MSc Ecotourism

Postgraduate, Part-time

Explore the impact of humans on the environment and gain the practical skills and knowledge required to develop sustainable ecotourism.

  • Napier code:

    74705MM

  • Course type:

    Part-time

  • Duration:

    Up to 4 years

  • Award:

    MSc

  • Location:

    Sighthill campus

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Course introduction

Ecotourism has the potential to enable communities to benefit from the economic and social aspects of tourism while reducing impacts on the environment and wildlife.

This part-time course takes a science framework and adds a business perspective in order to give those involved in green tourism the ecological background to inform their management decisions.

It builds on the experience of staff working worldwide in nature based tourism and wildlife conservation to help develop sustainable livelihoods through the conservation of communities and natural resources.


ecotourism

You’ll gain a variety of both scientific and business skills including ecological field skills, contract tendering, questionnaire design and analysis, community engagement approaches, proposal and report writing.

An understanding of the diversity of living organisms and their taxonomy is a core component of this course, together with an appreciation of the impact of humans on their environment.

The practical and applied nature of this course encourages the development of generic skills including communication, IT (GIS, R), problem solving, statistical analysis, research and team-working, all designed to enhance your employability.

You’ll benefit from an intensive field course to help embed practical skills in sampling, identification and data analysis. It is likely there will be a choice of two field courses; one abroad (probably in Tobago for two weeks) with an additional cost (approximately £1,400) and one in Scotland for three weeks with minimal associated costs. These usually take place in early May.

The course is studied part-time. The number of modules taken each trimester can vary to suit your availability. If you are eligible for a SAAS loan, then you'll need to study the taught modules over two academic years, otherwise you could take up to three years. In either case, you'll have a further two trimesters in which to complete your research project.

You can choose to start in either September or January. However, the development of theory and practice are best facilitated with a September start.

Subjects include

  • Scientific methods
  • Humans and wildlife
  • Field and laboratory skills

Plus a choice of one module from

  • Environmental management for ecotourism
  • Tourism concepts and issues
  • Managing heritage tourism

And also two modules from

  • Case studies in international tourism
  • Management of aquatic protected areas
  • Experience design and management for tourism, hospitality and events
  • Natural area tourism
In addition you will undertake a research project on a subject of your choice.

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Owing to its multidisciplinary nature, our graduates have gained employment in a variety of areas including green education, guiding, environmental events management, government agencies (e.g. SNH, DFID), independent non-governmental wildlife organisations and charities (e.g. RSPB, RZSS) and environmental consultancy.

Some of our graduates have set up their own companies.


The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at a 2:2 or above, or equivalent. We look for applicants to have a background in Biology, Tourism, Geography, Zoology in order to be eligible for the programme.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient and relevant work experience within this industry.

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.



Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We are committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.


Tuition fees
Students from 2017/18 2018/19
Home/EU-Taught modules *£570 *£890
Home/EU-Dissertation module £350 £530
Overseas Taught Modules *£1,893 *£1,950
Overseas Dissertation £1,262 £1,300
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Fees for modules are calculated according to the number of credits (multiples of 20). The rate shown in the table is for 20 credits*.
This course comprises of 180 credits from taught modules and a dissertation. The total fee you will pay is dependant upon the exit award you wish to achieve.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

The Field & Laboratory Skills module includes a field course component. Currently, one option is held in Tobago in May and costs approximately £1400 in addition to the module fee. However, this may be subject to change.

An alternative experience runs in Scotland with minimal cost.

Modules that you will study as part of this course*

Field and Laboratory Skills ( ENV11108 )

A series of practical sessions in the field and lab will be followed by a residential field course during which students will conduct (under supervision) sampling/monitoring in terrestrial and aquatic habitats with identification and enumeration of various taxa. Habitat and species specific methods related to terrestrial invertebrates, aquatic invertebrates, small mammals, birds and plants will be covered. Students will be tested on the key employability skills of species identification and report writing.

Further information

Humans and Wildlife ( ENV11101 )

Topics include ecotourism, wildlife guiding and environmental education. Aspects of urban ecology, community engagement and social research in conservation, relate directly to the challenges of land management in an urban setting which forms one of the assessments. Agricultural ecology and examples of human-wildlife conflict around the world are also studied in relation to wildlife law and economics. The Yellowstone National Park reintroduction of wolves acts as a case study in protected area management.

Further information

Research Project ( ENV11117 )

In this module you will design and conduct an independent research project. This may be a field or lab based study, a data analysis project or a piece of qualitative research (e.g. questionnaires). This involves design, development and implementation of a programme of research in a particular field of study relevant to your interests. You will critically analyse data/information generated, and communicate the outcomes in a research paper, which will develop your skills in scientific writing. You are encouraged to develop a project which meets your constraints in terms of location, funding and interests. Projects can be undertaken independently (provided health and safety concerns are met) or in collaboration with organisations locally or around the world. As a full-time (FT) student, you will have one trimester to complete the module. If you are a part-time or distance learning student (PT/DL), you will have 2 trimesters to complete. In either case, you will develop a project proposal and complete any necessary risk assessments and ethics procedures prior to getting under way. In the case of FT students this proposal should be submitted by week 3 of the trimester while PT/DL students submit by week 5. In all cases, you should submit your final research paper by the end of week 13 of the appropriate trimester. If your project idea cannot be completed in the trimester when you are due to take this module e.g. your focal species is not active at that time of year, you should consult staff as to possible options.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

MSc Ecotourism graduate Angelika on working for the Scottish Forestry Commission