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Masters Degrees (Conservation Agriculture)

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Part 1 (120 credits). runs from September to May and consists of four taught modules, a Field Visit, and a Research Methods module component. Read more
Part 1 (120 credits): runs from September to May and consists of four taught modules, a Field Visit, and a Research Methods module component. They must be completed successfully before proceeding to Part 2.

Part 2 (60 credits): is the dissertation phase and runs from end of May to September. This is a supervised project phase which gives students further opportunity for specialisation in their chosen field. Dissertation topics are related to the interests and needs of the individual and must show evidence of wide reading and understanding as well as critical analysis or appropriate use of advanced techniques. The quality of the dissertation is taken into account in the award of the Masters degree. Bangor University regulations prescribe a maximum word limit of 20,000 words for Masters Dissertations. A length of 12,000 to 15,000 words is suggested for Masters programmes in our School.

Summary of modules taken in Part 1:

All students undertake 6 modules of 20 credits each which are described below.

Conservation Science considers questions such as ‘in a post-wild world what should be the focus of conservation attention?’ ‘What are the relative roles of ecology, economics and social science in conservation?’ ‘What are the advantage and disadvantages of the introduction of market-like mechanisms into conservation policy?’ We look closely at the current and emerging drivers of biodiversity loss world-wide, while carefully analysing the range of responses.

Insect Pollinators and Plants is at the interface between agriculture and conservation, this module introduces students to plant ecology and insect pollinators. Students will gain unique understanding of the ecological interactions between plants and insect pollinators including honey-bees to implement more sensitive conservation management. The module explores the current conservation status of insect pollinators and their corresponding plant groups; how populations are monitored, and how interventions in the broader landscape can contribute to improving their conservation status. Module components relate specifically to ecosystem pollination services, apiculture and habitat restoration and/or maintenance. The module has a strong practical skills focus, which includes beekeeping and contemporary challenges to apiculture; plant and insect sampling and habitat surveying. Consequently, there is a strong emphasis on “learning by doing.

Agriculture and the Environment reviews the impact of agricultural systems and practices on the environment and the scientific principles involved. It includes examples from a range of geographical areas. It is now recognised that many of the farming practices adopted in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, aimed at maximising production and profit, have had adverse effects on the environment. These include water and air pollution, soil degradation, loss of certain habitats and decreased biodiversity. In the UK and Europe this has led to the introduction of regulatory instruments and codes of practice aimed at minimising these problems and the promotion of new approaches to managing farmland. However, as world population continues to rise, there are increased concerns about food security, particularly in stressful environments such as arid zones where farmers have to cope with natural problems of low rainfall and poor soils. Although new technologies including the use of GM crops have potential to resolve some of these issues, concerns have been expressed about the impact of the release of these new genetically-engineered crops into the environment.

Management Planning for Conservation provides students with an understanding of the Conservation Management System approach to management planning. This involves describing a major habitat feature at a high level of definition; the preparation of a conservation objective (with performance indicators) for the habitat; identification and consideration of the implications of all factors and thus the main management activities; preparation of a conceptual model of the planning process for a case study site and creating maps using spatial data within a desktop GIS.

Research Methods Module: this prepares students for the dissertation stage of their MSc course. The module provides students with an introduction to principles of hypothesis generation, sampling, study design, spatial methods, social research methods, quantitative & qualitative analysis and presentation of research findings. Practicals and field visits illustrate examples of these principles. Course assessment is aligned to the research process from the proposal stage, through study write up to presentation of results. The module is in two phases. The taught content phase is until the period following Christmas. This is followed by a project planning phase for dissertation title choice and plan preparation.

Field Visit Module: this is an annual programme of scientific visits related to Conservation and Land Management. The main purpose of the trip will be to appreciate the range of activities different conservation organisations are undertaking, to understand their different management objectives and constraints. Previous field trips have visited farms, forests and reserves run by Scottish Wildlife Trust, National Trust, RSPB, local authorities, community groups and private individuals.

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Agriculture faces many challenges, not least coping with the rising demand for food, biofuel and other products by an increasing population combined with the demands for a more sustainable industry. Read more
Agriculture faces many challenges, not least coping with the rising demand for food, biofuel and other products by an increasing population combined with the demands for a more sustainable industry. Food security is key and requires the reconciliation of efficient production of food with reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint.

About the course

The MSc Environmental Management for Agriculture course examines agriculture activities and their potential to impact both positively and negatively on the environment. It explains how environmental management systems, environmental auditing, life cycle assessment and environmental impact assessment can be used in the farm situation.

This course aims to use environmental management to deliver sustainable agricultural management. Students will gain a holistic understanding and the interdisciplinary training to identify on-farm environmental risks and the knowledge and skills needed to develop answers.

The two specialist core modules have been designed to ensure understanding of the issues, where the science is balanced with the practical demands of the farm/producer/grower. You will develop the expertise required for a career in research, development, policy, or within the advisory sector relating to sustainability in farming systems, the food supply chain, environmental management and rural development, or to apply there skills in agriculture.

Crop plants are prone to suffer the effects of pests, pathogens and weeds and these reduce crop productivity. The next generation of crop protection scientists need to be educated to undertake this task and the MSc Environmental Management for Agriculture course also has two option modules in crop protection to enable this route to be followed if you want to pursue a career in applied biology, particularly in the area of crop protection science, peri-urban agriculture/horticulture and related areas.

The structure of the MSc Environmental Management for Agriculture course is based on four core modules and a choice of five specialist modules, as well as a supervised research project related to the field of agriculture. Students will begin their studies, for both full-time and part time students, with a core module in Sustainability and Environmental Systems.

This course is available both full and part-time with intakes in September (Semester A) and January (Semester B). Full time study in Semester A takes 1 year. Full time study beginning in Semester B will take 15 months. Part time study options typically take two years but students are given a maximum of five years to complete.

Why choose this course?

-Learn environmental skills to enable the delivery of sustainable agricultural production
-Crop protection modules are available
-BASIS points are available for specialist agriculture modules
-Flexible modular structure enables students to study whilst working. This allows part-time student to not have to take more than 12 days off a year (if studying over 2/3 years)
-Accredited by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessement (IEMA) and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM)
-Networking opportunities per module with lunch and refreshments provided within your fees
-Learning resources such as textbooks will be provided within your fees

Professional Accreditations

Three modules are accredited by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) for Associate membership (giving exemption from the Associate Entry Examination). Accreditation by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is being applied for. BASIS points are available for the specialised agriculture modules.

Teaching methods

The MSc Environmental Management for Agriculture course approach integrates blended learning, combining:
-Face-to-face teaching and tutorials with online learning materials
-Field and laboratory work
-Easy contact with tutors
-Online submission of assignments

All modules are delivered as intensive two or three day short courses that run primarily on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Full-time students attend tutorials in the weeks following a short course, receiving face-to-face support.

Part-time students attend courses at the University for only about eight working days a year. These students complete their assignments through making use of our outstanding virtual learning environment Studynet and keeping in remote contact with tutors. Students normally complete the part time course within two years but we give maximum of five years.

Our outstanding virtual learning environment Studynet will enable you to keep in remote contact with tutors and submit assignments online.

Assessment is primarily by assignments, often directly related to environmental management in the workplace or field. These can include reports, essays, seminars and online tests.

You have access to excellent University facilities including a field station, laboratories and state of the art Learning Resource Centres.
Each module can be studied individually as a stand-alone course, please enquire for further details.


Core Modules
-Agricultural Pollution and Mitigation
-Foundation in Environmental Auditing
-Integrated Farm Management
-Management Skills for Environmental Management
-Sustainability and Environmental Systems

-Crop Pathogens, Pests and Weeds
-Crop Protection; Principles & Practice
-Ecology and Conservation
-Environmental Management for Agriculture Individual Research Project
-Integrated Waste and Pollution Management
-Research Methods
-Sustainability and Environmental Systems
-Water Pollution Control

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Have an impact on conservation. Learn how to address conservation management problems that are relevant to the world today. Find out more about the . Read more

Have an impact on conservation

Learn how to address conservation management problems that are relevant to the world today.

Find out more about the Master of Science parent structure.

With Massey’s Master of Science (Conservation Biology) you will learn to address real conservation management problems. You will work in a small-group setting and engage with staff of conservation agencies who are working, on the ground, to save our endangered native species.

The conservation biology programme has a strong emphasis on integrating theory with practice and teaching state-of-the-art analytical techniques, providing a good stepping-stone to PhD research as well as employment opportunities.

Work on real projects

You will have the opportunity to take part in multiple field projects - you will experience the reality of conservation work in New Zealand, all before you graduate. This gives you an advantage with potential employers.

Or you may choose to work on primarily analytical projects as part of your study, such as modelling population dynamics or ecosystems. Or you can focus on lab projects, involving genetic analysis, physiology, or post-mortem work.

Take advantage of our globally-renowned expertise

Let our experts help you develop your own expertise. You will learn from, and research with, highly-skilled internationally-recognised and active researchers in conservation and related areas, with a huge depth of knowledge and experience. Massey has strong research programmes in wildlife management, conservation genetics, and freshwater ecosystem management.

You will also be able to take advantage of Massey’s expertise across the sciences. We have a wide and relevant group of expertise within the university, from fundamental sciences like microbiology and biochemistry, to agriculture, ecology, zoology and environmental management. 

This means no matter what your research interest you will have access to a broad range of experts to assist you develop your own research.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of Science will push you to produce your best creative, strategic and theoretical ideas. The workload replicates the high-pressure environment of senior workplace roles.

Not just more of the same

Postgraduate study is not just ‘more of the same’ undergraduate study. Our experts are there to guide but if you have come from undergraduate study, you will find that postgraduate study demands more in-depth and independent study. It takes you to a new level in knowledge and expertise especially in planning and undertaking research.

Complete in 1.5 years

Massey University’s Master of Science is primarily a 180 credit master qualification. This is made up of 90 credits of taught courses and a 90 credit research project.

A 240 credit MSc is also available if you want to do more in-depth research.

Or if you have already completed the BSc (Hons) or PGDipSc you can conduct a 120 credit thesis to achieve your masters qualification.

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You study biodiversity conservation as applied ecology in the context of land use - agriculture, forestry and amenity. Focusing on wildlife conservation in the UK and Europe, you develop practical skills in plant identification and habitat assessment from a wide range of upland and lowland areas. Read more
You study biodiversity conservation as applied ecology in the context of land use - agriculture, forestry and amenity. Focusing on wildlife conservation in the UK and Europe, you develop practical skills in plant identification and habitat assessment from a wide range of upland and lowland areas.

Your studies focus on wildlife conservation with a particular emphasis on agriculture, forestry and amenity. Elements of the course have strong links with national, statutory and non-governmental conservation organisations. Practical management skills are gained through involvement in management problems on nature reserves and field courses that provide experience in species identification.

The course has compulsory and optional modules, giving you the opportunity to tailor your studies to your personal interests. Through the compulsory modules you will develop knowledge and skills in core concepts such as:
-Understanding the range of temperate zone ecosystems and wildlife species
-Developing a critical awareness of contemporary conservation issues and research insights
-Understanding scientific survey, habitat assessment and experimental techniques and the ability to identify common species from selected habitats
-The development of effective management plans for species and ecosystems
-Understanding complex biodiversity and ecosystem management issues
-Advanced knowledge and understanding of the influence of environmental, management and land-use factors on ecosystems and wildlife species

You also undertake a major conservation project and are supported through training in designing and delivering a project based on a laboratory or field-based investigation. After choosing your topic you collect, analyse and interpret data to produce a thesis.

