Primatology and Conservation

MRes or PGCert

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Key facts

Start dates

September 2024 / September 2025



Course length

Full time: MRes: normal expected duration full-time 1 year, maximum possible duration 5 years. PGCert: normal expected duration 1 semester


Our MRes in Primatology and Conservation is a research-intensive course. It combines the expertise of anthropologists and biologists.

You will develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to help stop and reverse the devastating destruction of natural habitats. And the loss of the species that live in them.

You will be part of an international and multidisciplinary forum. Our aims are to:

  • understand ecology, evolution and conservation issues
  • promote effective action
  • make leading advances in research topics.

Whether working in the lab, with zoos, museums or NGOs, or in the field, you will find yourself in a collaborative and supportive environment. You'll work with international scholars in primatology, biological anthropology and primate conservation. And gain the experience to develop advances in the fields of primatology and primate conservation.

You will have regular contact with tutors and feedback from assessed coursework. And we'll encourage you to to raise issues for discussion and consider the views of others.

Male Primatology and Conservation, PGcert MRes, student listening to a lecture on campus at Oxford Brookes University

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. However, it must be advised that, because the taught aspect is a key component of the course, credit for prior learning will only be given in exceptional cases.


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

International full time

Home (UK) full time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time

International full time

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full 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.

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:

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

Learning and assessment

You will gain background knowledge in primatology and conservation during the first semester. This includes the theories, methods, and practices used in the contemporary study of primates and their environments. You will use your knowledge through an extended research project during the second part of the course.

If you choose to take the Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Primatology and Conservation, you will take three compulsory modules, and choose one elective module.

Students studying in the forum

Study modules

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

  • Primate Conservation Research Methods

    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.
  • 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 the 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

  • Supervised Independent Study – Primatology and Conservation (20 credits)

    This is a great opportunity to undertake a study of your own choosing, related to primate behaviour, ecology, welfare and conservation, both in situ and ex situ. The major component of this module is developing methodological skills that you will use in your final research project through a literature review and gaining practical experience.

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.

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.

Final project

Compulsory modules

  • Research project (120 credits)

    In order to complete the MRes, you’ll undertake a significant research project that runs over the second semester and summer. We encourage you to build on your strengths and interests throughout the course, culminating in a research project that is useful to the broader public and the primatological and/or conservation community. Your project will have a written component to integrate and explain the work. This work will normally be written up in the form of one or more articles/chapters for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

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

We use a range of teaching methods.

Lectures introduce you to relevant:

  • main themes
  • key theoretical approaches
  • significant research findings.

Tutorials give you the opportunity to discuss recent developments in the relevant fields with your lecturers.

Seminars and workshops allow you to:

  • engage in discussion with tutors and peers
  • further develop your knowledge and understanding of the module content
  • apply ideas and develop a range of transferable skills.

Laboratory-based classes are a common feature for primate diversity modules.

You'll receive individual help or personalised feedback on your progress throughout the year. These are usually in one-to-one sessions with your tutors during ‘office hours’. Contact time may also take a virtual rather than face-to-face form, through email, email discussion groups, virtual learning environments and other technology-aided means.

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

Assessment methods include:

  • written essays
  • critical reviews
  • short reports
  • annotated bibliographies
  • individual presentations
  • group presentations.


You will receive feedback on your work prior to formal assessments. This includes:

  • one-to-one assessment guidance
  • feedback on outline plans for coursework essays
  • assessment preparatory activities.

An on-going feedback dialogue forms an essential component of the research project module.

You may be assigned regular tasks on topics critical to each module. Round-table and small group discussions will give you an opportunity to share perspectives. These enable closer examination of conservation issues.


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

Staff in the department work on a wide range of taxa, including:

  • African and Asian great apes
  • gibbons
  • Neotropical primates
  • Old World monkeys
  • African and Asian lorises
  • the lemurs from Madagascar.

All lecturers are active in research and publish in a wide range of journals. Over 50 students have published the results of their research in scientific journals. We aim for a significant proportion of our MRes students to be able to submit the results of their research to international scientific journals.

Our research is recognised internationally for excellence and we host the following research groups:

  • the Nocturnal Primate Research Group
  • the Oxford Wildlife Trade Research Group
  • ACCEnD (the Anthropological Centre for Conservation, Environment and Development).

Find out more about the research interests of our staff.

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. Our graduates work in a range of 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 researcher at institutes of higher education. Some of our students have 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, OBE

Anna is a world-renowned primatologist who teaches on the BSc Anthropology course. She is a specialist in Asian lorises and is internationally recognised for her work identifying threats to these critically endangered species. Anna has published more than 250 papers, and has appeared in documentaries on Animal Planet, the BBC, the History Channel and more. You’ll see Anna on modules like Introduction to Biological Anthropology and Primate Conservation.

Read more about Anna

Professor Catherine (Kate) Hill

Kate's research focuses on people-wildlife interactions and the human dimensions of conservation.

Read more about Catherine (Kate)

Related courses

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.