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Writtle University College provides a stimulating environment for you to pursue your studies in animal welfare and conservation, supported by research from the Centre for Equine and Animal Science (CEQAS). Our highly qualified teaching staff support students in exploring industry relevant links between conservation and welfare, as well as focusing on the nutritional and genetic issues in animal welfare. Our MSc Animal Welfare and Conservation has strong industry links with Colchester Zoo, Essex Wildlife Trust, Natures Menu, Zoological Society of London (including London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo) and Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.

As part of this course we offer MSc students two places on the annual trip to UmPhafa Wildlife reserve each June in collaboration with Colchester Zoo. Alongside this, all students have the opportunity to develop and extend their knowledge of a diverse range of animal species through access to a wide range of livestock, exotics and companion animals on site. On attaining your MSc at WUC you will be a highly skilled and employable postgraduate who is ready to excel in your future career in the areas of animal welfare, conservation, nutrition, zoo keeping and research.

Learning & Teaching Methods

The teaching methods are a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, visits and student managed learning.

The self-guided study takes place under the supervision of experienced staff from the Centre of Equine and Animal Science at Writtle University College

Students are assessed using a number of methods, for example written examination, reports, essays, seminars, debates, oral presentations, case studies and project dissertation.

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

Examples of potential areas for dissertation projects: 

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

Employment Details

Graduates are likely to use their award to secure management-level jobs and/or to improve their promotion prospects if they are already employed both in international and national organisations.

Many opportunities exist in either government services or related agencies services, for example: 

  • Senior positions in DEFRA as quarantine officers
  • Animal health inspectors

There are also numerous career opportunities in companies specialising in farm animal nutrition and pet food manufacturing, breeding and reproduction, veterinary medicines and pharmaceuticals. There also opportunities in charities engaged in animal welfare such as the RSPCA, zoos, animal rescue centres and safari parks. Also, independent wildlife agencies such as the RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural England, and the Countryside Council for Wales would be interested in Animal Welfare and Conservation graduates. 

Some graduates may take up lecturing positions in universities and colleges or proceed to do further postgraduate study e.g. PhD.


Visit the Animal Welfare and Conservation MSc page on the Writtle University College website for more details!

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