Our staff

You benefit from being taught by lecturers who are industry experienced and research active. Our research in integrated agricultural production focuses on soil science, plant science and ecology, spanning a range of scales from: pot – plot – farm – landscape.
Strategic research embraces work on:
-Soil quality
-Rhizosphere function
-Plant-soil feedback
-Soil-carbon dynamics
-Nutrient cycling

Applied research addresses issues of:
-Climate change mitigation (including biofuels)
-Ecological (organic) farming systems
-Low-input crop systems
-Agriculture-environment interactions

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The Organic Agriculture programme has been designed to train students in multiple aspects of organic agriculture and the associated processing and marketing chain. Read more

MSc Organic Agriculture

The Organic Agriculture programme has been designed to train students in multiple aspects of organic agriculture and the associated processing and marketing chain. An important goal is to prepare the students for interdisciplinary teamwork at an academic level.

Programme summary

This programme has been designed to train students in multiple aspects of organic agriculture and the associated processing and marketing chain. An important goal is to prepare for interdisciplinary teamwork at an academic level. The programme is unique in its combination of detailed consideration of the underlying principles and processes from a natural science perspective with social and economic studies. Creative thinking is required to design new sustainable farming and marketing systems instead of simply optimising existing systems. The programme has an international character that uses case studies and offers project opportunities in both the developed and developing world. The curriculum has been carefully formulated to provide a balance between fundamental and applied science. Various university groups participate including farming systems ecology, soil quality, animal science, entomology, rural sociology, environmental policy, education and economy, making this a well-rounded and holistic programme.


Due to concerns on conventional farming practices, food safety issues and pollution, consumers increasingly demand wholesome agricultural products that are produced in a sustainable way. In addition to the demand for organic products by consumers in industrialised countries, there is a need for scientific agroecological farming practices in developing countries and countries in economic distress. In these regions, farmers cannot afford external inputs like pesticides, fertilisers or expensive seeds. Courses focus on: the analysis and design of sustainable organic farming systems; studying the relationship between plant and animal production; soil and landscape; analysing factors affecting plant and animal health; organic product quality. Students learn a systems approach to conduct research projects involving integrated agroecological systems.

Consumer and Market
Socio-economic constraints affect the demand for organic products, and are major bottlenecks to expand organic production. Improved understanding of consumer preferences is essential to stimulate sustainable production of healthy food and renewable resources. Production, processing and marketing of organic products is increasingly affected by (inter-) national policy and legislation. Insight into these aspects is crucial to expand organic production systems. Courses focus on: analysis of consumer perception; insight into relations between government policy and consumer behaviour; development of strategies for certification and trademarks for organic products; globalisation of food production and consumption; environmental education; global versus local production. Students acquire skills to analyse complex problems at the intersection of organic agriculture and society.

Double degree in Agroecology
The double degree programme combines the strengths of the two co-operating institutes, adding the specialist knowledge in agroecosystems management of FESIA with the expertise in designing and evaluating organic food production chains in Wageningen. Students get the opportunity to understand structure and function of complex agroecosystems. They learn to apply systems approaches in studying, designing and evaluating agricultural systems and food production chains, and to develop creative solutions for sustainable farming and marketing of organic products. Action learning and action research through cooperation with farmers, food system professionals and consumers will shorten the distance between practice and theory.

Your future career

Graduates have career opportunities in agribusiness, research, non-governmental organisations and public administration. They often hold jobs such as scientist, consultant, policy maker or quality assurance officer.

Alumna Natasja Poot.
“I have chosen the MSc Organic Agriculture because I was looking for a programme in which all aspects of agriculture are discussed. Courses addressed topics on soils, plants, animals and their interactions. I did not want to limit myself to just organic agriculture, but I can apply the knowledge to all conventional integrated farming systems as well. After graduating, I started at BLGG as a product manager Soil Health. BLGG is a laboratory in the agricultural sector that offers innovative analyses and advices that help farmers in their everyday management. In my position, I am focusing on developing tools for soil-borne diseases, nematodes and soil suppressiveness.”

Related programmes:
MSc Food Quality Management
MSc Environmental Sciences
MSc Plant Sciences
MSc Animal sciences
MSc Biology
MSc Management, Economics and Consumer Studies
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation.

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The University of Stirling has offered an innovative postgraduate course in Environmental Management with a Conservation specialisation since 2013, leading to the qualification of Diploma or MSc. Read more
The University of Stirling has offered an innovative postgraduate course in Environmental Management with a Conservation specialisation since 2013, leading to the qualification of Diploma or MSc. The course provides the scientific knowledge and approaches for conservation science and practice and the opportunity to specialise in particular areas via the selection of relevant modules and the research project. Areas of potential specialisation include ecosystem services, environmental economics, conservation conflicts, habitat and biodiversity management and application of GIS and remote sensing.

There is a compulsory residential course in field techniques, which takes place in the Cairngorm National Park. The MSc course is equally relevant to recent and mature graduates seeking a career in conservation science, governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Our course gives students:
-An understanding of the science that underpin conservation and sustainability.
-An understanding of the ecological, economic, social, political and legal frameworks for conservation.
-A comprehensive training in quantitative, theoretical, analytical and practical and generic skills.

Key information

-Degree type: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, MSc.
-Study methods: Full time, Campus based.
-Duration: MSc 1 Year, PG Diploma 9 months, PG Certificate 4 months.
-Start date: September.
-Course Director: Dr Nils Bunnefeld.

