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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Study  /  Graduate Taught  /  MSc Conservation

MSc Conservation

As the leading Programme for aspiring nature conservation professionals, our MSc Conservation provides a strong foundation across the social and natural sciences.

The UCL MSc Conservation is widely recognised as the leading programme for aspiring nature conservation professionals and those wishing to pursue an academic career. This successful, interdisciplinary degree programme engages with the environmental, social and policy dimensions of conservation. More than 75% of our graduates have gone on to secure posts related to nature conservation.

In our teaching, we focus on the principles (conservation biology and ethics), policy (socio-economics, law and governance) and practice of conservation. These aspects are put into the wider context of the inter-related driving forces of globalisation, demographic trends, invasive species, climate change, habitat degradation and the loss of biodiversity that is resulting from these forces.


You can complete this Programme full time over one year, taking four core conservation modules in Term 1 and the choice of four modules in Term 2.

The following modules are expected to be available for 2021/22. Please note these may be subject to change.


Module codeModule titleUCL Credit value
GEOG0108 Scientific Basis for Freshwater and Coastal Conservation 15 credits
GEOG0106 Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis 15 credits
GEOG0093 Conservation and Environmental Management 15 credits
GEOG0090 The Rural Matrix: Institutional and Policy Context 15 credits


Module codeModule titleUCL Credit value
GEOG0034 Coastal Geohazards 15 credits
GEOG0035 Environmental GIS 15 credits
GEOG0083 Politics of Climate Change 15 credits
GEOG0091 Wetlands 15 credits
GEOG0096 Lakes 15 credits
GEOG0107 Aquatic Macrophytes 15 credits
GEOG0122 Biological Indicators of Environmental Change 15 credits
GEOG0123 Climate Proxies 15 credits
GEOG0135 Marine Conservation
15 credits
GEOG0152 Introduction to Citizen Science and Scientific Crowdsourcing 15 credits

MSc Conservation students also undertake a piece of original research leading to a dissertation of up to 12,000 words (60 credits) with the support of an academic supervisor. The dissertation period normally lasts from late April or May to the end of August. The Department enjoys strong links with the conservation sector, and projects are often carried out in collaboration with organisations outside the University.

Coronavirus note: Due to COVID-19 updates, there may need to be changes to planned field trips for this programme. This will depend on travel restrictions, social distancing measures, and the availability of the relevant venues. We will keep you updated if any changes need to be made and on alternative options, as successfully used in 2020-2021.

Some of the people who deliver key components of the MSc Conservation include:


Information on fees and funding can be found on the main UCL website.

  1. Fees*
  2. Scholarships

*Please note that optional choice modules in Term 2 may incur additional costs for accommodation and transport associated with residential field classes or fieldwork.

Other Funding Sources

Applicants to the MSc Conservation may be eligible to apply for studentship awards supported by the British Hydrological Society, JBA Trust and Environment Agency:

MSc Studentship Award Scheme

Sources from which UCL MSc Conservation students have secured funds in the past include, the Laurence Attwell Charity, the Ian Karten Charitable Trust, the Mercers' Company, the Richard Newitt Fund, the Radley Trust, the Percy Sladen Memorial Fund and the Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust.


You can apply for a place on this Programme via UCL Admissions.

Potential applicants are expected to have a First or Upper Second-class Honours degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. Environmental Science, Geography or Biology) from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applications with relevant professional experience in conservation or environmental management will also be considered. The Department currently requires a good level of English demonstrated by a recent IELTS Academic or equivalent qualification. If you have any more questions about this programme, you can email the Department or make an appointment to come and meet staff. It is possible to take the MSc part time. Please contact the programme convenor if you require details of the part-time structure.

More than 75% of our graduates are known to have gained a post in the conservation sector or in conservation-related research. Many potential employers have themselves graduated from the course over the last 50+ years.

The following list provides some examples of initial MSc Conservation student destinations:

    • DEFRA (Project Support Officer, Environmental Permitting Programme; Policy Advisor, Marine & Freshwater Biodiversity Division)
    • Natural England (Government and Conservation Adviser)
    • Environment Agency (Planning Technical Assistant)
    • Local Boroughs and Councils (e.g. Conservation Park Ranger; Biodiversity Project Officer; Environmental Information Support Officer)
    • Local Wildlife Trusts: (Project Officer, Living Landscapes Programme; Design for Biodiversity Officer
    • Wildlife Protection Society of India (Projects Manager)
    • ECOMAR (Brazilian marine conservation NGO) (Executive Director)
    • Blue Ventures, Madagascar (Science Intern, Marine Conservation Project Coordination; Research Development Manager)
    • Environmental consultant, Dubai (EIAs for marine oil and gas projects)
    • IUCN (Internship, Freshwater Biodiversity Unit)
    • UNEP-WCMC (United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre) (Internship, developing rare species (crocodile) database)
    • CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research) (initially Internship, Project Research Assistant, subsequently Project Research Officer
    • ZSL (Zoological Society of London) (e.g. Development and Events Coordinator; various Internships)
    • Kew Gardens (Internship, Sample Red List Index Project; botanical horticulturalist)
    • RSPB (Communications Officer)
    • Various ecological/conservation/sustainability consultancies (Consultant Field Ecologist; Consultant Ecologist; Graduate Ecologist; Administrator)
    • Waste Watch NGO (recycling advisor)
    • Broadview Energy Ltd (assistant project manager on wind farm projects)