Embark on an incredible journey with a course that focuses on studying the biology, behaviour and conservation of primates. You will gain the skills required to carry out theoretical and field research in primatology, to advance your career or further study.
Primatology is a discipline that has its roots in anatomy, biology, anthropology and psychology. This course covers a comprehensive range of topics within primatology and combines theoretical investigation with fieldwork and laboratory sessions. It also offers intensive training in research methods and statistics.
Recent examples of topics covered include social behaviour, cognition, endocrinology, ranging and habitat use, social networks, human-wildlife conflict, morphology and brain size evolution.
The University of Roehampton has established networks with leading institutions and field sites including the Zoological Society of London , German Primate Centre, Gashaka Primate Project (Nigeria), Trentham Monkey Forest (UK), and Berenty Reserve (Madagascar).
You will be taught by leading experts in the field who carry out their own world-leading research.
You will begin the year by studying an in-depth a range of topics in primatology, as well as learning the theory and practice of primatological research. After your first semester, the emphasis will be on independent study, where you will be undertaking a substantial piece of original research. You will develop your intellectual, practical and analytical skills to devise a viable project proposal. You will carry out your project and produce both a dissertation and a paper suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Many of our graduates have subsequently published their work in international journals such as Biology Letters, American Journal of Primatology, International Journal of Primatology, Animal Behaviour and Biological Conservation.
Students’ field work lasts for three months, usually from March to May. You will have the support of your supervisor in arranging data collection for your research project. In the laboratory, students have used geographic information systems to explore ranging behaviour, analysed parasites from wild primates and performed non-invasive hormone analysis.
Careers in conservation projects, research institutions, animal welfare groups or agencies, zoos, parks, environmental and animal charities; in roles such as researcher, conservation biologist and ecologist.
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.
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.
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.