Taught course

Conservation Ecology

Institution
Oxford Brookes University · Department of Biological and Medical Sciences
Qualifications
MScPGDipPGCert

Entry requirements

In order to successfully complete a postgraduate course, applicants are usually expected to have (or be about to attain) at least a second class honours degree in a related scientific subject from a recognised institution of higher education. If you do not have these academic qualifications, you could still be offered a place on this course if you can show evidence of the potential to succeed based on professional and/or related experiences.

Months of entry

September

Course content

This course is designed to develop the professional and field skills, including identification and survey techniques, required for effective conservation. It will familiarise you with the key ecological concepts underlying evidence-based conservation. You will produce professional reports and assessments and undertake monitoring of species and communities. You will also gain additional skills essential for conservation practitioners, for example:
  • knowledge of international and national wildlife legislation, planning law and environmental policy
  • IT competencies, including Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • an understanding of the ecological requirements of different species and the implications of environmental change
  • an ability to statistically interpret field data.

The course has two pathways: one is focused on conservation within the UK/EU and the other focuses on conservation at the International level.

Conservation Ecology is a modular master's course designed to provide you with a thorough understanding of theoretical and practical skills required for proficiency in conservation ecology.

Different subject areas relating to conservation are taught and assessed separately through assignments, presentations and project reports. It is organised on a module-credit basis, with each 20 M-level credit module representing approximately 200 hours of student input. This includes approximately 36 hours of staff contact, normally timetabled through three-hour teaching blocks over the two 12-week semesters.

As the course is also offered on a part-time basis, we encourage applications from professionals in conservation organisations and environmental consultancies who wish to upgrade their qualifications.

Teaching focuses on current issues in conservation associated with environmental change, species identification and survey techniques, key theoretical underpinning of conservation ecology, and national and international wildlife legislation, GIS, human-wildlife conflicts, biodiversity assessment and environmental impact assessment. By completing this course you will gain an ability to statistically interpret field data, organise your work and communicate to a variety of audiences. You will also be taught research methods and career development to help you transfer your skills to the work environment.

Early in Semester 1 you will plan your research project. You will work with your tutor to design a project that best suits your interests and needs. We encourage project work to be carried out with external research organisations and conservation practitioners, many of whom we have strong links with, or with research groups within, Oxford Brookes University.

You will achieve an MSc degree on successful completion of all the course modules including the research project. A Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded for completion of course modules without the research project, and a Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded for completion of 60 level 7 credits. To complete an MSc you need to obtain 180 level 7 credits and for a PGDip 120 level 7 credits. For a PGCert you need to obtain 60 level 7 credits.

The following core modules are compulsory for all three qualifications.

For the EU/UK conservation pathway:

  • Taxonomy and Identification (20 level 7 credits) develops taxonomic skills by asking you to focus on the processes of identification of species and recognition of key characteristics of selected taxonomic groups. Skills are learned through practical studies in the field and the use of collections and appropriate taxonomic tools.
  • Ecology for Conservation (20 level 7 credits) introduces appropriate theory and methods together with examination of areas of controversy and best practice for habitat and species conservation and monitoring.
  • Ecosystem Degradation and Management (20 level 7 credits) considers the nature and extent of ecosystem degradation resulting from human activities and the methods for conserving and restoring degraded ecosystems.

For the International pathway:

  • Ecology for Conservation (20 level 7 credits) introduces appropriate theory and methods together with examination of areas of controversy and best practice for habitat and species conservation and monitoring.
  • International Legislation, Humans and Wildlife (20 level 7 credits) examines the role of international legislation in wildlife conservation and trade, and standard methods for assessing the status of species and habitats, together with a consideration of the role of human-wildlife conflicts in conservation.
  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (20 level 7 credits) introduces the methods and practices of biodiversity assessment at large spatial scales and examines the essential role the components of biodiversity have in providing services for humankind.

The following core module is compulsory for the MSc and PGDip (both routes):

  • Career Development and Research Skills (20 level 7 credits) looks at the practical aspects of scientific work, such as designing and analysing experiments and presenting proposals for research and results to prospective employers.

For the MSc and PGDip you need to obtain 40 level 7 credits from any of the following modules:

For the EU/UK conservation pathway:

  • GIS and Environmental Modelling (20 level 7 credits) looks at the practical application of GIS and other computer-based techniques and models as tools to assist in environmental decision making.
  • Procedures and Methods of EIA (40 level 7 credits) examines the procedures and methods of environmental impact assessments.
  • Molecular Biology (20 level 7 credits) introduces core practical skills within molecular biology, to give a firm grounding in the practical aspects of molecular biology that can be applied to problems in conservation biology.
  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (20 level 7 credits) introduces the methods and practices of biodiversity assessment at large spatial scales and examines the essential role the components of biodiversity have in providing services for humankind.

For the International pathway:

  • Taxonomy and Identification (20 level 7 credits): see above for details
  • GIS and Environmental Modelling (20 level 7 credits): see above for details
  • Genetic and Population Management (20 level 7 credits) 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. Principles of molecular and population genetics are placed in a practical context, and the skills of DNA sequencing and the use of micro-satellites and random sequencing techniques to assess genetic relationships are developed.
  • Conservation Education (20 level 7 credits) provides the knowledge base required for effective conservation action is reviewed. This module centres on practical ways of conveying information about environmental decline and how public understanding is essential for effective conservation.

For the MSc, you also undertake:

  • Research Project (60 level 7 credits): this involves an individual research study on a selected topic in Conservation Ecology.

NB: As courses are reviewed regularly, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown here.

Information for international students

If your first language is not English, you must satisfy our English language requirements by providing us with evidence of a minimum IELTS score of 6.5

Fees and funding

Please see https://www.brookes.ac.uk/studying-at-brookes/finance/

Qualification and course duration

MSc

full time
12 months
part time
24 months

PGDip

full time
8 months
part time
20 months

PGCert

part time
8 months
full time
8 months

Course contact details

Name
Programme Administrator
Email
conservationecology@brookes.ac.uk
Phone
+44 (0)1865 483826