Course objectives

Graduates from this course will have gained knowledge in the broad field of conservation science, including collecting and analysing relevant data for sustainable decision-making and transferable skills relevant to future employment at national and international level.

About the Faculty

The Faculty of Natural Sciences provides a distinctive and distinguished academic arena that explores the complex and challenging inter-relationships between human behaviours, technologies, biological, environmental and aquatic systems.

The Faculty brings together four divisions:
-Institute of Aquaculture.
-Biological and Environmental Sciences.
-Computing Science and Mathematics.

World-leading original, significant and rigorous research is found in all of our academic disciplines. Our approach is interdisciplinary and research aspires to be cutting-edge, collaborative and excellent – internationally recognised for its quality and relevance.
In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), the Faculty participated in six units of assessment where it excelled in a breadth of disciplines:
-1st in the UK in Aquaculture.
-4th in the UK for Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science.
-3rd in Scotland (18th in the UK) for Psychology.
-One of only four UK universities with Psychology research rated as having 100% world-leading impact.

Other course requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:
-IELTS: 6.5 with 5.5 minimum in each skill.
-Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C.
-Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B.
-Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 51 in each component.
-IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 17.

For more information go to English language requirements: https://www.stir.ac.uk/study-in-the-uk/entry-requirements/english/

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View our range of pre-sessional courses: http://www.intohigher.com/uk/en-gb/our-centres/into-university-of-stirling/studying/our-courses/course-list/pre-sessional-english.aspx

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The human race is entirely dependent on the ecosystems that feed us, regulate our environment and recycle our wastes. They provide all we need to survive and thrive. Read more

The human race is entirely dependent on the ecosystems that feed us, regulate our environment and recycle our wastes. They provide all we need to survive and thrive. Over the past 100 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period in history. There have been net gains in human well-being and economic development, but these gains have been achieved at growing cost in the form of environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and depletion of natural capital.

Many options exist to reverse ecosystem degradation, but an understanding of the ecological systems and science is just a starting point. Understanding how the science interacts with policies, institutions, and practices is vital to achieve real change.

The Environmental Resource Management* option is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of how ecological principles can be applied to the management and conservation of natural resources and ecosystems, as well as practical skills and techniques.

Throughout the option emphasis is placed on how best to inform management and conservation decisions using tools that range from geographical mapping software and biodiversity appraisal to life cycle analysis. The important influence of institutional arrangements and economic forces on resource use and management decisions is also a key theme.

Practical applications of ecological, institutional and economic concepts are illustrated by case studies, practical sessions, seminars and workshops. These are augmented by field trips and frequent contact with outside organisations responsible for environmental management. The option draws on a wide range of speakers with first-hand experience of environmental and ecological management in both the developed and developing world.

 Students graduating from this option will be well placed to make informed decisions relating to real-world problems and able to identify and evaluate practical management options.


To equip students with the interdisciplinary knowledge and skills to embark on a career in natural resource management and to engage and interact with professionals in these disciplines.


  • To provide students from natural science, engineering, social science and other backgrounds with a broad understanding of issues, methods and underpinning philosophies in contemporary natural resource and ecosystem management.
  • To produce graduates capable of combining the scientific, economic and policy aspects of resource management and conservation, so that they can draw conclusions of strategic significance for governments, companies and NGOs.


Four main themes run through the option:

Theme 1: Understanding natural resource systems and human interactions

Explores renewable resource systems that are critical to human survival, ecosystem functioning and conservation. Focussing on specific examples we examine how these systems function and investigate the scientific, policy and practical issues involved in their management. Dedicated lectures and case studies include fisheries management, sustainable agriculture, conservation and management of wildlife populations.

Theme 2: Management tools and applications

Introduces and provides practical experience of some of the key tools and techniques used by environmental management professionals, including life cycle assessment, GIS, participatory appraisal and citizen science. Applications of these tools include gathering data, structuring and analysing problems, and communicate insights.

Theme 3: Policy, Assessment and Law

Informing the design of better policy is the objective of a great deal of research in understanding ecosystem processes and responses. Many conservation and resource management initiatives are also underpinned or impeded by legislation. This theme examines the interaction between policy processes, the legal system and conservation objectives. Key aspects of the national, European and international legal system and the role played by international law in the protection of the environment are identified. Regulatory instruments including Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment are also examined.

Theme 4: Management in Practice

Based around the fieldtrips and case-studies provided by external speakers and ecological management professional, this theme provides an opportunity to engage with professional working in the field and better understand what happens when theory and ideology meets practical barriers and resource constraints. Visits include forest management; farming and wildlife management, heathland management, ancient woodland and grazed pasture, ecosystem rehabilitation and wetland creation. Though these visits we explore the role of wildlife trusts in local conservation, the role of volunteers in managing sites of scientific interest, and the role of estate management in sustainable agriculture.


The Environmental Resource Management option (formerly called Ecological Management) has been running since 1978 and has more than 480 Alumni that can be found throughout all levels of Government, Industry, International agencies, Consultancy and NGOs.

Graduates are excellently placed to gain employment in a wide range of organizations dealing with natural resources, conservation and international development. Over 80% of graduates gain employment in the environmental field within months of graduating.

Common destinations include consultancy, NGOs, international organisations and government. Recent destinations include:

  • Operations Leader - Conservation Volunteers (a UK NGO)
  • Research Officer at Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
  • Senior Program Officer, Environment and Climate Change at International Council on Mining and Metals – ICMM
  • R&D Consultant – Energy Management Systems – Total
  • Analyst, Deloitte Sustainability, Australia
  • Researcher at British Antarctic Survey
  • PhD Student - ETH Zurich
  • Programme Officer, Business and Biodiversity at UNEP-WCMC
  • Carbon monitoring officer – a London borough council

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This is an advanced course for students who want to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the biology, welfare and conservation of domesticated and wild animals managed for production or leisure. Read more


This is an advanced course for students who want to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the biology, welfare and conservation of domesticated and wild animals managed for production or leisure.

