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Primate Conservation - Lemurs and Nocturnal Primates

PGDip or PGCert or MSc

Key facts


Start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Location

Headington

Course length

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

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

Department

Department of Social Sciences

Overview


Our MSc Primate Conservation - Lemurs and Nocturnal Primates course is ideal for students with a particular interest in prosimian primates and night monkeys. It is a pioneering programme providing scientific and professional training and accreditation to conservation scientists.

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

Coursework is innovative and varied. It will provide you with direct training to work in conservation or ecology as a practitioner, advocate or academic.  If you are working with night monkeys, lemurs, lorises and tarsiers you can gain a focus on this evolutionarily important and highly threatened group of primates, by completing an original piece of research. 

You will benefit from our links with organisations and NGOs relating to apes, which include:

  • Fauna and Flora International
  • TRAFFIC
  • 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. You may also be asked to write a short essay and/or present evidence of original work in support of your application.

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. 

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

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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/EU full time
£7,220 (Masters); £6,500 (Diploma); £3,680 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time
£3,680

International full time
£14,560

Home/EU full time
£8,000 (Masters); £7,000 (Diploma); £4,000 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time
£4,000

International full time
£15,100

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2019/20
Home/EU full time
£7,220 (Masters); £6,500 (Diploma); £3,680 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time
£3,680

International full time
£14,560

2020/21
Home/EU full time
£8,000 (Masters); £7,000 (Diploma); £4,000 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time
£4,000

International full time
£15,100

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

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.

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

Financial support and scholarships

There are 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:

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

All students across the Primatology and Conservation courses are invited to participate in field trips to Apenheul in the Netherlands, the Monkey Sanctuary, and the Cotswold Wildlife Park - with whom we have special links. These trips are optional, or are part of optional modules and therefore not included within the course fees.

There is an optional visit of the Apenheul Primate Sanctuary in Apendhorn, Holland.

You will be responsible for your own accommodation, transport, and living costs. Please bear in mind that costs can vary depending on the GBP-Euro exchange rate. On average, the cost for this trip runs at £160 including transport, 2 nights bed and breakfast, and two days entry to the primate park.

Students are expected to consider and manage the cost of their own research and fieldwork, whether this is abroad or at home. As well as carrying out projects across the globe, our students have carried out research in museums and zoos closer to home, as well as laboratory and library-based studies. Research has been undertaken either in the field (Argentina, Costa Rica, Nicaragua; Morocco, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Uganda; Madagascar; India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan), in rescue centres (Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa), zoos (UK, Netherlands, Italy) or in our primate lab in Oxford.

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.

Female student studying in cafe

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

This module reviews the variety of primate species, together with their distribution, ecology and conservation status. It emphasises the differences between primate species and factors that make them more or less vulnerable to extinction. Methods of rainforest biodiversity assessment are explored. Successful conservation projects are highlighted and future options discussed.

Optional modules

People-Primate Interactions

This module provides an overview of the many ways that humans and wildlife (primates and other animals) interact and impact on each other in primate habitat countries. Topics covered in this module include 'conflicts about wildlife' in relation to crop damage, hunting, tourism, and the design and management of national parks and wildlife reserves.

Conservation Education

This module reviews the knowledge base required for effective conservation action. This module centres on practical ways of conveying information about environmental decline and how primates can be used to promote public understanding. Environmental education issues are explored with particular reference to primates and the effectiveness of different strategies and media are considered.

Supervised Independent Study

This module provides an opportunity to undertake a study of your own choosing related to the study of lemurs from Madagascar and nocturnal primates, including ones from South America, Africa and Asia, both in the wild in their range countries and in captive settings. You will select a piece of individual work on an appropriate topic or set of topics to be conducted under suitable supervision and strictly subject to the approval of the course leader.

This is available in either the first and second semester. 

Advanced Study of Cognitive Evolution

This module will adopt a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on recent developments in fields such as evolutionary psychology, cognitive science, philosophy, linguistics and primatology. The students will explore the nature of human intelligence, charting and evaluating the evidence for the development of key cognitive traits such as language, culture, tool use and symbolism. We will also assess the cognitive abilities of other animal species, evaluating the evidence for differences between human and non-human minds.

Advanced Study of Primate Adaptation and Evolution

This module explores the similarities and differences between humans and other primates using a broad comparative approach to examine structure, physiology, molecular biology and evolutionary history. The hallmarks of humanity emerge against a background of detailed knowledge of other species (the questions What, When and Where) to help trace our history of inheritance and to explore the reasons for our unique specialisations (the questions How and Why).

Semester 2

Compulsory modules

Primate Conservation - Research Methods

This module gives you a basic understanding of how to conduct a field study of primates in the wild or in captivity. The course covers planning data collection, analysis and interpretation of results relevant to research on primate conservation, including training in programmes such as SPSS, DISTANCE, and ArcView. Extended visits to collaborating institutions are undertaken to learn practical techniques such as behavioural observation techniques and botanical sampling in situ.

Optional modules

Captive Management and Rehabilitation

This module reviews good practice in the management and welfare of captive primates, and the implications for the survival of declining populations in the wild. Emphasis is given to the effects of the captive environment on behavioural traits (stereotypy, genetic selection) and breeding success; veterinary care, housing and enclosure design, display, and environmental enrichment are also considered. The pros and cons of reintroduction and rehabilitation into the wild are covered in detail.

Genetics and Population Management

This module leads to an advanced understanding of the genetic and demographic management of both small captive populations and those that have become isolated in the wild. You will learn about the latest techniques of DNA sequencing and the use of micro-satellites and random sequencing techniques to assess genetic relationships between individuals, populations and species.

Advanced Study of Primate Societies

More than 600 species of primates, other than humans, are recognised and this module explores the diversity of their social behaviour as a background for a better understanding of our own. Primate social systems can be defined as the product of interaction and compromise between the adaptive strategies (gene survival) of individuals, within a population through time. This module uses a broad comparative approach to identify patterns of social interaction among primates in relation to ecology, energetic, phylogeny, demography and tradition.

Supervised Independent Study

This module provides an opportunity to undertake a study of your own choosing related to the study of lemurs from Madagascar and nocturnal primates, including ones from South America, Africa and Asia, both in the wild in their range countries and in captive settings. You will select a piece of individual work on an appropriate topic or set of topics to be conducted under suitable supervision and strictly subject to the approval of the course leader.

This is available in either the first and second semester. 

Final project

Compulsory modules

Final Project MSc Primate Conservation

Students are encouraged to build on their strengths and interests throughout the course, culminating in the production of a Final Project that has a tangible outcome of use to the broader public and conservation and primatological community. All projects are accompanied by a written component to integrate and explain the work and this may sometimes be in the form of a traditional thesis. Students will be encouraged, however, to produce work that has a more lasting impact. Examples include the production of a film or exhibition, one or more articles/chapters for publication, a proposal for a major grant, a broadcasting project, an education handbook, web-based materials or design of a practical project relating to primate conservation (e.g. 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 that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

You use a combination of teaching methods, including:

  • 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

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.

Research


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. They work 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.

Our Staff


Professor Anna Nekaris

Professor Anna Nekaris is a Professor in Anthropology and Primate Conservation studying the unique group of evolutionary distinct primates known as the Asian lorises. Her studies cover all eleven species, including six she named or elevated from subspecies. Anna is the Course Tutor for the highly acclaimed MSc Primate Conservation, Director of the Little Fireface Project and Convenor of the Nocturnal Primate Research Group.

Read more about Anna

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.