Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

MSc in Conservation and Rural Development

The relationship between conservation and rural development can best be described as an uneasy alliance: on the one hand there is substantial common ground between them in terms of preventing environmental degradation, but on the other, they are often in direct conflict. This pathway explores the issues underlying the conservation/rural development debate and offers practical and methodological tools for working at the interface between the two.

The programme is relevant to the work of national management and scientific authorities, international and national NGOs, consultancy firms and contractors, international agencies and donors.

Objectives of the program (competence)

This programme aims to:

  • produce postgraduates equipped to play leading roles in the field of international conservation and biodiversity management
  • develop new areas of teaching in response to the advance of scholarship and practice
  • provide you with opportunities to gain an interdisciplinary perspective on conservation issues through collaborative exchange between DICE and the wider University
  • develop your competence in applying theoretical and methodological skills to the implementation of conservation practice and biodiversity management
  • develop your critical and analytical powers in relation to policy formulation and data analysis and interpretation
  • provide you with the skills to adapt and respond positively to change
  • develop critical, analytical problem-based learning skills and the transferable skills necessary for professional development
  • enhance the development of your interpersonal skills
  • assist you to develop the skills required for both autonomous practice and team-working.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • fundamental ecological concepts and how they apply to conservation biology and biodiversity management
  • conservation at the species, population, community and ecosystem levels
  • fundamental social science perspectives on conservation, and the principles of interdisciplinarity
  • principles and significance of resource economics
  • biodiversity law, policy, and legislative frameworks
  • principles and practice involved with sustainable resource use
  • principles and practice involved with managing protected areas for conservation
  • principles of conservation research design, implementation, and analysis, including problem-led interdisciplinary approaches
  • principles and practice in conservation, business, and rural development.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • the ability to marshal ideas and examples into well-organized written and oral presentations
  • critical analysis of case studies
  • reflective evaluation of theoretical and methodological frameworks
  • design, implementation, analysis, and write-up of a substantial research project (your Master’s dissertation)
  • linking theory to practice in conservation science and social science.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • field biology skills
  • social science methodologies
  • experimental design and statistics
  • methodologies for analyzing and appraising conservation case studies
  • population assessment and assessment of threat status
  • methodologies for estimating sustainable wildlife management
  • methodologies for protected areas management and planning.

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • IT: Word, Excel, statistical and modeling programmes, email, bibliographic and web searches
  • presentation skills
  • writing reports and funding proposals
  • time management
  • using a library
  • working in groups
  • the skills to exercise initiative and personal responsibility
  • independent learning skills required for continuing professional development.

Content of the program

The MSc consists of six months of coursework and five months of research. The optional modules allow you the flexibility to devise a pathway that suits your specific interests, with an appropriate balance between natural and social sciences.

Modules

Please note that not all modules necessarily run every year. Please contact the School for more detailed information on availability.

Modules may include Credits
15
15
15
15
15
15
15
15
15
15
15
15
15
15
60

Professional and practical experience (practice-oriented training)

The School has a lively postgraduate community drawn together not only by shared resources such as postgraduate rooms, computer facilities (with a dedicated IT officer) and laboratories, but also by student-led events, societies, staff/postgraduate seminars, weekly research student seminars and a number of special lectures. The School houses well-equipped research laboratories for genetics, ecology, visual anthropology, virtual paleoanthropology, Animal Postcranial Evolution, biological anthropology, anthropological computing, botany, osteology and ethnobiology. In addition to various long-term study sites around the world we maintain an ecology field trials area and a field laboratory on the University campus.

Evaluation

Assessment is carried out primarily through coursework with written examinations for some modules. The research dissertation is written up in the format of a paper for publication.

Duration

One year full-time, two years part-time

For applicants

Entry requirements

A good second class honours degree, or better, in a relevant subject; a good honours degree in other subjects together with relevant practical experience.

In exceptional circumstances, DICE admits applicants without a first degree if their professional career and experience shows academic achievement of a high enough standard.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.  Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.

Career prospects

The School has a very good record for postgraduate employment and academic continuation. DICE programmes combine academic theory with practical field experience to develop graduates who are highly employable within government, NGOs and the private sector.

Our alumni progress into a wide range of organisations across the world. Examples include: consultancy for a Darwin Initiative project in West Sumatra; Wildlife Management Officer in Kenya; Chief of the Biodiversity Unit – UN Environment Programme; Research and Analysis Programme Leader for TRAFFIC; Freshwater Programme Officer, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Head of the Ecosystem Assessment Programme, United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC); Community Based Natural Resource Manager, WWF; Managing Partner, Althelia Climate Fund; and Programme Officer, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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