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We’re in the middle of a biodiversity crisis; the sixth mass extinction event on Earth. Over half of the world’s wildlife has vanished in the last fifty years.

There is unprecedented pressure on the environment due to exploitation, habitat degradation and loss, climate change, invasive species, pollution and emerging diseases. You can be part of something to help address these problems.

Course Structure

The programme has a backbone of taught academic lectures covering the full spectrum of subjects contained within conservation biology including:

  • Animal Behaviour
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation genetics
  • Emerging plant pathogens
  • Environmental economics
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Grassland management
  • Invasion biology
  • Marine conservation
  • Soil biology
  • Wildfire ecology

Semester 1 Modules

  • Ecological Management and Conservation Biology (40 CATS)
  • Foundations for Research in the Biosciences (20 CATS)
  • Conservation Biology Group Project (10 CATS)

Semester 2 Modules

  • Skills in Ecological Management (30 CATS)
  • Literature Review (20 CATS)
  • Professional Development (20 CATS) (PgDip students only)

Semester 3 Modules

MSc Students only:

  • Option 1: Work Placement Research Project (60 CATS)
  • Option 2: Academic Research Project (60 CATS)

What Else Will You Do?

Each week there is a day trip to experience the practicalities of what you’ve learned in class and to see ecological management in-the-field.

You’ll visit captive breeding facilities for endangered species, offshore island bird colonies, river corridors along which invasive species are managed, ground-nesting bird conservation programmes, national nature reserves including sand dunes, bogs and species-rich grasslands, commercial industry, Belfast Zoo and the Mourne Mountains.

Although you’ll be based in the Medical Biology Centre (MBC), you’ll be taken off campus a lot, including to the Queen’s Marine Laboratory (QML) located an hour south of Belfast at Portaferry.

Learning and Teaching

You’ll be part of a small, informal and chatty class. You’re encouraged to butt-in and ask questions. You’ll get to know your classmates and your lecturers well during field trips. You are expected to become an integral part of the School of Biological Sciences and are invited to staff and postgraduate student coffee mornings each Thursday.

Assessment

Continuous Assessment such as coursework and module assignments based on self-driven, independent, study (there are no examinations).

A Postgraduate Diploma (PGDIP) student who achieves 50% or higher in completed modules may be permitted to transfer to the MSc Pathway subject to General Regulations. The MSc will be awarded with Distinction to a student who achieves an average mark exceeding 70% and with Commendation for those achieving a mark between 60-69%.

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 ORCA, The Irish Wildlife Trust and Bumblebee Conservation Trust), governmental organisations (NIEA and AFBI) and consultancies (including AECOM, WSP, WYG and RPS). Graduates have also progressed into research at various universities.

Many of our students go on to pursue further PhD study in relevant areas both here at Queen’s and further afield. Others go on to work in a variety of roles in both the private and public sector here in Northern Ireland and internationally with some setting up their own companies. 

Ecological Management And Conservation Biology Highlights

Each week there is a day trip to experience the practicalities of what you’ve learned in class and to see ecological management in-the-field.

Ecological researchers in the School of Biological Sciences maintain close links between academia and government departments responsible for the maintenance of biodiversity. Weekly day trips also include input from conservation charities, environmental consultants, zoological gardens, museums, nature reserve managers and independent research institutes.

Career Development

You don’t have to necessarily work in a conservation-orientated environment - previous students have gone to places as unusual as art galleries where they have created scientifically inspired artwork as an alternative method for scientific communication outreach.

World Class Facilities

Laboratory facilities and access to field facilities are excellent and include a fully equipped Marine Laboratory at Portaferry on Strangford Lough.

Internationally Renowned Experts

You will taught by staff with research profiles of international standing, with a wide range of interests in ecological management and conservation biology covering taxa from algae to mammals and environments from marine to terrestrial.

Student Experience

You'll take part in a class conservation biology project before being given the option to under a professional work placement project.

Dr Neil Reid is the Course Director. He wants to move students away from sitting in dry academic lectures to get you out into the real world to acquire the skills you’ll need for a job in conservation.

How to Apply

Apply using the online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.


Visit the Ecological Management and Conservation Biology (MSc/PgDip) page on the Queen’s University Belfast website for more details!

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