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Frequently asked questions about the course

 

What prerequisites are there to take Ecology?

It is not compulsory to take any particular first year class in order to take Ecology. If you have done "Evolution and Behaviour" however, this would be advantageous.

Most of the Ecology course is accessible to students with little or no previous biological background, but students who have not taken biology courses previously are advised to look at these webpages and consult their Director of Studies.

 

For which Part II modules is IB Ecology relevant or compulsory?

Ecology is not a compulsory course for Part II modules. However, it lays the foundations for a number of Part II modules and uniquely among IB course offers the experience of original project work, which not only provides an understanding ecological research but serves as a strong platform for Part II projects as a whole.

Directly related Part II modules:

  • Conservation Science (interdepartmental)
  • Population Biology (Zoology)
  • Dynamics, History and Phylogeny of Vegetation (Plant Sciences)
  • Evolutionary Genetics (Genetics)
  • Responses to Global Change (interdepartmental)
  • Behavioural Ecology (Zoology)
  • Applied Ecology (interdepartmental)

Being familiar with the fundamentals of Ecology may also prove useful in the following Part II modules:

  • Behaviour (Zoology)
  • Mammalian evolution and faunal history (Zoology)
  • Genetics, development and animal diversity (Zoology)



What are the key skills of Ecologists?

As an ecologist you will learn to apply your knowledge or ideas in new contexts and transfer onto different situations. This is a valuable skill applicable in many different work environments.

During the Ecology course you will conduct your own scientific research project and gain important practical experience.

You will learn how to ask and approach scientific questions to obtain quantifiable results and to understand what conclusions can and cannot be drawn from such evidence.

 

What career paths can I choose as an Ecologist?

The ecologist's abilities to identify problems, systematically explore and evaluate them to understand cause and effect are valued in many work areas.

Some of the more obvious employers are universities, government agencies, consulting firms, research laboratories, conservation organizations, museums, field stations and industry. In our experience there is a strong and growing job market for ecologists, not just in research but in conservation, environmental management and sectors like farming, water, energy and transport.

 

I can't attend the field trip for the whole time, can I take IB Ecology anyway?

We do strongly urge you to take the field course, and if you are only going to miss a few days it may still be possible for you to attend. But even if you cannot, you will be able to take IB Ecology, as you also have the option to do a project during term instead of on the field course.

 

I haven't been on the field trip. Can I still take Ecology in IB?

Yes, alternatively to a project conducted on the field trip students can do a project during term. So even if the field trip has already been you can still sign up for IB Ecology. A list of available projects and further information will be provided to you at the beginning of the course.

 

Are there really no practical classes during term?

Yes, that is right. Instead of practical classes Ecology students work on a project which they do either on the field trip in before the start of the year or during Michaelmas/Lent terms.

If you do your project on one of the field trips the reports will have to be handed in either mid-November (Juniper Hall) or in late-January (Madingley), so you will not need to do any additional practical work during the course of the year.