Primate Conservation - Human-Primate Interface

MSc or PGDip or PGCert

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Key facts

Start dates

September 2024 / September 2025



Course length

Full time: MSc: 12 months; PGDip: 8 months; PGCert: 4 months

Part time: MSc: 24 months; PGDip: 16 months; PGCert: 8 months


Our MSc Primate Conservation - Human Primate Interface course is ideal if you have a particular interest in the challenges that occur when primates and humans come face-to-face. 

You can choose modules relating to the research opportunities and challenges around the Human Primate Interface. This includes a tailored module allowing you to focus on your chosen topic within conservation and ecology.

Coursework is innovative and varied. It will provide you with direct training to work in conservation or ecology as a practitioner, advocate or academic.

You will have the opportunity to produce an original piece of research on topics such as:

  • illegal trade
  • bushmeat
  • crop raiding
  • ethnoprimatology.

You'll work with international scholars in primatology, biological anthropology and primate conservation. And gain the experience to research the human primate interface, and where relevant, to enact positive change.

You'll benefit from our links with conservation organisations and NGOs, including:

  • Fauna and Flora International
  • Conservation International.

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

You will normally be required to have, or be expecting, a good honours degree in anthropology, biology, ecology, psychology or an acceptable related discipline.

If you are not a graduate, or if you have graduated in an unrelated discipline, you will be considered for entry to the course if you can demonstrate in your application, and at an interview, that you are able to work at an advanced level in the discipline.

We will consider appropriate credits obtained elsewhere. Accreditation of prior learning (eg a conversion course or an advanced research training course) will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the course manager. Accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) will similarly be considered.

Transfer between part-time and full-time modes, transfer from the diploma to the MSc, or deferral of study may be possible in certain circumstances at the discretion of the examination committee. 

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 with 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


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.

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.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time
Masters £9,300; Diploma £8,300; Certificate £4,650

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Home (UK) full time
Masters £9,750; Diploma £8,750; Certificate £4,875

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time
Masters £9,300; Diploma £8,300; Certificate £4,650

Home (UK) part time

International full time

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time
Masters £9,750; Diploma £8,750; Certificate £4,875

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

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.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences believes strongly in the importance of making a difference to the world of our students, and in the ability and potential of our students to make a difference in the world. The Dean's Scholarship is one small way in which we make that belief tangible. Please click on the link above to find out more.

There are also opportunities to apply for a scholarship which covers the fees for a student from a primate habitat country. Applicants must indicate on their application that they would like to be considered for this scholarship.

Because of the urgent need for the study of conservation, some private agencies offer scholarships with very particular eligibility criteria relating to gender, age, nationality, and domicile. Ask your local librarian for a guide to funding within your country. You could also try the following agencies:

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

Learning and assessment

The course consists of:

  • two compulsory modules
  • four elective modules
  • the final MSc Primate Conservation project.

For full-time students the course lasts one year.

For part-time students the course takes two years.

Three students walking and talking

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip and PGCert awards your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Semester 1

Compulsory modules

  • Primate Diversity and Conservation: Theory, Methods and Practice (20 credits)

    You’ll review the variety of primate species, together with their distribution, ecology and conservation status. You’ll develop your understanding of the differences between primate species and factors that make them more or less vulnerable to extinction. You’ll explore methods of population viability assessment, and find out about successful conservation projects

  • International Legislation, Humans and Wildlife (20 credits)

    Many species and communities are threatened by exploitation, globalisation and international wildlife trade resulting from development and competition for space and resources.If biodiversity is to be maintained, we need a thorough understanding of the causes and consequences of these human activities. We must also analyse ways of resolving these consequences on an international scale. In this module, you’ll analyse the importance and roles of legislation, international treaties, and conflict resolution in resolving the biodiversity crisis.

Optional modules

People-Primate Interactions (20 credits)

You’ll receive an overview of the many ways that humans and wildlife (both primates and other animals) interact with and impact each other. You’ll consider examples of interactions between humans and wildlife in relation to crop raiding, hunting, biomedical research, tourism, and the design and management of national parks and wildlife reserves. You’ll learn about the diverse attitudes of different cultures or levels of society towards primates, and the way that these attitudes influence primate conservation initiatives

Conservation Education (20 credits)

What are the best ways to inform people about environmental decline? How can primates be used to promote public understanding of conservation? You will explore environmental and conservation education with particular reference to threatened species, and consider the theories behind and ways to measure the effectiveness of different strategies. You’ll discover a variety of techniques for presenting and disseminating information about conservation, particularly using digital technology and methods. We’ll make use of case studies to introduce you to planning, conducting and evaluating educational projects.

Advanced Studies of People and other Animals (20 credits)

Humans and other animals have a long history of interacting with each other. In this module we use ideas from biological and social anthropology to examine the complexities and contradictions evident in people–animal relationships. We’ll explore these through topics such as animals as food, animals as entertainment, companion animals and animals as 'nature'. You’ll develop an advanced understanding of the many roles and diverse meanings that animals have for different groups of people.

Semester 2

Compulsory modules

  • Supervised Independent Study (20 credits)

    This is a great opportunity to undertake a study of your own choosing. It will be related to the

    human-primate interface, including issues related to:

    • crop feeding and crop damage
    • primate ecotourism
    • primate trade
    • primate hunting
    • use of primates in zoos, medical facilities, and the entertainment industry
    • the commercialisation and exploitation of primates on the internet. 

    Working independently, you’ll improve your time- and project-management skills. You’ll enhance your research skills, including library and online research, along with your ability to write effectively and present a coherent argument.   


