Skip to main content

Biodiversity, biosecurity and conservation

Module information>

Academic Direction
Birkbeck, University of London
Modes of Study

This module extends students’ knowledge of biodiversity and how it can be protected and conserved effectively and equitably to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals 14 (life below water), and 15 (life on land).

The module explores what biodiversity, biosecurity and conservation are and the main academic debates around these terms. It examines key examples of crises in biodiversity and biosecurity and examines conservation philosophies, projects and practices at multiple scales. 

It also explores the complex, direct and indirect causes and impacts of biodiversity loss, including the unequal effects of biodiversity loss on different societal groups. Students are equipped to discuss and evaluate policy and management interventions in biosecurity and biodiversity conservation, and are introduced to research skills appropriate for monitoring biodiversity, biosecurity and conservation.

Topics covered

Main topics of the module include: 

  • Social inequalities and links with biodiversity loss and biodiversity protection
  • Contested ideas, ideals and philosophies of biodiversity, biosecurity and conservation; the importance of local knowledges and understandings
  • Social inequalities and loss/ protection of biodiversity
  • Conservation, biosecurity, tourism and economic growth
  • Conservation policy and management at local, regional, national and international scales
  • Biodiversity, biosecurity and human and animal health
  • Future prospects for biodiversity and transformative change
  • Measuring and monitoring biodiversity change using mapping and other resources
  • Analysis of visual methods such as using TV shows on border security

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to:  

  • critically evaluate the complex drivers and diverse framings of biodiversity, biodiversity and conservation, and consequences for different societal groups.
  • articulate the diverse, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary framings of biodiversity, biosecurity and conservation, including indigenous and non-Western knowledges, and analyse the implications of these diverse framings for policy and practice.
  • assess the effectiveness, equity and trade-offs of different biodiversity, biosecurity and conservation goals and policies at global, regional and local levels and over time, and using case studies, consider constructive solutions.
  • critically evaluate key debates, concepts and science and social science approaches relating to biodiversity, biosecurity and conservation.
  • apply relevant qualitative and quantitative data analysis skills to support conclusions and consider implications for policy and practice.
  • develop and apply the interpersonal skills of effective listening, debating and discussing.


  • Final piece of coursework (100%)

Entry requirements

To qualify to register for a stand-alone individual module, applicants will need a bachelor’s degree or Aegrotat (certificate) from an institution acceptable to the University.