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MSc Applied Ecology

Course Description

This one-year full-time Masters programme is taught by the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (http://biosciences.exeter.ac.uk/cec/) ; the fastest growing institute of its kind in the UK.

The course boasts a significant research component, with substantial fieldwork opportunities in the UK as well as a fieldcourse in Africa. Through taught modules and practical application, you will develop advanced skills in scientific method, ecological census and quantitative biology.

A distinctive and integral feature of our MSc is the high degree of input from ecologists in collaborating governmental and non-governmental organisations. This participation takes a variety of forms, including guest lectures, field visits and specific training courses, but may also include providing research projects in their organisations. Collaborating organisations include: Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Marine Conservation Society, Natural England, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Food and Environment Research Agency and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Professional field biology and career development skills are embedded in the programme to enhance your employability. You will learn wildlife photography, geographic information systems, first aid for expeditions and field work, plus how to publish your own website, secure funding and communicate science to the general public.

Programme overview

- Designed in consultation with multiple external agencies to ensure relevant training that maximises graduate employability
- Substantial field work opportunities in the UK and Africa
- Provide opportunities to connect with external agencies and organisations throughout the programme to further enhance your training
- Delivered by leading international researchers in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation, who regularly publish in peer-reviewed journals
- Offers access to excellent facilities including state-of-the-art research laboratories, greenhouses, aviary and controlled environment rooms (http://biosciences.exeter.ac.uk/facilities/cornwall/)
- Ideal for individuals wishing to work in related consultancy and non-governmental organisations
- Includes modules that target both research and practical applied ecology skills


The census research projects will see you spending a considerable amount of time in the field collecting data at several key research sites in West Cornwall and interacting with local NGOs (Cornwall Wildlife Trust, South West Lakes Trust).

This programme includes a two week field course in Kenya and will include visits to some of Africa’s largest and most important game reserves, as well as an introduction to some of the day-to-day problems faced by conservation biologists in developing nations. You will study the behaviour of animals in a natural ecological setting with a focus on large mammals, birds and insects. Travel and subsistence costs for this part of the programme are included in the programme fee.

Find out more about our field course modules at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/biosciences/fieldwork/. You can also keep up to date and share the experiences of our students in the field on our Field Course Fortnight website at http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/fieldcourses/.

Learning and teaching

The taught component of this programme is delivered in the first five months, during which time you will be encouraged to develop your census research projects. The rest of the academic year is dedicated to these projects.

Programme structure

This Programme is modular and consists of five compulsory modules and one optional module.

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules can include; Research Project; African Biodiversity and Conservation Field or African Behavioural Ecology Field Course; Ecological Census; Statistical Modelling and Key Skills

Optional modules

Examples of the optional modules can include; Terrestrial Biodiversity and Conservation and Preparing for Ecological Consultancy.
The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand

Visit the MSc Applied Ecology page on the University of Exeter website for more details!

Student Profiles

Funding for Postgraduate Study - 20+ Awards

We offer a range of postgraduate scholarships and studentships for talented students. For 2016 entry, the total value of scholarships for taught postgraduate programmes exceeds £500,000. This is in addition to over 100 PhD studentships we make available each year.Students who reside in England and are interested in our Masters programmes can now take advantage of the UK government's postgraduate loan scheme which offers loans of up to £10,000.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Varies, but most awards are competitive and merit-based.

Application Procedure

Please see the details of each scheme as listed in our search: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/studying/funding/search

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Normally a 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent in Biology or a relevant science subject is required. Please see our website for full details

Course Fees

See our website for more information (click on "Finance") View Website

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