MSc Wildlife Biology and Conservation

Postgraduate, Distance Learning

Designed in conjunction with employers, this practical course will provide you with the skills and knowledge to help manage and conserve biodiversity.

  • Napier code:

    74708MM

  • Course type:

    Distance Learning

  • Duration:

    ~3.5 years

  • Award:

    MSc

  • Location:

    Distance learning

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Course introduction

The greatest challenge facing conservation biologists today is the preservation of the world’s biodiversity in the face of considerable human demands on space and resources.

By combining the disciplines of wildlife biology and conservation biology, experienced staff will help you develop and apply both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to address this challenge.

Our graduates have gone on to work for government agencies and independent wildlife organisations nationally and internationally.

This is a distance learning course, offering you the flexibility to learn at your own pace and place, possibly alongside work in the conservation industry.


wild life biology

This course has been designed in conjunction with employers and professional bodies. The main focus is on the development of practical employability skills. Although it does not replicate the experience of on-campus students, your attendance and participation on the field course, together with independent field work will help to develop your competence in these essential aspects.

In addition to studying relevant theory, you’ll have the opportunity to develop:

  • advanced analytical skills for population investigation and management
  • practical skills used in identifying, quantifying and assessing biodiversity
  • transferable skills including communication, IT (GIS, R, Mark, Estimate S), problem solving, research and team working

As one of your last taught modules, you'll need to be able to join with full-time students for a three-week intensive field course based in Scotland to help embed practical skills in sampling, identification (plants, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, small mammals, birds) and data analysis.

In addition, guided visits to several sites and talks from managers will highlight how conservation and management are informed by the aims and objectives of the site owners. This usually takes place in early May.

Our staff have years of experience working worldwide in wildlife conservation and consultancy and are keen to help you develop your potential. In addition, external speakers from a range of government agencies, charities and consultancies share their experiences and give insights into career options.

The course is studied part-time by distance learning utilising a range of online learning materials. The number of modules taken each trimester can vary to suit your time availability. The typical rate is 20 credits per trimester which means you will take three academic years to complete the 120 taught credits.

You'll then have a further two trimesters in which to complete a research project which you can develop to suit your geographic location and goals.

With the support and guidance of our tutors you’ll develop an individualised programme of study that best suits you.

Subjects include

  • Principles of wildlife management
  • Scientific methods
  • Humans and wildlife
  • Biodiversity and conservation
  • Management of aquatic protected areas
  • Field and laboratory skills
  • Modelling wildlife populations or case studies in applied ecology

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.

Returning graduates, who share their experience of the work environment each year, have emphasised the importance of the skills gained from the course in their subsequent success.

You could develop a career with government agencies such as Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural England, non-governmental agencies and charities such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Wildlife Trusts or private consultancies.


An Honours degree at 2:2 or above in zoology, ecology or a related subject such as environmental science, wildlife biology, aquatic or animal biology, conservation or land management.

Equivalent qualifications will be considered as will appropriate experience gained in the wildlife biology and conservation or related industries.


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 on our nursing courses.

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 2016/17 2017/18
Home/EU-Taught modules *£570 *£570
Home/EU-Dissertation module £350 £350
Overseas-Taught modules *£1,893 *£1,893
Overseas-Dissertation module £1,262 £1,262
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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