those of you who want a more general development of your knowledge-based – ideal for those of you wanting to be wildlife guides in reserves or ecotour operators.
*Modules are subject to change and availability
Jason Birt Programme Manager for FdSc Wildlife Education & Media
Jason Birt originally gained a degree in Oceanography with Marine Biology from the University of Southampton. After a period of research in Scotland, he landed a job as a Marine Science lecturer at Newquay’s sister site, Falmouth Marine School.
During the 2000s, he got involved with the Wildlife Trusts’ Public Understanding of the Marine Environment forum and this ignited his love of science and public engagement. In 2008, he organised the UK’s first marine BioBlitz, as a way of getting his students even more engaged with the marine environment. This led to him providing advice to Bristol Natural History Consortium for their BioBlitz, and to the Natural History Museum and the Marine Biological Association for their larger, joint marine BioBlitz. In 2008, he moved to the Newquay campus and in 2013 he took on Programme Management of the Wildlife Education & Media course. He remains committed to bringing public engagement and outreach of conservation science to students and is always immensely proud when students land a job in the same subject as they have been studying.
Rhiann Mitchell-Holland wildlife presenter at Newquay Zoo
Rhiann completed the FdSc Wildlife Education & Media course, then progressing onto a third year top up to a full BSc in Applied Zoology. She now works at Newquay Zoo as a wildlife presenter :
Rhiann said: “I had an incredible experience at Cornwall College Newquay. Everyone is so like-minded and I always recommend the college to everyone. Its helped me in loads of aspects of my life, not just my career but my confidence, my self-esteem, who I am as a person, How I approach and talk to people now, I feel like I can do anything and its given a new zest for life. The size of the campus is great as you get that one-to-to tuition, you can always go to a teacher, you can always find a lecturer and you become a small family. By the end of it, they were all my best friends.
“Cornwall College Newquay is the place to go if you are interested in studying or working with animals. The opportunities that it opens up for you are endless, you can go into education, into welfare, into husbandry, into a zoo like me, into a wildlife sanctuary, into an aquarium, it really is massive. In terms of helping you to find your focus, Cornwall College is where it’s at.”
Lily Moffatt digital assistant and story developer for the BBC
Lily Moffatt studied FdSc Wildlife Education & Media and is now a digital assistant and story developer for the BBC’s ‘The Watches’ series.
Lily said: "The fact that you can get a degree at such a lovely little university college is so brilliant! I think the variety of modules in both the FdSc and BSc were what really made the whole experience enjoyable. The facilities and location also made all the difference… morning lectures on the beach rock pooling or afternoons watching lemurs at the zoo were especially enjoyable!
"It’s one of the coolest places you can live, without having that sometimes overbearing ‘uni’ city atmosphere. The general vibe on campus was great, it’s a calm place with amazing resources, the
Zoo and Aquarium being both brilliant tools to use in the courses. The lecturers and staff were extremely friendly and helpful and you have more opportunity to have a one-to-one with them if
you’re unsure about an assignment or require more feedback and advice for a project or idea.
"Studying at Cornwall College Newquay has helped immensely with my current role with the BBC. The variation of modules both in FdSc and BSc were extremely relevant to my job, especially in
the research aspect of the role."
*Courses listed on this website are indicative of the subject, nature and level of study. The college reserves the right to alter specific qualifications titles, awarding bodies and levels of qualification, which can change in year. Any cost may also vary, based on personal funding eligibility.
Careers advice available
If you are considering an undergraduate programme with us, you may wish to access our free Careers and Employability advice service. This gives you the opportunity to talk with an advisor about career options before, during and after your study with us. To make an appointment, please e-mail: H.E.Advice@cornwall.ac.uk
If you come into the International category (non EU*) and Channel Island (inc. Isle of Man) the tuition fee may vary – click here for full fee information