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Develop the practical skills you need for a career in wildlife conservation. The course was developed in partnership with environmental organisations to ensure you’re skilled and employable in this rewarding area. It allows development of skills including the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software, research skills and communication skills, with an optional laboratory-based module on conservation genetics.
Our planet is in urgent need of capable and well-trained wildlife conservationists to find solutions to the problems of biodiversity loss. If you’re passionate about wildlife and planning a career in conservation, our exciting Masters course will equip you with the skills you need. You’ll focus on the sustainable management of wildlife and habitats, with an emphasis on developing practical skills and the ability to analyse and interpret data in the interests of conservation. Our course has been developed with international conservation organisations, so you can be sure you’ll be gaining skills and knowledge valued by employers in the field.
Field trips give you the chance to apply your skills whilst working on conservation projects in the UK and abroad. You can choose to go on an exciting residential field trip (usually in Borneo, but this may vary) to explore the issues central to wildlife conservation in situ. There you’ll have the opportunity to visit a research station and apply your skills in a tropical forest conservation project. Every year we also welcome a wide range of guest lecturers who share their inspiring and innovative experiences of working in wildlife conservation.
Careers areas include conservation biology, environmental consultancy and conservation education. You may find work in a non-governmental organisation (NGO), charity, zoo, private company, a government body or in a related field such as ecotourism. You’re also in the perfect position to continue your academic career and move up to our Animal and Environmental Sciences PhD.
MOULES & ASSESSMENT
GIS Tools for Biodiversity Mapping and ConservationIn this module you will learn and apply advanced skills of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Experience in the use of this software is recognised as a key skill in conservation. You will use GIS to map and analyse species distribution, ecological processes and support conservation planning. The spatial relationships between species, biological resources, natural habitats and human activities are considered.
Distributions, Landscapes and ConservationThis module covers two inter-related themes: how and why species distributions change over time; and an introduction to the principles and practicalities behind landscape-scale conservation. In the first theme the main subject areas include the challenges of invasive alien species, climate change and habitat fragmentation. In the second theme the new emphasis on landscape-scale conservation will be explored in order to understand how scaling-up of conservation may change opportunities for species to re-distribute themselves within landscapes.
Current Topics in Wildlife ConservationThis advanced module in conservation aims to provide an awareness of the multi-disciplinary nature of conservation, and the socio-political dimensions of conservation problems and solutions. Topics will be updated from year to year but examples include the uses of environmental DNA in conservation, current issues in marine conservation and endangered species case studies. The module offers the opportunity to apply your understanding of conservation science to current issues at multiple spatial scales (global, European, national and local). This module is delivered largely through distance learning, coupled with regular research seminars at the Cambridge campus.
Behavioural Ecology and ConservationConsider how the behaviour of individual animals will affect the survival probabilities of the species in an increasingly human-altered landscape. An understanding of behaviour can be critical to conservation initiatives. For example, consider how ranging patterns of individuals can affect the success or failure of reserve design; how sex ratios and mating strategies can influence the outcome of a reintroduction; or how models of human harvesting behaviour can be used to predict patterns of wildlife exploitation.
Communication Skills for ConservationOne of the biggest challenges that we face as scientists is being able to translate complex, sometimes uncertain information into language understandable to a range of audiences with little or no specialist knowledge. Communication is key, and as Albert Einstein himself once said, “If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t know enough about it”. As scientists or conservationists, if we want to reach our goal of educating the public or effecting societal change, we need to be able to convey information that engages our target audience. Using real conservation case studies and big datasets, you will analyse and summarise complex information and learn how to deal with uncertainty. Our teaching team will guide you on how to effectively communicate data to a range of audiences, from children and the general public to NGO’s and policymakers, using visual, verbal and written mediums in government reports and on social media.
Research MethodsGain support and foundations in the research skills needed for your Masters level dissertation. You’ll investigate research activities including project management, research project design and analyses, ethical considerations and dissertation preparation.
Masters Research ProjectYou now have the opportunity to select and explore in-depth, a topic that is of interest and relevant to your course in order to develop a significant level of expertise. You will demonstrate your ability to generate significant and meaningful questions in relation to your specialism, undertake independent research using appropriate, recognised methods based on current theoretical research knowledge and critically understand method and its relationship to knowledge. You will also develop a critical understanding of current knowledge in relation to the chosen subject and to critically analyse and evaluate information and data, which may be complex or contradictory, and draw meaningful and justifiable conclusions. You will develop the capability to expand or redefine existing knowledge; to develop new approaches to changing situations and/or develop new approaches to changing situations and contribute to the development of best practice. You will Demonstrate an awareness of and to develop solutions to ethical dilemmas likely to arise in their research or professional practice and communicate these processes in a clear and elegant fashion, and evaluate your work from the perspective of an autonomous reflective learner.
Your work will be assessed in a range of ways to reflect the scope and aims of our course. These include written assignments such as scientific reports and essays, field-work, case studies, group work and presentations.