Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and the environment. In reality, modern ecology is much broader than this, encompassing studies on individuals, species, populations, communities, and ecosystems, and includes behaviour, evolution, physiology, and increasingly molecular biology.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, the study of ecology is especially important. As a small group of islands separated from larger land masses, Aotearoa's flora and fauna evolved unique characteristics in the absence of mammals. The invasion of Aotearoa by humans and the organisms (including mammals) that they introduced has dramatically altered its ecology, leading to drastic reductions in numbers, or even extinctions, of the original animals and plants.
In addition, global climate change is affecting the ecology of Aotearoa, altering the distribution of both native and introduced organisms.
- At UC the Ecology major is designed for students wishing to focus on any combination of ecology, behaviour, or evolutionary biology.
- UC is ranked first in Aotearoa New Zealand for research in Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour (Te Amorangi Mātauranga Matua | Tertiary Education Commission 2018 PBRF assessment).
- There is a strong emphasis on field based research so you learn practical skills in a real world environment.
- A network of field stations allows research to be undertaken in a wide range of environments across Te Waipounamu South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand.
- Our staff have strong collaborations with researchers and institutions across the globe, enabling international research projects.
Students undertaking postgraduate study in Ecology must meet the entry requirements of their chosen qualification and have a strong foundation in the subject.
Prerequisites: 60 points from BIOL 370–384; and BIOL 309 or equivalent.
UC offers the following postgraduate programmes in Ecology:
- Bachelor of Science with Honours
- Postgraduate Certificate in Science
- Postgraduate Diploma in Science
- Master of Science
- Doctor of Philosophy
See the individual qualification pages for more information on degree requirements.
Bachelor of Science with Honours majoring in Ecology
The Ecology major in the BSc(Hons) includes BIOL 411 Research Preparation, BIOL 412 Research Proposal, and ECOL 480 Project. At least another 45 points of courses are selected from BIOL 420–438. The remaining 15-point course may be selected with approval from the Programme Coordinator.
Postgraduate Certificate in Science majoring in Ecology
Students need to complete at least 45 points in ECOL 400-level courses for the major. In total 60 points must be completed for the PGCertSc from Ecology and/or other Science courses.
Postgraduate Diploma in Science majoring in Ecology
Both BIOL 411 Research Preparation and BIOL 412 Research Proposal are required, plus another 90 points of courses chosen from BIOL 420–438, ENVR 410 Concepts and Principles of Environmental Science, ENVR 411 Case Studies in Environmental Science, or FORE 616 Restoration Ecology.
Master of Science majoring in Ecology
Part I of the MSc in Ecology is made up of BIOL 411 Research Preparation and BIOL 412 Research Proposal, and another 90 points of courses chosen from BIOL 420–438, ENVR 410 Concepts and Principles of Environmental Science, ENVR 411 Case Studies in Environmental Science, or FORE 616 Restoration Ecology.
Part II requires ECOL 690 MSc Thesis.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Ecology
In the PhD, students need to pass a thesis of original research in the ecological field (ECOL 790 PhD Thesis).
Ecologists can take up a wide range of careers working for organisations such as the Department of Conservation | Te Papa Atawhai, city or regional councils, universities, and Crown Research Institutes, as well as with private companies such as environmental consulting agencies.
Their work can take them to a wide range of beautiful and unique areas in Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond.
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University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
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