Course Modules

The MSc programme is delivered over 1 year on a full-time basis during two teaching blocks (semesters one and two) and a period of supervised and independent study (summer). It may also be completed over a two-year period on a part-time basis. The first two semesters (15 weeks each) include 4 taught modules. The dissertation is studied during the subsequent 20 week period in the summer. Each taught module is worth 15 credits whilst the dissertation is 60 credits.


Semester One (September to January)
Animal Physiology / Comparative Animal Nutrition / Wildlife Resources / Research Methods
60 Credits

Semester Two (January to May)
Animal Ethics and Welfare / Animal Protection and Habitat Conservation / Behaviour / Current Issues in Animal Science
60 Credits

Summer (May to September)
MSc Dissertation
60 Credits

The full MSc degree course consists of 120 compulsory taught credits plus 60 core credits from the dissertation. The Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) can be awarded with 120 taught credits. Whilst a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) can be awarded on the successful completion of any 60 taught credits. Credits obtained from the dissertation can also be used when considering whether a postgraduate diploma can be awarded. Before progressing onto the Masters dissertation from the Diploma, students would need to complete the Research Methods module or its equivalent as a prerequisite.

Entry Requirements

Applicants will normally hold a good BSc Honours degree (2.2 or above) from a recognised university in a related science subject such as animal science, agriculture, biological sciences, zoology, veterinary or bioveterinary science or other appropriate life-science degree. Applicants with a BSc (Hons) 3rd class pass, with extensive industrial experience may also be considered for the Masters programme. Applications from non-UK students are particularly welcome. All applications received will be reviewed and decisions for admission to the programme will be made on individual merit. Applicants may be interviewed if there is some doubt over the extent of academic qualification or linguistic skills.

Applicants for whom English is a second language are required to demonstrate a level of competence that enables them to study at a postgraduate level. A test score of 6.5 is required in the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) tests.

Learning & Teaching Methods

The teaching methods are a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, visits and student managed learning. The self-guided study takes place under the supervision of experienced staff from the Centre of Equine and Animal Science at Writtle University College. Students are assessed using a number of methods, for example written examination, reports, essays, seminars, debates, oral presentations, case studies and project dissertation.

The research project is an essential part of the MSc programme and provides the opportunity to carry out an independent piece research, critically analyse data and write a dissertation. The project will normally include hands-on practical experimentation to teach students how to gather and process data and problem solve. The project is supervised by an academic member of staff and takes place over an extended period during the spring and summer. The project can be based either at Writtle University College or other suitable external institution.

Potential areas for dissertation projects

Investigation of keeper-animal relationships in zoos
Animal behaviour and welfare research in collaboration with Colchester Zoo
Assessment of prevalence and risk factors for obesity in companion animals
Lameness detection and measurement in dairy cows
Estimation endangered wild animal population densities
Use of molecular biology techniques in conservation genetics of captive wild animals
Incidence of small mammals in agricultural landscapes
Diet selection and nutrient intakes in captive animals
Behavioural indicators of welfare and performance using different castration methods in lambs


Graduates are likely to use their award to secure management-level jobs and/or to improve their promotion prospects if they are already employed both in international and national organisations. Many opportunities exist in either government services or related agencies services: for example senior positions in DEFRA as quarantine officers or animal health inspectors. There are also numerous career opportunities in companies specialising in farm animal nutrition and pet food manufacturing, breeding and reproduction, veterinary medicines and pharmaceuticals. There also opportunities in charities engaged in animal welfare such as the RSPCA, zoos, animal rescue centres and safari parks. Also, independent wildlife agencies such as the RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural England, and the Countryside Council for Wales would be interested in Animal Welfare and Conservation graduates. Some graduates may take up lecturing positions in universities and colleges or proceed to do further postgraduate study e.g. PhD.

Fees and Financial Support

Part-time student fees for each semester will be charged on a pro-rata basis. There are limited bursaries for part-payment of fees (for UK students only) from the Alice Noakes Memorial Trust. Applications for these bursaries can only be made via the course manager on admission to the course.

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The course is intended to provide students with a detailed understanding of basic and applied entomology and the issues associated with, on the one hand, their ecology and conservation and on the other the control of harmful species worldwide. Read more
The course is intended to provide students with a detailed understanding of basic and applied entomology and the issues associated with, on the one hand, their ecology and conservation and on the other the control of harmful species worldwide. The course is underpinned by an extensive programme of agri-environment research at Harper Adams and long-standing collaborations with research institutes and other organisations in the UK and overseas.

The course

Harper Adams is the UK’s only provider of postgraduate courses in entomology and related areas. There is currently a shortage of expertise in this important topic, which is a key element in the effort to ensure global food security and the understanding of biodiversity. By successfully completing this course you will develop a range of abilities that will prepare for an interesting and fulfilling career in an area with considerable opportunities.

Insects and allied invertebrates comprise approximately 78 per cent of the world’s macro-biodiversity, whereas vertebrates, even using the most generous estimates, make up less than three per cent. Insects and their relatives play an important role in all of our ecosystems. They range from beneficial insects such as pollinators and natural control agents to essential parts of the decomposition cycle such as dung and carrion insects. Many are also important pests of agriculture, horticulture and forestry, in addition to those that cause human health problems.

Many insects are also rare and endangered and need to be managed for conservation. Other insects are used as model organisms for evolutionary and genetic studies.

