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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2017/18)
- £11,420 (FT) £5,895 (PT)
- £21,960 (FT) £10,980 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
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.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
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, which also forms a sound foundation for a career in academia.
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 - four core modules (60 credits) and four optional modules (60 credits) full-time nine months, part-time two years is offered.
A Postgraduate Certificate - four core modules (60 credits) full-time 12 weeks, part-time two years is offered.
- Scientific Basis for Freshwater and Coastal Conservation
- The Rural Matrix
- Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis
- Conservation and Environmental Management
Optional modules (indicative list):
- 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 residential field study to a coastal site in Norfolk and a residential field study in Snowdonia, as well as the option to join a two-week field-class to an overseas destination. Assessment is through coursework, essays and the dissertation, which includes a presentation of dissertation results.
Fieldwork includes a residential field study to a coastal site in Norfolk and a residential field study in Snowdonia, as well as the option to join a two-week field-class to an overseas destination.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
The MSc provides an excellent preparation for employment with the full range of public sector and voluntary conservation organisations, environmental consultancies, or in academia.
Recent career destinations for this degree
- Marine Advisor, Natural England
- PhD in Biology, University of York
- People Engagement Officer, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
- DPhil in Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
- Freshwater Ecologist, Ensis
Not least due to the programme's vocational orientation, Conservation MSc graduates have been very successful in securing employment with government organisations (for example DEFRA, Natural England, local councils), conservation NGOs (for example RSPB, Butterfly Conservation, IUCN, WCMC) and environmental consultancies. Equally, the Conservation MSc has provided a very good basis for future academic careers, while some graduates also found employment at zoos and botanical gardens.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why 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 extensive alumni network, but also due to its vocational orientation and the active involvement of nature conservation professionals in the delivery of degree material.
Research groups contributing to this MSc include those concerned with environmental change; environmental modelling; and environment, science and society. The programme also benefits from the participation of staff from a variety of external conservation and environmental organisations.
Student / staff numbers › 43 staff including 15 postdocs › 170 taught students › 70 research students
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Geography
76% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
What our students and staff say
"I find inspiration in nature everyday from the fleeting moments of a bird fledging its nest to issues on a larger scale, such as the problem of invasive species in the UK. This inspiration drove me to study Conservation on an academic level in order to gain a higher understanding of environmental issues and the policy behind them. I am fascinated by the science behind ecology and conservation, so studying at UCL has put me in direct contact with the latest scientific research."
Stefanie GoodrichConservation MSc
"I've had the opportunity to learn from academics in diverse fields such as biodiversity of invertebrates and framings of climate change. There has been a great mix of practical and theoretical study, combining lectures with field classes and laboratory work. The department encourages visits and talks from former students who are now working in conservation and environmental roles. This has helped to show the types of roles available to graduates and facilitates networking opportunities."
Lauren Bishop VranchConservation MSc
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) 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. In addition, it provides an excellent foundation for further research and PhD studies.
- All applicants
- 28 July 2017
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
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.
- Application procedure
- Programme content