Ecological Survey Techniques Standalone FAQs

Course and structure

Who are these courses for?

Our stand-alone courses are also modules on our Postgraduate Certificate in Ecological Survey Techniques. Many of our PGCert students are professional ecological consultants, environmental managers and rangers, research and postgraduate students, educators as well as volunteers and those looking to make a career change. The course suits those looking for flexible study combined with expert training. combined with expert training.

The techniques covered are universal using international case studies and examples. Past students have joined from the UK, the USA, Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe.

What is the aim of a stand-alone course?

The courses aim to equip students with the techniques to survey, measure, quantify, assess and monitor biodiversity and ecosystems in the field. It is essential for conservation practitioners and volunteers worldwide to make evidence-based decisions about a site or species. Equipping environmental conservation practitioners with the capacity to collect and analyse field survey data in order to understand, interpret and, therefore, make informed decisions in environmental conservation is critical to the future of ecosystems and ecosystem services in all biomes.

In particular, the courses aim to create a hybrid programme of experiential and online learning in environmental conservation practice for practitioners and volunteers worldwide, that will:

  • Focus on the use of survey techniques for measuring, quantifying and monitoring biodiversity; Develop a critical understanding of how to analyse field survey data to answer particular research or management questions;
  • Enable conservationists to make informed decisions on, and assess the status of, a species or habitat;
  • Enable conservationists to evaluate which field techniques to use for measuring and monitoring the impacts of environmental change on biodiversity;
  • Build capacity and communities of practice among environmental conservationists worldwide;
  • Prepare students to progress onto a Postgraduate Diploma or Masters programme.

Is it possible to undertake individual courses for credit, and over time combine them to achieve the Postgraduate Certificate?

Yes. Students who study up to two of our short courses for credit can apply to transfer these into the PGCert in EST if they have been accepted onto the PGCert within two years of studying their first stand-alone course.

What is the difference between Data 5 and Data 10?

Both Data Analysis in Ecology: Statistics for Ecologists & Field Biologists short courses have the same content however the 5-week version is a more intensive version of the 10-week version since the content of the 10-week version is spread across 10 weeks.

Do I need to come to Oxford?

Our short courses are all online so attendance in Oxford is not necessary.

How many hours study are required each week?

Students are expected to spend around 10-15 hours per week in private study in addition to time spent in classes or participating in on-line learning. This may require careful scheduling at times to fit in with your other commitments. Good organisational and time management skills should contribute to successful completion of the course.

Can you give further details of the course timetable, and especially when the tutor-led discussion forums will be held?

Content is roughly equivalent to one-week full time study.  Modules include research and discussion activities, multimedia tasks, practical exercises, revision activities and an assessment. Class sizes are small with less than 25 students. Module tutors usually engage online for 6 hours per week distributed across each week and will focus on particular topics, questions and activities. There is no set time to log in to accommodate students in different time zones. Assessments are normally due two weeks after the final class if you are studying for credit.

What resources are available to students?

Students will have access to the Bodleian Libraries, particularly the Department for Continuing Education Library. As a member of a college, students will also have access to their library and other resources.

You can find more information about resources available to students at

Will I get a certificate?

You may receive a Certificate of Attendance whether you opt for accredited or non-accredited study by actively participating in at least one online course forum post per week, to the satisfaction of the course tutor, and successfully completing the course, you will receive a University of Oxford Certificate of Attendance.


When do applications close?

Applications for short courses usually close between 4-6 weeks prior to the course start date. The short course webpage will confirm whether or not applications are open to new applicants.

What is the difference between credited study and non-accredited study?

Students taking the course for credit submit an assignment of up to 2000 words or equivalent. We offer Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for the course. By contributing to all the forums and successfully completing the assessment you will obtain 10 CATS-equivalent points (FHEQ level 7) which may count towards a Masters-level qualification. You will also receive a University of Oxford Certificate of Attendance.

For information on CATS points and credit transfer, including conversion to US academic credits and European academic credits (ECTS), please visit our CATS Points FAQ page.

Students taking the course not for credit do not submit an assignment but by actively participating in at least one online course forum post per week, to the satisfaction of the course tutor, and successfully completing the course, you will receive a University of Oxford Certificate of Attendance.

How do I apply for credit?

If you are applying to take courses for academic credit you will need to click on the “Online application form” link and complete the online application form and include a copy of your CV as an attachment. You will also need to complete the reference section of the application form, and input the email address of your referee. Upon successfully submitting the application an email will be sent to your referee asking them to provide a reference in support your application for the course.

What are the English language requirements?

English language requirement for our stand-alone courses are at the discretion of the Course Team. The stand-alone short courses follow the same guidelines as the PGCert in EST which requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table here:

I’ve missed the application deadline; can I still apply?

No. Applications for short courses usually close between 4-6 weeks prior to the course start date. We are unable to accept any new applications once applications are closed.

When will this course run again?

Our short courses usually run on the equivalent dates each year subject to class sizes. Students will be notified if a short course does not run.


Do you offer any discount?

We offer a discounted student rate on our short courses for non-accredited study which current students are eligible for. Further information can be found on our webpages. For other funding opportunities please see our Continuing Education funding page:

Can my employer pay on my behalf?

Applicants can only be invoiced on credited study. If you wish to study on a non-accredited basis then you, or your employer, will need to pay the fee upfront. Please speak to the Course Administrator if you would like to discuss an individual case.


Open event: PGCert in Ecological Survey Techniques

Open event: PGCert in Ecological Survey Techniques

Online open event for the Ecological Survey Techniques programme. Meet the team, discover more about the courses on offer and have your questions answered.