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Masters Degrees (Conservation Genetics)

We have 68 Masters Degrees (Conservation Genetics)

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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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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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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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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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Explore contemporary wildlife conservation on this Masters. The course is delivered by world-leading experts in wildlife conservation and UAV (aka drone) technology. Read more

Explore contemporary wildlife conservation on this Masters. The course is delivered by world-leading experts in wildlife conservation and UAV (aka drone) technology. You will be able to learn fieldskills during an overseas field trip and will have the opportunity to conduct your own conservation research project.

•Complete this masters degree in one year (full time)

•Delivered by world-leading experts in the field of wildlife conservation and drone technology

•LJMU is the only UK university to offer a Masters degree in cutting edge drone technology applications for wildlife conservation

•Overseas field trip to Tanzania included in the fees - this is a fantastic opportunity to observe chimpanzees in the wild. You will practice and develop advanced skills in behavioural observation, non-invasive sampling of health and welfare indicators and conservation monitoring*

•World-class teaching and laboratory facilities (including drone, genetics and GIS facilities)

•Opportunity to design and complete a wildlife conservation study abroad using the latest software packages, such as ArcGIS, R, and Distance

*The air fare, site accommodation and site costs are paid by Liverpool John Moores University. You will be required to meet other potential costs, such as field clothing, visas and immunisations if required.

This unique Masters course covers contemporary issues in wildlife conservation with a strong focus on providing you with a thorough understanding of the theoretical and practical skills you will need to become a professional in this exciting field.

You will develop an hypotheses-driven study based on the latest wildlife conservation literature.

Converting your idea for a study into a practical plan will involve:

•learning how to write a grant proposal (from funding experts)

•making a budget

•thinking through the logistical issues of conducting research in challenging environments

You will learn how to operate drones for wildlife conservation research and how to analyse the data obtained using these systems; providing you with a unique skillset.

The academic staff leading this course conduct research in this area. Your programme leaders uphold a wide range of international and national connections that can provide exciting opportunities for you during and after the course. You will have the opportunity to conduct fieldwork at international sites and make career-long connections.

We will also encourage you to become members of the learned societies, such as Society of Wildlife Conservation.

Please see guidance below on core and option modules for further information on what you will study.

Survey, Mapping and Field Skills

Teaches the understanding and application of theoretical, practical and analytical skills in primatological or other wildlife fieldwork.

Drone Technology

Provides a comprehensive overview of drone technology at a conceptual and practical level. Special emphasis is placed on being able to specify, select, install and deploy sub-systems to fulfil the requirements of an application.

Wildlife Conservation

Covers both theoretical and practical skills in wildlife conservation.

Research Methods

Provides extensive training in generic research knowledge and statistical techniques for the Natural Sciences as part of the preparation for the MSc dissertation.

Dissertation

Requires you to conduct independent scientific research and make a major contribution in a chosen subject area through a supervised programme of individual study. The findings will be presented in the form of a written report.

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled ‘What you will study’ is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Please email if you require further guidance or clarification.



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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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Application period/deadline. March 14 - 28, 2018. A unique combination of studies in ecology, population genetics and molecular ecology with emphasis in northern issues. Read more

Application period/deadline: March 14 - 28, 2018

• A unique combination of studies in ecology, population genetics and molecular ecology with emphasis in northern issues

• The study programme is a combination of field work in the arctic and subarctic and in old-growth boreal forests and mires as well as molecular lab work

• Prepares the students for future leadership positions in conservation biology and environmental ecology

International master’s degree programme in Ecology and Population Genetics (ECOGEN) is a two-year programme concentrating on conservation issues and population genetics of endangered animals and plants. The programme will give you relevant skills and core knowledge of the latest methods and tools in:

• Molecular ecology

• Microbial ecology

• Metagenomics and microbiomes of organisms

• Conservation genomics of large mammals

• Distribution history of plants and their phylogeography

• Bioinformatics

The two-year programme has two specialisation options:

• Ecology

• Genetics

Optional courses make it possible to widen your expertise into:

• Aquatic ecology

• Microbial ecology

• Conservation ecology

• Restoration ecology

• Plant evolutionary genomics

The master’s programme is based on high quality and productive research in the fields of evolutionary ecology and genetics. Field research stations in natural reserves as well as Biodiversity Unit offer great opportunities for courses and research. Study environment is multicultural. ECOGEN provides positions as a trainee or a master’s thesis student, and an excellent background for PhD studies.

