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Masters Degrees (Conservation Genetics)

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Within conservation science there is increasing recognition of the value of genetic data to support management decisions, however scientists and managers with the skills and knowledge to apply population genetic theory to conservation practice are lacking. Read more

Within conservation science there is increasing recognition of the value of genetic data to support management decisions, however scientists and managers with the skills and knowledge to apply population genetic theory to conservation practice are lacking. Within this arena, wildlife forensics is an exciting new field that is attracting increasing global attention in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.

The Cert/Dip/MSc in Applied Conservation Genetics with Wildlife Forensics aims to provide a blend of theoretical and practical education in the application of genetic data to wildlife management and conservation law enforcement. The programme will cover all essential aspects, from population genetic theory, through data analysis, to the considerations involved in the interpretation and transfer of scientific findings to management, policy and criminal investigation.

Students will have the choice to specialise in either applied conservation genetics or wildlife forensics, with both options providing transferable scientific skills relating to knowledge acquisition and application, problem solving, science communication and decision making. The overall aim of the programme is to equip current and future wildlife professionals with the knowledge, skills and global networks to address modern challenges in conservation management and law enforcement.

The programme is designed as an institutional collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture), a government facility which houses the UK wildlife DNA forensics laboratory. Students will have a unique opportunity to learn from internationally recognised specialists in the application of genetic analysis to conservation management and wildlife forensics.

In addition, individual courses will engage a number of external tutors from local and international organisations with specific expertise in the subject matter. Course materials will based on actual examples from wildlife management projects and forensic casework.

Suitable participants include wildlife professionals interested in learning how DNA analysis can be applied to conservation management, from captive breeding programmes to reintroductions and natural population management.

The programme will also be appropriate for those working in wildlife law enforcement or wildlife policy sectors who want to understand how genetic data is now relied upon to inform conservation decision-making, trade regulation and criminal investigations.

As a comprehensive introduction to the fields of conservation genetics and wildlife forensics, the programme is will also provide a valuable stepping stone to students seeking to pursue an advanced scientific career in these fields.

Online learning

Our online learning technology is fully interactive, award-winning and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

Our online students not only have access to Edinburgh's excellent resources, but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

Learning outcomes

Beyond gaining factual knowledge of the immediate subject matter, programme participation is designed to achieve a series of key learning outcomes:

Knowledge and Understanding

The student will be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of practical and ethical issues relating to the application of conservation genetics and wildlife forensics.

Practice: applied knowledge, skills and understanding

The student will be able to demonstrate how to plan, apply and interpret the outputs of appropriate research and forensic techniques.

Generic cognitive skills

The student will be able to analyse complex issues and identify solutions, even in the absence of complete or consistent information.

Communication, ICT, Numeracy Skills

The student will be able to communicate relevant scientific concepts and results, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge and expertise.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others

The student will be able to manage complex wildlife conservation and law enforcement issues and make or contribute to informed judgements that address current challenges in these fields.



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The MSc in Conservation Genetics addresses the essential theoretical background and develops applied skills in this new and rapidly expanding field. Read more
The MSc in Conservation Genetics addresses the essential theoretical background and develops applied skills in this new and rapidly expanding field. You will be trained in the use of molecular tools for aspects of taxonomy and classification, species conservation and in the application of the principles of genetics to the conservation management of small populations. You will develop problem-solving approaches to different evolutionary and population genetics scenarios. A range of option units are available and there is a compulsory residential fieldtrip to either Poland or Tanzania which will provide you with practical experience of the essential techniques in the field of conservation genetics.

The MSc is completed by a research-based project which can be completed in the UK or overseas, often in collaboration with an external organisation. There are also opportunities to work within Manchester Met research projects in Tanzania, Kenya, the Philippines, Mauritius and Madeira.

Non means-tested loans of up to a maximum of £10,000 will be available to postgraduate master’s students.

Features and benefits of the course

-There is a residential fieldtrip to either Poland or Tanzania which will provide you with practical experience of the essential techniques in the field of conservation genetics
-The research-based project can be carried out in the UK or overseas, often in collaboration with an external organisation
-The course provides flexibility for students who have to work in order to fund their course.

Placement options

Your research-based project can be carried out in the UK or overseas, often in collaboration with an external organisation. There are also opportunities to work within Manchester Met research projects in Tanzania, Kenya, the Philippines, Mauritius and Madeira.

About the Course

You will be trained in the use of molecular tools for aspects of taxonomy and classification, species conservation and in the application of the principles of genetics to the conservation management of small populations. A range of option units are available and there is a residential fieldtrip to either Poland or Tanzania which will provide you with practical experience of the essential techniques in the field of conservation genetics.

Course delivery is flexible and most lectures take place in the evening. Lectures, other course material and assessment information is available via our online learning platform, Moodle. Teaching for this course begin in September 2016 and January 2017. Please note that January starters sit their examinations in January the following year, making the course duration 12 months.

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This course, which uniquely combines forensic genetic and conservation genetic elements within one of the largest forensic science academic departments in the world, runs in conjunction with other well established and popular MSc courses. Read more
This course, which uniquely combines forensic genetic and conservation genetic elements within one of the largest forensic science academic departments in the world, runs in conjunction with other well established and popular MSc courses. Students will learn the fundamentals of molecular genetics, population genetics and phylogenetics that underpin the disciplines of forensic and conservation genetics and develop both theoretical knowledge and practical application.

Small cohort sizes will allow the use of a diverse range of assessments and the provision of considerable student support. Teaching will be carried out using a combination of lectures, tutorials, practicals, computer workshops and self-directed study. In addition to six taught modules, students will undertake a three-module research project which will develop laboratory and research skills. Depending on availability, students may also have an opportunity to visit and gain field experience at the Maasai Centre for Field Studies in Kenya.

LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AND ASSESSMENT

The forensic genetics group has dedicated pre and post-PCR laboratories housing an ABI3500, two ABI310 machines, an ABI7500 real-time PCR machine, a number of ABI2700 PCR machines, gel imaging systems, and several PCR cabinets. MSc students will carry out laboratory-based dissertation research projects within these well equipped modern laboratories. Research topics within the group are diverse, ranging from forensic genetics and human genetics, to wildlife forensics and forensic entomology. This will ensure that a wide choice of dissertation topics is available to our students. We also have a number of full-time and part-time MRes/MPhil/PhD students and an interest in research is actively encouraged and maintained throughout the year via seminars/ discussions.

The course will be delivered through lectures, tutorials, computer workshops, and practical classes, working independently or as part of a group. At least an equal amount of time should be spent in private study reading around the subject. Guided teaching and formal assessments on this course will enhance the development of a number of transferable skills such as the production of written case reports, formal presentations, active participation in discussions, ability to work to deadlines, computing skills, scientific analysis, adherence and development of laboratory protocols, and research methods.

Assessment is predominantly through coursework except for one module which is assessed by both examination and coursework. Coursework will include written essays, laboratory reports, case reports, presentations and in Part 3, a dissertation.

OPPORTUNITIES

Students graduating from this course will be well placed to undertake further research at the doctoral level or take up jobs in forensic/genetics/veterinary/diagnostic/wildlife protection laboratories.

Two of our graduates have taken on jobs as DNA analysts while a others have gone on to undertake further degrees or research towards a MPhil/PhD.

Depending on availability, students may have an opportunity to visit and gain field experience at the Maasai Centre for Field Studies in Kenya.

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Taught at our Parkgate Road Campus in Chester, this is a research-focused Master's training course in Wildlife Behaviour and Conservation. Read more

Taught at our Parkgate Road Campus in Chester, this is a research-focused Master's training course in Wildlife Behaviour and Conservation.

Robust scientific evidence is a critical tool for conservation scientists responding to the challenges of mitigating biodiversity loss. This course focuses on developing investigative research skills while addressing applied questions in wildlife behaviour and conservation.

The course provides a strong foundation, giving you the opportunity to develop a career in academic or applied wildlife science. Our lecturers work with a diverse range of study species, including mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and invertebrates, both in the wild and ex situ. Members of the team are recognised as conservation specialists by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and manage two European Endangered Species Programmes.

Why Study Biological Sciences: Wildlife Behaviour and Conservation with us?

Our lecturers work with a diverse range of study species, including mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and invertebrates, both in the wild and ex situ. Members of the team are recognised as conservation specialists by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and manage two European Endangered Species Programmes.

Your project will contribute directly to one of our partnerships with national and international in situ and ex situ conservation programmes.

Your individual supervisor will guide your acquisition of professional skills and facilitate networking and engagement in your specialist field. Our proactive, diverse and expanding research community provides extensive opportunities for peer-learning and collaboration in conservation research.

What will I learn?

A compulsory wildlife research methods taught module provides advanced training in core specialisations, including project design, field techniques, statistical analysis and geographical information systems.

You will select a further taught specialist module relevant to your research project, which may include conservation genetics, wildlife behaviour or wildlife health.

The individual research project is undertaken throughout the year and is the primary focus of this course.

International Field Projects

  1. Study of Desert Birds on Lanzarote: An Example of how Geodiversity Underpins Biodiversity (with Lanzarote Island Council and Desert Watch).
  2. Habitat Usage of Re-introduced Scarlet Macaws on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica (with ASOMACAO Friends of the Scarlet Macaw).

Please note these projects will require a student contribution in addition to course fees of a maximum of £3000. 

UK Based Native Species Field Projects

  1. Newt occupancy on Black Isle - with Scottish Natural Heritage.
  2. Pond colonisation on Black Isle - with Scottish Natural Heritage.
  3. Conservation genetics of the Natterjack Toad - with Cheshire Wildlife Trust.

Desk based Projects

  1. Using atlas data to estimate bird density and occupancy.
  2. Conservation of the endangered Ibis species in Cambodia’s dry forests - with Wildlife Conservation Society.
  3. The global conservation status and threats to Rails (Rallidae) - with Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Mississippi State University.

How will I be taught?

Teaching is delivered through lecturers, laboratory practicals, field trips and seminars supplemented by online materials such as discussion boards and analytical exercises.

You will contribute to research seminars, a journal club and tutorials.

Modules consist of 32 hours of taught activities and 168 hours of self study.

How will I be assessed?

Taught modules are assessed through coursework assignments.

The dissertation projects consists of at least 1,400 hours' study to produce a paper suitable for peer review publication.

Study Abroad Opportunities

Students apply to specific projects which change on an annual basis, but in recent years studies have studied in Ghana, Cambodia, the Philippines, across Europe and in the UK.

Postgraduate Visit Opportunities

If you are interested in this courses we have a number of opportunities to visit us and our campuses. To find out more about these options and to book a visit, please go to: https://www1.chester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-visit-opportunities

Request a Prospectus

If you would like to know more about the University please request a prospectus at: http://prospectus.chester.ac.uk/form.php



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This course is designed to prepare you for a career in conservation, or for further research at PhD level. If you’re already an established conservation professional, our modules provide additional skills to support you to progress in your employment. Read more

This course is designed to prepare you for a career in conservation, or for further research at PhD level. If you’re already an established conservation professional, our modules provide additional skills to support you to progress in your employment.

