C100 MRes Wildlife Conservation (1 yrs)
The MRes Wildlife Conservation research masters degree is an exciting new addition to our portfolio of programmes, designed for graduates of biology, zoology, ecology and other relevant biological or ecological disciplines. It offers you the chance to build on the background of your undergraduate degree, while allowing you to develop within the field of wildlife conservation.
This new wildlife conservation masters course is jointly delivered as a unique collaborative programme with Marwell Wildlife. It is the only current Wildlife Conservation programme in the UK to offer the opportunity of such a high degree of interaction between a University and a action-oriented Conservation organisation. It is the ultimate aim of this MRes to produce individuals who have the skills, experience and academic credentials required for employment as Conservation biologists.
In order to provide an immersive experience for students and to ensure we have the scope to cover all that the MRes encompasses, the course is based on a full calendar year, running from the start of Semester one (October-Jan), through semester two (Feb-June), and beyond, right up until late September. The MRes is a full-time course only, with no provision for a part-time option at this time.
The standard fee for the 1 year full-time programme is £9000, this includes loan of a laptop and a camera trap for the duration of the course and a 10-day field trip to Kenya. On top of this, students must pay for their research project. There are three bands of fees depending on the research project: £1100, £2000 or £3500. Descriptions of each research project includes an indication of its fee. You should indicate your preferred research project as part of your application. Overall fees are therefore either £10100, £11000 or £12500, depending on your preferred research project.
To register interest or to be sent more information please contact:
Postgraduate Admissions Office
+44(0)23 8059 4121
When applying you should:
- check you meet the general entry requirements
- if applicable, ensure that you will be able meet any special requirements for international students
- identify how you will fund your postgraduate study
- obtain supporting documentation to support your application
- identify the project you are interest in on your application
You will then be ready to apply, using the University's online application form here.
Search for ‘Wildlife Conservation' or, select Programme Type ‘Research', ‘Full-time' and ‘Faculty of Natural & Environmental Sciences', then choose MRes Wildlife Conservation."
Programme-specific modules will be taught by Marwell Wildlife’s team of conservation biologists. Marwell Wildlife is located 9 miles from the main Highfield campus of the University of Southampton, near Winchester. As a conservation charity with a zoological park as part of its conservation profile Marwell Wildlife undertakes a broad portfolio of conservation research which includes managing individuals and populations of threatened species and the restoration of endangered wildlife and ecosystems. During semester 1 you will attend taught modules at the zoological park and, in November, a field course at Marwell Wildlife’s conservation science site in Kenya. You will also have the unique experience of undertaking an extensive 8-month in-depth research project based on real needs arising from Marwell’s ongoing conservation work, under the joint supervision of a Marwell Wildlife conservation Biologist and a University of Southampton academic. Data collection for the in-depth research project may be based at any one of Marwell Wildlife’s sites, in the UK or Africa (Prospective candidates are invited to identify their preferred research project at time of application). Through the combination of time spent at Marwell Wildlife’s UK base for module delivery and working alongside conservation biologists throughout your research, you will spend a significant proportion of this one year course playing an important role within Marwell Wildlife’s dynamic conservation team.
On campus at University of Southampton you will be based in the iconic Life Sciences building where a module on research and statistical skills will be taught by Biological Sciences lecturers. Students on other postgraduate programmes within the Centre for Biological Sciences will also join you on this statistics module providing an important opportunity to mix with your fellow postgraduate University of Southampton students, enhancing your student experience. You will also have weekly programme-specific tutorials in small groups throughout semester 1, which will cover research skills including: science communication – posters, seminars, scientific papers; critical evaluation; employability skills; online presence, including blogs and social media; grant applications.
Typical entry requirements
The MRes research masters in wildlife conservation is designed for graduates and postgraduates of biology, zoology and ecological disciplines (2:1 or first class degree), and those currently already working at conservation organisations. It is a one calendar year (October-September) full-time course. There is currently no provision for this MRes as a part time course.
