MSc Conservation Management

  • International Students Can Apply
  • Work Placement Opportunity
  • Fieldwork


UKPASS Code:P035881
Course Length:1 Year Full-Time, 2 Years Part-Time
Start Dates:September 2018, September 2019
Department:Department of Biology
Location:Edge Hill University
  • Undertake over 25 days of fieldwork including a residential course and carry out a 20 day work placement in a conservation organisation or ecological consultancy;
  • Gain an in-depth understanding of biodiversity and its management through key ecological theory;
  • Develop significant skills to identify plants and invertebrates through field and laboratory investigations.

This taught Masters degree is designed for those wishing to pursue a career in conservation management or ecological consultancy, professions which increasingly require postgraduate qualification for establishment and progression. The course puts a high emphasis on practical field experience for managing habitats, monitoring species and developing biological identification skills for plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. These activities are allied to a clear theoretical framework underpinning ecology and conservation practice. We welcome applications from recent graduates, experienced consultants, conservation workers or those seeking a career change.

Student and Alumni Profiles

  • Mark Champion

    MSc Conservation Management
    I had been working for over 20 years when I decided to return to study to aid my career development.
Department of Biology

Course in Depth

What will I study?

This Conservation Management course combines the expertise of the field biologist with practical experience of managing habitats. A firm emphasis is placed on fieldwork, biological identification skills and experience of a broad range of management issues.

You will develop laboratory skills including microscopy for bryophyte and invertebrate identification and soil analysis techniques. Identification skills gained will range from plants to invertebrates, mammals, amphibians and birds.

You will learn to write in a concise scientific style, construct arguments, consider ethical issues of ecological work, analyse and interpret data and synthesise scientific literature. These skills are highly desirable in ecological consultancy and conservation research.

Ethics is also an important feature of conservation management, for instance in the collection of voucher specimens. Consideration of ethical issues is given in each module, where appropriate, alongside legal issues.

How will I study?

Fieldwork is an integral part of many modules and is used to provide a multitude of experiences across species, habitats and conservation issues. A variety of local sites are used including dunes, meadows and forests. The programme includes a residential field course. Field trip costs are included within course fees.

In small classes, lecture-style sessions and practical work are designed to develop subject-specific skills, clarify concepts, raise questions and collect data. Follow-up seminars may consider analysis, data presentation, qualitative observations, elucidation of trends, and integration with theoretical ideas.

How will I be assessed?

The course has a variety of assessment methods which are designed to develop the full range of skills and expertise relevant to the subject. These include a research thesis, scientific reports, voucher specimen collections, vegetation portfolios, field-based management plans and examinations.

Who will be teaching me?

The course is taught by a small friendly team who have considerable teaching and research experience in the area. All staff are research active which means that they keep up-to-date with current developments in their areas of interest and pass this knowledge onto their students. Staff expertise includes forest and grassland conservation, habitat restoration, sustainable management of ecosystems, remote sensing in ecology and conservation genetics.

A Great Study Environment

MSc Conservation ManagementEdge Hill University has over 25 years’ experience in delivering field biology degrees and has a wealth of experienced tutors, technical staff and field equipment to support the study of conservation and ecology on this programme.

Our Biosciences building incorporates modern teaching and research laboratories which support practical work. The Latrielle research laboratory provides facilities for MSc students to complete invertebrate and plant identifications alongside departmental researchers using high powered microscopes, appropriate identification guides and museum reference specimens.

A number of the best nature reserves in the country are in close proximity to the campus. You will be taught within a short travelling distance of impressive field sites such as one of the finest saltmarsh and dune systems in Europe, restored mires of international importance, hay meadows and limestone woodlands. The University also has extensive grounds including meadows which serve as a useful area for demonstrating sampling techniques.

The Department of Biology is home to an active research culture. An extensive network of relationships has been established with relevant environmental organisations and other universities in the UK and overseas, ensuring a rich, diverse and rewarding student experience.