The skills gained in the master’s programme offer you a solid academic training and essential knowledge on wildlife conservation ecology and genetics, as well as their management. After graduation you are capable of evaluating risks, conducting management on small populations of endangered species, and doing research in the field and in lab. You are able to use molecular and bioinformatic tools.

Possible titles include:

• Project manager

• Researcher

• Planning coordinator of conservation issues

• Conservation biologist

Students applying for the programme must have a B.Sc. degree in biology or in closely related fields.

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Are you passionate about animal welfare and keen to shape the management of the zoos of the future? Students from over 20 nationalities have chosen our unique programme, the first of its kind in the world. Read more
Are you passionate about animal welfare and keen to shape the management of the zoos of the future? Students from over 20 nationalities have chosen our unique programme, the first of its kind in the world. Study factors affecting animal behaviour, conservation, welfare and their interactions, as well as international zoo management and collaboration. Our partnership with Paignton Zoo gives you regular access to their connections, research and expertise – so you’re primed to make a difference.

Key features

-Delivered in conjunction with the staff at Paignton Zoo and its parent body, the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust which also owns Newquay Zoo and Living Coasts.
-Develop your scientific knowledge, professional and technical skills as a conservation biologist. Learn how to manage animal collections for the purpose of education, conservation and wildlife research.
-Study aspects of animal behaviour and ecology, as well as how welfare, housing, nutrition and health all have a part to play in species management.
-Learn to troubleshoot problems at the level of a social group within a particular zoological collection, right up to the level of a species globally. Explore how breeding programmes for endangered species are international in scope.
-Benefit from the knowledge and guidance of Plymouth University’s expert staff with specialisms including the behaviour of captive animals, animal nutrition, the welfare of captive birds and the application of population genetics to captive and natural fish populations.
-Find out how the science of zoos is used to inform government policy. Two of our teaching team are the only academic representatives on the government’s Zoos Expert Committee.
-Get behind-the-scenes insight with a day of study each week with our partners at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park. Deepen your understanding of the business and conservation work of zoos, and how networks and collaborations work between them.
-Access the latest research and information from the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, including information on their co-ordinated breeding programmes for endangered species.
-Be inspired by opportunities to visit a range of zoos in the region – including Dartmoor, Bristol and Newquay – and to travel abroad for research projects. A recent student travelled to Louisiana Zoo for her research project on golden tamarin monkeys.
-Graduates work in zoos as educators, researchers, managers and keepers. Many go on to PhD study or work in further education. Other employers include the European Association for Zoos and Aquaria; the Natural History Unit (BBC); national and international conservation organisations.

Course details

As a full-time student, you’ll study seven modules taking in everything from genetics to environmental enrichment, preventative health to budgeting. We update modules to reflect current thinking and you can specialise within them. If you’re interested in working with tigers, for example, this can be reflected across your work. You’ll be assessed through coursework with practical tasks focused on your future career. Core modules include introduction to zoo organisation, animal conservation, applied animal behaviour and management, animal metabolism and nutrition, animal health and welfare and business management. You’ll then do a final three-month research project of your choice. Previous investigations have included everything from female mate choice in white faced saki monkeys to how peripheral and/or invasive activity affects the behaviour and enclosure use of captive sand tiger sharks.

Core modules
-BIO505 Research Project
-ANIM5006 Contemporary Zoo Management
-BIO5131 Postgraduate Research Skills & Methods
-ANIM5005 Zoo Animal Behaviour and Welfare
-ANIM5007 Small Population Conservation
-ANIM5008 Conservation Ecology and Society
-ANIM5009 Zoo Animal Health, Nutrition and Management

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

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Biodiversity, evolution and conservation are of growing importance due to climate change, extinction, and habitat destruction. Read more

Biodiversity, evolution and conservation are of growing importance due to climate change, extinction, and habitat destruction. This new research-led programme is run in collaboration with the Institute of Zoology and the Natural History Museum, providing a rigorous training and unparalleled opportunities across the full breadth of pure and applied research in evolutionary, ecological, and conservation science.

