2020 start

Biodiversity and Conservation

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, Faculty of Science

Develop fundamental knowledge about major conservation issues and their human and environmental drivers, including marine plastics, urbanisation, tropical logging and the balance between sustainable food production and biodiversity.
Biodiversity and conservation

Course description

This 12-month MSc course prepares you for a career protecting biodiversity in a range of natural, agricultural and urban ecosystems around the world. Throughout your course, you'll be in the field learning about conservation issues and the constraints posed by budgets, policy and legislation. Through fieldwork in the Peak District, you'll receive training in the principles of experimental design and data collection, equipping you with the key skills to plan and manage your own scientific projects.

You'll develop an understanding of how environmental change can impact biodiversity and how the effective management of ecosystems can positively impact both biodiversity and the ecosystem itself.

You’ll conduct an Independent Research Project, spending three months researching an area of biodiversity or conservation that matches your future career aspirations. You could be field-based, lab-based or complete a computational data-driven project, tackling topics such as urbanisation, ecosystem services, tropical deforestation, and marine conservation.

After your degree

Graduates of the MSc are well-equipped to pursue a range of career opportunities in policy-making, research and academia.

Possible career paths include working on conservation or sustainability programmes within government, NGOs or in the private sector. You could pursue a career in academia, inspiring the next generation as a university teacher or solving pressing problems through research in higher education.

Teaching and learning changes for 2020-21

Due to the coronavirus pandemic we have made some changes to teaching and learning for this course in the 2020-21 academic year.

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Core modules

  • Field Biology
  • Global Conservation Issues
  • Agricultural Ecology in a Changing World
  • Changing Global Ecosystems
  • Biodiversity in Space and Time
  • Scientific Skills and Project Management
  • Literature Review
  • Independent Research Project


You’ll learn through a combination of fieldwork, laboratory classes, lectures, seminars and problem-solving classes.


Assessment includes, but is not limited to, oral presentations, essays, fieldwork, reflective journal entries, examinations, coursework, a portfolio and a dissertation.


1 year full-time

Biodiversity and Conservation student

For my independent research project I worked with the RSPB. The aim was to understand how targeted management interventions had affected food availability for Eurasian curlew. The mix of field and lab work allowed me access to a breadth of different scientific processes.

Nathaniel Dargue

Entry requirements

A 2:2 honours degree, or equivalent, in biological sciences or a related subject.

English language requirements

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.


You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now


+44 114 222 0123

The course information set out here may change before you begin, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the start date.