Optional modules

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (20 credits)

Biodiversity targets are essential for maintaining species and habitats and for facilitating ecosystem services. In this module, you’ll learn about the importance of ecological principles in biodiversity assessment and prioritisation. You’ll also understand the importance of the ecological components of ecosystem services for sustainability. You’ll look at methods and problems of assessing biodiversity, including the adequacy of surrogate measures.

There is an emphasis on practical work in this module, and you’ll take part in an extended practical exercise focused on biodiversity assessment methods, with full data analysis. You’ll also develop in-depth knowledge of a selected topic/case study around ecosystem service provision.


Primate Conservation Research Methods (20 credits)

You’ll gain a basic understanding of how to conduct a field study of primates in the wild, in captivity or in a museum. You’ll learn about the best ways to collect and analyse data for different kinds of research or investigation that are suitable for your final project. You will have the chance to compare the methods available and learn about their strengths and weaknesses. 

You’ll learn about research planning, data collection, analysis and interpretation of results, and you’ll receive training in programs such as SPSS, DISTANCE, Ranges and QGis. You’ll take part in visits to one or more collaborating institutions, to learn practical techniques such as museum studies, behavioural observation techniques in zoos and botanical sampling in situ.


Captive Management and Rehabilitation (20 credits)

In this module we review good practice in the management and welfare of captive primates, and the implications for the survival of declining populations in the wild. You’ll study the effects of the captive environment on behavioural traits (stereotypy, genetic selection), welfare and breeding success. You’ll consider factors such as 

  • veterinary care
  • nutrition
  • housing and enclosure design 
  • environmental enrichment.

We’ll also discuss the pros and cons of reintroducing and rehabilitating primates into the wild.


Genetics and Population Management (20 credits)

You’ll gain an understanding of applied conservation genetics, as well as demographic management of small captive populations and those that have become isolated in the wild. We will present the foundations of population and molecular genetics, which we will place in a practical  and conservation management context. You’ll learn about genetic techniques that allow us to assess relationships between individuals, populations and species. You will have the chance to apply these skills in a biochemistry lab setting and explore the relevance of genetics to animal conservation.

Final project

Compulsory modules

  • Final Project (60 credits)

    We’ll encourage you to build on your strengths and interests throughout the course, culminating in a final research project that has an outcome of use to the broader public and conservation community. All projects are accompanied by a written component to integrate and explain the work including in the form of a traditional thesis.

    We aim for you to produce work that has a lasting impact. Examples include:

    • the production of a film or exhibition
    • one or more articles/chapters for publication
    • a broadcasting project
    • an education handbook
    • design of a practical project relating to primate conservation (eg eco-tourism, habitat management or conservation education).

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

You will be taught through the following methods:

  • lectures
  • research seminars
  • training workshops
  • tutorials
  • case studies
  • seminar presentations
  • site visits
  • computer-aided learning
  • independent reading
  • supervised research

An important feature of the course is your contribution towards an outreach project that brings primate conservation issues into a public arena. Examples include:

  • a poster
  • display
  • presentation

These could be at a scientific meeting, university society or school.

You may choose to write your dissertation specifically for scientific publication.

You will take part in round-table discussions, which form a regular aspect of the course. Closely examine conservation issues, through sharing perspectives as a whole group.

Field trips

All students across the Primatology and Conservation courses are invited to take part in field trips to:

  • Apenheul in the Netherlands
  • the Monkey Sanctuary
  • Cotswold Wildlife Park.

These trips are optional, or are part of optional modules and therefore not included within the course fees. Please see the Additional costs section of this page for details.


Assessment methods used on this course

You will be assessed in a range of ways, including:

  • written coursework
  • oral presentations
  • quizzes
  • practical assignment or project

Your coursework assignments reflect your interests and strengths. You will hand them in at the end of the semester and receive written feedback before the start of the following semester. You will receive your final marks after an examinations meeting at the beginning of December.

You will be assigned regular tasks on topics critical to each module. These ensure that all members of the class have completed the required reading and prepared work that will feed into class discussions.


Our vibrant research culture is driven by a thriving and collaborative community of academic staff and doctoral students.

Our Research clusters include:

  • theNocturnal Primate Research Group (NPRG)
  • Environment Research Group
  • the Oxford Wildlife Trade Research Group (OWTRG)
  • the Europe Japan Research Centre
  • the Human Origins and Palaeoenvironments.

Research in the department is carried out in the following areas:

  • anthropology of art
  • anthropology of food
  • anthropology of globalisation
  • anthropology of Japan
  • Basque studies
  • culture and landscapes
  • environmental archaeology and paleo-anthropology
  • environmental anthropology
  • environmental reconstruction
  • human origins
  • human resource ecology
  • human–wildlife interaction and conservation
  • organisational anthropology
  • physical environmental processes and management
  • primate conservation
  • primatology
  • quaternary environmental change
  • social anthropology of South Asia and Europe
  • urban and environmental studies
  • wildlife trade.

Find out more by browsing our staff profiles.

Students visiting museum

After you graduate

Career prospects

You will be joining a supportive global network of former students working across all areas of conservation in organisations from the BBC Natural History Unit through to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and in roles from keeper and education officer in zoos across the UK and North America to paid researchers at institutes of higher education. Many of our students have even gone on to run their own conservation-related NGOs.

Typically about ten to twenty percent of our MSc graduates continue their studies by enrolling on a PhD programme in the UK or abroad.  

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.