About this degree

Taught modules will focus on cutting-edge quantitative tools in ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics, bioinformatics, systematics, palaeobiology, conservation, biogeography and environmental biology. Seminars, journal clubs and the two research projects will provide students with diverse opportunities for experience at UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment & Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core taught modules (60 credits) and two 16-week research projects (120 credits).

Core modules

  • Science Communication for Biologists (15 credits)
  • Computational Methods in Biodiversity Research (15 credits)
  • Analytical Tools in Biodiversity, Evolutionary and Conservation Research (30 credits)

Optional modules

  • There are no optional modules for this programme.

Dissertation/report

All students undertake two 6000-word, 16-week research projects, which each culminate in a written dissertation, and poster or oral presentation.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of seminars, presentations, assigned papers, as well as data analysis and interpretation. The seminar series includes mandatory seminars at UCL, the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Zoology (Zoological Society of London). Assessment is through essays, project reports, presentations and practicals. The two research projects are assessed by dissertation, and poster or oral presentation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation MRes

Careers

This programme offers students a strong foundation with which to pursue careers in academic research, environmental policy and management, applied conservation, public health, or scientific journalism.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Research Assistant, New York Academy of Sciences
  • Trainee Ecologist, Thomson Ecology
  • Research Associate, Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos
  • Intern, ZSL Institute of Zoology
  • PhD Researcher (Evolutionary Biology), The University of Edinburgh and studying PhD in Evolutionary Biology and Infectious Disease Research, University of Edinburgh

Employability

This programme provides students with a strong foundation to pursue careers in academic research, environmental policy and management, applied conservation, public health, or scientific journalism.

Interested in a PhD? Find out about  London NERC DTP

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

Why study this degree at UCL?

This programme is an innovative collaboration between three globally renowned organisations: UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment & Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London.

By consolidating research expertise across these three organisations, students will gain a unique and exceptionally broad understanding of ties among different fields of research relating to the generation and conservation of biodiversity.

The MRes offers diverse research opportunities; these include the possibility of engaging actively in fundamental and applied research and participating in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (based at the Natural History Museum) or the EDGE of Existence programme (based at the Zoological Society of London).

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Biosciences

82% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

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



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Learn about primate behaviour, welfare and conservation on this masters course delivered by Liverpool John Moores University. You will be taught by world-leading experts and have access to excellent facilities in the UK and research sites overseas. Read more

Learn about primate behaviour, welfare and conservation on this masters course delivered by Liverpool John Moores University. You will be taught by world-leading experts and have access to excellent facilities in the UK and research sites overseas.

  • Complete this masters degree in one year (full time)
  • Delivered by world experts in the field of primate behaviour, welfare and conservation
  • Overseas field trip to Tanzania included in the fees – this is a fantastic opportunity to observe primates in the wild. You will practice and develop advanced skills in behavioural observation, non-invasive sampling of health and welfare indicators and conservation monitoring*
  • State-of-the-art teaching and laboratory facilities (including genetics, drone technology and GIS facilities)
  • Opportunity to design and complete a primate field study abroad using the latest software packages, such as ArcGIS, R, Distance

* The air fare, site accommodation and site costs are paid by Liverpool John Moores University. You will be required to meet other potential costs, such as field clothing, visas and immunisations if required.

What you will study on this degree

  • ​Primate Behaviour and Conservation
  • Research Methods
  • Survey, Mapping and Field Skills*
  • Dissertation
  • Drone Technology (option)
  • Contemporary Methods in Primatology (option)
  • Field Methods in Primate Behavioural Ecology (option)

* Includes an overseas field trip to Tanzania, which is included in your course fees. This is a fantastic opportunity to observe primates in the wild. You will practice and develop advanced skills in behavioural observation, non-invasive sampling of health and welfare indicators and conservation monitoring. The field trip air fare, site accommodation and site costs are paid by Liverpool John Moores University. You will be required to meet other potential costs, such as field clothing, visas and immunisations if required.

