RB Smith, MSc Conservation
Meet RB, a student on our MSc Conservation programme.
31 December 2024
He tells us about his passion for nature and desire to apply his biology background to real-world conservation issues.
Why were you interested in studying an MSc in Conservation?
“I’ve always been passionate about nature, and had studied biology previously, but was interested in applying that training to real-world conservation issues.
“I was looking for a programme in the UK that was both scientifically rigorous and taught practical applications that I hadn’t previously studied.”
And why did you to choose to study at UCL?
“I emailed Professor Peter Jones, the course director at the time, and he was extremely helpful in sending information about the course and its modules.
“I was especially attracted to the broad, interdisciplinary nature of UCL Geography, where ecologists, climate modellers, human geographers and policy specialists all work under the same roof.”
What were the most interesting or engaging things you learned on the course?
“I haven’t even finished the first term, but so far I’ve particularly appreciated the modules focusing on conservation ethics and the human dimensions of the field.
“This isn’t something that was directly addressed in my previous coursework in biology, but I think is critical for anyone hoping to work in this area.
“I also really appreciate the face time we’ve gotten with a wide array of conservation professionals working all around the UK.”
Can you tell us about any particularly memorable experiences from your time as a Master's student with us?
“The week-long field course to Snowdonia has definitely been a highlight so far.
“We got to talk in-depth with farmers, ecologists, park managers and other people involved with national park policy to get a wide range of perspectives on how land is understood and managed.
“The field course to north Norfolk, which focused on environmental data collection methods, was also a high point, and we’re only a few months in!”
What have you been doing since graduation?
“I hope to work in interdisciplinary land management, combining biology and policy to promote both ecosystem health and local interests.
“While I’m not sure whether I’ll ultimately want to do this from within or outside academia, I feel that UCL’s MSc in Conservation is preparing me for both possible paths.”
Would you recommend studying Global Studies in the Department and why?
“Absolutely! For someone interested in getting experience in a wide range of techniques and perspectives related to conservation, along with exposure to working conservation professionals in the UK, I think the course is a perfect fit.”