MSc Wildlife Biology & Conservation

Postgraduate, Part-time

Wildlife Biology & Conservation MSc



Our course is the first course in Scotland to be accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.

Overview

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.

This is the first and only degree in Scotland to be accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM).

Our graduates have gone on to work for environmental consultancies, government agencies and independent wildlife organisations nationally and internationally.
Feral cat in the wild

Mode of Study:

Part-time (available as Full-time Distance learning)

Duration:

3-4 years

Start date:

Sep

Course details

This course has been designed in conjunction with employers and professional bodies. The main focus is on the development of practical employability skills. In recognition of the strong practical and employability focus, this is the first and only degree in Scotland to be accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), meaning you'll graduate with an accredited MSc.

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

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

Field course

You’ll need to be available to participate in a two-week intensive field course (usually in early May) based in Scotland to help embed practical skills in sampling, identification (plants, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, small mammals, birds) and data analysis. 

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.

Lead academics

The core academic team boast a wide range of skills and research interests. Staff include: 

  • Patrick White  (population dynamics, habitat utilisation, GIS, birds) 
  • Jason Gilchrist (behavioural ecology and biodiversity) 
  • Rob Briers (conservation planning, GIS and aquatic ecology)
  • Jay Mackinnon (botany, environmental education, social research)
  • Gavin Ballantyne (pollination ecology) 
  • Paul Ward (population and habitat modelling)

Application guidance 

This programme is not designed to be a conversion course. The full-time and part-time programmes are accredited with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and consequently carry detailed entry expectations which are likely to be met if you have a science-based Bachelor (Honours) Degree at 2:2 or above, preferably including aspects of ecology/zoology/environmental management. If you have good experience in data analysis, statistics, Geographical Information systems (GIS), you may also be considered but you should be able to demonstrate efforts made to gain knowledge and skills across several of the CIEEM criteria.

If you intend to apply, please consult the Personal Statement Guidance document (PDF) which includes the CIEEM criteria and be sure to construct your personal statement according to the format specified. Failing to do so will result in your application being deemed ineligible. 

 

  • calendar How you’ll be taught

    The course is studied part-time with attendance and takes up to 4 years to complete depending on the start date and study rate. 

    You'll learn by a variety of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions, field trips and independent study, supported with information on the virtual learning environment, Moodle. While the programme is predominantly based around face-to-face campus and field activity, some of the online technology adopted over recent years will be integrated into the programme. 

    The programme seeks to allow you to study at a pace which fits with your other commitments. View the part-time programme structure document (PDF) for more information. 

    Modules for part-time standard study rate:

    Year 1

    Humans and Wildlife (ENV11101)

    Management of Aquatic Protected Areas (ENV11112)

    Year 2

    Scientific Methods (ENV11109)

    Biodiversity and Conservation (ENV11100)

    Year 3

    Principles of Wildlife Management (ENV11116)andCase Studies in Applied Ecology (ENV11115) both 10 credit modules

    Field and Lab Skills (ENV11108) – attendance required

    Project (ENV11117) (60 credits)

    Year 4

    Project

    A link to the descriptor for each module can be found by using the module code to search on Module Search. Note that info on the learning, teaching and assessment strategy is revealed by clicking on the ‘View Full details’ link within each descriptor.

     

  • note and pen Assessments

    There are no traditional centrally timetabled exams. Instead, you will work on a variety of relevant professional tasks, both written and oral.

    Assessments include a zoning document, a biodiversity report and a development proposal. Taxonomic identification and statistical analysis are key skills which are assessed using time limited supervised tests. In addition, you will produce several audio-visual presentations including a research pitch.

  • library Facilities

    We 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.

Modules

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 ( BMS11102 )

In this module you will conduct an independent piece of research, either as a practical laboratory-based project, or a piece of qualitative research (e.g. surveys). This involves design, development and implementation of a programme of research in a particular field of study relevant to your programme of study. You will critically analyse data/information generated, and communicate the outcomes in a written report, which will develop your skills in scientific writing. This will give you experience in summarising information and presentation skills.
On-line literature searches. Literature review. Project formulation. Hypothesis generation. Experimental design. Development of practical skills/research technique. Data generation/collection and analysis. Use of appropriate statistical analysis. Evaluation of findings, critical analysis and conclusions, with reference to supporting literature. Communication of original research results in a report written in the style of a scientific paper.



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.

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Disclaimer

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

Placement and study abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

A Bachelor (Honours) Degree at 2:2 or above, including aspects of ecology/biology.

The University does not sponsor students to study on part-time programmes in the UK under the Student Visa route. International Applicants must therefore have other valid immigration leave to study on this programme.

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 international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MSc Nursing (Pre-registration) (Adult, Mental Health, Child, Learning Disabilities)
  • 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 2022/23 2023/24
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland-Taught modules *£1,020 tba
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland-60credit Dissertation module £600 tba
Overseas and EU-Taught Modules *£2,390 tba
Overseas and EU-60credit Dissertation £1,608 tba

Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next.
For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees

Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

Fees for modules are calculated according to the number of credits (multiples of 20). The rate shown in the table is for 20 credits*. The total fee you will pay is dependant upon the exit award you wish to achieve.
The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


Careers

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.

Jobs include:

  • Ecologist
  • Wildlife ranger
  • Education officer
  • Conservation project officer
  • Wildlife Technician
  • Species licensing officer

Our network of alumni have developed  careers with organisations such as:

Students amongst green vegetation learning at Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden