Four students conduct fieldwork in woodland near the University.

MSc Conservation Management

Gain an in-depth understanding of biodiversity and undertake over 25 days of fieldwork on a programme accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.

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      • International Students Can Apply
      • Work Placement Opportunity
      • Fieldwork
      • Professional Accreditation


      Course Length: 1 Year Full-Time, 2 Years Part-Time
      Start Dates: September 2022, September 2023
      Subjects: Biology and Biosciences
      Location: Edge Hill University

      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 experience in managing habitats and species and in developing biological identification skills for plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. You will 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. 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

        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.
        View Mark Champion's full profile
      • Jessica Maxwell

        Jessica Maxwell

        MSc Conservation Management
        I did a 20-day placement with Atkins, quite a large consultancy firm, as an assistant ecologist. I helped with habitat, plant, bat and newt surveys, which was brilliant. I gained lots of experience in report writing, which was a real insight, as it's not something I'd done before.
        View Jessica Maxwell's full profile
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      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 example bryophyte and invertebrate identification, as well as soil analysis techniques and field identification of plants, invertebrates, mammals 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.

      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. All 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.

      If you are studying full-time, you will typically attend classes for two full days per week. If you are studying part-time, you will typically attend one day per week, with an additional day occasionally required for field trips. Some modules will be taught daily for short one or two week periods. You will also spend 20 days undertaking a conservation placement over a three-five month period in addition to the above commitments.

      You can read about student Natalie’s experience of the conservation placement, which she chose to undertake at Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve, at

      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?

      Edge Hill University has over 30 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.

      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 are 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 and sustainable management of ecosystems, including ecosystem functioning and using mapping approaches in ecology.


      Our Biosciences building incorporates modern teaching and research laboratories which support practical work. A dedicated 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.


      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.


      Expand All

      Compulsory modules:

      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 enables you to apply knowledge and skills developed on the course and gain invaluable experience in a professional real-world setting. Through a 20-day placement over three to five months you will become immersed in the activities of the organisation. This may include field surveying, report writing, managing volunteers or communicating with the public. Tutors will support you in selecting a placement that suits you and enhances your CV, whether your aim is to develop new skills and knowledge or consolidate and enhance existing expertise. Recent placements organisations have included Atkins and Avian Ecology, the National Trust, Natural England, local councils and Lancashire Wildlife Trust. During your placement, you will learn how to critically assess conservation or management activities and write a blog to share your experience and reflect on your development.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      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. You will carry out an experiment and write it up as a scientific report.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      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 visits to local field sites, in addition to participation in laboratory sessions. You will be assessed through a specimen collection and identification test.

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

      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. The module is assessed through the production of a GIS map and an accompanying report.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      MCM4013Invertebrate Ecology (20 credits)

      Invertebrate Ecology explores the diversity of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, examining their life cycle, basic physiology, importance to ecosystem functioning and the range of services they provide to society. Through field and laboratory work, you will gain a sound knowledge of taxonomy for a variety of groups such as aquatic insects, butterflies and moths, and spiders and beetles, gaining the identification, preservation and museum-standard presentation skills that are vital for employment in the sector. Scientific communication will be developed through oral presentation to your peers on an invertebrate of conservation interest. You will be assessed through a specimen identification test.

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

      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. On this weeklong residential field trip you will visit a variety of habitats including woodland, grassland and upland heath and learn how to manage them in a sustainable way. You will be assessed entirely in the field, producing an evaluation of the management requirements for a mystery site.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      MCM4001Research Project (60 credits)

      Research Project provides the opportunity to undertake an original piece of research within an inspiring habitat or on a fascinating species of conservation interest. You will experience the complete research process through project planning, design, implementation, interpretation and write-up. The project will examine a real-world problem associated with an aspect of conservation, often involving close working with site managers. You will develop the key skills of project planning, time management, advanced statistical analysis, scientific communication (written and oral), and risk and ethical assessments as you prepare a proposal, scientific paper and oral presentation. You will also gain an excellent knowledge of survey and identification techniques used in your study. Previous projects have included conservation management for the Scotch Argus butterfly, the impact of grazing on bryophyte diversity in upland habitats, and bird conservation in plantation forests. A recent project on the impact of hay meadow restoration on bumblebees, as well as a study of open dune habitat regeneration in pine plantation canopy gaps, has been published in the Conservation Evidence journal. An exploration of stress responses in deer to increased human encounters also appeared in Nature Conservation.