The aim of the course is to provide students with specialized training in entomology and conservation.

The course will:
■ prepare students for a career in entomology and/or conservation
■ offer vocational training in the area of applied entomology or insect conservation
■ prepare students for PhD studies

The course is intended to provide a detailed understanding of basic and applied entomology and the issues associated with, on the one hand, their ecology and conservation and, on the other, the control of harmful species worldwide. The course is underpinned by an extensive programme of agri-environment research at Harper Adams and longstanding collaborations with research institutes and other organisations in the UK and overseas.

Entry requirements

An honours degree (minimum lower second class) or a good FdSc/HND pass in a relevant subject area together with related industrial or professional experience of at least two years. In addition, the suitability of candidates for particular programmes may be assessed by interview, considering reports from referees and by evaluating previous experience.

How will it benefit me?

Having completed the taught part of MSc you will be able to identify insects to at least family level, determine their key characteristics, and critically evaluate the role of insects in managed and natural ecosystems. You will also learn to assess and exploit technology to solve insect-related problems.

The course will focus on producing integrated management solutions that pay due regard to agronomic, social and environmental requirements. Students also learn how to disseminate issues and ideas relating to insect control and conservation to a range of audiences using various methods of communication.

The research project for the MSc will allow you to test hypotheses relevant to pure and applied entomological research by designing, carrying out, analysing and interpreting experiments or surveys. You will also learn to evaluate and interpret data and draw relevant conclusions from existing entomological studies.

The MSc covers a broad range of topics in entomology and conservation and all students receive training in fundamental skills which will enable them to enter an entomological work environment or a research career in ecological entomology or insect conservation. There is, however, considerable flexibility, enabling each student to focus on specialist subjects consistent with their interests and future career intentions.


Students holding an MSc in Entomology have gone on to work for research institutes such as Rothamsted Research, FERA (the Food and Environment Research Agency), the James Hutton Institute, commercial biological control companies, the agrochemical industry and as agronomists and ecological consultants.

They have also gained employment with conservation bodies such as Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage or overseas. A number of graduates have worked as forensic entomologists. Typically 70 per cent of Entomology MSc graduates will go into research careers or onto PhD courses.

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On a national and international scale there is an increasing need to reconcile the need for increased food production with the need for conservation of natural resources. Read more

The course

On a national and international scale there is an increasing need to reconcile the need for increased food production with the need for conservation of natural resources. There is also a need for people to understand and deal with complex land situations such as within agricultural systems. This course is intended to provide students with a detailed understanding of basic and applied agro-ecology and the issues associated with, on the one hand, the increased and shifting needs for food production and on the other the need for conservation and management of natural resources. Sustainable food production and sustainable intensification are of high policy importance both nationally and internationally. Agro-ecology is a key aspect of sustainable intensification.

How will it benefit me?

An understanding of agro-ecology and the organisms and systems that underpin agricultural systems can facilitate the ability to manage agricultural systems in a more sustainable manner.
This course will provide the foundation for a career in both conservation and in agriculture.
The course will provide you with specialized training in agroecology and farmland conservation.

You will be able to:

Appraise the role of agro-ecology within the wider context of global food security and sustainable food production
Evaluate the strategic and operational issues and conflicts affecting the sustainable management of agricultural ecosystems in order to select the most appropriate conservation management solutions.
Evaluate the interactions between organisms and consider these when making management recommendations for successful agro-ecological landscapes
Develop the ability to solve conflicts in agro-ecosystems by the application of novel research techniques

The course will:
Prepare you for a career in conservation agriculture, or agriculture or conservation more widely.
Offer vocational training in the field of agroecology.
Enable you to make a more informed choices for further study, such as PhD studies or other career development

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The main aim of the MRes is to strengthen specialist scientific skills in strategically important areas of the UK agri-food industry, through flexible, postgraduate training for people in work. Read more
The main aim of the MRes is to strengthen specialist scientific skills in strategically important areas of the UK agri-food industry, through flexible, postgraduate training for people in work. It provides an innovative way for people in work to improve their research skills while supporting the innovation capabilities of the candidate’s companThe course is aimed at professionals in the agri-food industry, conservation and environment, farmers, and agricultural policy decision makers, as well as full-time students wishing to pursue a post-graduate degree that culminates in employability in these sectors.

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We invite proposals for MPhil and PhD research projects in our three main research areas of biodiversity and conservation, agri-environment, and microbiology. Read more

We invite proposals for MPhil and PhD research projects in our three main research areas of biodiversity and conservation, agri-environment, and microbiology. Our Biology PhD students play a very important role in our active research portfolio.

We supervise MPhil and PhD students whose interests match the expertise in these areas of biology:

Ecology and conservation

Our Ecology and Conservation Research Group works to understand patterns observed in nature - species and habitats. This often includes anthropogenic effects.

We collaborate with a variety of organisations concerned with species and habitat conservation, including statutory responsibility. We work with research partners and conservation practitioners from the UK and across the globe.

Our research covers:



-Human-wildlife interactions


Biological, clinical and environmental systems modelling

The Biological, clinical and environmental systems modelling group focuses on analysing the structure and dynamics of complex biological and clinical systems. We have a specific interest in investigating spatially and temporally heterogeneous processes in biology. We are driven by practical problem solving through the use of modelling.

Applied and Environmental Biology

We conduct research on organisms and processes of commercial and environmental importance. Our experimental approaches include:


-Molecular biology



Some examples of the commercial applications we develop include:

-Natural products discovery

-Creation of novel antimicrobials and biopesticides

-Sustainable methods of reducing food spoilage

-Microbes involved in biofuel production

-Uses of microbes in bioremediation of polluted environments

We invite you to propose your own research topic, or you can follow one of the projects suggested on the School of Biology website. If you wish to develop your own research topic, you are recommended to contact a potential supervisor at the School of Biology to develop your ideas, before submitting your formal application via the Applicant Portal.

