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Course content

Launched in 2000, the award winning MSc in Primate Conservation remains the only course internationally to address pressing issues in primate conservation throughout each module. Issues including habitat loss, illegal trade and human wildlife conflict issues as well as ways to mitigate these threats through population management, intervention and education are taught by world leaders who are all active in primate conservation in the field in Asia, Africa including Madagascar, and South America. The innovative and varied coursework provides students with direct training to work in conservation as a practitioner, advocate or academic.

Whether working in the lab, with local conservation groups (including zoos and NGOs), or in the field, you will find yourself in a collaborative and supportive environment, working with international scholars in primate conservation and gaining first-hand experience to enact positive change.

Why choose this course?

  • A pioneering programme providing scientific, professional training and accreditation to conservation scientists
  • Opportunity to work alongside leading academics, including Professor Anna Nekaris, Professor Vincent Nijman, Professor Kate Hill and Dr Giuseppe Donati
  • Excellent learning resources both at Brookes and through Oxford’s museums and libraries including the Bodleian Library, the Radcliffe Science Library, and the Museum of Natural History
  • Links with conservation organisations and NGOs, both internationally and closer to home, including Fauna and Flora International, TRAFFIC and Conservation International
  • Field trips for MSc students to Apenheul Primate Park in the Netherlands (optional) as well as to sanctuaries and zoos in the UK
  • A dynamic community of research scholars undertaking internationally recognised and world leading research.

This course in detail

The course runs for one year (two semesters) for full-time students and for two years (four semesters) for part-time students. The break periods (winter, spring and summer) are used to work on the final research project.

If you register on the MSc in Primate Conservation you will take the six taught modules mentioned below and the final research project.

Taught modules:

  • Primate Conservation and Diversity
  • People-Primate Interactions 
  • Conservation Education 
  • Primate Conservation - Research Methods
  • Genetics and Population Management 
  • Captive Management and Rehabilitation 

Teaching and learning

Teaching is through a combination of lectures, research seminars, training workshops, tutorials, case studies, seminar presentations, site visits, computer-aided learning, independent reading and supervised research.

Each of the six modules is assessed by means of coursework assignments that reflect the individual interests and strengths of each student. Coursework assignments for six taught modules are completed and handed in at the end of the semester, and written feedback is given before the start of the following semester. A seventh module, the final project, must be handed in before the start of the first semester of the next academic year. It will be assessed during this semester with an examinations meeting at the beginning of December, after which students receive their final marks.

An important feature of the course is the contribution by each student towards an outreach project that brings primate conservation issues into a public arena. Examples include a poster, display or presentation at a scientific meeting, university society or school. Students may also choose to write their dissertation specifically for scientific publication. 

Round-table discussions form a regular aspect of the course and enable closer examination of conservation issues through a sharing of perspectives by the whole group.

Approach to assessment

There is a range of assessment styles, including written coursework (essays, article reviews, scientific report writing), oral presentations, quizzes and the practical assignment or project. They are designed to test a range of competences, in both traditional and innovative ways.

In addition to the assessed coursework, you will be assigned regular tasks on topics critical to each module. These tasks ensure that all members of the class have done relevant reading and prepared work that will feed into class discussions.

Specialist facilities

You will have access to a range of fantastic resources, both within Oxford Brookes University and in Oxford itself.

Our facilities include:

  • A molecular genetics laboratory
  • Dry laboratory for analysis of bones and environmental samples
  • Primate Conservation laboratory, with access to specialist computer programmes
  • The Tess Lemon Memorial Library, on behalf of the Primate Society of Great Britain.

Students on this course also have access to the world-renowned Bodleian Libraries, and Oxford University Natural History Museum.

Field trips

We have special links with Apenheul Primate Park, The Wild Futures Trust and Cotswold Wildlife Park. Site visits to zoos, museums, sanctuaries, schools and the Primate Society of Great Britain meetings are a regular part of the course, providing opportunities for student research and networking.

The optional 3-day Apenheul Primate Park field trip costs between £105 and £115 in addition to course fees, depending on numbers. Vist our facebook page for photos of our past field trips 


Visit the MSc/PGDip/PGCert Primate Conservation page on the Oxford Brookes University website for more details!

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