To help you feel prepared for your postgraduate studies, we’ve gathered together a range of course related activities including suggested reading, useful websites and some great things to do right now.
You will be given far more information about which textbooks to read and introduced to the University Library, as well as the many ebooks we have for you to access, when you begin your studies.
Below is a list of selected reading materials. It is not suggested that you read all of these, but by selecting a few they will give you a flavour of issues raised during the course and start you thinking about relevant topics.
Suggested reading materials
- Paul Colinvaux. Why big fierce animals are rare
A bit vintage now but still a great introduction to ecological principles
- Sue Halpern Four Wings and a Prayer
Science, conservation and activism wrapped into the story of the Monarch butterfly
- Michael McCarthy The Moth Snowstorm
The best of the recent memoirs on why conservation is important. Locally relevant as some descriptions are of the Dee estuary
- Elizabeth Kolbert. The Sixth Extinction
It’s a brilliant chronicle of what we are doing to the planet, seen through eyes various researchers
- Karl Sabbagh A Rum Affair
New issue just out, a great account of scientific fraud and botanical intrigue
- Tony Juniper. What has nature ever done for us?
Entertaining justification for looking after the planet
- Peter Marren Nature Conservation
A comprehensive study of wildlife conservation in Britain, concentrating on events in the last 30 years of the 20th century
- Oliver Rackham History of the Countryside
Exploring the natural and man-made features of the land – fields, highways, hedgerows, fens, marshes, rivers, heaths, coasts, woods and wood pastures
Our course is accredited by CIEEM – you may find it useful to become familiar with their website and the competencies framework.
In advance of the placement module you may find it useful to begin exploring or make a list of organisations that are local to you (e.g. Wildlife Trusts, Natural England, National Trust, ecological consultancies) and think about the type of you place you would like to go to. If you are not sure – no problem! You tutors will be there to help guide you and help you organise it when you start on the course.
Things to do now
To help you prepare for your studies, you may find it useful to try the following activities:
On this course we require you to have a working computer and access to relevant software. We strongly advise you to have access to a laptop during the course along with the following:
- Working email and internet access at University and at home, including the ability to download documents.
- Access to MS Office programmes. As registered students you will have free access to MS 365 suite for PC or Mac for the duration of your programme.
- For the GIS module you will need a computer with at least 4GB RAM and 4GB disk space. Unfortunately, the GIS software used cannot be installed on Apple computers. Should a home machine not be available then provision is usually made available in the GIS laboratory or Catalyst. In order to complete this course, we expect you to have access to a Windows computer. We recommend that this is a laptop rather than PC, so that you can complete work on the residential field trip, and data analysis workshop sessions on your own machine.
You will take part in a lot of fieldwork on the course, at all times of year and in all conditions. When embarking upon a career in conservation, we expect you to have the following personal gear:
- Walking boots
- Full waterproofs (jacket, trousers)
- Water bottle and flask
- Hat and gloves
- Sun hat and sun screen
We loan out all equipment and books that you need, but you will likely get lots of future use of the following book: The Collins Wildflower Guide by Streeter, in case you want to make a purchase.
Your induction sessions
Tuesday 27 September – Introductory field day
Your programme begins at 9am with an introductory field day (including a 4-6 mile walk).
Transport is provided but please bring a packed lunch and dress appropriately for the weather (walking boots, full waterproofs, warm clothes, water and a flask of hot drink most likely).
Please meet at 9am in the Bioscience Building downstairs foyer. This field day includes an introduction to techniques required for the GIS module assessment, so is a mandatory part of the course. Expect to return by 6pm.
If you have any concerns or health conditions we should be aware of for fieldwork, please let the programme leader know at least two weeks in advance. Email: [email protected]
Friday 30 September – Course introduction and module introductions
- 9am – 1pm. Course introduction, introduction to MCM4006 (Placement module). Room location to be confirmed.
- 2pm – 6pm. Training from Learning Services including introduction, getting started with the digital library, and, disability and assistive technology support
W/C 3 October
Regular classes begin. For the first Semester these will be Tuesdays and Fridays (9am-6pm) for full time students and Tuesdays only for part time students*. You will receive the full timetable for the year at the induction.
*Part time students should note that there will be a training on Friday 18th November, 2pm-6pm. Personal tutor meetings will also take place on other days, since take up the full day on Tuesdays. These meetings can take place online.