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Degree Accreditation

Currently accredited Institutes: 

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About Degree Accreditation

CIEEM has developed its degree accreditation scheme to recognise those undergraduate and postgraduate degrees that offer students the underpinning knowledge and practical skills required by employers in a wide range of applied practitioner roles. The need for such a scheme was identified by research published in 2011 into the ecological skills gap and skills shortages in the UK and Ireland. [1]

The purpose of CIEEM’s degree accreditation is therefore:

  • to support higher education institutes in developing graduates that can help the profession address the skills gap and skills shortage issue;
  • to promote the importance of mandatory practical fieldwork as part of taught degree courses; and
  • to help students make informed choices about what courses can offer.

Why fieldwork?


CIEEM’s degree accreditation scheme is focused on core ecological and environmental theory and significant practical experience, much of which should be in the form of fieldwork. The Institute believes that experience ‘in the field’ is essential to gaining skills that are crucially important to employers seeking to recruit graduates. These include:

  • the application of theoretical knowledge in ‘real world’ situations;
  • the teaching of some skills (e.g. species identification) that can only be taught, or can best be taught, in the field;
  • exposure to uncontrolled, unpredictable field situations; and
  • the development of scientific interpretation, analytical and report writing skills.

CIEEM’s degree accreditation is not suited to those programmes that focus on research experience.[2]

Any higher education institute whose undergraduate or taught masters degree course meets the eligibility criteria can apply. Degree courses are assessed by trained assessors to ensure that they meet the standard required.


[1] See Closing the Gap: Rebuilding Ecological Skills in the 21st Century. IEEM, July 2011.

[2] HEIs offering such degrees may wish to consider the Society of Biology’s degree accreditation scheme.