Distinct from similar courses offered in the UK, the course concentrates on the biological principles underlying biodiversity, its assessment and management. You’ll learn to identify plants and animals, explore the institutional framework underlying biodiversity and conservation and gain key analytical and practical skills for a range of academic and professional careers. You’ll also gain valuable experience in biodiversity and conservation-related research.

The University of Leeds has twice been recognised by the European Union as a "centre of excellence" for biodiversity and conservation training. We believe biodiversity can only be managed and conserved when it can be measured and interpreted properly.

Course content

This degree offers you a wide range of options, allowing you to personalise your study in preparation for further academic research or professional development in the field.

We’ll equip you with a diverse set of skills needed for ecological careers and further research. The course combines theory-based modules on the principles of ecology and conservation with a wide range of practical skills-based modules. These include survey, management and identification skills, where the emphasis is on spending time in the field, and analytical skills such as statistics and GIS.

The independent research project is one of the most important and potentially fulfilling parts of the degree. Projects cover a wide range of topics and usually include around six to eight weeks of practical work. A number of our students have been based overseas for their project.

If you study part time, the course will last for two years and you’ll study around half of the total number of modules each year.

MSc or MRes – what’s the difference?

MRes students have fewer taught modules, and carry out two major research projects rather than one. The MSc is the broader course, suitable for both conservation careers and PhD study, while most students taking the MRes are planning to go on to do a PhD. The MSc allows students to widen their skills base through the additional taught elements that are available. An increasing number of students treat the MSc as a conversion course, after having taken degrees in non-biological subjects.

Course structure

The course is made up of modules that add up to 180 credits, with a mix of compulsory and optional modules. These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Compulsory modules

  • Biodiversity and Conservation Skills I 10 credits
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Skills II 10 credits
  • Biodiversity and Conservation MSc and MRes Summer Project 60 credits

Optional modules

  • Community Ecology 15 credits
  • Conservation Genetics 15 credits
  • Advanced Statistics 10 credits
  • Habitat Management 10 credits
  • Introduction to GIS Skills for Ecologists 10 credits
  • Population Dynamics 10 credits
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Internships 15 credits
  • Practical Conservation with the National Trust 10 credits
  • Masters Mediterranean Ecology Field Course 15 credits
  • Plant Identification 15 credits
  • Insect Identification Skills 15 credits
  • Conservation Skills 5 credits
  • GIS and Environment 15 credits
  • Environmental Economics and Policy 15 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Biodiversity and Conservation MSc Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Biodiversity and Conservation MSc Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

You’ll have access to the very best learning resources and academic support during your studies. We’ve been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2017), demonstrating our commitment to delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.

Your learning will be heavily influenced by the University’s world-class research as well as our strong links with highly qualified professionals from industry, non-governmental organisations and charities.

You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including formal lectures, interactive workshops, problem-solving, practical classes and demonstrations.

Through your research project and biodiversity and conservation modules, you’ll receive substantial subject-specific training. Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop you into a professional who is able to think independently, solve problems, communicate effectively and demonstrate a high level of practical ability.

Research projects

As an MSc student, you’ll carry out one research project. The range of project topics is large and diverse, covering applied, empirical and theoretical subjects. Projects can be carried out in the UK or overseas: projects have been carried out in over twenty countries so far, and this year alone we have projects in Belize, Thailand, Greece, Bermuda and Morocco.

Practical skills

There are many opportunities to develop valuable practical skills through modules such as Practical Conservation with the National Trust, Insect Identification, Plant Identification, and by overseas field courses within Europe and Africa (see field courses) and research project work. You can also build your analytical skills, with modules in GIS and statistics.

Leeds is one of the best locations geographically to study Biodiversity and Conservation. You’ll be within easy reach of three areas of great natural beauty and dramatic scenery; Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire Moors and the Peak District – providing you with a wide range of project and fieldwork opportunities.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods: practical work, data handling and problem solving exercises, group work, computer-based simulation, essays, posters and oral presentations.

Career opportunities

Specialist and transferable skills are key component of our degrees, opening up diverse opportunities for our graduates. A proportion of both MSc and MRes graduates go on to study for a PhD and enter a research career. Many graduates go on to a career in an applied ecology or conservation-related area. Potential employers look for academic qualifications in combination with practical skills and experience, and a relevant MSc course can give you the edge in a highly competitive field.

Please visit the website for more details regarding career opportunities and support.



Read less
This course is designed to prepare you for a career in conservation, or for further research at PhD level. If you’re already an established conservation professional, our modules provide additional skills to support you to progress in your employment. Read more

This course is designed to prepare you for a career in conservation, or for further research at PhD level. If you’re already an established conservation professional, our modules provide additional skills to support you to progress in your employment.

Distinct from similar courses offered in the UK, the course concentrates on the biological principles underlying biodiversity, its assessment and management. You’ll learn to identify plants and animals, explore the institutional framework underlying biodiversity and conservation and gain key analytical and practical skills for a range of academic and professional careers. You’ll also gain valuable experience in biodiversity and conservation-related research.

You’ll also undertake the African field course is based at Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia, Kenya. You’ll gain a first-hand appreciation of the ecology and conservation concerns of an African savannah community, both for the wildlife and the people who live in the area. As well as learning about the local environment, flora and fauna, s, you’ll spend most of the time designing and carrying out group research projects.

The University of Leeds has twice been recognised by the European Union as a "centre of excellence" for biodiversity and conservation training. We believe biodiversity can only be managed and conserved when it can be measured and interpreted properly.

Course content

This degree offers you a wide range of options, allowing you to personalise your study in preparation for further academic research or professional development in the field.

