PDF version of Conservation MSc

Contact details

Ms Fiona Mannion

Email: f.mannion@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 0575

Fees and funding

UK/EU 2013/14:

£9,000 (FT)

Overseas 2013/14:

£17,000 (FT)

Full details of funding opportunities can be found on the UCL Scholarships website

More information

Prospectus Entry


Key facts

Research Assessment Rating

65% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
(What is the RAE?)

The programme information on this page relates to 2013 entry. 2014 content to appear here shortly. 

Conservation MSc

The Conservation MSc at UCL is widely recognised as the leading programme for aspiring nature conservation professionals. This highly successful degree programme saw its first students graduate in 1960, and nearly 80% of its graduates have gone on to secure posts related to conservation.

Degree summary

What will I learn?

The programme is strongly interdisciplinary and engages with environmental, social and policy dimensions. It has a vocational orientation, with residential field-classes providing first-hand experience of practical conservation challenges. At the same time, the programme provides the scientific rigour needed for evidence-based analysis and understanding of the natural environment.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

The Conservation MSc is run by UCL Geography, which enjoys an outstanding international reputation for its research and teaching.

The programme is unique not only on account of its long history and the resulting extent of its alumni network, but also due to the active involvement of nature conservation professionals in the delivery of course material.

Research groups contributing to this MSc include those concerned with Environmental Change; Environmental Modelling; and Environment, Landscape and Society. The programme also benefits from the participation of staff from a variety of external conservation and environmental organisations.

See subject website for more information:

Degree structure

Availability: Full-time 1 year

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of four core modules (60 credits), four optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, full-time nine months) is offered.

Core Modules

  • Monitoring Conservation Status
  • The Rural Matrix
  • Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis

Options (subject to confirmation)

  • Wetlands
  • Lakes
  • Marine Conservation
  • Coastal Change
  • Environmental GIS
  • Changing Landscapes - Social Sciences
  • Changing Landscapes - Nature Conservation
  • Aquatic Macrophytes
  • Politics of Climate Change


All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and field studies, including a seven-day field study to a coastal site and the option to join a two-week fieldclass to an overseas destination. Assessment is through coursework essays and the dissertation, which includes an oral presentation.

Further details available on subject website:

Entry and application

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applications with relevant professional experience in conservation or environmental management will also be considered.

For overseas equivalencies see the relevant country page.

How to apply

You may choose to apply online or download application materials; for details visit www.ucl.ac.uk/gradapps

We accept applications up until the UCL general application deadline on 3 August, but applicants who require a student visa should submit their programme application before 31 July. Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Students applying for external funding should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

Due to its vocational focus, the programme is particularly suitable for students with a first degree in a relevant discipline, such as Environmental Science, Geography or Biology, who are intending to embark on a career in conservation. However, it also provides an excellent foundation for further research in the field.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Conservation
  • why you want to study Conservation at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and/or professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


The MSc provides an excellent preparation for employment with the full range of public sector and voluntary conservation organisations, environmental consultancies, or in academia. Examples of first destinations of recent graduates include:

  • Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London: Research Internship
  • Waste Watch: Recycling Officer
  • London Borough of Redbridge: Nature Conservation Ranger
  • International Union for the Conservation of Nature: Junior Professional Associate
  • Natural England: Conservation Advisor
  • Ironside Farrar: Environmental Consultant
  • RSPB: Communications Officer
  • Norfolk County Council: Environmental Information Support Worker
  • Kew Gardens: Conservation Assessor Intern
  • University of Birmingham: Biodiversity Project Assistant

Find out more about London graduates' careers by visiting the Careers Group (University of London) website:

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