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Primatology and Conservation

MRes or PGCert

Key facts

Start dates

September 2021 / September 2022



Course length

Full time: MSc: normal expected duration full-time 1 year, maximum possible duration 3 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 student listening to a lecture

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/EU full time
£6,950 (Masters); £3,475 (PG Cert)

International full time

Home (UK) full time
£7,700 (Masters); £3,850 (PG Cert)

International / EU full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2020 / 21
Home/EU full time
£6,950 (Masters); £3,475 (PG Cert)

International full time

2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time
£7,700 (Masters); £3,850 (PG Cert)

International / EU full time

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.

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

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.

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.

There is guidance throughout the taught element of the course on opportunities for external funding and funding applications. This also includes the chance to practice writing funding applications, and to receive feedback on this from your tutors.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements. In the event of changes made to the government advice and social distancing rules by national or local government, the University may need to make further alterations to the published course content. Detailed information on the changes will be sent to every student on confirmation in August to ensure you have all the information before you come to Oxford Brookes.

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 Diversity and Conservation (20 credits)

This module is designed to develop a broad understanding of the theories, the methods and practices in primatology, primate conservation and welfare. This module must be successfully completed before you can progress onto the second part of the programme.

Supervised Independent Study – Primatology and Conservation (20 credits)

This module has a research methods component and will allow you to focus on the methodologies that you will need to apply in your final research project.

Optional modules

People-Primate Interactions (20 credits)

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 (20 credits)

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.

Advanced Study 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 through topics such as animals as food, animals as entertainment, companion animals and animals as 'nature'.

International Legislation, Humans and Wildlife (20 credits)

On a global scale many species and communities are threatened by exploitation or conflicts with the human population via development and conflicting space and resource requirements. A thorough understanding of the causes and consequences of these human activities and an analysis of ways of resolving these at an international scale is essential for maintaining biodiversity. The module analyses the importance and roles of legislation, trade and conflict resolution in resolving the biodiversity crisis.

Final project

Compulsory modules

Research project (120 credits)

In order to complete the MRes, you will undertake a significant research project that runs over the second semester and summer break.

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

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

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

Professor Kate Hill

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

Read more about Kate

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.