The contemporary world is one of rapidly increasing human interference in natural environments and of competition for space and resources. Many species or habitats are disappearing before they can even be studied properly. Some species are endangered, for example, because of the destruction of their habitats, introduced species or climate change. As a consequence, there is much interest in understanding the complex inter-relationships between environments and their inhabitants, so that environmental conservation and sustainable management may be undertaken for the benefit of future generations. Conservation Biology is the applied science of maintaining the Earth’s biological diversity. The aim of this degree is to introduce students to the main issues in managing and conserving biodiversity at the UK and global scales. Stirling is a superb place to study this. The city is home to more environmental and conservation organisations than any other UK city – we have strong links with these groups and some are even based at the University. We place great emphasis on practical training and preparation for a wide range of careers in conservation. In employment terms, there is a demand for well-trained graduates from conservation and government agencies. The final Honours year lays special emphasis on independent study through a series of specialist half modules and an individual research project. Previous projects have included: • Comparison of farming practices on bat foraging activity and nocturnal insects • Restoration of species-rich grasslands for bumblebee conservation • Estimating genetic diversity and pollen mediated gene flow in rowan forest fragments • Assessing the effects of small wind turbines on birds and bats • Mapping the distribution of red squirrels on Arran. Fieldwork is an essential and enjoyable part of this degree course. Stirling’s campus location is an ideal base from which to make field excursions, whether to study lekking Black Grouse in the Highlands, the growth of trees on the sides of the Ochil Hills, or the distribution of animals on the Forth estuary. The programme includes a compulsory field class in Scotland in the second year, as well as optional field courses to Spain, Iceland and France. A further optional field course in tropical conservation biology travels to Gabon in year 4, where the University of Stirling has a long history of practicing conservation research and management. (Students must pay most of the costs of their travel, accommodation, and subsistence for the field courses.) The 10-day field course in ecology and animal biology currently takes place in the Cévennes in France, a rugged mountain landscape of exceptional natural beauty and tremendous biodiversity. The organisms that live there include over 2,300 flowering plant species, 2,000 invertebrate species and 300 vertebrate species. Notable among these are wild boar, otters, vultures, and grey wolves. The region exemplifies the deep historical connection between humans and the natural world, and is recognised as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site. During the field trip students learn various techniques in field sampling, identification, experimental design, data analysis and presentation.