Discover the enchanting realm of water voles in our beginner-level online course.  
Delve into their evolutionary journey, uncover their preferred habitats, and unravel the secrets behind their morphology, ecology and behaviours.  

This course will equip you with a knowledge of the threats to water vole populations, current conservation efforts, and the latest survey techniques used to safeguard their wild populations.  

What will be covered during this course?

  • Water Vole Biology
  • Water Vole Ecology
  • Water Vole Surveying and Conservation 

Read More

This is a 3-week online course covering 3 topics, for which you will complete a variety of self-led online resources and activities. Each topic is then concluded with either an interactive Zoom workshop or a marked assignment to complement the online content. Time commitment is approximately 2-3 hours a week and an E-certificate is provided upon completion.

There are 3 webinars for this course, taking place at the end of each week. Please see the date listing below for the day and time.
Please note – webinars will be recorded and uploaded to the virtual learning platform for learners unable to attend.

By the end of the course, learners will:

  • Understand the general biology and key adaptations of Water Voles.
  • Understand the ecology of Water Voles including habitats, feeding preferences and behaviours.
  • Have a broad understanding of Water Vole surveying techniques.
  • Understand why Water Vole monitoring and surveying is important.
  • Understand the threats to Water Vole populations and measures to conserve and protect water vole in the UK.

Who should attend?
Nature enthusiasts, students, rangers, early career ecologists.

Knowledge level
Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge
No existing knowledge or experience is needed for this course. Just a willingness to explore and learn.

Please note – bookings will close 2 working days before the course start date to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform – bookings will not be taken after this time.*
*Bookings will close sooner if course capacity is reached

Understand how our online courses are delivered

About the Tutor

Vivien Kent

Vivien Kent is a Wildlife Biologist with over 20 years’ experience of researching and working with carnivores in Southern Africa and the UK. For the past 10 years she has been focusing on otters in the UK – one of our most charismatic species. She is a member of the IUCN SSC Otter Specialist Group and co-founded The Otter Network in North-East England.

Example Timetable

Week 1: Water Vole Biology
Self-study material available from the start date.
Week 1 Live Webinar at the end of week 1

Week 2: Water Vole Ecology
Self-study material available after week 1 webinar
Week 2 Live Webinar at the end of week 2

Week 3: Water Vole Surveying and Conservation
Self-study material available after week 2 webinar
Week 3 Live webinar at the end of week 3

The final deadline to complete any outstanding assignments and self-study components 2 weeks after the final webinar.

Time commitment:
This course will require approximately 2-3 hours of your time each week. This includes covering course materials on our Moodle learning platform and the Zoom session.

What's Included

The course has been carefully created to help you continue to build and develop your knowledge as the course progresses. With content crafted to the online Moodle Platform and bespoke to the Field Studies Council.

The course includes:

  • 45-minute interactive weekly Zoom workshops to connect with the tutor and other participants.
  • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned.
  • Activities to work on independently in advance of each Zoom workshop.
  • Tailored course completion certificate.

Once registered, you will follow well-illustrated, user-friendly ’books’ to pick up knowledge. Quizzes and skill checks will give you instant feedback on your learning. Forums give students the chance to interact with each other as well as a place to share work.

Bursaries and Subsidies

Student Discount

This course is eligible for a student discount. If you are a current student, please use discount code BioStudent20 at checkout for 20% off all Biodiversity courses.

Natural History Bursaries

There are a number of natural history bursaries available to help with the cost of your course. To find out if you and your chosen course are eligible, read more here.

Before You Attend

Accessing Your Course

  • Once you sign up you’ll receive an email at least 24 hours in advance of the course opening with details of how to access our easy-to-use platform, Moodle.
  • Moodle can be accessed through a browser or an app.
  • Webinars are via Zoom so you won’t need any new software to attend.

Recommended Devices

It is recommended that you access your course through a PC or laptop. Please be aware that there will be reduced functionality if you decide to access the course through a tablet or smartphone. The Field Studies Council is unable to email content directly to you.


Opportunities to attend this course

  • Tue 15, October 2024 - Tue 19, November 2024

    The webinars will take place on Tuesdays 5:30 pm – 6:15 pm on the following dates:

    • Week 1: 22nd October 2024
    • Week 2: 29th October 2024
    • Week 3: 5th November 2024

    Vivien Kent

Progress Your Learning

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, delivered by expert tutors with an approachable learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning with further relevant courses or branch out into other areas of natural history. The Field Studies Council offers both online and in-person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our online portal gives you time to study at your own pace and fit the lessons around your own schedule.

If you have any questions about our online courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions or email [email protected].

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses. Find out more!

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.