Conservation MSc

Options: PG Diploma

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.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 1 year
  • Part-time 2 years

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £9,250
  • UK/EU Part-time: £4,650
  • Overseas Full-time: £17,600
  • Overseas Part-time: £8,750

Application date

  • All applicants: 1 August 2014
  • Overseas applicants: 31 July 2014

More details in Application section.

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 its vocational orientation and 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.

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

  • Scientific Basis for Freshwater and Coastal Conservation
  • The Rural Matrix
  • Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis
  • Conservation and Environmental Management

Options (subject to confirmation)

  • Wetlands
  • Lakes
  • Marine Conservation
  • Coastal Change
  • Environmental GIS
  • Changing Landscapes - Nature, Culture, Politics
  • Changing Landscapes - Nature Conservation
  • Aquatic Macrophytes
  • Politics of Climate Change
  • Biological Indicators of Environmental Change
  • Non-biological Indicators of Environmental Change


All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 12,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and field studies, including a six-day field study to a coastal site in Norfolk and a field study of similar length to Snowdonia, as well as the option to join a two-week fieldclass to an overseas destination. Assessment is through coursework essays and the dissertation, which includes a presentation of dissertation results.

Further details available on subject website:

Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.

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.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Good

How to apply

We accept applications up until the UCL general application deadline on 1 August 2014, but applicants who require a student visa should submit their programme application before 31 July 2014.

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 and PhD studies.

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.

Top career destinations for this programme

  • London Borough of Redbridge, Nature Conservation Ranger, 2009
  • International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Junior Professional Associate, 2009
  • Natural England, Conservation Advisor, 2009
  • Ironside Farrar, Conservation Advisor, 2009
  • RSPB, Communications Officer, 2009


Not least due to the programme's vocational orientation, MSc Conservation graduates have been very successful to secure employment with government organisations (e.g. DEFRA/Natural England, local councils), conservation NGOs (e.g. RSPB, Butterfly COnservation, IUCN WCMC) and environmental consultancies. Equally, the MSc Conservation has provided a very good basis for future academic careers, while some graduates also found employment at zoos and botanical gardens.

Next steps


Ms Fiona Mannion

T: +44 (0)20 7679 7579



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