MSc Applied Ecology and Conservation (Part time)

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Key facts

(2014 Research Excellence Framework)

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This course allows you to specialise in Ecology and Conservation with tuition from world-leading experts based in our Schools of Biological Sciences and Environmental Sciences. You’ll study core modules on ecological survey methods, current issues in conservation, research skills and statistics alongside a wide range of optional modules that allow you to focus on the topics you’re really interested in.

The year-long degree also incorporates a field course and an in-depth dissertation that will help you develop a large amount of transferrable skills as well as links to national and international conservation organisations.

We have very 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 institutions like the RSPB and CEFAS.

Overview

The MSc Applied Ecology and Conservation provides a flexible course structure suitable for students who wish to acquire the skills necessary for a range of careers in conservation and applied ecology. The programme aims to provide you with interdisciplinary training forming an ideal platform either for continuation to doctoral research or for direct access into conservation related employment.

The course starts with a field course. You will take a combination of taught modules and you will also work on an individual research project, often overseas. In addition to core modules in ecological survey methods, current issues in conservation, research skills for ecologists and statistics, you will be able to choose from a broad range of optional modules, including Geographical Information Systems (GIS), practical conservation and work placement, restoration ecology, conservation genetics, biodiversity conservation and human society and understanding global environmental change.

Conservation biologists and ecologists in the Schools of Biological and Environmental Sciences and leading conservation organisations conduct most of the teaching, however the faculty staff in the School of Development Studies also add important expertise in human development and sustainability issues.

In addition to in-depth exposure to global conservation issues the course provides training in a range of transferable skills and will provide you with an opportunity to establish valuable contacts with potential employers through short and long term work experience and research interaction with a range of national and international conservation organisations.

Case study

A rare and elusive rabbit has been found, held and photographed by a researcher currently studying for a Masters in Applied Ecology and Conservation at UEA. Her story recently received national press attention. Read more about Sarah's discovery

Examples of some recent research projects conducted by students on this MSc course include:

  • The vulnerability of birds to climate change (with Birdlife International)
  • Mandrills in Gabon: current status and threats (with the Wildlife Conservation Society)
  • Microhabitat and dietary preferences of Telfair’s skink on Round Island: implications for translocation (with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation)
  • Nest-site selection and poaching in Yellow-headed Amazon parrots (with the World Land Trust)
  • Crab as indicators of habitat quality (with Nature Seychelles)

 

“I found the MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation to be an excellent course to help develop my career. The diverse range of modules allows anyone to mould the course to their interests, while the core classes ensure a sound grounding in the whole process of planning, fundraising for, and running a research project.”

Joe Hawes Former student

Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 60 credits:

Name Code Credits

ECOLOGICAL SURVEY METHODS

This is a practical module that provides training for anyone who intends to carry out ecological research or who needs to interpret and evaluate the results of ecological surveys carried out by a third party. It offers vocational training for work with conservation agencies and ecological consultancies and preparatory training for students who will do ecological fieldwork for their MSc dissertation, or subsequent PhD. The module includes lectures, workshops, practical classes and field trips and covers the key considerations underpinning effective ecological survey design and implementation. Following initial lectures on research planning and study design, you will explore and gain 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.

BIO-7028Y

20

EVIDENCE-BASED GLOBAL CONSERVATION

This interdisciplinary module focuses on the critical evaluation of 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 will attend an initial block of lectures examining socio-economic drivers of biodiversity loss and motivations for conservation, challenging common assumptions and outlining conceptual frameworks for conservation interventions. A series of seminars by global conservation practitioners provide insights to implementation and employability. Coursework assessments designed to develop skills of evaluating, synthesising and communicating scientific evidence, are supported by feed-forward formative exercises.

ENV-7041A

20

MULTIVARIATE STATISTICS

You will cover multivariate statistics used in advanced ecological analyses in this module. These include General Linear Models, Analysis of Variance, Logistic Regression, and Principal Components Analysis. You will learn how to run these tests using the statistical package SPSS and how to critique, interpret, and present the results.

BIO-7025A

10

UNIVARIATE STATISTICS

You will study simple tests for trends (correlation, regression) and for differences (Chi-square, t-tests, ANOVAs) are introduced using a friendly statistical package (SPSSx for Windows). The link between statistics and experimental design is stressed.

BIO-7026A

10

Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY AND CONSERVATION GENETICS

The aim of this module is to give you a deep understanding about conservation genetics / genomics based on an evolutionary / population-genetic framework. We will cover contemporary issues in conservation biology, evolution, population biology, genetics, organismal phylogeny, Next Generation Sequencing, and molecular ecology. A background in evolution, genetics, and molecular biology is recommended. This is an advanced course in evolutionary biology / conservation genetics that will benefit you if you plan to continue with a PhD in ecology, genetics, conservation, or evolution. If you wish to deepen your knowledge in conservation / evolution / genetics you will also benefit from this module.

BIO-7027B

10

GIS AND ITS APPLICATIONS FOR MODELLING ECOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE

This module will provide essential GIS tools and principles that will be applied to modelling ecological responses to environmental change. Core GIS skills will be delivered. These include field data collection and extraction of data from national and global databases. It will include the manipulation of such files and particular attention will be paid to understanding the uncertainties associated with such analyses. These skills are important in many areas of ecological and environmental research, but are particularly useful for the creation of variables needed for modelling environmental change. There will be extensive emphasis on practical GIS skills.

ENV-7034A

20

PRACTICAL CONSERVATION AND WORK EXPERIENCE

This module entails 5 days of unpaid work placement in various international, national or local conservation organisations and ecological consultancies. The days may be carried out with more than one organisation, need not be consecutive and may be spread across both semesters. You can receive help from faculty in setting up placements but will be responsible for your own transportation to and from the workplace.

