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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 about 80% of its graduates have gone on to secure posts related to conservation.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Part-time students select 2 modules each in terms 1 and 2 in both years, with one term 1 residential fieldclass (Norfolk; GEOG0108) taken in year 1 and the other (Snowdonia, GEOG0090) in year 2.

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 11 August 2020
Notification
Due to the large number of applications received, this programme is no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Applications for 2021/22 entry will open later in the year.

Tuition fees (2020/21)

UK/EU:
£12,960 (FT)
£6,695 (PT)
Overseas:
£24,980 (FT)
£12,470 (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 Students website.

Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma and a PG Certificate with fees set accordingly.
Location: London, Bloomsbury

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:

About this degree

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.

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Conservation. Upon successful completion of 120 credits, you will be awarded a PG Dip in Conservation. Upon successful completion of 60 credits, you will be awarded a PG Cert in Conservation.

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 is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

  • Scientific Basis for Freshwater and Coastal Conservation
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis
  • Conservation and Environmental Management

Optional modules (indicative list):

  • Marine Conservation
  • Environmental GIS
  • Coastal Geohazards
  • Aquatic Macrophytes
  • Politics of Climate Change
  • Biological Indicators of Environmental Change
  • Climate Proxies
  • Introduction to Citizen Science and Scientific Crowdsourcing
Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study.  We have included these updates below:   Compulsory module: The Rural Matrix: Institutional and Policy Context (GEOG0090) will be replaced with a new module Environmental Monitoring in Term 1. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available.  

Dissertation/report

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

Fieldwork

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.


Covid-19 field trip updates
Due to COVID-19 updates, 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 field trips are able to occur and/or any alternative options available.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, computer practicals and field studies, including two residential field-classes to Norfolk and Snowdonia, as well as an optional field-class to an overseas destination. Assessment is through coursework, essays and the dissertation, which includes a presentation of dissertation results.

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Covid-19 practical component updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be changes to the availability of the practical components for your chosen programme. Any updates relate only to the 20/21 academic year and may not apply to all students across the programme depending on your year of study.  Your department will keep you updated if the practical component of your programme is able to occur and/or any alternative options available.   There may need to be additional updates or changes to the practical component during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and/or Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available. 
Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Additional costs

Fieldwork costs may be incurred but these are dependent on module selection; please contact the department for further information on individual modules.

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

Accessibility

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.

Funding

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

Careers

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.

Employability

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.

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 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.

Department: Geography

Application and next steps

Applications

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 £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
11 August 2020

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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 27 August 2020