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.

Key Information

Modes and duration

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

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£9,815 (FT) £4,935 (PT)
£18,670 (FT) £9,285 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 October 2015
Close: 29 July 2016
Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma and a PG Certificate with fees set accordingly.

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.

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.

International students

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:

Degree Information

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.

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 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.

Further information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site Conservation MSc


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) below. 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.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Assistant Warden, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (2013)
  • Catchment Plan Co-ordinator, The Wandle Trust (2012)
  • Outdoor Education Advisor, School for Science (2012)
  • Ecology Advisor, Natural England (2013)


Not least due to the programme's vocational orientation, Conservation MSc graduates have been very successful in securing 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 Conservation MSc has provided a very good basis for future academic careers, while some graduates also found employment at zoos and botanical gardens.

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 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, Science and Society. The programme also benefits from the participation of staff from a variety of external conservation and environmental organisations.

Student / staff ratios › 43 staff including 15 postdocs › 158 taught students › 70 research students

Department: Geography

Degree reviews

Student review

"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 Goodrich

Conservation MSc
Student review

"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 Vranch

Conservation 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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
29 July 2016

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.

Contact Information


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

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