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Are you ready to make your impact on biodiversity?

Our leading researchers are making an impact through their dedicated research within the field of Ecology and Conservation. Your learning will be heavily influenced by their world-class research, which drives national and international policy agendas around environmental change and global sustainability. 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.

The University of Leeds has twice been recognised by the European Union as a "centre of excellence" for biodiversity and conservation training.

Course content

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.

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.


Compulsory modules

  • Biodiversity and Conservation Skills I
  • MRes Biodiversity and Conservation Skills II
  • Biodiversity and Conservation MSc and MRes Summer Project
  • Biodiversity and Conservation MRes Research Project 1

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.

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

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) project can be carried out in the UK or overseas. Projects have been carried out in over 20 countries so far, and this year alone we have projects in Mexico, Thailand, Kenya, Egypt, Spain and Cyprus.

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.


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.

Applying, fees and funding

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

How to apply



Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Application deadline: 31 March 2019


  • UK/EU: £10,500 (total)
  • International: £21,500 (total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Alumni Bursary - If you are a former student of the University of Leeds you may be eligible for a 10% alumni tuition fee bursary

Professional and Career Development Loans = between £300 and £10,000. Find out more.

You can also search our postgraduate scholarships database

You can also find information on MoneySavingExpert

Career opportunities

Our graduates have gone on to a very varied range of biodiversity and conservation jobs and careers around the world. We know that the subject knowledge and training we provide is excellent, but we’re also trying to produce well-rounded graduates who have the skills, experience and confidence to succeed in a challenging job market.

The course has strong links with potential employers, including Natural England, the National Trust, conservation bodies and commercial ecological consultancies, both local and national. These employers contribute directly to teaching on a number of our modules, providing key practical training and invaluable networking opportunities.

Graduate destinations

All of the following organisations have recruited employees from our Biodiversity and Conservation degrees:

  • ARKive
  • Bradford Metropolitan District Council
  • Chester Zoo
  • Natural England
  • Exmoor National Park
  • Forestry Commission
  • Frontier
  • IUCN (International Union for the
  • Conservation of Nature)
  • Leeds City Council
  • Newfound Harbor Marine Institute, Florida
  • The Environment Agency
  • The National Trust
  • The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
  • The Society for Environmental Exploration

Visit the Biodiversity and Conservation MRes page on the University of Leeds website for more details!






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