You will benefit from two supervisors from our research community. You are encouraged to present your research results at our annual Postgraduate conference. You'll also benefit from training in a wide range of transferable skills, such as statistics and web design, through the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering (SAgE) Graduate School.


The School of Biology has good contacts with industry and hosts seminars and workshops, some of which are attended by visiting professors from industry. Biology students have the opportunity to participate at national and international conferences and to supplement their income by undertaking undergraduate laboratory demonstrating.

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The Master of International Forestry (MIF) is a full-time, 10 month course-based master’s degree that provides a foundation in forest and natural resource management, conservation and policy. Read more
The Master of International Forestry (MIF) is a full-time, 10 month course-based master’s degree that provides a foundation in forest and natural resource management, conservation and policy. The MIF is designed for early/mid-career professionals who wish to expedite their careers and advance to leadership positions.

Advance your career

- Complete a professional master’s degree in 10 months
- Benefit from a curriculum targeted at major international employers
- Apply your knowledge and skills to international forest issues
- Obtain a world-recognized degree from The University of British Columbia
- Grow your professional network and your career
- Connect with our Faculty’s other outstanding graduate students from 40 countries
- Explore Vancouver – consistently ranked as one of the world’s best cities

Why choose the MIF program?

You’ll gain valuable skills relevant to a career in rural development, forest conservation planning, sustainable resource management, and conservation policy development, diplomacy and negotiation. The MIF is for individuals who want to engage productively – and to become leaders – in an international forestry context with international agencies and secretariats (e.g., UN FAO, UNEP), finance institutions (e.g., The World Bank, Asian Development Bank), transnational forest products enterprises, government ministries,consulting firms, environmental NGOs, and advocacy groups. The MIF program provides training on those skills identified in over 200 forestry and environmental job postings, and our curriculum is targeted at major international employers.

What will I learn?

The UBC Faculty of Forestry aims to educate global citizens who promote the values of a civil and sustainable society and with ambitions to become ‘agents of change and innovation’. Students will be prepared for work in forestry in both tropical and non-tropical regions, in conservation and production forestry, and with subsistence and industrial forestry. MIF students will focus on the identification of major opportunities common in forestry and the management of other natural resources in many countries, and their political, economic, social and environmental settings. Students will also gain intercultural understanding through working with international colleagues and professors.

Program components include:
- Natural resources economics
- International forest governance and policy
- Forest business enterprise
- Forests and society
- Natural resources planning
- International forestry institutions, diplomacy and negotiations
- Social, community and indigenous forestry

Grow your career with UBC Faculty of Forestry

Upon completion, MIF graduates will have a solid foundation in forestry and rural land use, in combination with knowledge of international institutional arrangements and policies concerning environmental protection, human rights, natural resources management, and leadership. Graduates will be able to:
- examine the interdependent relationships among societies and forested environments;
- assess current trends in the production, valuation and marketing of forest-based goods and services, including ecological services;
- understand the need for and principles of sound forest governance;
- negotiate and evaluate multilateral environmental agreements;
- demonstrate the elements of forest management and conservation decision-making, including economic analysis and financing and how to apply these in the formulation of policies and plans; and
- design and plan work programs and provide effective leadership.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of International Forestry
- Specialization: Forestry
- Subject: Agriculture and Forestry
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework only
- Registration options: Full-time
- Faculty: Faculty of Forestry

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The factors affecting the wider environment are constantly increasing and range from agriculture and forestry to recreation, urban development and population growth. Read more
The factors affecting the wider environment are constantly increasing and range from agriculture and forestry to recreation, urban development and population growth. These in turn have knock-on effects such as climate change, water and food shortages, habitat and species loss and the impact of non-native species.

One of the areas where these factors come together is in the field of countryside management where the public use of the countryside interacts with professional land managers and can result in conflict.

In the context of this programme and the degree programme from which it has developed the term countryside management encompasses a broad range of topics and land uses ranging from conservation management to rural land use planning and interpretation to land use history.

Students are expected to have a broad knowledge of how the countryside that we see around us has developed in a historical context and how this relates to factors such as climate, ecology and soils. This in turn helps to determine current land use practice whether it be for agriculture or forestry, conservation management or recreation.

Inevitably these land uses are interlinked in complex ways and the countryside manager is expected to be able to identify the potential conflicts and to arrive at appropriate management options.

Of course there is rarely a simple answer in such situations and the resulting decisions have to be based on an understanding of the competing claims and an awareness of how to work with individuals, interest groups and communities to ensure that stakeholders' views have been taken into account.

Course Content

There are eight taught modules providing for the development of a range of technical, practical and professional skills. Residential study weekends are also used as a vital tool in delivering some of the practical aspects of the course.
In the modules an element of student choice is often built in through the use of essay and other course work topics that cover areas of potential interest. The modules will be of value individually to those in employment who are looking for Continuing Professional Development.

Taught modules are:

Planning and the Legal Framework

This module will provide a background to the legislation and policy framework within which the countryside is managed. This will include planning, biodiversity and landscape and will focus on the role of EIA and SEA. The planning system is prone to conflicts between interest groups and students will look at case studies that highlight some of the main issues that arise.

Habitat and Species Management

Habitats and species have been the subject of management for centuries but only comparatively recently has there been a focus on their management for conservation reasons. In practice species management relies on appropriate habitat management although there are times when more specific prescriptions are appropriate. This module will look at management through a number of case studies which will be examined in detail. The case studies will include both desk studies and field visits and students will be encouraged to research appropriate examples in their own areas.