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled ‘What you will study’ is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Please email if you require further guidance or clarification.



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Human impacts on the environment have never been greater. As we approach the 6th mass extinction of species and face the prospect of global climate change, we are just beginning to realize how much we depend on ecosystems to provide us with services such as food, water, clean air, waste disposal and fibre. Read more
Human impacts on the environment have never been greater. As we approach the 6th mass extinction of species and face the prospect of global climate change, we are just beginning to realize how much we depend on ecosystems to provide us with services such as food, water, clean air, waste disposal and fibre. There has never been a more exciting time to study conservation biology and resource management. Our one-year programmes train students to an advanced level in conservation science and resource management, enabling them to become conservation professionals in research or the government, non-governmental organization, and consultancy sectors.

This is inevitably an inter-disciplinary subject. Our programmes benefit from the wide experience of teachers in the Schools of Environmental and Biological Sciences, with backgrounds in disciplines including conservation biology, ecology (including marine and population ecology), genetics, environmental planning, ocean science, management, law, and geography. Our programmes provide ample scope for individual research projects supervised by staff with research interests including socio-economic issues, historical impacts, climate change, conservation of rare species, and habitat management.

Why Ecology?

£7 million investment

The University's recent £7 million investment in marine ecology and the creation of the new School of Environmental Sciences have resulted in excellent research and teaching facilities.

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Goal of the pro­gramme. Ecology and evolutionary biology offer a perspective on biology from the level of genes to communities of species. Read more

Goal of the pro­gramme

Ecology and evolutionary biology offer a perspective on biology from the level of genes to communities of species.

In the master's degree program, you can become familiar with a wide variety of topics in three areas: ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation biology. You can choose studies from any of these areas, as well as from other master's degree programmes. The programme is diverse and multidisciplinary: teaching is done with lectures, laboratory and computer training courses, interactive seminars, study tours and field courses. The field courses range from the northern subarctic region to tropical rainforests.

Our wide expertise extends from molecular ecology to population and community biology. The Centres of Excellence of Metapopulation Biology and Biological Interactions are located in our department.

Our programme offers you a wide range of options: evolutionary biology or genetics for those interested in ecological genetics and genomics, as well as the ability to take advantage of the high-quality molecular ecology and systematics laboratory; conservation biology for those interested in regional or global environmental problems; and ecological modelling skills for those interested in computational biology. Our training also offers Behavioural Ecology. 

Ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation biology are not only fascinating topics for basic research, they also have a key role in addressing global environmental challenges.

Upon graduating from the Master's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology programme, you will:

  • Have mastered the main theories and methods in ecology and evolutionary biology and be able to apply them to practical problems
  • Be able to plan and carry out a scientific research project
  • Have read the relevant scientific literature and be able to utilise your expertise in different types of work
  • Be able to work as an expert in your field
  • Be able to to write good scientific English
  • Be able to work in research projects and groups
  • Be able to continue on to doctoral studies

Further information about the studies on the Master's programme website.

Pro­gramme con­tents

The Master's degree program includes studies of ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation biology. The studies are organised in modules. You can affect the content of the studies by planning your personal curriculum. You can study the following themes:

  • Ecology studies the abundance and distribution of species (animals, plants, microbes) and the interactions among them and with the environment. The perspective ranges from the molecular to the ecosystem level. In ecology, a central question is: Why are some species able to invade new habitats and displace native species? Which species are able to adapt to environmental change or migrate with the changing climate, and which species will become extinct?
  • Evolutionary biology examines the processes which support biodiversity on its various levels (genes – individuals – populations – species – ecosystems). You will learn about the theory of evolution and how to use population genetics and genomics methods in researching evolutionary issues.
  • Conservation Biology studies the depletion of biodiversity, its causes and consequences. You will learn to apply ecological theory to the problems of environmental conservation, to assess the effectiveness of methods of conservation, as well as to resolve the problems relating to conservation e.g. by modelling and computational methods. The training emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary education in the area of conservation.


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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.



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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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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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