We’ll equip you with a diverse set of skills needed for ecological careers and further research. The course combines theory-based modules on the principles of ecology and conservation with a wide range of practical skills-based modules. These include survey, management and identification skills, where the emphasis is on spending time in the field, and analytical skills such as statistics and GIS.

The independent research project is one of the most important and potentially fulfilling parts of the degree. Projects cover a wide range of topics and usually include around six to eight weeks of practical work. A number of our students have been based overseas for their project.

If you study part time, the course will last for two years and you’ll study around half of the total number of modules each year.

MSc or MRes – what’s the difference?

MRes students have fewer taught modules, and carry out two major research projects rather than one. The MSc is the broader course, suitable for both conservation careers and PhD study, while most students taking the MRes are planning to go on to do a PhD. The MSc allows students to widen their skills base through the additional taught elements that are available. An increasing number of students treat the MSc as a conversion course, after having taken degrees in non-biological subjects.

Course structure

The course is made up of modules that add up to 180 credits, with a mix of compulsory and optional modules. These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Compulsory modules

  • Biodiversity and Conservation Skills I 10 credits
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Skills II 10 credits
  • African Field Ecology 20 credits
  • Biodiversity and Conservation MSc and MRes Summer Project 60 credits

Optional modules

  • Community Ecology 15 credits
  • Conservation Genetics 15 credits
  • Advanced Statistics 10 credits
  • Habitat Management 10 credits
  • Introduction to GIS Skills for Ecologists 10 credits
  • Population Dynamics 10 credits
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Internships 15 credits
  • Practical Conservation with the National Trust 10 credits
  • Plant Identification 15 credits
  • Insect Identification Skills 15 credits
  • Conservation Skills 5 credits
  • GIS and Environment 15 credits
  • Environmental Economics and Policy 15 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Biodiversity and Conservation with African Field Course MSc Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Biodiversity and Conservation with African Field Course MSc Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

You’ll have access to the very best learning resources and academic support during your studies. We’ve been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2017), demonstrating our commitment to delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.

Your learning will be heavily influenced by the University’s world-class research as well as our strong links with highly qualified professionals from industry, non-governmental organisations and charities.

You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including formal lectures, interactive workshops, problem-solving, practical classes and demonstrations.

Through your research project and biodiversity and conservation modules, you’ll receive substantial subject-specific training. Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop you into a professional who is able to think independently, solve problems, communicate effectively and demonstrate a high level of practical ability.

Research projects

As an MSc student, you’ll carry out one research project. The range of project topics is large and diverse, covering applied, empirical and theoretical subjects. Projects can be carried out in the UK or overseas: projects have been carried out in over twenty countries so far, and this year alone we have projects in Belize, Thailand, Greece, Bermuda and Morocco.

Practical skills

There are many opportunities to develop valuable practical skills through modules such as Practical Conservation with the National Trust, Insect Identification, Plant Identification, and by overseas field courses within Europe and Africa (see field courses) and research project work. You can also build your analytical skills, with modules in GIS and statistics.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods: practical work, data handling and problem solving exercises, group work, computer-based simulation, essays, posters and oral presentations.

Career opportunities

Specialist and transferable skills are key component of our degrees, opening up diverse opportunities for our graduates. A proportion of both MSc and MRes graduates go on to study for a PhD and enter a research career. Many graduates go on to a career in an applied ecology or conservation-related area.



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This comprehensive course provides an in-depth view of the contemporary issues and techniques required of professional wildlife conservationists working both in the UK and overseas. Read more

This comprehensive course provides an in-depth view of the contemporary issues and techniques required of professional wildlife conservationists working both in the UK and overseas. The course is taught not only by our experienced academic staff but with the assistance of world-leading experts and conservation practitioners both in class and also in the field.

Importantly throughout the course we stress a holistic appreciation of the link between field and laboratory-based work and the necessity of professional level communication with a range of audiences. Where possible teaching will be undertaken through workshops and seminars so providing a more immersive environment to help develop an understanding of the operation of professional-level applied conservation skills in communication and problem solving.

What happens on the course?

The focus throughout is on animals in their wild settings and as such there is a strong emphasis on fieldwork and applied wildlife research. Modules to be studied are:

  • 7AB012 Conservation Genetics - This module is focused on genetic applications to problems of conservation, reflecting the diversity of concerns relevant to conservation biology and covering the management of captive populations for conservation. Modern genetic techniques used by conservationists are also examined.
  • 7AB009 Advanced Survey and Monitoring Techniques –The desktop survey, design, collection, processing, analysis and output production of environmental data (physical, vegetation and organismal) will be explored in a problem-based setting. This will involve the integrated use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Geographical Information Systems (GIS), geospatial imagery, telemetry, image acquisition, sound acquisition, ground-truthing and field survey techniques.
  • 7AB011 Primate Conservation and Behaviour - This module focuses on the evolution of primate societies and asks how environmental and demographic factors influence animals’ decisions about how to organise their social and reproductive strategies. Throughout, the emphasis is on understanding key theoretical concepts and how these may be applied to empirical studies of non-human primates. This module explores also the science of scarcity and diversity of wild primate populations and the successful management of captive populations for conservation.
  • 7AB013 Research Methods for Wildlife Conservation - This module prepares you with the skills needed for wildlife conservation research. You will develop advanced skills in literature searching and critical analysis of published work. You will explore the development of a research question, research design, data handling and statistics. You will prepare a professional portfolio of your research methods covered in the module.
  • 7AB010 Field Course - The module will examine the whole process of research trip planning from funding and logistical planning through to the detail of content for individual session activities. The culmination of this process will be a residential field course in the UK or overseas.
  • 7AB014 Conservation of UK Protected Species – In-depth consideration of the conservation of UK protected species including their ecology, protection legislation, conservation measures, habitat management and habitat creation.
  • 7AB015 The Masters Project module - an opportunity to plan, undertake and deliver an extended, problem-focused, original independent investigation related to the chosen programme of study and is a requirement for the award of a Masters degree.

