Taught course

Conservation Studies (MSc)

University of St Andrews · Graduate School

Entry requirements

A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree.

Depending on your intended focus, your undergraduate degree might be in a scientific or numerate discipline, such as:

  • biology
  • oceanography
  • geosciences
  • physics
  • computer science
  • applied mathematics
  • statistics
  • economics.

Applicants with a degree in any of the following disciplines will also be considered:

  • sustainable development
  • conservation
  • history
  • philosophy
  • international relations
  • anthropology
  • sociology.

Months of entry


Course content

The MSc in Conservation Studies is a one year interdisciplinary Masters degree that brings together students from a range of backgrounds but with a shared passion for conservation.


  • The interdisciplinary approach means you can explore a range of methodological approaches to conservation – ecological, economic, historical, etc.
  • You will gain a scientific understanding of data collection and analysis and engage with issues in conservation policy at different scales.
  • An ideal opportunity to research ecological case studies and examples from a range of habitats in aquatic and terrestrial systems.
  • Students complete a practically orientated summer research project which can be undertaken in collaboration with an external organisation involved in conservation work.

The growing understanding of ecosystems, ecosystem services, and biodiversity suggests that conservation of the environment is crucial to humankind's survival. However, there are significant challenges to effective conservation.

Firstly, there is a need for further advances in scientific understanding and data collection. The MSc Conservation Studies provides advanced training in data collection and analysis and the design of ecological studies with the opportunity for you to develop field work, mathematical computing, and experimental skills.

Secondly, there is the need to inform and engage the public, managers, and decision makers. On the MSc Conservation Studies you will explore conflicts between different human agencies, engage with conservation policy and governance at different scales (local, national, and international), and consider the relationship between the public, science, and policy.

The MSc Conservation Studies is distinguished by its interdisciplinary character and involves academic staff from the following Schools:

  • Biology
  • Classics
  • Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Geography and Sustainable Development
  • History
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Philosophical, Anthropological, and Film Studies.

You will be encouraged to use ideas from different disciplines to illuminate present day conservation debates with a view to mediating what can appear to be irreconcilable differences of opinion.

Teaching format

The MSc degree requires two semesters of full-time coursework, normally equivalent to six modules.

The course involves both independent and group study. Modules have different methods of delivery, including:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • practical classes.

Assessments include:

  • written assignments
  • practical work
  • presentations
  • creating podcasts.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students
EU: £8,500 Overseas: £20,980

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate Secretary
+44 (0)1334 46 2032