Taught course

Conservation Leadership

University of Cambridge · Department of Geography

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Entry requirements

At least a UK 2:1 honours degree or equivalent and with at least three to five years of relevant postgraduate work experience.

Months of entry


Course content

The MPhil in Conservation Leadership is a full-time, 11-month Master's course aimed at graduates of leadership potential with at least three to five years of relevant professional experience, either in employment or in a voluntary capacity. The unique features of this course are its delivery by a partnership between several university departments and conservation organisations based around Cambridge, and its focus on issues of management and leadership. Consequently, the course aims to deliver a world-class and interdisciplinary education in conservation leadership that is not available elsewhere.

The MPhil in Conservation Leadership aims to train students to address the challenges of biodiversity conservation in an integrated and interdisciplinary manner. The goal is not only to develop conservationists with greater awareness of the complex drivers of biodiversity loss, but to develop the ability to act and lead effectively. This includes the development of professional management and leadership skills including strategic planning, finance and accounting, managing people, innovation, entrepreneurship and the management of change. The course fosters and develops the leadership of its students by promoting their capacity to understand the links among the drivers of biodiversity loss, and to think creatively about conservation solutions across organisational and political boundaries and economic sectors, and by developing their confidence and maturity of judgment.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the 11 months, students taking the MPhil in Conservation Leadership will be expected to have:

  • Applied leadership and management skills, including strategic planning, finance and accounting, leading and inspiring people, entrepreneurship and the management of change;
  • Communication skills required by conservation leaders, including oral presentation skills, face to face networking and advocacy skills and broadcast media interview skills;
  • Familiarity with various theories of leadership relevant to conservation, and the ability to critically analyse their strengths and weaknesses;
  • Familiarity with debates across the social and natural sciences concerning the root causes of ecosystem change and biodiversity decline and alternative proposals for addressing these causes;
  • Familiarity with the structure and function of contemporary conservation and alternative conservation tools and approaches, and the ability to critically analyse their strengths and weaknesses;
  • The ability to apply theoretical insights to create practical solutions to specific conservation problems in a real-world context;
  • The ability to distinguish between different scientific perspectives that inform policy debates, and to exercise judgement in the interpretation of conflicting evidence;
  • The ability to synthesise information from across a range of academic disciplines, and to summarise this in a manner that is accessible to different audiences;
  • The ability to manage time and work to deadlines, both individually and in a team;
  • The ability to plan, execute and manage a project, both individually and in a team.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPhil
    full time
    11 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details