Visitor Management

Visitor management is a crucial part of countryside management and should be integrated into area and site management plans. An understanding of visitor management and the opportunities for education, interpretation and marketing, is a requirement for senior countryside managers. Students will look at the full range of visitor management issues from visitor profiles and motivations to site design and the impacts on wildlife and the wider environment.

Species Identification and Familiarity

The ability to accurately identify a range of species is crucial to aid in species conservation and to properly evaluate an area for its biodiversity. Central to species identification is the use of field keys and identification guides. This course will be based around a week long, intensive series of practical and laboratory based sessions to provide participants with the necessary skills to implement habitat and species survey techniques. Training in computer recording packages will also be provided to ensure best practice in species recording is maintained

Project Management for Countryside Professionals

Countryside Managers need to be able to effectively manage their own as well as the work of others. The skills of project planning/reporting/acquisition of funding and the proper upkeep of work related files and paperwork is fundamental to effective management. A strong component of this module will also involve the development of team management skills as well as health and safety awareness.

Integrated Planning Management

Multifunctional land use is a well recognised term. It is part of the planning system at differing scales and with multi-partnership and stakeholder involvement. The module will define both the industry organisations commonly involved in multifunctional land use planning and the other likely stakeholders. The land use changes proposed will take account of the historical and cultural aspects of the landscape.

Integrated planning management is undertaken at different scales ranging from individual project management plans and environmental statements to strategic planning at regional, national or European level. The module will look at how the production of these plans and strategies might be expected to integrate with other planning policy and legislation. Integrated management systems are collective.

Methods and Delivery

This course is studied part time through on-line distance learning. This allows those in continuing employment or with family commitments to participate. With the exception of several weekend schools and a short study tour, the learning is carried out in the student's home or work place.

The PgDip is a high level learning course taught at university post-graduate level. Students are required to complete all taught modules detailed above. Typically a student will study 4 modules per year and complete the PgDip in two years. This would normally take an average of 12 to 15 hours study time a week.

The study weekends and short study tour are an integral part of teaching delivery and students are strongly recommended to attend these if they are to succeed in this course.

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Dwindling natural resources and environmental quality issues are challenging businesses to work within a sustainability framework, while at the same time maximising employment provision and profitability. Read more
Dwindling natural resources and environmental quality issues are challenging businesses to work within a sustainability framework, while at the same time maximising employment provision and profitability. Consequently, there are a growing number of green technology and related enterprises that require a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. Equally, those within the regulation or policy environment must have the knowledge base to address the complexities of the ‘sustainability’ challenge.

The Environmental Sustainability course is taken online in your own time and at your own pace. You can choose to study for a 30-credit Graduate Certificate, a 60-credit Graduate Diploma or a 90-credit MSc degree. The course focuses on delivery of the knowledge and skills required to address sustainability challenges across a broad spectrum of activities such as agriculture, industry, green technology, resource management, environmental regulation and policy. You will be challenged to apply your scientific and technical knowledge to develop solutions to local and global problems and needs. Through discussion and research work you will learn to handle complex issues, analyse, interpret and apply scientific data and information, use your judgement and also communicate your findings and ideas.

Key Fact

This course allows the flexibility to tailor your module selection to meet your training needs or career goals. All students undergo a Training Needs Assessment with the assistance of UCD academic staff before commencing their studies, to provide the most suitable, customised course content for each applicant.

Course Content and Structure

The MSc, Diploma and Certificate will provide you with the theoretical background, practical training and ancillary workplace skills needed for a successful career in your chosen field. The course will develop your capacity for self-directed learning, within a supportive framework facilitated by online fora, discussion boards and virtual tutorial/classroom sessions. For the MSc degree you will be required to undertake a research or desk-based project. You can take any combination of the following modules, depending on your specific interests and career needs.

Modules available include:

• Sustainable Energy & Environment
• Peatlands & Global Change
• Natural Heritage Conservation
• Green Technology Project
• Ecology & its Application
• Cultural Heritage Conservation
• Energy Systems & Climate Change
• Genetics for Environmental Scientists
• World Heritage Convention
• Technical Communications
• Data Analysis & Interpretation
• People Information & Communication
• Applied Ecotoxicology
• GIS for Environmental Investigations
• Impact Assessment Procedures
• Managing the Interface between Science & Policy
• Environmental Legislation & Regulation
• Practicum (Research; lab/field)
• Practicum (Desk Study)
• Water Quality Assessment, Protection and Management
• Management of Sustainable Fisheries
• Career Zone
• Water Resources Engineering 1 and 2
• Wildlife Management/Conservation
• Air Pollution
• Bioinvasions: Impact to Management
• Environmental Geoscience
• Soil Resources
• Management Plan
Modules and topics shown are subject to change and are not guaranteed by UCD.

Career Opportunities

Successful completion of this course will provide you with the professional competitive advantage to choose from careers in the application of green energy technology, environmental engineering, environmental monitoring and protection, resource and waste management, consultancy, research, heritage, conservation and education, either within regulatory bodies or in a wide range of industries, both multinational organisations and small-and medium-sized enterprises. The course also opens up opportunities to pursue further studies including up to PhD level.

Facilities and Resources

Throughout your term of study here in UCD you will have access to our online electronic library resources, including a wide range of scientific journals and e-books. IT and Blackboard support will be available to assist with any issues you encounter. Students may also visit the library to use its resources and have the same right of access to campus facilities as our on-campus students.

This course relies on the significant teaching and research strengths across eight different Schools in UCD. This allows us to offer a multidisciplinary degree incorporating a wide range of topics, e.g., renewable energy resources, sustainable energy systems, environmental engineering and resource management, water quality assessment and conservation science.

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