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MSc Conservation Management

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  • Objectives
    An understanding of Biodiversity and its management is increasingly important. This is reflected in the various employment opportunities with consultancies, local councils, national agencies and voluntary bodies. However what is increasingly becoming an all graduate profession is rarely taught to any depth on undergraduate courses. This Masters programme aims to equip the graduate to work in this area by delivering a cohesive programme comprising interesting and relevant modules and also addressing the environmental components of the current school curriculum. The Conservation Management course is characterised by its synthesis of the expertise of the field biologist with practical experience of managing habitats allied to a clear theoretical framework. The curriculum underpins this distinctiveness and emphasis is placed on fieldwork, biological identification skills and experience of a broad range of management issues. Extensive fieldwork takes advantage of the various excellent reserves in the area.
  • Entry requirements
    Recent graduates are more than welcome to apply alongside experienced conservation workers or those seeking a career change. Its nature and learning style make the course appropriate for those working in the voluntary and government sector as well as those working in consultancy. The course is also suited to teachers who wish to develop their skills and knowledge in the environmental and ecological subject areas.
  • Academic Title
    MSc Conservation Management
  • Course description
    Who will be teaching me?

    The course is taught by a small friendly team with considerable teaching and research experience in the area. Staff have pride in the quality of their teaching, recognised in assessments by the QAA and current students in the National Student Survey. 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.

    How will I be assessed?

    The course has a variety of assessments methods, aimed to develop the full range of skills and expertise relevant to the subject. These include data analysis, voucher specimen collections, vegetation survey portfolios and management plans. There are no formal exams. Candidates who are successful in all the taught modules without a dissertation submission will be eligible for a Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation Management.

    MGM101 Vegetation Ecology: This module provides an overview of the main natural habitats in northern Europe, developing an understanding of their distribution, vegetation, relationship to soils and climate, ecology and historical development. A significant component of the module will be plant identification skills; an understanding of plant biodiversity being essential to undertaking informed habitat management. Students will build on their plant identification skills by applying them to community classification using the National Vegetation Classification (NVC). The module will also introduce aspects of ecology that are significant in conservation such as succession, disturbance, fragmentation and connectivity.

    MCM102 Biodiversity Planning and Legislation: This module addresses the non-biological contexts that shape conservation in the UK. It 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.

    MCM103 GIS for Conservation: Remote Sensing - the analysis and interpretation of aerial and satellite imagery - together with the application of GIS (Geographical Information Systems) has transformed the manner in which conservation biologists view the field application of their discipline. It is now a standard survey tool by practising ecologists. Vast amounts of spatial and non-spatial data from different sources are now available to conservation biologists. The software and approaches to handling and transforming these data into useable information are also advancing rapidly. This module will provide the knowledge, experience and skills necessary to utilise this information.

    MCM104 Conservation Placement: The placement module will provide students with a professional setting in which they can apply the knowledge and skills acquired in lectures, workshops, and practical classes, whilst simultaneously extending and refining their knowledge and skills over and above the experiences provided through the mechanisms of fieldwork and dissertation work.

    MCM105 Habitat Management: This is a field-based module alongside an associated theoretical component providing students with an opportunity for extended study of a range of habitat management situations. The focus of the module will be management planning, including site evaluation, condition assessment and the setting of objectives for conservation.

    MCM106 Species Monitoring and Management: This module provides students with an overview of a species-centred approach to conservation. Extensive use of case studies will allow the critical evaluation of various schemes of assessing species numbers across a range of rare flora and fauna and the relationship between this data and schemes for species management.

    MCM107 Restoration Ecology: This module 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. Knowledge in this area will therefore give students an important insight into the forefront and development of the discipline.

    MCM108 Dissertation: The dissertation is the component of the programme that distinguishes the MSc from a PGCert. The student will gain an understanding and experience of the complete research process through completion of an original piece of work. It is anticipated that this module will have an applied element. Hence the dissertation will examine a real problem associated with some aspect of conservation. The dissertation gives students the opportunity to critically apply skills and knowledge gained throughout the rest of the programme and to place their work in the wider context of the scientific literature.

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