Specialise in conservation ecology on our established MSc course, which provides you with tuition from world-leading experts from across our Schools of Biological Sciences and Environmental Sciences and external organisations. You’ll benefit from our strong academic expertise in Ecology and Conservation, based around UEA’s Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (CEEC) – one of the largest groups of its kind in Europe with strong links to major conservation organisations and institutions such as the RSPB, CEFAS and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI).
Our MSc Applied Ecology and Conservation offers a flexible course structure that will equip you with the skills necessary for a range of careers in conservation and applied ecology. The interdisciplinary training forms an ideal platform for continuing to doctoral research, for direct access into conservation-related employment or for pursuing careers in a field such as science communication, education or policy development.
You’ll benefit from our strong academic expertise in conservation and ecology, based around UEA’s Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (CEEC) – one of the largest groups of its kind in Europe with strong links to major conservation organisations and institutions such as the BTO, RSPB, CEFAS and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.
In the first half of the year, you’ll study core taught modules in ecological survey methods, evidence-based global conservation and statistics, complemented by a broad range of optional modules. These cover topics including Geographical Information Systems (GIS), practical conservation and work experience, evolutionary biology and conservation genetics, conservation policy and statistical modelling using R.
In the second part of your MSc, you’ll conduct a five-month research project exploring some of the most pressing biodiversity issues within an area of your interest – often in collaboration with an external conservation organisation in the UK or abroad. Examples of recent projects include:
- Interspecific competition between translocated species: The case of two island endemic passerines (with Nature Seychelles)
- Exploring the unprecedented recovery of passerines within Rodrigues (with the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation)
- Exploring the distribution and inter-specific interactions of the newly discovered Cambodian Tailorbird (with the Wildlife Conservation Society)
- Differences between fallow plots and wet grassland during lapwing chick rearing (with the RSPB)
Many of our research dissertations are subsequently published in peer-reviewed journals (> 60 publications to date), and this CV-boosting feature of this UEA Master's is a major feature of the success of our alumni in gaining PhD places to continue research. We also greatly encourage presentation of MSc research at conferences.
In addition to in-depth exposure to global conservation issues, you’ll develop transferable skills and establish valuable contacts with potential employers through work experience and research interactions with international and national conservation organisations.
During your first week here at UEA, you'll be able to get your boots muddy while exploring some of the unique and biodiverse habitats across East Anglia. You will learn about the threats facing some of these habitats and, weather permitting, you'll also be able to join in with trips to catch small mammals and birds. For many students, one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of their MSc experience is conducting their research project. You are encouraged to develop your own research ideas, with support from faculty, and most of our research projects are conducted in collaboration with conservation organisations around the world. Research projects often make use of the extensive network of MSc alumni, to address some of the most pressing issues facing biodiversity conservation. In addition, up to £1000 of the course fees are used to support your dissertation research costs. Recent project topics have explored competition between translocated bird species in the Seychelles, the effects of agri-environment schemes on hoverflies in the UK, the effects of heathland management on predation of snakes and many, many more topics.
Study and Modules
The course runs over a full calendar year starting with a series of field trips. You'll take a combination of taught modules between October and March before starting on an individual research project, often overseas.
Your compulsory modules will give you a strong grounding in both practical and theoretical skills and knowledge. The Ecological Survey Methods module is designed to train you to carry out ecological research and interpret and evaluate the results of ecological surveys carried out by a third party. It’s ideal vocational training and gives you first-hand experience in a variety of methods for surveying plants, animals and habitats, including the use of remote census techniques such as radio-tracking and trail cameras.
In Evidence-Based Global Conservation you’ll critically evaluate scientific evidence as a basis for effective biodiversity conservation policy, strategy and interventions, in a world challenged by climate change, population growth and the need for socio-economic development and environmental justice.
You’ll cover statistical concepts and practice, and the links between statistics and experimental design, in the modules Multivariate Statistics and Univariate Statistics. You’ll learn simple tests for trends, associations and differences and how multivariate statistics are used in advanced ecological analyses – including General Linear Models, Mixed models, Logistic Regression and Principal Components Analysis.
Alongside these core modules, you’ll also be able to select from a range of optional modules covering topics such as Conservation Genetics, GIS and its Applications for Modelling Ecological and Environmental Change, Practical Conservation and Work Experience, Statistics and Modelling for Scientists using R and Conservation Policy, Communication and Knowledge Exchange.
After the taught component of the course, you’ll apply your learning in a real environment through your dissertation study – conducting a research project in an area of your choice.
Optional A Modules(Credits: 40)
Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, the University will endeavour to consult with students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will inform students.
Teaching and Learning
All our teaching in the Schools of Biological and Ecological Sciences is research-led. This means that you benefit from the teaching expertise of a large group of enthusiastic, friendly academic staff with world-leading research reputations in ecology, evolution and conservation, along with input from staff in leading conservation organisations who ensure that the most recent conservation issues and ideas are incorporated into all our courses. It makes for engaging programmes that our students love.
You'll learn through lectures, seminars, workshops, and fieldwork, where you’ll perfect your practical field skills.
You’ll conduct your own unique research project for your dissertation – and you’re in the ideal place to do so.
You’ll also get the chance to attend regular seminars and workshops conducted by world-leading scientists to keep up with the latest research in Conservation and Ecology. These are organised by The Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (CEEC) and you can follow some of their activities here.
How you will be assessed will vary depending on the modules that you choose but may include a combination of written assignments evaluating a recent research article, research posters, presentations and reports incorporating statistical analysis.
- Degree Classification
- Bachelors degree 2.1 or equivalent
- Degree Subject
- Biology-related subject plus evidence of additional conservation experience. Bachelors degrees in geography or environmental management are also accepted if these contain a strong ecological component.
- English Foreign Language
We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:
IELTS: 6.0 (minimum 5.5 in two components only, with 6.0 in the other two)
PTE (Pearson): 64 (minimum 59 in two components only with 64 in the other two)
Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.
Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests
INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- This course is open to UK, EU and International applicants. This course's annual intake is in September of each year.
Fees and Funding
Tuition fees for the Academic Year 2023/24 are:
UK Students: £12,250 (full time)
International Students: £23,500 (full time)
If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for Home students).
We estimate living expenses at £1,023 per month.
Further Information on tuition fees can be found here.
Scholarships and Bursaries
The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.
Course Related Costs
Please see Additional Course Fees for details of course-related costs.
How to Apply
Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.
To apply please use our online application form.
If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:
Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.
After the Course
You’ll graduate as a skilled conservation ecologist ready to work or continue with doctoral studies nationally or globally, using what you've learned at UEA to make a real difference.
You could go on to a career in many different areas – from ecological research to environmental management, consultancy and conservation. You might also consider education or science communication and engagement. Many of our students progress to PhD study after their Master’s degree.
A degree at UEA will prepare you for a wide variety of careers. We've been ranked 1st for Job Prospects by StudentCrowd in 2022.
Examples of careers that you could enter include:
- Ecological research
- PhD study
- Ecological Consultancy
- Agriculture and horticulture
- Environmental management and conservation
- Science communication and engagement