Conservation Ecology, M.Sc.

  • Application Deadline
  • 12 months
  • English (book IELTS)
University rank #361 (QS) ,
This Conservation Ecology course at Oxford Brookes University 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 Conservation Ecology course at Oxford Brookes University has two pathways: one is focused on conservation within the UK/EU and the other focuses on conservation at the International level.

Why choose this course?
  • Our lecturers conduct first-class research in conservation ecology.
  • We have strong links with many conservation organisations and research institutions, such as the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, RSPB, Fauna and Flora International, TRAFFIC and Conservation International, providing excellent project opportunities and enhancing career prospects.
  • Focusing on the practical application of theory means graduates can adapt quickly to the demands of the conservation professions. We develop your field skills including identification techniques, required when undertaking biodiversity surveys.
  • Research-informed teaching keeps our students up to date with the latest thinking. Equipping you with current conservation legislation and practice is essential in the context of rapidly-changing demands on land use.
  • We develop your transferable skills, particularly communication, organisation and research planning, which will assist you when carrying out your project and prepare you for a career in conservation ecology.
  • On successful completion of the MSc, you will be able to apply for graduate membership of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.


Professional accreditation

CIEEM accreditation indicates that a key professional body recognises that we offer our students the opportunity to develop the key skills needed for employment in conservation ecology. Additionally our students have access to vital information about current developments in ecology and consultancy and can benefit from all that CIEEM offers.

Programme Structure

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.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Full-time duration 12 months
    • Average part-time duration 24 months
    • Intensity Flexible
  • Credits
    90 ECTS
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Book IELTS

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Academic Requirements

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.

English language requirements

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.

Tuition Fee

  • International Applies to you

    14070 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 14070 GBP per year and a duration of 12 months.
  • EU/EEA Applies to you

    7080 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 7080 GBP per year and a duration of 12 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.
  • Home / EU full-time on-campus fee: £7,080
  • Home / EU part-time on-campus fee: £3,610
  • International full-time on-campus fee: £14,070
  • Where part time fees are quoted there will be approximately a 2% increase on fees each year

Living costs for Oxford

  • 939 - 1530 GBP/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Sources of Funding for Postgraduate UK and EU students

  • Postgraduate support scheme 2015
  • John Henry Brookes Scholarships
  • Santander Scholarships
  • Faculty or Department Taught Masters Scholarships
  • de Rohan Scholarship 2015
  • Alumnus, Friends and Family Discount Schemes
  • Bursaries from External Organisations 2014-15
  • University Research Studentships
  • Public funding
Funding options for postgraduate international students
  • Oxford Brookes offers a range of scholarships to international postgraduate students who pay international fees.
  • John Henry Brookes Scholarships 2016
  • Santander Scholarships 2016
  • Alumnus Discount Scheme
  • Faculty or Department Taught Masters Scholarships
  • Pre-master's Academic Excellence Scholarships (for master's students beginning Sep 2016)
  • de Rohan Scholarship 2016
  • British Council GREAT Britain Scholarship India 2015 - 16
  • Family Discount
  • Visa Discount
  • Funding for Research Degrees
  • Gaza Scholarship Scheme 2016

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