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

      MCM4015Restoration and Conservation Planning (20 credits)

      Restoration and Conservation Planning incorporates the latest developments in applying ecological theory to restoration and management planning for conservation. The module recognises that the restoration of habitats is fundamental to global conservation efforts. A sound understanding of the ecological theory underpinning restoration, including its application in a variety of management settings, is essential for a career in conservation management. You will develop the skills and experience to write a management plan of a given site and apply key concepts in restoration ecology to a real-world setting. The module focuses on management planning, including site evaluation and the setting of objectives for conservation, as well as exploring how restoration techniques are applied across a variety of habitats and settings. You will be asked to produce a management plan, a key skill for any conservation site manager, and develop a public information poster aimed at a local wildlife site.

      Assessment: Coursework: 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 and amphibians such as bats, newts and small mammals. Through field activities you will enhance your skills in navigation (map and compass) and health and safety assessment. You will also gain experience of data handling and interpretation through follow-up practical sessions. Scientific writing will be developed through critical evaluations of strategies for monitoring species of conservation interest (including rare or invasive species) and through interpreting data collected to inform a range of management approaches.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      Entry Criteria

      Entry Requirements

      You should have a degree equivalent to UK first-class or second-class honours (2:2 or above). No specific subjects are required.

      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 or one band lower, either overall or in one or two elements, you may want to consider our Pre-Sessional English course.

      Career Prospects

      What are my career prospects?

      As an accredited degree with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), this MSc will equip you with the knowledge and skills required for a successful career in conservation or ecological consultancy. You will be eligible for free student membership of the CIEEM while you study, with the option to upgrade your membership at your own expense after you graduate.

      As well as enhancing your CV, CIEEM student membership comes with a range of benefits, from access to publications and local events to an online professional development tool and discounted rates on training and conferences. Further information is available at

      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 £7,000 for UK students and £13,500 for international students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2022/23.

      Tuition fees for part-time study on this MSc are £39 per credit for UK students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2022/23. This is equivalent to £780 per 20 credit module.

      180 credits are required to complete a Masters degree.

      EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.

      Financial Support

      For comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students joining postgraduate courses at Edge Hill University in academic year 2022/23, together with details of how to apply for potential funding, please view our Money Matters 2022/23 guide at

      EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals should ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please see for further details.

      Financial support information for international students can be found at


      How to Apply

      There is an online application process for this programme.

      Please choose the application form for your preferred intake date and mode of study.

      Visit for more information about the application process.

      Visit to access the relevant online application form and to find out more about the application process.

      Further information for international students about how to apply is available at

      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 our full range of events for prospective students, including campus tours and virtual activities, 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 [email protected] with any queries about overseas study.

      Course Changes

      Expand All This tab outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented in the past two years. Future material changes will be added here as amends are made to course information.

      25th January 2021 - Change of Modules

      MCM4015 Restoration and Conservation Planning (20 credits) replaces MCM4007 Restoration Ecology (10 credits) and MCM4010 Management Planning (10 credits) as a compulsory module.

      Covid-19 - Conservation Management Essential Information

      Teaching and Learning at Edge Hill University in 2020

      In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, answers your questions and explains how teaching will work when you join us at Edge Hill University in September.

      Campus Facilities at Edge Hill University in 2020

      In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, explains how we’re preparing the campus for your arrival in September and the facilities that will be available.

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