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Ecology is a vital discipline to inform business, regulators and policy providers amongst others about the many different environmental factors to consider in managing environmentally sensitive areas in terms of new developments, managing change, or monitoring for conservation. It is also vital to map species in terms of climate change, habitats and other conditions.

There is an increasing desire to utilise sites which are environmentally sensitive and this puts pressure on ecology and habitat survival. There are many other types of environmental impacts which are often hidden but also affect Ecology such as the many different pollutants which are often highlighted monthly. Species decline is becoming a well known issue globally and the ability to maintain and continue species and grow is important in a declining environment where pollutants threaten ever more areas of natural life.

The programme comes from a very strong department which has been ranked consistently at number 1 in soil science and soil ecology in the UK (REF 2014). The Master's in Ecology has very solid foundations as it has been taught to generations for over 50 years and with this comes considerable knowledge and experience. With this programme you get a chance to influence how we utilise our environment and manage it to the best ability to preserve our ecology. You study the essential aspects to ecology and conservation which include population control, applied ecology, catchment management, spatial management, conservation and planning. You also learn about how to write and apply Environmental Impact Assessments, their importance and their ability to assess risks to ecology against development and economic factors. Many organisations, regulators and businesses have to prepare these assessments in order to satisfy planning conditions and ensure that conservation remains of paramount importance.

Our MSc programme provides flexibility to enable you to gain knowledge and skills to meet your career aspirations, whether in research or as a practicing ecologist. The programme runs through a full year, starting with a field course and culminating in a major research project. You will have the opportunity to gain hands on experience of everything from field survey to chairing discussions, from statistics and modelling to report writing and from identifying important ecological questions to researching them and writing a scientific paper. Previous graduates have gone on to the top of their chosen profession in research, consultancy, conservation, policy, education and advocacy.

Courses listed for the programme

Semester 1

  • Experimental Design and Analysis
  • Plant Ecology
  • Population Ecology

Optional Courses

  • Statistics for Complex Study Designs
  • Introduction to Ecological Field Research in Northern Scotland
  • Molecular Ecological Techniques
  • Applied Forest Ecology

Semester 2


  • Application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)


  • Marine Mammology
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Marine Spatial Management and Top Predators
  • Ecology, Conservation and Society
  • Catchment Management
  • Environmental Management Plan
  • Marine Conservation Management

Semester 3

  • Project in Ecology and Conservation

Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page

Visit UsAberdeen, Online In Your Country

Why study at Aberdeen?

  • Ecology has been taught at Aberdeen for over 50 years and Plant Ecology and Soil Science is No 1 in the UK (REF 2014)
  • You go on field research trips at Bettyhill in Sutherland and you are able to join research groups and further your learning
  • You will be taught be known ecologists who are active in research, management and nature conservation
  • Aberdeen is ideally situated to take full advantage of coastal, inland, rural and wild landscapes and environments
  • You gain essential portfolio skills to enhance your CV from project work and links to relevant external networks

Where you study

  • University of Aberdeen
  • Full Time and Part Time
  • 12 Months or 24 Months
  • September

International Student Fees

Find out about international fees:

  • International
  • EU and Scotland
  • Other UK

Find out more about fees on the programme page

*Please be advised that some programmes also have additional costs.



Vew fees on your programme page

Entry Requirements and Study Support

Living in Aberdeen

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Your Accommodation

Campus Facilities

Find out more about living in Aberdeen and living costs

Visit the Ecology and Conservation MSc page on the Aberdeen University website for more details!





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