The UCL Conservation MSc 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.
Modes and duration
Part-time students select 2 modules each in terms 1 and 2 in both years.
Tuition fees (2021/22)
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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
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
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.
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 compulsory modules (60 credits), four optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma - four compulsory modules (60 credits) and four optional modules (60 credits) full-time nine months, part-time two years is offered.
A Postgraduate Certificate - four compulsory 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.
- Scientific Basis for Freshwater and Coastal Conservation
- The Rural Matrix: Institutional and Policy Context
- Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis
- Conservation and Environmental Management
* modules running are dependent on staff sabbaticals
Optional modules (indicative list):
Optional modules may include:
- 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
*Availability of modules is dependent on staff sabbaticals.
- Further information about these modules is available on the department website.
All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 12,000 words.
Planned fieldwork includes a residential field study to a coastal site in Norfolk, as well as the option to join a residential field-class in the UK.
Coronavirus note: 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 any changes need to be made and on alternative options, as successfully used in 2020-2021.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, computer practicals and field studies, including a residential field-class to Norfolk. Assessment is through coursework, essays and the dissertation, which includes a presentation of dissertation results.
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 between £250 and £1300 per fieldtrip 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.
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, and for a career in environmental research and academia.
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.
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.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
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: 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.
- All applicants
- 31 May 2021
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.
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