This Major includes introductory courses which emphasize the diversity of plant and animal species, their evolutionary history, as well as applied tools such as biostatistics. There is field-work experience with a compulsory five-day residential field course focusing on the ecology of local habitats. At the advanced level, the Major teaches students about the ecology and biodiversity of different ecosystems (e.g. marine, terrestrial and freshwater environments), again emphasizing field work experience, and introduces the use of quantitative and experimental methods in ecology through direct access to dedicated facilities at the Swire Institute of Marine Science. Students can focus on applied or specialised topics such as fisheries and mariculture, tropical terrestrial and marine ecology, and biodiversity conservation.
Experiential learning is encouraged and facilitated to develop expertise in one or a few groups of plants or animals, to provide knowledge in species identification and detailed understanding of their biology and ecology as essential prerequisites for ecologists and conservation biologists. Students are also offered opportunities to conduct independent research in ecology, evolution and biodiversity in the context of a final year project or internship, or they may undertake a dissertation under the close supervision of an individual staff member. A variety of other experiential or capstone opportunities is also offered, including overseas field trips and internships with local organisations.