Whilst the majority of the material will be delivered by the core Departmental staff the course aims to bring-in external speakers from wildlife research, practice and policy to allow students access to the knowledge of professionals working in the sector.

Why Wolverhampton?

The course has evolved from the BSc Animal Behaviour and Wildlife Conservation and explores some of the areas that are more suited to higher-level study. It is expected that students will come from subject areas that have an animal conservation/behaviour background, or else current conservation professionals that are seeking to update their subject and skills knowledge.

The course is designed to provide many opportunities for students specifically:

  • Wolverhampton is developing a national reputation for the study of Animal Behaviour and Wildlife Conservation. Studying the MSc provides real opportunities to influence the direction of study and research of the staff and student body.
  • There are significant opportunities to undertake fieldwork in a range of local, national and international settings. This is an important driver for the department and provides a strong applied focus for Masters-level study across the range of modules studied.
  • A strong emphasis is placed on developing the link from strategic/logistical planning through field and laboratory work to the professional communication of the information generated.
  • The facilities of the new Science building at the university provide a significant opportunity to develop complementary wildlife-related laboratory skills which are often not explored at undergraduate level.
  • Innovative approaches to learning are used including student-led workshops, seminars and practical activities that mirror workplace scenarios. This gives students a strong role in directing their own development and links strongly to career development and aspiration.
  • There is a strong emphasis on the individual and the nurturing of individual study and career aspirations.

Career path

The course prepares you for a role as a conservation professional working with strong applied and field-based components. In particular it gives you key opportunities for employment in conservation-type roles in the UK and beyond where higher-level qualifications are essential for demonstrating topic knowledge and technical competency. Such roles are found in a host of statutory and non-governmental organisations across the wildlife sector.



Read less
This course is designed to prepare you for a career in conservation, or for further research at PhD level. If you’re already an established conservation professional, our modules provide additional skills to support you to progress in your employment. Read more

This course is designed to prepare you for a career in conservation, or for further research at PhD level. If you’re already an established conservation professional, our modules provide additional skills to support you to progress in your employment.

Distinct from similar courses offered in the UK, the course concentrates on the biological principles underlying biodiversity, its assessment and management. You’ll learn to identify plants and animals, explore the institutional framework underlying biodiversity and conservation and gain key analytical and practical skills for a range of academic and professional careers. You’ll also gain valuable experience in biodiversity and conservation-related research.

You’ll also undertake the African field course is based at Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia, Kenya. You’ll gain a first-hand appreciation of the ecology and conservation concerns of an African savannah community, both for the wildlife and the people who live in the area. As well as learning about the local environment, flora and fauna, you’ll spend most of the time designing and carrying out group research projects.

The University of Leeds has twice been recognised by the European Union as a "centre of excellence" for biodiversity and conservation training. We believe biodiversity can only be managed and conserved when it can be measured and interpreted properly.

Course content

This degree offers you a wide range of options, allowing you to personalise your study in preparation for further academic research or professional development in the field.

We’ll equip you with a diverse set of skills needed for ecological careers and further research. The course combines theory-based modules on the principles of ecology and conservation with a wide range of practical skills-based modules. These include survey, management and identification skills, where the emphasis is on spending time in the field, and analytical skills such as statistics and GIS.

The two independent research projects are one of the most important and potentially fulfilling parts of the degree. Projects cover a wide range of topics and allow you to develop a range of research skills. A number of our students have been based overseas for their summer project.

If you study part time, the course will last for two years and you’ll study around half of the total number of modules each year.

MSc or MRes – what’s the difference?

MRes students have fewer taught modules, and carry out two major research projects rather than one. The MSc is the broader course, suitable for both conservation careers and PhD study, while most students taking the MRes are planning to go on to do a PhD. The MSc allows students to widen their skills base through the additional taught elements that are available. An increasing number of students treat the MSc as a conversion course, after having taken degrees in non-biological subjects.

Course structure

The programmes are made up of modules that add up to 180 credits, with a mix of compulsory and optional modules. These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Compulsory modules

  • Biodiversity and Conservation Skills I 10 credits
  • MRes Biodiversity and Conservation Skills II 15 credits
  • African Field Ecology 20 credits
  • Biodiversity and Conservation MSc and MRes Summer Project 60 credits
  • Biodiversity and Conservation MRes Research Project 1 40 credits

Optional modules

  • Community Ecology 15 credits
  • Conservation Genetics 15 credits
  • Habitat Management 10 credits
  • Introduction to GIS Skills for Ecologists 10 credits
  • Population Dynamics 10 credits
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Internships 15 credits
  • Plant Identification 15 credits
  • Insect Identification Skills 15 credits
  • Conservation Skills 5 credits
  • GIS and Environment 15 credits
  • Environmental Economics and Policy 15 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Biodiversity and Conservation with African Field Course MRes Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Biodiversity and Conservation with African Field Course MRes Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

You’ll have access to the very best learning resources and academic support during your studies. We’ve been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2017), demonstrating our commitment to delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.

Your learning will be heavily influenced by the University’s world-class research as well as our strong links with highly qualified professionals from industry, non-governmental organisations and charities.

You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including formal lectures, interactive workshops, problem-solving, practical classes and demonstrations.

Through your research project and biodiversity and conservation modules, you’ll receive substantial subject-specific training. Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop you into a professional who is able to think independently, solve problems, communicate effectively and demonstrate a high level of practical ability.

