MSc or PGDip or PGCert
Find a courseExpand
Global ecosystems are battling for survival. For decades, human activity has caused our planet untold damage. But there’s hope. We believe that a different kind of human activity can save it.
Our MSc Conservation Ecology degree gives you the skills to tackle the urgent global ecological crisis. Our lecturers, with their real-world experience, will prepare you for a rewarding career that requires strong species identification, ecology, technology, and communication skills.
Conservation needs a diversity of passionate, innovative and motivated people. So this course welcomes those with a science background and those looking for a career change. You are also welcome if your background is in:
- the medical profession
- social sciences’
- humanities; or other areas.
You’ll have the opportunity to gain translatable skills that can make a valuable contribution to conservation.
Join us and be the change you want to see in the world.
Why Oxford Brookes University?
We offer opportunities to conduct outstanding and inspiring research. 95% of our research in Biological Sciences is internationally recognised.
This accreditation by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management shows that the course promotes the highest standards of practice. Successful completion of this course makes you eligible for graduate membership to CIEEM.
Strong industry links
We have strong links with domestic and globally significant conservation and ecological organisations.
Access to outstanding environmental sites
You'll have access to a variety of natural and managed landscapes including the exceptional habitats of the world-renowned Wytham woods.
Extensive networking opportunities
You will engage with external organisations to fulfil curricula and project activities. You will have the opportunity to be involved with natural history museums, botanic gardens, recording schemes, government and charity organisations, including our network of land managers and practitioners.
Our masters’ has two pathways – conservation within the UK/EU or internationally.
The core modules for both pathways are:
- Ecology for Conservation
- Research Skills for Conservation Ecology
- Research Project.
The UK/EU pathway core includes:
- Taxonomy and Identification
- + 3 optional modules.
The International pathway core includes:
- International Legislation, Humans and Wildlife
- + 3 optional modules
Your optional modules can include:
- Any of the above listed modules not already studied
- Any of the listed optional modules.
We also offer a postgraduate diploma and postgraduate certificate options. These can stand alone as a qualification or serve as a step towards the full master’s.
The course structure supports working professionals. Your modules are clustered to reduce the number of days you will be on campus.
Learning and teaching
You will be taught with a variety of methods, including:
- field visits and exercises
- directed reading
- practical exercises
- laboratory sessions
- project work.
Teaching focuses on current issues in conservation associated with:
- environmental change
- species identification
- survey techniques
- the key theoretical underpinning of conservation ecology
- national and international wildlife legislation
- human-wildlife conflicts
- biodiversity assessment
- environmental impact assessment.
You will be assessed using a variety of methods including:
- scientific reports
- verbal presentations
- mock grant applications
- critiques of published work and reports
- taxonomic collections
- dissertation, covering your research topic.
You will be assessed separately for the different subject areas relating to conservation through assignments, presentations and project reports.
We give you detailed feedback on all your submissions and provide opportunities for formative feedback.
The course has a large practical component, developing survey and assessment methods as well as identification skills. We use the varied landscape of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire as our natural laboratory. This landscape is used to illustrate major conservation issues as well.
Most of this field work is conducted as part of your modules during semesters. But we also have a field skills based period at the end of the taught component of the course. We also offer opportunities to work towards gaining specialist licences, which are invaluable for consultancy work.
There are no extra costs associated with the fieldwork components of this MSc.
Our Centre for Ecology, Environment and Conservation is developing the use of mobile applications for data collection and processing in the field.
Research in the following areas is undertaken via the Centre for Ecology, Environment and Conservation:
- invertebrate ecology and biogeography
- evolutionary developmental biology
- spatial ecology and land use
- evolution of animal development and morphology.
This course is a vocational, work-ready master’s designed to fulfil the current requests from industry. As a graduate of this degree, you’ll be highly prized by employers in the ecological monitoring and conservation industry. Your unique skill set of national and international policy, statistical and mapping tools, identification, and ecological monitoring will be invaluable to different types of organisations.
Popular job roles include:
- environmental consultant
- field trial officer
- geospatial analyst
- biosecurity officer
- environmental educator
- collection managers
Graduates have gone on to work for environmental consultants, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Natural England, the Environment Agency, DEFRA, natural history museums, wildlife parks, forestry organisations, NGOs, or created their own consultancies.
Specific entry requirements
English language requirements
For applicants whose first language is not English, an Academic IELTS score of 6.5 (with 6.5 in Reading and Writing, and 6.0 in Listening and Speaking) is required.
Pathways courses for international and EU students
We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.
Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.
If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.
English requirements for visas
If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.
Terms and Conditions of Enrolment
International qualifications and equivalences
How to apply
Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
Questions about fees?
Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year, your fees will increase each year.
The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support.
How and when to pay
Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.