Expand All

GEO4005GIS and Cartography for Conservation Management (10 credits)

GIS and Cartography for Conservation Management introduces you to the concepts and techniques underpinning geographic information systems, powerful tools used for the handling of geographically referenced data. The module will focus on the fundamental concepts of geographic information systems through a combination of classroom-based and practical sessions. You will be introduced to spatial data, methods for data input, storage and analysis, and map preparation.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

MCM4001Research Project (60 credits)

Research Project provides the opportunity to undertake an original piece of research with an inspiring habitat or fascinating species. You will gain an understanding and experience of the complete research process through project planning, design, implementation, analysis, interpretation and write-up. It is anticipated that this module will have an applied element, hence the project will examine a real problem associated with an aspect of conservation. Recent projects have included investigating the impact of hay meadow restoration on bumblebees, conservation management for the Scotch Argus butterfly, the impact of grazing on bryophyte diversity, and forest bird conservation.

Assessment: Coursework: 85%, Practical(s): 15%.

MCM4002Ecology and Biogeography in Conservation (10 credits)

Ecology and Biogeography in Conservation provides an introduction to the key areas of ecology that underpin conservation practice such as succession, disturbance, fragmentation and connectivity. It also introduces the natural habitats in northern Europe, developing an understanding of their distribution, vegetation, relationship to soils and climate and historical development.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

MCM4003Biodiversity Planning and Legislation (10 credits)

Biodiversity Planning and Legislation addresses the non-biological contexts that shape conservation in the UK. The module provides an overview of the statutory agencies and non-statutory organisations for conservation and habitat management in Britain. Current environmental legislation (national and European) and countryside planning policy relating to conservation and public access is considered along with its historical context. Potential employers have regularly reported that most applicants lack this important background to conservation.

Assessment: Written Exam(s): 100%.

MCM4006Conservation Placement (10 credits)

Conservation Placement provides you with a professional setting in which you can apply the knowledge and skills acquired in other modules, whilst simultaneously extending and refining your knowledge and skills over and above the experiences provided through the mechanisms of fieldwork and the research project. Tutors will support you in selecting a placement that enhances your CV, developing new skills and knowledge or consolidating existing areas of interest. Recent placements have included the National Trust, Natural England, local councils, Wildlife Trusts and consultancies including Atkins and Avian Ecology.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

MCM4007Restoration Ecology (10 credits)

Restoration Ecology incorporates the latest developments in applying ecological theory and management experience into the restoration of damaged habitat, the creation of novel habitat on ex-agricultural land, and conservation management of ex-industrial sites. The module provides you with an important insight into the forefront and development of this discipline.

Assessment: Written Exam(s): 100%.

MCM4008Vertebrate Monitoring and Management (10 credits)

Vertebrate Monitoring and Management provides you with a species-centred approach to conservation which utilises field-based monitoring techniques for mammals, birds and amphibians. You will critically evaluate strategies for monitoring species and understand how to interpret this data in the light of management plans.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

MCM4010Management Planning (10 credits)

Management Planning covers the practice of writing a site management plan. This is an essential skill for all potential reserve managers. It will incorporate class discussions and relevant field visits with assessment being the writing of a plan of a local site of conservation interest.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

MCM4011Management in Practice (10 credits)

Management in Practice is a predominantly field-based module alongside an associated theoretical component providing you with experience of a range of habitat management practices across a variety of habitats including woodland, grassland and upland heath.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

MCM4013Invertebrate Ecology (20 credits)

Invertebrate Ecology equips you with key field sampling and identification skills for a range of terrestrial invertebrates. You will develop the knowledge and skills to recognise the morphological features which distinguish between species and learn how to present specimens in the appropriate manner. In addition, the module will equip you with an understanding of the ecology of various taxa, such as moths, butterflies, mosquitoes, spring tails, spiders, beetles and aquatic invertebrates) and explain their importance to ecosystem function.

