MSc in Conservation Biology
Manchester Metropolitan University
Manchester, United Kingdom
1 - 2 year
Full time, Part time
GBP 19,000 / per year *
Earliest start date
* UK and Channel Island students: £10,000 per year | EU and non-EU International students: £19,000 per year
The world’s habitats are undergoing rapid transformation. The impacts of climate change are causing species extinction at an unprecedented rate. Conservation biology as a discipline looks at the science behind these changes – including the identification of ecosystems at risk, ways of conserving biodiversity, and the role of genetics and demography.
With our masters, you’ll tackle all that and more, gaining the knowledge and skills for a career at the forefront of conservation. You’ll explore the scientific background to species conservation and the factors driving extinction. You’ll also look at the sustainable use of resources and learn valuable statistical techniques for analysing ecological data. With a range of option units, you’ll be able to specialise in areas like Species Recovery and Monitoring Habitats & Species Responses to Environmental Change
But this course is as much about practice as it is about theory. While the core units include a field course to a European destination or Tanzania*, your master's project also has a practical focus, demanding in-depth research before you present your findings.
Throughout, you’ll be supported by experienced academics who bring their real-world expertise directly to the classroom as you prepare to make your own way in the world of conservation, The international focus of this degree is a career journey that could take you across the globe.
*All overseas field courses are subject to any international travel restrictions and/or availability. The University follows the latest government guidance and if required, the overseas trip may be replaced with a UK alternative field course.
Features and benefits
- Recognised conservation biology expertise – We’re aligned with the Ecology and Environment Research Centre which aims to tackle the effect of humans on our planet, and provide coping strategies to deal with the inevitable changes that take place
- Learn alongside world-leading researchers - 100% of our research impact from our Ecology and Environment Research Centre is world-leading or internationally excellent and we are ranked 5th in the UK for impact in Environmental Science (REF 2021).
- Flexible learning - Make time for research, lab work and independent studies thanks to a flexible course that includes evening lectures, all backed up by our online learning platform, Moodle.
- Expert teaching - Learn from a passionate community of teaching staff who bring extensive experience in field research into the classroom to shape your studies.
- Overseas fieldwork opportunities - Gain valuable practical experience in ecological and data collection techniques through our Field Course Unit, with the opportunity to visit some of the most famous wildlife sites in the world, including the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park.
- Hone your research skills – You’ll have the opportunity to carry out your research in association with staff projects across the world or with partner organisations such as conservation bodies and zoos.
- Excellent on-site research facilities - We are home to one of the UK’s only university-based Amphibian Conservation Research Facility, which works with zoos to determine the best way to keep amphibians in captivity and halt their ongoing decline.
You'll study a range of core units – including your field course and research project. You’ll start off with core units exploring areas such as biodiversity conservation, statistical analysis, and conservation genetics.
The course allows you to delve into the specialist areas that interest you most, including option units like Behavioural Biology, Species Recovery, and Avian Biology Conservation. The course delivery is flexible, with most lectures taking place in the evenings. Lectures, other course materials and assessment information is available via Moodle, our online learning platform. You will be assessed mostly through coursework, although some units have a formal examination.
During the Field Course unit, you'll gain valuable practical experience in ecological and data collection techniques. This unit could take you to visit some of the most famous wildlife sites in the world, including locations in Tanzania, or across Europe.
If you choose to attend our two-week Tanzania Field Course, which takes place in June/July each year, you may visit the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park. We study some of the human impacts on, and management issues in, these protected areas as well as some of the factors affecting group size and mating systems of large mammals.
While your final masters-level dissertation could also involve international travel for gathering data and conducting research. You may have an opportunity to stay for up to eight weeks at one of our research bases in Tanzania, Ecuador or Kenya in order to collect data for your research project.
MSc students are currently involved in a number of research studies, including on:
- developing a citizen Science Project for the Ngorongoro Crater
- the impact of bush meat hunting on the forest fauna in Cameroon
- factors affecting the decline of the endemic speckled wood butterfly (Pararge xiphia) on the island of Madeira
- optimising DNA preservation and extraction for the Manchester large heath butterfly
- patterns of online trading in declining songbirds across Java
- ex-situ amphibian conservation
- rewilding in Kent with the Wildwood Trust
- restoration of bog plants to degraded peatlands
You'll study seven core units, including a practical Field Course and a Research Dissertation. Plus, choose from a range of optional units to tailor your learning which may include:
- Behavioural Biology (30 credits)
- Avian Biology & Conservation (15 credits)
- Species Recovery (15 credits)
- Dissertation (Conservation)
- Practical Techniques And Analysis
- Topics In Organismal Genetics
- Topics In Conservation And Sustainability
- Field Course
- Biodiversity Conservation
- Statistics And Research Design
- Behavioural Biology
- Species Recovery
Additional information about this course
To graduate with a ‘taught’ MSc in Conservation Biology you’ll complete a total of 180 credits. This is made up of six 15-credit (core) units, a 60-credit Dissertation and 30 credits of ‘option’ units.
This is a course that can open a wide range of career paths and professional possibilities, providing a route into ecological consultancy, wildlife trusts, local authorities, government departments, conservation NGOs, animal management, pest control, teaching, environmental education, PhD level study and more.
While it provides the skills and understanding you’ll need to take your first steps in this area, it’s also a valuable option if you’re already in a relevant role – with many students studying our master's courses as part of their professional development.
Some of our graduates have gone into roles for organisations such as Defra, Natural England, Peak District National Park, the BBC, RSPCA, RSPB, Zoos and Aquaria.
Careers support is available from the moment you join us, and for up to three years after you finish your course. Dedicated careers and employability advisors in the Department and the University Careers Service will help you find the role that’s right for you.