Research projects

As an MRes student, you’ll carry out two research projects. The range of project topics is large and diverse, covering applied, empirical and theoretical subjects. The first (winter) project is usually Leeds-based, while the second (summer) projects can be carried out in the UK or overseas. Projects have been carried out in over twenty countries so far, and this year alone we have projects in Belize, Thailand, Greece, Bermuda and Morocco.

Practical skills

There are many opportunities to develop valuable practical and analytical research skills through modules such as Insect Identification, Plant Identification, the GIS modules and by overseas field courses within Europe and Africa (see field courses). Statistical methods using R are a key component of the compulsory skills modules.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods: multiple-choice testing, practical work, data handling and problem solving exercises, group work, discussion groups (face-to-face and online), computer-based simulation, essays, posters and oral presentations.

Career opportunities

Specialist and transferable skills are key component of our degrees, opening up diverse opportunities for our graduates. A proportion of both MSc and MRes graduates go on to study for a PhD and enter a research career. Many graduates go on to a career in an applied ecology or conservation-related area.



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This taught Masters degree is designed for those wishing to pursue a career in conservation management or ecological consultancy, professions which increasingly require postgraduate qualification for establishment and progression. Read more
This taught Masters degree is designed for those wishing to pursue a career in conservation management or ecological consultancy, professions which increasingly require postgraduate qualification for establishment and progression. The course puts a high emphasis on practical field experience for managing habitats, monitoring species and developing biological identification skills for plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. These activities are allied to a clear theoretical framework underpinning ecology and conservation practice. We welcome applications from recent graduates, experienced consultants, conservation workers or those seeking a career change.

What will I study?

This Conservation Management course combines the expertise of the field biologist with practical experience of managing habitats. A firm emphasis is placed on fieldwork, biological identification skills and experience of a broad range of management issues.

You will develop laboratory skills including microscopy for bryophyte and invertebrate identification and soil analysis techniques. Identification skills gained will range from plants to invertebrates, mammals, amphibians and birds.

You will learn to write in a concise scientific style, construct arguments, consider ethical issues of ecological work, analyse and interpret data and synthesise scientific literature. These skills are highly desirable in ecological consultancy and conservation research.

Ethics is also an important feature of conservation management, for instance in the collection of voucher specimens. Consideration of ethical issues is given in each module, where appropriate, alongside legal issues.

How will I study?

Fieldwork is an integral part of many modules and is used to provide a multitude of experiences across species, habitats and conservation issues. A variety of local sites are used including dunes, meadows and forests. The programme includes a residential field course. Field trip costs are included within course fees.

In small classes, lecture-style sessions and practical work are designed to develop subject-specific skills, clarify concepts, raise questions and collect data. Follow-up seminars may consider analysis, data presentation, qualitative observations, elucidation of trends, and integration with theoretical ideas.

How will I be assessed?

The course has a variety of assessment methods which are designed to develop the full range of skills and expertise relevant to the subject. These include a research thesis, scientific reports, voucher specimen collections, vegetation portfolios, field-based management plans and examinations.

Who will be teaching me?

The course is taught by a small friendly team who have considerable teaching and research experience in the area. All staff are research active which means that they keep up-to-date with current developments in their areas of interest and pass this knowledge onto their students. Staff expertise includes forest and grassland conservation, habitat restoration, sustainable management of ecosystems, remote sensing in ecology and conservation genetics.

What are my career prospects?

This MSc will equip you with the knowledge and skills required for a successful career in conservation or ecological consultancy. To date, graduates of the course have been employed by a range of non-governmental organisations (for example, Wildlife Trusts, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and National Trust), governmental organisations (Natural England) and consultancies (including Atkins UK, Jacob’s Ecology, and Avian Ecology). Graduates have also progressed into conservation research, working for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and at various universities.

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Taught at our Parkgate Road Campus in Chester, this Master’s degree provides a unique training experience for someone seeking to develop a successful career in conservation. Read more
Taught at our Parkgate Road Campus in Chester, this Master’s degree provides a unique training experience for someone seeking to develop a successful career in conservation.

With the rapid decline of biodiversity, wildlife conservation is a crisis discipline. This urgency has led to growing local, national and international demand for specialists with academic and practical conservation skills.

Why Study Wildlife Conservation with us?

We aim to build on and consolidate your existing skills/knowledge, and offer exposure to advanced concepts and practical applications in wildlife conservation. This will be done through exploration of our expertise in field and lab-based research on key species and habitats, in the UK and further afield.

Our staff are engaged in pioneering projects locally, nationally and globally, and have led the development of wildlife crime as an academic subject area. We are also involved in conservation of globally threatened species such as the Trinidad piping guan, Grenada dove and Philippine duck.

You will be engaged in a peer-based learning environment that includes field and lab work, which will provide insights into key research in wildlife conservation. We will also focus on the development of your professional skills and profile for your future career, and encourage links and networking opportunities with practitioners in the field.

What will I learn?

You will study a combination of specialisations considered core to wildlife conservation, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), statistical techniques, population and habitat management, and emerging sub-disciplines including wildlife crime, behaviour and welfare in conservation, and conservation genetics.

How will I be taught?

Teaching is delivered through Moodle; internet discussion boards; and residential school, including lectures, lab sessions, field trips and tutorials.
Modules typically require 200 hours’ study time, including:

21 hours of lectures, seminars, group discussions and laboratory/ field activities
10 hours of tutorial support
169 hours of directed self-study.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is via lab/essay assignments; critical assessments/ reviews; research/funding proposals; multiple-choice quizzes/short answer questions; field reports; individual/group oral presentations; and preparation and presentation of posters. There are no examinations.

