Conservation Ecology is designed to develop the professional and field skills, including identification and survey techniques, required for effective conservation. It is also designed to familiarize you with the key concepts underlying evidence-based conservation.
In this course, you will produce professional reports and assessments and undertake monitoring of species and communities. You will also gain additional skills, essential for conservation practitioners, for example:
Knowledge of international and national wildlife legislation, planning law and environmental policy;
IT competencies, including Geographical Information Systems (GIS);
An understanding of the ecological requirements of different species and the implications of environmental change;
An ability to statistically interpret field data.
In Conservation Ecology different subject areas relating to conservation are taught and assessed separately through assignments, presentations and project reports. It is organised on a module-credit basis, with each 20 M-level credit module representing approximately 200 hours of student input. This includes approximately 36 hours of staff contact, normally timetabled through three-hour teaching blocks over the two 12-week semesters.
The course is also offered on a part-time basis and we encourage applications from professionals in conservation organisations and environmental consultancies who wish to upgrade their qualifications.
Teaching focuses on current issues in conservation associated with environmental change, species identification and survey techniques, the key theoretical underpinning of conservation ecology and national and international wildlife legislation, GIS, human-wildlife conflicts, biodiversity assessment and environmental impact assessment. By completing this course you gain an ability to statistically interpret field data and develop your abilities to organise your work and communicate to a variety of audiences. You will also be taught about research methods and career development, to help you to transfer your skills to the work environment.
Early in Semester 1 you will plan your research project. You will work with your tutor to design a research project that best suits your interests and needs. We encourage project work to be carried out with external research organisations and conservation practitioners, many of whom we have strong links with, or with research groups within Oxford Brookes University.
You will achieve an MSc degree on successful completion of all the course modules including the research project. A Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded for completion of course modules without the research project, and a Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded for completion of 60 level 7 credits. To complete an MSc you need to obtain 180 level 7 credits and for a PGDip 120 level 7 credits. For a PGCert you need to obtain 60 level 7 credits.
Teaching and learning methods reflect the wide variety of topics associated with conservation ecology, and include field visits and exercises, lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, practical exercises, laboratory sessions and project work. A key component of the course is developing field skills, including species identification. Identification techniques are taught in the field and in laboratory sessions, using expertise from the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences and, where appropriate, from the University of Oxford Museum of Natural History.
Where appropriate you will be taught by guest speakers who are conservation practitioners or who work in conservation research organisations. Some parts of the course share modules with master’s provision in Environmental Assessment and Management and also in Primate Conservation. This cross-disciplinary nature for certain aspects of the course is a key strength.
We use the varied landscape of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire as our natural laboratory, and the course has a large practical component, developing survey and assessment methods as well as identification skills. This landscape is used to illustrate major conservation issues as well. Most of this field work is conducted as part of the modules but we also have a field skills based period at the end of the taught component of the course and offer opportunities to work towards gaining specialist licences, which are invaluable for consultancy work.
We encourage you to conduct your research project with conservation organisations or with one of our research groups. We have good links with a range of national and local conservation organisations. On successful completion of this MSc, you will be eligible to apply for graduate membership of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management. With an additional two years' work experience, you will be eligible to apply for associate membership.
International Student Requirements:
If your first language is not English, you must satisfy our English language requirements by providing us with evidence of a minimum IELTS score of 6.5, TOEFL score of 575 (paper-based) or 90 (internet-based).