MSc Ecotourism

Postgraduate, Full-time

Ecotourism MSc



Our course looks at exploring the impact humans have on the environment, helping you to gain practical skills to work in ecotourism

Overview

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 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 students at The Water of Leith Centre

Mode of Study:

Full-time (available as Part-time)

Duration:

1 year

Start date:

JanSep

Study Abroad:

Yes


About you
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Course details

You’ll gain a variety of 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 the 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.

Field course

You’ll benefit from an intensive field course to help embed practical skills in sampling, identification and data analysis. This is likely to be based  in Scotland for three weeks in early May with minimal associated costs.

If you do not have a biological background, you need to be aware that science lies at the core of this programme and have an enthusiasm to learn how to study and manage the natural world. Your choice of option module will allow you to develop a 50:50 or 66:33 split between science and business modules.

Lead academics and short bio
  • Jay Mackinnon – skills and interests in environmental education, botany and social research.
  • Stephen Taylor – interested in sustainable development and governance of natural area tourism and adventure tourism.
  • Kathy Velander -broad experience in developing and troubleshooting nature based tourism businesses world-wide including developing the USP, considering potential environmental impacts, assessing training needs and delivering training.
  • calendar How you’ll be taught

    This is a full-time course. The academic year is split into three trimesters with the taught modules running in either tri 1 or 2 only. You can choose to start in either September (tri 1) or January (tri 2). However, the development of theory and practice are best facilitated with a September start.

    Duration:

    • September starts: 12 months
    • January starts: 18 months with a three-month break over the summer (after the first taught trimester)

    You'll be taught using a variety of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials, class discussions, laboratory sessions, field trips and independent study, supported with information on the virtual learning environment.

    As your interests develop through the taught course you'll be able to design a final research project to suit your individual goals.

  • note and pen Assessments

    You will work on a variety of relevant professional tasks, both written and oral. 

    Assessments include a development proposal for a brown field site, a site management critique and several tourism based essays and reports. Taxonomic identification and statistical analysis are key skills. 

    In addition, you will lead a guided tour and present a research proposal pitch.

  • library Facilities

    The science modules are based at the Sighthill Campus where we enjoy excellent well equipped laboratory and IT facilities. In addition, the good transport network around the city allows us to visit and study a range of terrestrial and aquatic habitats within easy reach of the campus.

    Tourism modules are based at the modern Craiglockhart Campus and direct bus routes run between the two sites.

Modules

Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Case Studies in International Tourism ( TSM11105 )

• International Cultural comparison
• Case Study method and comparative research methodologies
• Tourism and Development
• Tourism planning and policy
• Urban and Rural tourism systems;
• Competitiveness and responsible tourism development;
• Ethical issues in international tourism
• Cross-cultural behaviour in tourism
• Global issues and value analysis.

Further information

Entrepreneurship and Natural Area Development ( ENV11118 )

In this module you will use the process of Design Thinking to address an issue related to natural area management. Topics addressed will be based on real problems faced by stakeholders and local communities within these areas. Background material will be presented including: design thinking, information about governance, the role of environmental impact and how social enterprise companies can help address these issues as well as provide greater social benefits for all stakeholders and the wider community. Your assignment will be to design a social enterprise company (including business plan) that will bring benefit to the local community which is environmentally sustainable.

Further information

Festival and Event Management ( TSM11124 )

This module critically engages the students allowing them to consider both the socio-cultural role and economic impacts of international festivals and events, for organisations, policy makers, regions or localities. The module will cover a range of festivals and events within an international context. Major multi-arts, sporting and religious events such as the Edinburgh Festival, Commonwealth Games or Mela's to small localised festivals and one-off events will be critically explored and the audiences for each type of event examined and evaluated. How some festivals and events, not aimed at tourists, have become tourist attractions in recent years will also be explored and challenged . Consideration will also be given to current issues and trends in festivals and events appraising the likely future demand and development of festivals and events worldwide

Further information

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

Management of Aquatic Protected Areas ( ENV11112 )

The module will cover the following topics: marine and freshwater protected area planning, legal and legislative frameworks for the designation of aquatic protected areas, assessing and managing water quantity and quality issues, aquatic-terrestrial linkages, landscape scale approaches and management at the catchment level, the DPSIR (Drivers-Pressures-State-Impacts-Responses) framework for analysis of environmental state and management, catchment management plans, coastal zone management, marine spatial planning, the ecosystem approach to aquatic resource management, including fisheries and sustainable use of aquatic protected areas. Students will also gain skills in the use and application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in the context of managing aquatic protected areas.

Further information

Natural Area Tourism ( TSM11116 )

This module is designed to enable students to understand the challenges associated with developing and managing natural area tourism and how these might be effectively tackled. It commences by exploring and critiquing the anthropocentric and ecocentric perspectives which underpin human stances in relation to tourism and the natural environment. Adopting a global perspective, natural area tourism (NAT) is located within tourism more generally and the specific context of alternative tourism. Ecotourism is critically examined with a view to assessing its role and viability as a means of economic development. The module seeks to identify and critically examine the process of developing and managing tourism in natural areas across its full scope (i.e. adventure; nature based; wildlife; and ecotourism) with a particular emphasis upon the specific sustainability issues associated with each.

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

Scientific Methods ( ENV11109 )

This module has three strands: philosophy and practice of science; statistical analysis and the use of R; an introduction to taxonomy and species ID. Content will include the nature of the literature and scientific method including survey and experimental strategies and the need for replication and controls. Working with people and qualitative research methods involve a different set of ethical and regulatory issues which will also be discussed. Statistical and related methods for analysing and presenting data will be covered in the first half of the module together with taxonomic theory and field and lab sessions looking at a range of taxa.

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.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

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.

International students

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by 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’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2018/19 2019/20
Home/EU £5,850 £6,084
Overseas £15,150 £15,755


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.

Careers

 View of a loch in Summer