• Total units 48 Units
  • Areas of interest Forestry, Resource Management and Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Zoology, Biodiversity Conservation
  • Major code BIOD-MAJ

The United Nations concluded that human actions threaten more species with extinction than ever before. Conserving biodiversity in the face of ongoing population growth, resource consumption and climate change represents a major challenge to society.

This major is intended for students that aspire to engage in evidence-based solutions to conserve biodiversity.

There is a focus in this major on:

  • The key scientific principles that underpin biodiversity conservation.
  • Developing field skills and applying cutting-edge techniques for collecting biodiversity data.
  • Developing analytical skills that enable you to interpret and authoritatively critique biodiversity information.
  • Applying these scientific principles and skills to develop evidence-based conservation policy and management.

This major offers field trips to several of The Australian National University’s long-term research sites around Australia, interactions with practicing professionals and opportunities to obtain practical experience that will improve your employment opportunities in areas such as park and reserve management, threatened species conservation, managing pest plants and animals, environmental impact assessment, or restoration and rehabilitation of degraded lands.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Define and explain biodiversity for audiences ranging from the general public to the scientific community.
  2. Articulate why conserving biodiversity is important.
  3. Apply key concepts that underpin the conservation of biodiversity at the level of genes, species and ecosystems.
  4. Design and implement practical strategies to measure and monitor biodiversity.
  5. Analyse, interpret and critique data used to evaluate biodiversity and the impacts of human activities on biodiversity.
  6. Identify management and policy options to conserve biodiversity in a range of circumstances.

Other Information

What first-year courses should you enrol in: Most courses do not require prerequisites outside of the major. However, you are strongly advised to enrol in ENVS1003 Intro to Environmental and Social Research and BIOL1003 Ecology, Evolution and Genetics in your first year, as these courses are prerequisites for several later courses in the major and therefore will provide you with more options as you progress through the major.

Additional information:

  • The courses from which to choose for this major are grouped into key themes: (1) core concepts; (2) conservation sciences; (3) quantitative and spatial skills; (4) conservation management and policy; and (5) field-based skills.
  • There are two optional themes provided as advice only: one focused on the conservation sciences (e.g., ecology, zoology, genetics) and the other focused on quantitative and spatial skills (e.g., data analysis, GIS). You can focus on one of these themes or mix subjects from both themes. Regardless of your interests, we strongly encourage you to complete ENVS2015 GIS and Spatial Analysis as this is a core skill that is often expected in this discipline.
  • For students taking BIOL3208 or ANIP3003 or SCNC3000 as part of this major, the research project or internship must be in the field of biodiversity conservation.

Students with any questions should seek further advice from the academic convener of the Biodiversity Conservation major.

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This major requires the completion of 48 units, of which:

A minimum of 18 units must come from completion of 3000-level Science courses from the lists below.


The 48 units must include

12 units from completion of Core Concepts courses from the following list:

BIOL1003 Biology 1: Ecology, Evolution and Genetics (6 units)

BIOL1009 Diversity of Life (6 units)

ENVS1003 Introduction to Environmental and Social Research (6 units)

ENVS1004 Australia’s Environment (6 units)


18 units from completion of the following Conservation Sciences and/or Quantitative and Spatial Skills courses from the following lists which must include:

A minimum of 6 units from completion of Conservation Sciences courses from the list below:

BIOL2114 Evolution (6 units)

BIOL2131 Ecology (6 units)

BIOL2151 Genetics (6 units)

BIOL3131 Behavioural Ecology (6 units)

BIOL3206 Evolution of Biodiversity (6 units)

BIOL3213 Australian Wildlife (6 units)

ENVS2001 Biodiversity Science: Wildlife, Vegetation & Landscape Ecology (6 units)

A minimum of 6 units from completion of Quantitative and Spatial Skills courses from the list below:

BIOL2001 Introduction to Quantitative Biology (6 units)

BIOL2202 Experimental Design and Analysis in Biology (6 units)

ENVS2002 Environmental Measurement, Modelling and Monitoring (6 units)

ENVS2015 GIS and Spatial Analysis (6 units)

ENVS3014 Ecological Assessment and Management (6 units)

ENVS3045 Social Applications of GIS (6 units)


12 units from completion of Conservation Management and Policy courses from the list below:

ANIP3003 Australian National Internships Program A (6 units)

BIOL3178 Recovering Threatened Species and Ecosystems (6 units)

ENVS3039 Biodiversity Conservation (6 units)

ENVS3041 Managing Forested Landscapes (6 units)

SCNC3000 Science Internship (6-12 units)


6 units from completion of Field-based Skills courses from the following list:

BIOL2203 Field Studies in Functional Ecology (6 units)

BIOL3132 Field Studies in Behavioural Ecology (6 units)

BIOL3208 Biology Research Project (6 units)

BIOL3303 Advanced Field Studies in Functional Ecology (6 units)

EMSC3019 Coral Reef Field Studies (6 units)

ENVS2018 Environmental Science Field School (6 units)


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