UCC Undergraduate courses

Ecology & Environmental Biology

About This Course

Fact File

Course Outline

The BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology degree is the only one of its kind in Ireland. The course was established in response to the increasing awareness of environmental and wildlife issues. It is the study of the interactions between animals, plants and microbes and their environment. It includes the study of how individual organisms interact in communities and how communities interact with the surrounding ecosystem.

This degree addresses such questions as; what controls animal and plant distribution, abundance and biodiversity? How do energy and nutrients move around ecosystems? How do species interact with each other? It also examines the biology of various habitats from marine and freshwater to terrestrial habitats and the soil. It uses the understanding of basic ecological principles and concepts to predict and manage the environmental change caused by the human impact on natural ecosystems.

It includes subjects such as:

  • Conservation
  • Pest Control
  • Wildlife Management
  • Pollution and Ecotoxicology
  • Resource Management


Year 1 Modules:

Refer to CK404 for more details.

Year 2 Modules:


  • AE2001- Fundamentals of Ecology  
  • AE2007 - Practical Ecological Skills  
  • BL2001 - Plant and Animal Genetics  
  • EV2002 – Environment and Public Health
  • PS2002 - Ecological Plant Physiology
  • PS2003 -  Plant Identification  
  • ST2001 - Introduction to Biostatistics
  • ZY2000 – Vertebrate Diversity
  • ZY2005 – Invertebrate Diversity
  • ZY2007 – Practical Invertebrate Skills 


  • ZY2006 - Vertebrate Diversity
  • GS2002 – The Evolving Earth

Year 3 Modules:


  • AE3013 - Practical Field Ecology (residential field course) 
  • BL3001 -   Literature Review
  • BL3002 -   Evolution and Diversity
  • BL3003 -   Conservation Biology
  • BL3004 -   Research Skills in Biology
  • EV3017 -   Freshwater Science
  • ST3001 -   Biostatistics I
  • ZY3023  -  Advanced Invertebrate Zoology


  • PA3300 – Valuing the Environment
  • PS3008 – Plants in Hostile Environments
  • ZY3015 – Advanced Vertebrate Biology
  • ZY3019 – Adaptations to Extreme Environments
  • ZY3020 – Animal Behaviour

Year 4 Modules:


  • AE4012 – Landscape Conservation and Management (Burren residential) or
  • ZY4020Temperate Marine Biology (Millport Residential)
  • AE4016 – Advanced Ecology and Biogeography
  • BL4001 – Ecology Research Project
  • BL4004 – Frontiers in Biology
  • EV4012 – Environmental Impact Assessments


  • BL4003 – Work Placement
  • PA4300 -  Market Forces and the Environment
  • PS4021 – The Environmentally Protective Management of plant Pests and Pathogens
  • PS4024 – Crop Physiology and Climate Change
  • ST4001 – Biostatistics II
  • ZY4021 – Evolutionary Ecology
  • ZY4022 – Pathogen Biology, Ecology and Control

See the College Calendar for additional information on the Programme and the Book of Modules for further details on modules.

Course Practicalities

Field courses form an important part of this course. You will visit a variety of sites in County Cork in Year 2, go to Portugal in Year 3, and choose between the Burren, Co Clare, or Millport, West of Scotland, in Year 4.

Why Choose This Course

I found the range of modules offered provided students with key skills required for future employment in the ecology sector.

Joe McElheron

BSc, Ecology and Environmental Biology

This course provides students with a broad-ranging education into a wide spectrum of scientific subjects whilst providing the freedom to explore their interests in-depth, especially in the final year.

Lily May Duggan, BSc EEB

Ecology and Environmental Biology is the only degree of its kind in Ireland and was established in response to increasing awareness of environmental and wildlife issues.

A degree in Ecology and Environmental Biology provides you with a sound scientific knowledge and experience in a wide range of scientific techniques relevant to addressing current environmental issues. In particular, you will possess field skills and theoretical knowledge required for ecological work such as environmental and pollution monitoring, toxicity testing, impact assessment, and nature conservation and management.

In addition, you will learn laboratory techniques relevant to other biological fields including biochemistry, biotechnology, environmental sciences, aquaculture, fisheries and zoology.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

The School of BEES operates an exchange system with North American and other European universities that allows students to substitute a year abroad for Year 3 in UCC.

A work-experience module is also available to students in Year 4, enabling you to spend 6-10 weeks in a structured working environment, where you will be evaluated both on your contribution to the placement institution and by a report on your experience.

Skills and Careers Information

A degree in Ecology and Environmental Biology allows you to work in many different fields in Ireland and abroad such as: 

  • research in universities or industry
  • research in government agencies such as OPW, EPA, ERU, Forestry, Fisheries
  • consultancy
  • journalism
  • teaching at second and third level
  • administration in civil service, county councils or industry
  • environmental scientists in industry, agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries and government
  • management conservation working in habitat management, nature reserves, landscape planning, and fisheries


Refer to CK404

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such appicants are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements visit our qualification comparison page and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

Course fees include a tuition fee, student contribution fee and capitation fee. The state will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student Contribution and Capitation Fees are payable by the student. In 2022/23 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €138.

Please see Fees Office for more information.

Students will be expected to pay for some small laboratory items such as lab coats and contribute towards the cost of field trips.

For International Fees see our Fees Schedule page.

How Do I Apply

Refer to CK404

EU Applicants

The Central Applications Office (CAO) processes applications for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions. Refer to the CAO page for further information.

Mature Applicants (age 23 or over)

All interested mature applicants must make an application through the Central Applications Office (CAO). See the CAO Mature Applicants and the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) pages. Visit our Mature Student Entry page for more information.


See our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)/Further Education and Training (FET) application process.

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information.

All Applicants

Please note that the modules listed are indicative of the current set of modules for this course and are subject to change from year to year. Check the College Calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

  • In UCC, we use the terms programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact