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Masters Degrees (Butterfly)

We have 8 Masters Degrees (Butterfly)

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This one-year full-time Masters programme is taught at our Cornwall Campus by the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (http://biosciences.exeter.ac.uk/cec/) ; the fastest growing institute of its kind in the UK. Read more
This one-year full-time Masters programme is taught at our Cornwall Campus by the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (http://biosciences.exeter.ac.uk/cec/) ; the fastest growing institute of its kind in the UK. The course boasts a significant research component, with substantial fieldwork opportunities in the UK as well as a field course in Africa. A distinctive and integral feature of our MSc is the high degree of input from conservationists in collaborating governmental and non-governmental organisations. This participation takes a variety of forms, including guest lectures, field visits and specific training courses, but may also include providing research projects in their organisations. Collaborating organisations include: Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Marine Conservation Society, Natural England, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (links open in new windows).

The course provides excellent employability, with our alumni moving into careers such as: ecological consultancy, government conservation in UK and overseas, NGO conservation in the UK (Bat Conservation Trust, RSPB, Wildlife Trusts) and overseas and fully funded PhD positions in ecology and conservation.

Programme overview

- Designed in consultation with multiple external agencies to ensure relevant training that maximises graduate employability;
- Substantial field work opportunities in the UK and overseas;
- Provides opportunities to connect with external agencies and organisations to further enhance your training;
- Delivered by leading international researchers in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation;
- Offers access to excellent facilities including state-of-the-art research laboratories, greenhouses, aviary and controlled environment rooms;
- Modules target both research and practical conservation skills.

Fieldwork

The census research projects will see you spending a considerable amount of time in the field collecting data at several key research sites in West Cornwall and interacting with local NGOs (Cornwall Wildlife Trust, South West Lakes Trust).

This programme includes a two week field course in Kenya and will include visits to some of Africa’s largest and most important game reserves, as well as an introduction to some of the day-to-day problems faced by conservation biologists in developing nations. You will study the behaviour of animals in a natural ecological setting with a focus on large mammals, birds and insects. Travel and subsistence costs for this part of the programme are included in the programme fee.

Find out more about our field course modules at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/biosciences/fieldwork/.
You can also keep up to date and share the experiences of our students in the field on our Field Course Fortnight website at http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/fieldcourses/.

Learning and teaching

The taught component of this programme is delivered in the first five months, during which time you will be encouraged to develop your census research projects. The rest of the academic year is dedicated to these projects.

Programme structure

This Programme is modular and consists of three compulsory modules and 2-4 optional modules.

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules can include; Research Project; Statistical Modelling and Key Skills

Optional modules

Examples of the optional modules can include; Terrestrial Biodiversity and Conservation; ; Marine Biodiversity and Conservation; Preparing for Ecological Consultancy; Approaches in Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology; Ecological Census; African Biodiversity and Conservation Field Course; African Behavioural Ecology Field Course and African Conservation Science and Policy Field Course

The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

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The Conservation MSc at UCL is widely recognised as the leading programme for aspiring nature conservation professionals. This highly successful degree programme saw its first students graduate in 1960, and nearly 80% of its graduates have gone on to secure posts related to conservation. Read more

The Conservation MSc at UCL is widely recognised as the leading programme for aspiring nature conservation professionals. This highly successful degree programme saw its first students graduate in 1960, and nearly 80% of its graduates have gone on to secure posts related to conservation.

About this degree

The programme is strongly interdisciplinary and engages with environmental, social and policy dimensions. It has a vocational orientation, with residential field classes providing first-hand experience of practical conservation challenges. At the same time, the programme provides the scientific rigour needed for evidence-based analysis and understanding of the natural environment, which also forms a sound foundation for a career in academia.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (60 credits), four optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma - four core modules (60 credits) and four optional modules (60 credits) full-time nine months, part-time two years is offered.

A Postgraduate Certificate - four core modules (60 credits) full-time 12 weeks, part-time two years is offered.

Core modules

  • Scientific Basis for Freshwater and Coastal Conservation
  • Rural Matrix
  • Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis
  • Conservation and Environmental Management

Optional modules (indicative list)

  • Wetlands
  • Lakes
  • Marine Conservation
  • Coastal Change
  • Environmental GIS
  • Changing Landscapes - Nature, Culture, Politics
  • Changing Landscapes - Nature Conservation
  • Aquatic Macrophytes
  • Politics of Climate Change
  • Biological Indicators of Environmental Change
  • Non-biological Indicators of Environmental Change

Dissertation/report

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 12,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, computer practicals and field studies, including two residential field-classes to Norfolk and Snowdonia, as well as an optional field-class to an overseas destination. Assessment is through coursework, essays and the dissertation, which includes a presentation of dissertation results.

Fieldwork

Fieldwork includes a residential field study to a coastal site in Norfolk and a residential field study in Snowdonia, as well as the option to join a two-week field-class to an overseas destination.

Fieldwork costs may be incurred but these are dependent on module selection; please contact the department for further information on individual modules.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Conservation MSc

Careers

The MSc provides an excellent preparation for employment with the full range of public sector and voluntary conservation organisations, environmental consultancies, and for a career in environmental research and academia.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Ecological Consultant, Applied Ecology
  • Land Management Adviser, Natural England
  • People Engagement Officer, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • DPhil in Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
  • PhD in Coastal Protected Area Conservation, University of Cambridge

Employability

Not least due to the programme's vocational orientation, Conservation MSc graduates have been very successful in securing employment with government organisations (for example DEFRA, Natural England, local councils), conservation NGOs (for example RSPB, Butterfly Conservation, IUCN, WCMC) and environmental consultancies. Equally, the Conservation MSc has provided a very good basis for future academic careers, while some graduates also found employment at zoos and botanical gardens.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The Conservation MSc is run by UCL Geography, which enjoys an outstanding international reputation for its research and teaching.

The programme is unique not only on account of its long history and extensive alumni network, but also due to its vocational orientation and the active involvement of nature conservation professionals in the delivery of degree material.

Research groups contributing to this MSc include those concerned with environmental change; environmental modelling; and environment, science and society. The programme also benefits from the participation of staff from a variety of external conservation and environmental organisations.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Geography

81% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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This one-year full-time Masters programme is taught by the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (http://biosciences.exeter.ac.uk/cec/) ; the fastest growing institute of its kind in the UK. Read more
This one-year full-time Masters programme is taught by the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (http://biosciences.exeter.ac.uk/cec/) ; the fastest growing institute of its kind in the UK.

The course boasts a significant research component, with substantial fieldwork opportunities in the UK as well as a fieldcourse in Africa. Through taught modules and practical application, you will develop advanced skills in scientific method, ecological census and quantitative biology.

A distinctive and integral feature of our MSc is the high degree of input from ecologists in collaborating governmental and non-governmental organisations. This participation takes a variety of forms, including guest lectures, field visits and specific training courses, but may also include providing research projects in their organisations. Collaborating organisations include: Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Marine Conservation Society, Natural England, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Food and Environment Research Agency and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Professional field biology and career development skills are embedded in the programme to enhance your employability. You will learn wildlife photography, geographic information systems, first aid for expeditions and field work, plus how to publish your own website, secure funding and communicate science to the general public.

Programme overview

- Designed in consultation with multiple external agencies to ensure relevant training that maximises graduate employability
- Substantial field work opportunities in the UK and Africa
- Provide opportunities to connect with external agencies and organisations throughout the programme to further enhance your training
- Delivered by leading international researchers in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation, who regularly publish in peer-reviewed journals
- Offers access to excellent facilities including state-of-the-art research laboratories, greenhouses, aviary and controlled environment rooms (http://biosciences.exeter.ac.uk/facilities/cornwall/)
- Ideal for individuals wishing to work in related consultancy and non-governmental organisations
- Includes modules that target both research and practical applied ecology skills

Fieldwork

The census research projects will see you spending a considerable amount of time in the field collecting data at several key research sites in West Cornwall and interacting with local NGOs (Cornwall Wildlife Trust, South West Lakes Trust).

This programme includes a two week field course in Kenya and will include visits to some of Africa’s largest and most important game reserves, as well as an introduction to some of the day-to-day problems faced by conservation biologists in developing nations. You will study the behaviour of animals in a natural ecological setting with a focus on large mammals, birds and insects. Travel and subsistence costs for this part of the programme are included in the programme fee.

Find out more about our field course modules at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/biosciences/fieldwork/. You can also keep up to date and share the experiences of our students in the field on our Field Course Fortnight website at http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/fieldcourses/.

Learning and teaching

The taught component of this programme is delivered in the first five months, during which time you will be encouraged to develop your census research projects. The rest of the academic year is dedicated to these projects.

Programme structure

This Programme is modular and consists of five compulsory modules and one optional module.

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules can include; Research Project; African Biodiversity and Conservation Field or African Behavioural Ecology Field Course; Ecological Census; Statistical Modelling and Key Skills

Optional modules

Examples of the optional modules can include; Terrestrial Biodiversity and Conservation and Preparing for Ecological Consultancy.
The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand

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Taught by internationally recognised experts active at the science/policy interface, this interdisciplinary programme examines both scientific and policy-oriented aspects of conservation. Read more
Taught by internationally recognised experts active at the science/policy interface, this interdisciplinary programme examines both scientific and policy-oriented aspects of conservation. Teaching covers the breadth of this field, examining how conservation goals may be achieved under climate change scenarios, in combination with food security requirements, and taking account of social justice. The breadth of the degree gives flexibility to pursue those areas most relevant to your professional development and contains a significant research component supported by leading researchers.

The degree is designed to offer you considerable scope to tailor your studies to focus on the topics you wish to pursue. Integral to the whole programme is extensive liaison with conservation practitioners from a wide range of collaborating governmental and non-governmental organisations such as Butterfly Conservation, Marine Conservation Society and Natural England; and a broad suite of organisations in Africa including Kenya Wildlife Service, Solio Ranch and Wildlife Direct. Key individuals from some of these organisations contribute to classes and field visits and a number of our project students will be placed with such organisations.

A special feature of the programme is the Kenya field trip, which includes visits to some of East Africa’s most famous conservation areas, as well as in-depth discussions with a wide range of stakeholders about synergies and trade-offs between conservation and development. The trip provides you with opportunities to see firsthand how conservation science operates within particular policy contexts.

Perfect environment to study conservation science and policy

This Masters is based at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall in new buildings with state-of-the-art facilities, in a region facing key challenges in balancing conservation with other goals. Cornwall is an exceptional place in which to study issues related to the environment and sustainability. The county is a perfect living laboratory which offers a diverse range of marine and terrestrial habitats, a wealth of natural resources and creative and resilient communities.

The Penryn Campus is home to the University's Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI http://www.exeter.ac.uk/esi/) – a £30 million centre leading cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research into solutions to problems of environmental change and enhancing people’s lives by improving their relationship with the environment. As a student on the MSc Conservation Science and Policy you will benefit from the ESI’s interdisciplinary approach to conservation science and policy and will have the unique opportunity to work on real world scenarios and problem solving in this area. You will be able to take advantage of a wide range of opportunities to engage with local, national and international experts through ESI events, guest lectures and research projects.

Fieldwork

The census research projects will see you spending a considerable amount of time in the field collecting data at several key research sites in West Cornwall and interacting with local NGOs (Cornwall Wildlife Trust, South West Lakes Trust).

This programme includes a two week field course in Kenya and will include visits to some of Africa’s largest and most important game reserves, as well as an introduction to some of the day-to-day problems faced by conservation biologists in developing nations. You will study the behaviour of animals in a natural ecological setting with a focus on large mammals, birds and insects. Travel and subsistence costs for this part of the programme are included in the programme fee.

Find out more about our field course modules at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/biosciences/fieldwork/. You can also keep up to date and share the experiences of our students in the field on our Field Course Fortnight website at http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/fieldcourses/.

Learning and teaching

The taught component of this programme is delivered in the first five months, during which time you will be encouraged to develop your census research projects. The rest of the academic year is dedicated to these projects.

Programme structure

This Programme is modular and consists of four compulsory modules and 2-3 optional modules.

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules can include; Dissertation; Understanding Environmental Change; Environmental Sustainability in Practice; Key Skills

Optional modules

Examples of the optional modules can include; Terrestrial Biodiversity and Conservation; ; Marine Biodiversity and Conservation; Preparing for Ecological Consultancy; Statistical Modelling; Governing Sustainability and African Conservation Science and Policy Field Course

The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

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LEARNING FROM NATURE. WHERE SCIENCE MEETS SUSTAINABILITY. Bio inspired design and science are used for innovations that support a transition to a sustainable, circular economy. The Master’s programme. Read more

LEARNING FROM NATURE: WHERE SCIENCE MEETS SUSTAINABILITY

Bio inspired design and science are used for innovations that support a transition to a sustainable, circular economy. The Master’s programme Bio Inspired Innovation (BII) offers a unique blend of knowledge and skill training that will support the search for and development of circular business-models and bio inspired research & innovations.

SCIENTIST AT THE DESIGN TABLE 

Nature evolves solutions for the societal challenges we face today. Many birds and butterfly species for example, like peacocks, use light-interacting structures to produce colours and patterns. With the discovery of this biotechnology, scientists and engineers have been able to produce colour through structure. BII is aimed at students with a Bachelor’s degree in Science who want to innovate services, products and production systems, and are interested in using bio inspired design and science. You can become the biologist at the design table and facilitate innovations that take their lessons from nature. You will become a professional that contributes to the transition to a circular economy with Bio Inspired Innovations.

INNOVATION, RESEARCH AND DESIGN

This Master’s programme builds on the excellent research at the Faculty of Science and links research findings to solve societal and business challenges.

First year

The first year is research based, while the second year focuses on the use of research knowledge in innovation. In the first year you will be part of an advanced research environment linking to your area of expertise (major research project). You learn to set up and execute research and discuss and report its outcomes. Moreover you will start to explore and learn about multi-disciplinary innovation, collaborative business modelling and design. You will attend seminars and workshops, some of which you will organise yourself, that allow you to prepare yourself for the second year.

Second year

In the second year you will get in depth knowledge of Biomimicry and other design and innovation methods through courses and an internship.




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Our Conservation and Biodiversity Masters offers great flexibility, with a wide choice of topics from across disciplines, enabling you to construct a programme that suits your individual interests and career ambitions in this increasingly important field. Read more

Our Conservation and Biodiversity Masters offers great flexibility, with a wide choice of topics from across disciplines, enabling you to construct a programme that suits your individual interests and career ambitions in this increasingly important field.

You will have the opportunity to gain a solid foundation in the key theoretical issues, such as wildlife population dynamics and conservation biology, and learn how these are applied to real-world problems, such as managing habitats or dealing with wildlife-human conflicts. Additionally, you will gain and develop the key skills that are valued by employers, such as problem solving, report writing, data analysis and presentation skills.

You will complete six taught modules delivered by world-leading researchers from our three internationally-renowned partner organisations: Lancaster Environment Centre, Rothamsted Research and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. This gives you the opportunity to interact with a wide range of expert specialists, including lake ecologists, political ecologists, food security biologists, earth observation geographers, social scientists and others, so that you can put your learning into a wider context.

Several modules include field trips to the beautiful and topographically varied countryside around Lancaster, and beyond. If you want to travel further afield, we have research projects and partners across the globe that provide exiting opportunities when it comes to selecting your dissertation project.

This project forms a substantial part of your Masters degree. It will enhance your practical and analytical skills and give you the opportunity to apply your learning to a real-world challenge. This may involve a doing a project with a government agency or conservation organisation through our award winning Centre for Global Eco-innovation, which uses our excellent links with the environmental and conservation sectors. Examples of previous dissertation projects are:

  • Effectiveness of habitat management for fritillary butterflies (with Butterfly Conservation)
  • Impact of tourist disturbance on breeding seabirds on the Isle of May (with CEH)
  • Predation impacts on breeding success of black-tailed godwits (with RSPB)
  • Deer and forestry interactions in the Czech Republic (placement with Czech university)
  • Habitat selection by sand lizards in coastal dunes
  • Impact of urbanization on blue tit song behaviour
  • Habitat loss and biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest (with Lavras University, Brazil)
  • Biodiversity in reed fringes on Lake Windermere (with Freshwater Biological Association)

Graduates have gone on to successful careers in the environmental and conservation sectors, as well as further study for a PhD.



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What you will study. Tropical Ecology- 20 credits (Optional). This module encompasses dive training; a 16-day excursion (variable destinations, e.g. Read more

What you will study

  • Tropical Ecology- 20 credits (Optional)
  • This module encompasses dive training; a 16-day excursion (variable destinations, e.g. Borneo, Honduras, Philippines); one-week tropical forest surveys, one-week coral reef diving – organism identification and surveying.
  • Environmental Management and Legislation - 10 credits
  • We look at how legislation protects the environment, planning laws and policies, environmental economics and cost-benefit analysis.

  • Wildlife Surveying - 10 credits
  • You will conduct pond and river water quality surveys (BMWP and PSYM methods) and river habitat surveys (RHS). You will learn freshwater invertebrate identification skills and plant identification.

  • Tools for Sustainable Development - 20 credits (Optional)
  • This 100% coursework module includes a four-day workshop. We look at energy use/resources and climate change. We also investigate sustainable alternatives to current lifestyles, consumerism, fossil fuel use and the implications for conservation policy and practices, plus how to obtain funding for community and sustainability projects.

  • Restoration Ecology - 20 credits
  • In this module we study ecology and biodiversity; re-wilding: beaver, lynx, wolf reintroduction; restoration approaches for various habitats and tropical forest management.
  • Terrestrial and Aquatic Conservation - 20 credits
  • You will study protected areas and their management; the impact of climate change on terrestrial habitats; agricultural systems and impact on conservation; the 
  • ecology of rivers, lakes and marine habitats; the human impacts on freshwater habitats and identifying freshwater life.

  • European Field Expedition - 20 credits
  • You will study vegetation surveys (forest structure surveys, thermal zone assessment, various transect techniques, habitat mapping); land use and management issues; bird survey methods (bird identification skills); offshore marine surveys and measurements.

  • Work Based Learning Project - 20 credits (Optional)
  • The optional Work Based Learning module enables our students to gain 60 hours work experience under the supervision of an employer. You will also be assigned an academic supervisor who will advise you on a suitable employer based on your area of interest. Recent organisations who have hosted our students include Capita Symonds, Natural Resources Wales, Wales Heritage Coastal Path and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

  • MSc Project - 60 credits 
  • This project is often done in co-operation with conservation organisations such as National Parks; English Nature / Countryside Council for Wales; National Botanic Garden; Environment Agency and Wildlife Trusts. Examples of recent projects include coral reef conservation in the Bahamas; feeding habits of Groupers off Honduras; deforestation in SE Asia; invasive species in Cardiff Bay; biodiversity increase with organic farming; butterfly reintroduction and habitats; recognition of Japanese Knotweed by remote sensing.

  • Tropical Environmental Monitoring - 20 credits (Optional)
  • This module is all about conservation and wildlife / safari management. We look at field monitoring techniques and identification skills, and animal tracking on both foot and by vehicle.
  • Applied Geospatial Analysis - 20 credits
  • This offers a practical introduction to Geographical Information Systems and their use in environmental management. We will look at remote sensing techniques; animal population modelling; pollution modelling and the use of statistical software for parametric and non-parametric analysis, correlation, regression and ANOVA analysis. 

Teaching

Full-time students spend two days at University, usually Wednesday and Thursday, and around 12 hours per week in lectures and practical sessions.

Part-time students attend one day per week. First year part-time students attend on Wednesdays and second years attend on Thursdays.

We teach using a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions, problem solving tutorials, video presentations and practicals. You will also undertake fieldwork excursions within the UK and overseas (additional costs apply). The number of hours of formal teaching will vary depending on your module choice. You will also be encouraged to take responsibility for your own learning by completing guided reading and various interactive computer packages. Based on individual circumstances the MSc Project may be extended into your third year of study and will be agreed as part of a discussion with the course leader. Please note some field trips will take place on weekdays besides Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Assessment

You will be assessed through a range of methods depending on your module choice, these include: examinations, coursework such as writing reports of field excursions. You will also analyse case studies, undertake presentations, participate in workshops and analyse data.



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