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Course content

This taught Masters degree is designed for those wishing to pursue a career in conservation management or ecological consultancy, professions which increasingly require postgraduate qualification for establishment and progression. The course puts a high emphasis on practical field experience for managing habitats, monitoring species and developing biological identification skills for plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. These activities are allied to a clear theoretical framework underpinning ecology and conservation practice. We welcome applications from recent graduates, experienced consultants, conservation workers or those seeking a career change.

What will I study?

This Conservation Management course combines the expertise of the field biologist with practical experience of managing habitats. A firm emphasis is placed on fieldwork, biological identification skills and experience of a broad range of management issues.

You will develop laboratory skills including microscopy for bryophyte and invertebrate identification and soil analysis techniques. Identification skills gained will range from plants to invertebrates, mammals, amphibians and birds.

You will learn to write in a concise scientific style, construct arguments, consider ethical issues of ecological work, analyse and interpret data and synthesise scientific literature. These skills are highly desirable in ecological consultancy and conservation research.

Ethics is also an important feature of conservation management, for instance in the collection of voucher specimens. Consideration of ethical issues is given in each module, where appropriate, alongside legal issues.

How will I study?

Fieldwork is an integral part of many modules and is used to provide a multitude of experiences across species, habitats and conservation issues. A variety of local sites are used including dunes, meadows and forests. The programme includes a residential field course. Field trip costs are included within course fees.

In small classes, lecture-style sessions and practical work are designed to develop subject-specific skills, clarify concepts, raise questions and collect data. Follow-up seminars may consider analysis, data presentation, qualitative observations, elucidation of trends, and integration with theoretical ideas.

How will I be assessed?

The course has a variety of assessment methods which are designed to develop the full range of skills and expertise relevant to the subject. These include a research thesis, scientific reports, voucher specimen collections, vegetation portfolios, field-based management plans and examinations.

Who will be teaching me?

The course is taught by a small friendly team who have considerable teaching and research experience in the area. All staff are research active which means that they keep up-to-date with current developments in their areas of interest and pass this knowledge onto their students. Staff expertise includes forest and grassland conservation, habitat restoration, sustainable management of ecosystems, remote sensing in ecology and conservation genetics.

What are my 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, Wildlife Trusts, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and National Trust), governmental organisations (Natural England) and consultancies (including Atkins UK, Jacob’s Ecology, and Avian Ecology). Graduates have also progressed into conservation research, working for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and at various universities.

Visit the MSc Conservation Management page on the Edge Hill University website for more details!

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