Postgraduate Visit Opportunities

If you are interested in this courses we have a number of opportunities to visit us and our campuses. To find out more about these options and to book a visit, please go to: https://www1.chester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-visit-opportunities

Request a Prospectus

If you would like to know more about the University please request a prospectus at: http://prospectus.chester.ac.uk/form.php

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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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This award-winning programme combines the expertise of anthropologists and biologists to examine primate conservation biology in a broad context, with particular emphasis on the relationships between humans and wildlife in forest and woodland environments. Read more
This award-winning programme combines the expertise of anthropologists and biologists to examine primate conservation biology in a broad context, with particular emphasis on the relationships between humans and wildlife in forest and woodland environments. It provides an international and multidisciplinary forum to help understand the issues and promote effective action.

Whether working in the lab, with local conservation groups (including zoos and NGOs), or in the field, you will find yourself in a collaborative and supportive environment, working with international scholars in primate conservation and gaining first-hand experience to enact positive change.

See the website http://www.brookes.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/primate-conservation/

Why choose this course?

- A pioneering programme providing scientific, professional training and accreditation to conservation scientists

- Awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2008

- Opportunity to work alongside leading academics for example Professor Anna Nekaris, Professor Vincent Nijman and Dr Kate Hill

- Excellent learning resources both at Brookes and through Oxford’s museums and libraries including the Bodleian Library, the Radcliffe Science Library, and the Museum of Natural History

- Links with conservation organisations and NGOs, both internationally and closer to home, including Fauna and Flora International, TRAFFIC and Conservation International

- Field trips for MSc students to Apenheul Primate Park in the Netherlands as well as to sanctuaries and zoos in the UK

- A dynamic community of research scholars undertaking internationally recognised and world leading research.

Teaching and learning

Teaching is through a combination of lectures, research seminars, training workshops, tutorials, case studies, seminar presentations, site visits, computer-aided learning, independent reading and supervised research.

Each of the six modules is assessed by means of coursework assignments that reflect the individual interests and strengths of each student. Coursework assignments for six taught modules are completed and handed in at the end of the semester, and written feedback is given before the start of the following semester. A seventh module, the final project, must be handed in before the start of the first semester of the next academic year. It will be assessed during this semester with an examinations meeting at the beginning of February, after which students receive their final marks.

An important feature of the course is the contribution by each student towards an outreach project that brings primate conservation issues into a public arena. Examples include a poster, display or presentation at a scientific meeting, university society or school. Students may also choose to write their dissertation specifically for scientific publication.

Round-table discussions form a regular aspect of the course and enable closer examination of conservation issues through a sharing of perspectives by the whole group.

Careers

This unique postgraduate programme trains new generations of anthropologists, conservation biologists, captive care givers and educators concerned with the serious plight of non-human primates who seek practical solutions to their continuing survival. It provides the skills, knowledge and confidence to enable you to contribute to arresting and reversing the current devastating destruction of our tropical forests and the loss of the species that live in them.

You will be joining a supportive global network of former students working across all areas of conservation in organisations from the BBC Natural History Unit through to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and in roles from keeper and education officer in zoos across the UK and North America to paid researcher at institutes of higher education. Some of our students have even gone on to run their own conservation-related NGOs.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Research highlights

Our vibrant research culture is driven by a thriving and collaborative community of academic staff and doctoral students. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 70% of our work was judged to be of international quality in terms of originality, significance and rigour, with 5% "world leading".

Our strong performance in the RAE, along with our expanding consultancy activities, have enabled us to attract high quality staff and students and helped to generate funding for research projects.

Conservation Environment and Development, comprising several research clusters.

The Nocturnal Primate Research Group specialises in mapping the diversity of the nocturnal primates of Africa, Asia, Madagascar and Latin America through multidisciplinary teamwork that includes comparative studies of anatomy, physiology, behaviour, ecology and genetics. Field studies are helping to determine the origins and distribution of these neglected species, as well as indicating the conservation status of declining forests and woodlands. The NPRG has developed a widespread network of collaborative links with biologists, game wardens, forestry officers, wildlife societies, museums and zoos/sanctuaries.

The Human Interactions With and Constructions of the Environment Research Group develops and trains an interdisciplinary team of researchers to investigate priorities within conservation research - using an interdisciplinary framework in anthropology, primatology, rural development studies, and conservation biology.

The Oxford Wildlife Trade Research Group (OWTRG) aims to quantify all aspects of the trade in wild animals through multidisciplinary teamwork including anthropology, social sciences, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, environmental economics, and legislation. Their strong focus is on wildlife trade in tropical countries –as this is where most of the world's biodiversity resides and where the impacts of the wildlife trade are arguably the greatest. Recognizing that the wildlife trade is a truly global enterprise they also focus on the role of consumer countries.

The Europe Japan Research Centre (EJRC) organises and disseminates the research of all Brookes staff working on Japan as well as a large number of affiliated Research Fellows.

The Human Origins and Palaeo Environments Research Cluster carries out ground-breaking interdisciplinary research, focussed on evolutionary anthropology and environmental reconstruction and change. The study published in the journal Science reports findings from an eight-year archaeological excavation at a site called Jebel Faya in the United Arab Emirates. Palaeolithic stone tools found at the Jebel Faya were similar to tools produced by early modern humans in east Africa, but very different from those produced to the north, in the Levant and the mountains of Iran. This suggested early modern humans migrated into Arabia directly from Africa and not via the Nile Valley and the Near East as is usually suggested. The new findings will reinvigorate the debate about human origins and how we became a global species.

