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On this course you’ll learn about the latest developments in conservation science and practice, hone your ability to communicate effectively and develop your skills in identifying flora and fauna.

When you graduate, you’ll have developed an in-depth knowledge of the science and practice of biodiversity conservation – equipping you with the skills required for a career in this area. 

Situated on the Dorset coast, at BU we are within easy reach of outstanding environments of global importance for conservation, including the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, Wessex Downs, Dorset Heaths, Poole Harbour and New Forest. The area is a hotspot for biodiversity and provides outstanding opportunities for field-based learning.

The teaching staff are specialists in biodiversity conservation. They research conservation issues both nationally and internationally in a wide range of ecosystems including grassland, heathland, forest, freshwater, coastal, and marine. Their specialisms include plant, animal and community ecology, animal behaviour, environmental statistics, modelling, remote sensing and environmental policy.

The degree is also now accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, the professional body representing ecologists and environmental managers in the UK and overseas.

You will also complete a conservation-based work placement, normally undertaken in the early summer.

Core units

  • Conservation in Practice: Field trips, discussion groups and guest speakers combine to cover the scientific knowledge and principles relating to the structure and function of ecosystems, and how these can be applied to the management, conservation and restoration of biodiversity.
  • Field Ecology Skills: Develop field observation and survey techniques that will equip you with skills that are relevant to professional biodiversity conservation, monitoring and research. You will explore how such skills may be applied to support practical conservation management. Based around a field course, you will develop your skills in a variety of terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments, supported by seminars and demonstrations.
  • Frontiers in Biodiversity: Explore the latest theories and concepts in conservation science, develop in-depth subject specialism as well as advanced literature-based research and reporting skills. This unit will be delivered as a series of group discussions, at which guided reading will be critically evaluated. You will also be required to undertake literature evaluation tasks as individuals and sub-groups, including class presentations.
  • Quantitative & Spatial Analysis: Core skills for environmental scientists in data handling, processing, statistical techniques and spatial analysis (GIS) are taught on this unit. You will learn these techniques through the industry standard programming and statistical environment of R.
  • Research Project: Develop your expertise in research methods, data collection, analysis, interpretation and synthesis and explore in detail core aspects of your subject area, with a view to generating new practical or theoretical insights. You will develop methodological, research, presentation skills and advanced communication skills by producing an extensive dissertation or report on your research.


You may take advantage of our wide network of professional contacts to find placements in the UK and abroad with a range of organisations to suit your individual career development needs. Previous placements have been with wildlife trusts, ecological consultancies, biodiversity research projects and governmental bodies.

Please note: students generally do their placement in the early summer after the taught units are finished. However, your placement may be completed in any format that is equivalent to six weeks (30 days), for example by working one day a week for 30 weeks. ​


This course prepares you for a career in the commercial and statutory environmental sectors. Its strong emphasis on core skills in environmental practice gives students the edge when seeking employment. On completing the course not only will you have subject expertise but you will know how to apply that knowledge to make a difference in biodiversity conservation. By offering one of the leading courses in biodiversity conservation, our aspiration is that it will provide you with a route to a successful and rewarding career.

As a Biodiversity Conservation graduate, you will be prepared to undertake roles such as:

  • Ecological consultant
  • Environmental consultant
  • Environmental conservation manager
  • Academic researcher.

Visit the MSc Biodiversity Conservation page on the Bournemouth University website for more details!






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