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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. 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.
This distinctive course concentrates on the biological principles underlying biodiversity, its assessment and management. You’ll learn to identify plants and
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A bachelor degree with 2:1 (hons) in a relevant subject.
We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information please contact the Faculty of Biological Sciences Taught Postgraduate Admissions Team.
Following a two-year break from University (in 2015, I graduated from the University of Manchester with a BSc in Zoology), I decided to take the dive and apply for Masters programmes. My interest in conservation had directed me to a handful of Biodiversity and Conservation-type courseS on offer, which spanned from Exeter all the way up to here in Leeds.
After visiting Leeds on an open day, I heard a lot of great things about the course and I was hooked straight away. There was such a good balance between theoretical and practical components in conservation, the latter of which I was mostly lacking from my previous experience. The experience and expertise of the staff was obvious and the prospects for students graduating from this course were really exciting!
The last thing I needed was confirmation of the course's excellence from a previous student. Fortunately, I knew that one of my friends had done this MSc a couple of years ago and asked her for an alumnus' opinion on the course. She could only give fantastic reviews and this cemented my interest in the course.
The top highlight of my time at the University of Leeds was definitely the Mediterranean Ecology field course I attended over Easter 2018. This trip was a mix of 2nd year undergrads and postgrads, along with academics, and it was a perfect balance. I was in a group which studied the extent of UV signalling in crab spiders that predated on pollinating insects. It was an excellent location for this: a secluded field centre in Spain. I definitely did not want to return to rainy England after only 10 days!
Another highlight was a five-day residential field trip to the Yorkshire Dales with the National Trust. Those five days following Park Rangers was a dream and gave us all a fantastic taste of an important role within UK Conservation. A small group of us returned later in the year to stay in the house again for a weekend and do some more volunteering!
The first week of the course finished with another weekend stay in the Dales and it was this trip which allowed us all to get properly acquainted with our course mates! Something like this was the perfect way to break the ice between the students!
One of the best things about my Masters is that I’ve been able to tailor it to my interests. I wanted to focus on gaining practical knowledge and skills, though I’ve also studied some really useful theoretical modules, like Advanced Statistics and GIS (mapping software).
Being close to three National Parks was another attraction of the course at Leeds. On one module we spent five days in the Yorkshire Dales with National Trust staff, learning how they worked with farmers and landowners, and how they improved biodiversity by their land management.
My summer project is working on the Leeds–Liverpool Canal. I wanted to study an urban setting, as that’s the environment most of us now live in, and there’s more and more evidence about how important green spaces are for people’s wellbeing. My project is exploring how water pollution affects diversity of invertebrates. I take two daily samples from the canal and in the lab I identify the species from the sample and colleagues in the School of Geography analyse the water chemistry. I’ll only draw conclusions from the research when I have all the data but I can see trends emerging. Of course, species get more diverse as you move further from the city centre, but it’s surprised me how much diversity there is within just a few miles. My final report will provide the Canal and River Trust with valuable data about species and pollutants.
I’ve gained lots of practical skills like species identification (plants, insects, aquatic invertebrates), which will be directly useful in a job and I've built on research skills I already had from my undergraduate zoology degree. I’ve also learned about habitat management from volunteering at a local nature reserve.
I started off with no clue about what I wanted to do! Now I know I really want to work outdoors, with wildlife and people. Working with the public is very important in any conservation field, so it's been really good to do the project on the canal and answer people's questions. Mostly they appreciate that I'm doing something that’s benefiting their surroundings.
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