Assessment: Coursework: 50%, Practical(s): 50%.

MCM4014Field Botany (20 credits)

Field Botany provides an introduction to plant identification through intensive exposure to a variety of species across a number of habitats. The module will also enhance your understanding and experience of the standard UK method for identifying plant communities, the National Vegetation Classification (NVC). This is achieved through a field course, based at Edge Hill University, using local habitats, in addition to participation in laboratory sessions.

Assessment: Coursework: 50%, Practical(s): 50%.


You can expect to receive your timetable at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day or evening of the week.


Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of accrediting bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

Entry Criteria

Entry Requirements

To join this MSc you should have a degree equivalent to UK second class honours (2:2 or above).

English Language Requirements

International students require IELTS 6.5, with a score no lower than 6.0 in each individual component, or an equivalent English language qualification.

If your current level of English is half a band lower, either overall or in one or two elements, our Pre-Sessional English course might be for you.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Edge Hill University recognises learning gained elsewhere, whether through academic credit and qualifications acquired from other relevant courses of study or through recognition of an individual’s professional and employment experience (also referred to as ‘experiential learning’).

Previous learning that is recognised in this way may be used towards meeting the entry requirements for a programme and/or for exemption from part of a programme. It is your responsibility to make a claim for recognition of prior learning. For guidance, please consult the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning Policy and contact the faculty in which you are interested in studying.

Career Prospects

What are my career prospects?

This MSc will equip you with the knowledge and skills required for a successful career in conservation or ecological consultancy. To date, graduates of the course have been employed by a range of non-governmental organisations (for example, Wildlife Trusts, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and National Trust), governmental organisations (Natural England) and consultancies (including Atkins UK, Jacob’s Ecology, and Avian Ecology). Graduates have also progressed into conservation research, working for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and at various universities.


Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for full-time study on this MSc are £5,040 for UK and EU students and £12,750 for international students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2018/19.

Tuition fees for part-time study on this MSc are £28 per credit for UK and EU students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2018/19, i.e. £560 per 20 credit module.

180 credits are required to complete a Masters degree.

The University may administer a small inflationary rise in part-time postgraduate tuition fees in subsequent academic years as you progress through the course.

Financial Support

For comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK and EU students joining postgraduate courses at Edge Hill University in academic year 2018/19, together with details of how to apply for potential funding, please view our Money Matters 2018/19 guide at

Financial support information for international students can be found at


How to Apply

Apply online at

Visit for more information on the application process.

Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

Visit Us

If you are considering applying to study at Edge Hill University, the best way to gain an insight into student life is to discover our stunning campus for yourself by attending an open day. You can view dates and book your place at

Alternatively, if you are unable to attend an open day, you can find out more about all of our events for prospective students, including monthly campus tours, at

Request a Prospectus

If you would like to explore our full range of taught Masters degrees, MBA awards and our Masters by Research (MRes) degree before you apply, you can order a postgraduate prospectus at

Get in Touch

If you have any questions about this programme or what it’s like to study at Edge Hill University, please contact:

If you would like to talk to the programme leader about the course in more detail, please contact:

International students should visit or email with any queries about overseas study.

Course Changes

Expand All This page outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented since 1st September 2015.

28th July 2017 - Change to Mode of Study

The course can be studied in 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time. It is no longer possible to study this course for longer than 2 years part-time.

14th July 2017 - Change of Module

GEO4005 GIS and Cartography for Conservation Management (10 credits) replaces MCM4005 GIS and Cartography for Conservation Management (10 credits) as an optional module.

20th January 2017 - Change of Modules

MCM4013 Invertebrate Ecology (20 credits) replaces MCM4009 Invertebrate Ecology (10 credits) and MCM4014 Field Botany (20 credits) replaces MCM4012 Field Botany (20 credits) as compulsory modules.

MCM4004 Remote Sensing for Conservation Management (10 credits) is no longer available and has been removed from this programme.