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The MSc Conservation Biology programme aims to provide students with an advanced understanding of the science which underpins conservation. Read more
The MSc Conservation Biology programme aims to provide students with an advanced understanding of the science which underpins conservation. Students can gain experience of essential techniques and fieldwork. The programme has a strong numerical and research-orientated approach. You can also gain experience in the increasingly important field of conservation genetics.

The course has an international outlook and provides opportunities for students to gain conservation experience overseas. There is a compulsory residential field course which can be in either Poland or Tanzania. Our facilities have recently been updated and you will engage with a large community of research active staff. There are exciting opportunities to complete your MSc research project abroad, for example you may join a project investigating the problems of conserving large mammals outside protected areas in Kenya. We also have links to research projects in many other countries.

Non means-tested loans of up to a maximum of £10,000 will be available to postgraduate master’s students.

Features and benefits of the course

-Optional two week field course in Northern Tanzania with visits to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park. Many of our MSc students collect data for their research projects abroad.
-You will have access to recently refurbished laboratories, project facilities and resource rooms with state-of-the-art audio visual equipment.
-The course is taught by a vibrant community of research active staff. Tutors are currently involved in research in Tanzania, Kenya, Mauritius, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Indonesia as well as the UK and every year many of our MSc students work within this project.
-Flexible course delivery. Most lectures, even for full-time students, take place in the evenings and some units are available in blocks, by self-study or by distance learning. The online virtual learning environment (using Moodle) gives you access to lectures, other course materials and assessment information.

Placement options

There are optional three month placements for those taking MSc Zoo Conservation Biology and these can take place at many different zoos in the UK.

About the Course

The course has an international outlook and provides opportunities for students to gain conservation experience overseas. There is a residential field course which can be in either Poland or Tanzania.

Course delivery is flexible and most lectures take place in the evening. Lectures, other course materials and assessment information is available via our online learning platform, Moodle. You will be assessed mostly through coursework, although some units have a formal examination.

Assessment details

You will be assessed mostly through coursework, although some units have a formal examination. Formal teaching begins in September and finishes with the field courses in mid-May or mid-July. Student research projects are usually completed by the end of September.

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Prepare for employment in the competitive wildlife conservation sector. Emphasis is placed on CV development. Relevant extracurricular activities help you to hone the skills and qualities desired by employers. Read more
  • Prepare for employment in the competitive wildlife conservation sector
  • Emphasis is placed on CV development
  • Relevant extracurricular activities help you to hone the skills and qualities desired by employers
  • Less than 50% of the contact hours are spent in a lecture room

What will you study?

Sample modules:

  • Species and habitat conservation
  • Mammal conservation
  • Management of vertebrates for conservation
  • Conservation genetics
  • Field trips

Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.

What career can you have?

All our master’s programmes emphasise the practical skills that employers need, whether that is the ability to identify plants, carry out environmental assessments or use the latest cutting-edge molecular techniques. As a University of Reading MSc graduate, you will be well equipped to work in the field or the lab, and in the private or public sector. Many of our graduates go on to study for a PhD and pursue a career in research either in industry or in universities.

Typical roles of graduates from our ecology and wildlife-based MSc programmes include conservation officers, project managers, field ecologists and environmental consultants. Graduates from our biomedical MSc programme typically go on to pursue PhD studies or work in the pharmaceutical industry.



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DICE’s research degree programmes all carry the generic title of Biodiversity Management. We welcome students with the appropriate background for research. Read more
DICE’s research degree programmes all carry the generic title of Biodiversity Management. We welcome students with the appropriate background for research.

Because of the diversity and international nature of many field-orientated projects, the amount of time that individual research students spend at DICE varies. However local supervision is usually organised for those students spending considerable time overseas.

Overseas students who wish to spend most of their time in their home country while undertaking research may register as an external student or for a split PhD.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/276/biodiversity-management

About The Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE)

DICE is Britain’s leading research and postgraduate training centre dedicated to conserving biodiversity, as well as the ecological processes that support ecosystems and people.

We focus on combining natural and social sciences to understand complex conservation issues and design effective interventions to conserve biodiversity. Our staff have outstanding international research profiles, yet integrate this with considerable on-the-ground experience working in collaboration with conservation agencies around the world. This blend of expertise ensures that our programmes deliver the skills and knowledge that are essential components of conservation implementation.

Our taught Master’s programmes cover topics in conservation management, policy, ecotourism and sustainable natural resource use. The research degree programmes (MSc by Research and PhD) encourage you to undertake original, high-quality research, which culminates in the submission of a thesis. Please visit our website (http://www.kent.ac.uk/sac/) for new programmes that may be under development that further integrate conservation policy and practice.

Research areas

Worldwide research
Recent or current projects cover topics such as:

- understanding adaptation to climate change; ringneck parakeets in the UK

- improved management of socio-ecological landscapes in Western Ghats

- cost, benefits and trade-offs in creating large conservation areas

- monitoring population trends in tigers and their prey in Kirinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra

- chameleon trade and conservation in Madagascar

- conservation genetics of the critically endangered Seychelles paradise flycatcher

- traditional knowledge, intellectual property rights and protected area management

- the economic value of mammals in Britain

- estimating extinction dates of plants, birds and mammals.

Careers

DICE programmes combine academic theory with practical field experience to develop graduates who are highly employable within government, NGOs and the private sector.

Our alumni progress into a wide range of organisations across the world. Examples include: consultancy for a Darwin Initiative project in West Sumatra; Wildlife Management Officer in Kenya; Chief of the Biodiversity Unit – UN Environment Programme; Research and Analysis Programme Leader for TRAFFIC; Freshwater Programme Officer, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Head of the Ecosystem Assessment Programme, United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC); Community Based Natural Resource Manager, WWF; Managing Partner, Althelia Climate Fund; and Programme Officer, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

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