Conservation MSc

London, Bloomsbury

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

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 30 Jun 2023

Applications open

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.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

The programme takes an interdisciplinary perspective, engaging with ecological, 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.

Who this course is for

With its vocational focus, the programme is highly suitable for students with a first degree in a relevant discipline (environmental science, geography or biology) who plan to embark on a conservation career and for conservation professionals seeking further training. It also provides an excellent foundation for further research and PhD studies.

What this course will give you

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 recent environmental change and biodiversity; environmental modelling and observation; and environment, politics and society. The programme also benefits from the participation of staff from a variety of external conservation and environmental organisations.

The foundation of your career

Conservation MSc graduates have been very successful in securing employment with government organisations (for example DEFRA, Natural England, local authorities), conservation NGOs (for example RSPB, Butterfly Conservation, IUCN-WCMC) and environmental consultancies. Equally, the Conservation MSc has provided an excellent basis for future academic careers, while some graduates have also found employment at zoos and botanical gardens.


The MSc provides an excellent preparation for employment with the full range of public sector and voluntary conservation organisations, environmental consultancies, and for a career in environmental research and academia.

Teaching and learning

Assessment is through coursework, essays and the dissertation, which includes a presentation of dissertation results.

Each 15 credit module involves 150 learning hours per module. This includes taught time (lectures and seminars), independent study, peer-to-peer learning, tutorial support, and assessment and assessment preparation.


You will undertake 8 taught modules and the research dissertation.

Full time structure:
Term One:
You will take 4 compulsory modules that also contain some residential field-work elements.

In addition to the three set modules, you will have the option to choose either GEOG0090 The Rural Matrix: Institutional and Policy Context or GEOG0159 Tropical Futures.

Term Two:
You will take 4 optional modules from a range of Geography modules available. Depending on availability, choices may include residential field classes based in the UK or overseas.

Students can select from a range of optional modules such as GEOG0156 Changing Landscapes - Nature Conservation, GEOG0092 Changing Landscapes - Nature, Culture, Politics and GEO0034 Coastal Geohazards.

Term Three:
While some dissertation planning often commences in term one, the main research and writing are conducted in term three and over the summer.

Part time structure: 
Year One:
In term one you will take 2 compulsory modules. 
In term two you will take 2 optional modules. 

Year Two:
In term one you will take the 2 remaining compulsory modules. 
In term two you will take 2 optional modules. 
In term three and over the summer you will complete the research dissertation.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Conservation.


Planned fieldwork includes a residential field study to a coastal site in Norfolk, and to an upland site in North Wales (Snowdonia), as well as the option to join a residential field class, either in the UK or at an overseas destination.

Coronavirus note: Due to COVID-19, there may need to be changes to planned field trips for this programme. This will depend on travel restrictions, social distancing measures, and the availability of the relevant venues. Your department will keep you updated if any changes need to be made.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: UCL Geography

Join us to learn more about the following UCL Geography Master’s programmes: Aquatic Conservation, Ecology and Restoration MSc; Climate Change MSc; Conservation MSc; Remote Sensing and Environmental Mapping MSc; Urban Studies MSc; Social and Geographic Data Science MSc. Discover how our programmes are taught and what it's like to study in the department. This event is a great opportunity to meet some of our Master’s Convenors and ask them your own questions.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £16,100 £8,050
Tuition fees (2023/24) £32,100 £16,050

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

Some optional modules carry extra fieldwork costs. The exact cost will depend on the location, exchange rates and the price of travel and accommodation. Based on costs incurred in previous years, it is estimated that students will need to contribute up to £250 to each extra field trip depending on the destination. Please contact the department for further information on individual modules. Additional costs of approximately £20 are also associated with the dissertation poster presentation.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

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.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Got questions? Get in touch

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