BIO-7029Y

10

STATISTICS AND MODELLING FOR SCIENTISTS USING R

How do you test a hypothesis? How do you compare biological traits between wild populations? And how do you best test and visualise differences between samples? Scientists use a wide array of methods for statistical analysis and plotting data, and increasingly, these tasks are carried out using R. R is a free programming language for statistical computing and graphics, including general and generalised linear models, time-series analysis, and community analysis, and also specialised analyses in many scientific subfields. Learning R will equip you with a flexible statistical, modelling, and graphics tool. Learning the basics of running R in the RStudio programming environment, you'll spend most of your time on general and generalised linear models, which unify the range of statistical tests that are classically taught separately: t-test, ANOVA, regression, logistic regression, and chi-square, plus residuals analysis. Additionally, you'll learn how to use R to write simple programs and carry out community analyses such as principal components analysis. Finally, throughout the class, you'll learn R methods for data formatting, graphics, and documentation. On successful completion of this module you'll be able to use R to carry out and present results from the most widely used statistical tests in current scientific practice, giving you sufficient knowledge to continue learning statistical analysis on your own. A pre-requisite of first and/or second year statistical modules is required.

ENV-7033B

20

Students must study the following modules for 80 credits:

Name Code Credits

DISSERTATION

A full-time research project that runs from mid March to early August. This entails an extensive, original and quantitative investigation on a conservation or applied ecology topic carried out in the field or laboratory, or may involve analysis of existing data. The project may be undertaken in the Schools of BIO or ENV, or with an international, national or local conservation agency. Projects are supervised by faculty. The research project is written up as a c.10,000 word dissertation with a submission deadline in early August. This is a compulsory module.

BIO-7030X

80

Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY AND CONSERVATION GENETICS

The aim of this module is to give you a deep understanding about conservation genetics / genomics based on an evolutionary / population-genetic framework. We will cover contemporary issues in conservation biology, evolution, population biology, genetics, organismal phylogeny, Next Generation Sequencing, and molecular ecology. A background in evolution, genetics, and molecular biology is recommended. This is an advanced course in evolutionary biology / conservation genetics that will benefit you if you plan to continue with a PhD in ecology, genetics, conservation, or evolution. If you wish to deepen your knowledge in conservation / evolution / genetics you will also benefit from this module.

BIO-7027B

10

GIS AND ITS APPLICATIONS FOR MODELLING ECOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE

This module will provide essential GIS tools and principles that will be applied to modelling ecological responses to environmental change. Core GIS skills will be delivered. These include field data collection and extraction of data from national and global databases. It will include the manipulation of such files and particular attention will be paid to understanding the uncertainties associated with such analyses. These skills are important in many areas of ecological and environmental research, but are particularly useful for the creation of variables needed for modelling environmental change. There will be extensive emphasis on practical GIS skills.

ENV-7034A

20

PRACTICAL CONSERVATION AND WORK EXPERIENCE

This module entails 5 days of unpaid work placement in various international, national or local conservation organisations and ecological consultancies. The days may be carried out with more than one organisation, need not be consecutive and may be spread across both semesters. You can receive help from faculty in setting up placements but will be responsible for your own transportation to and from the workplace.

BIO-7029Y

10

STATISTICS AND MODELLING FOR SCIENTISTS USING R

How do you test a hypothesis? How do you compare biological traits between wild populations? And how do you best test and visualise differences between samples? Scientists use a wide array of methods for statistical analysis and plotting data, and increasingly, these tasks are carried out using R. R is a free programming language for statistical computing and graphics, including general and generalised linear models, time-series analysis, and community analysis, and also specialised analyses in many scientific subfields. Learning R will equip you with a flexible statistical, modelling, and graphics tool. Learning the basics of running R in the RStudio programming environment, you'll spend most of your time on general and generalised linear models, which unify the range of statistical tests that are classically taught separately: t-test, ANOVA, regression, logistic regression, and chi-square, plus residuals analysis. Additionally, you'll learn how to use R to write simple programs and carry out community analyses such as principal components analysis. Finally, throughout the class, you'll learn R methods for data formatting, graphics, and documentation. On successful completion of this module you'll be able to use R to carry out and present results from the most widely used statistical tests in current scientific practice, giving you sufficient knowledge to continue learning statistical analysis on your own. A pre-requisite of first and/or second year statistical modules is required.

ENV-7033B

20

Disclaimer

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 and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of 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 or sabbatical leave. 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 endeavour to inform students.

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Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Biology-related subject plus evidence of additional conservation experience. First degrees in geography or environmental management are also accepted if these contain a strong ecological component.
  • Degree Classification Good first degree (minimum 2.1 or equivalent)
  • Alternative Qualifications Non-scientists wanting to retrain may take the one year Diploma in Ecology and enter the MSc Applied Ecology & Conservation the following year.

Students for whom English is a 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: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 62 (minimum 55 in all components)

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 intopre-sessional@uea.ac.uk

Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees for 2018/19

Tuition fees for the academic year 2018/19 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £9,000
  • International Students: £19,000

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 UK/EU students).

International applicants from outside the EU may need to pay a deposit.

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.

Scholarships

A variety of Scholarships may be offered to UK/EU and International students. Scholarships are normally awarded to students on the basis of academic merit and are usually for the duration of the period of study. Please click here for more detailed information about funding for prospective students.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online, or by downloading the application form.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry 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
Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries:
    admissions@uea.ac.uk or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515