Applicants will select their preferred 8 month in-depth research project at point of application, which in turn will influence the course fees.
Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by representatives from the Centre for Biological Sciences and Marwell Wildlife, and in particular, applicants suitability for their preferred 8 month in-depth research projects will be discussed. In some cases successful applicants may be offered a place on the MRes, based on a research project which is not their preferred choice. Our priority is to ensure that the best students join us on the MRes, and that each individual is matched, based on their attributes, skills, experience and career ambitions to the specific needs of each research project.
Typical course content
All students on this wildlife conservation research masters programme must take four compulsory taught modules: Three are course-specific modules taught at Marwell Wildlife. A statistical skills module will be taught at the Centre for Biological Sciences. Students will start their extensive individual 8 month research project in semester 2, under the supervision of a Marwell Wildlife Conservation Biologist and a University of Southampton academic, following a series of tutorials in semester 1.
Wildlife Conservation: Disciplines and Principles - This module will expand and enhance knowledge of the underlying conceptual and theoretical framework required by conservation biologists .You will recognize and demonstrate an understanding of conservation issues along a spectrum ranging from individual animals, through to populations, reintroductions, habitat restoration and anthropogenic sources of conflict
By the end of this module you will have an understanding of the value and limitations of applying biological principles and disciplines to real-world conservation
Fieldwork- Before, During and After - Preparatory sessions delivered at Marwell Wildlife will cover aspects such as risk assessment for fieldwork, politics and diplomacy and basic field skills. There is then a 10 day field course to Marwell Wildlife's conservation and research site in Kenya. On returning from the field site, students will present outcomes of group-based short survey project.
Techniques in monitoring and surveying - This module will outline the value of monitoring wildlife across several levels (individuals, population and communities). You will be introduced to a host of techniques specific to monitoring and surveying wildlife (for example radio tracking, camera trapping, gathering information from local communities, use of standard population management software). You are encouraged to spend independent study time familiarising yourself with the equipment, at Marwell, in order to develop your competence and confidence in their use. Emphasis is placed upon how these approaches are crucial for informing conservation decision-making, relating to wildlife.
Quantitative methods - Evidence-based conservation requires quantitative analyses of field data typically collected under imperfectly controlled conditions and across heterogeneous habitats. This module will develop generic skills in (1) the design of data collection protocols, particularly for field experiments and observational studies, and (2) the testing of hypotheses with statistical models.
MRes Wildlife Conservation research project - In addition to enabling you to complete a substantial piece (8 months in duration) of independent research, this module will provide you with training in research methodology and science communication. You will work alongside your supervisory team of a Marwell Wildlife conservation biologist and a University of Southampton academic to prepare a detailed Research Proposal for your research project. Following this, data collection for your individual 8 month in-depth research project will be undertaken at one of Marwell Wildlife's conservation science sites. You will work closely with your supervisory team to ensure that the project outcomes address real identified needs arising from Marwell Wildlife's ongoing conservation work. The project will culminate in a final report, written in the style of a journal paper. Following successful completion of the research project report, there will be the opportunity to refine your draft paper, with your supervisory team, for submission to a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
During semester 1 you will attend taught modules at the zoological park and, in November, a field course at Marwell Wildlife's conservation science site in Kenya.
Marwell Wildlife's team of conservation biologists are in the process of identifying next year's research projects against which we will invite the next round of MRes Wildlife Conservation applications (for 2014/15 academic year).
At this early stage we are discussing research projects based on elephant and lion social dynamics in Kenya, conservation genetics and adaptation to human-dominated environments, as well as woodland habitat management and lowland meadow restoration in the UK.
This webpage will be updated with the final 2014/15 research briefs very soon and we aim to open for applications from January 2014, with interviews likely to be held in April/May 2014 (tbc).
Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).
Learning and teaching
Teaching and Learning Methods
To assist the development of your knowledge and understanding of wildlife conservation we use a wide range of teaching methods in this MRes Wildlife Conservation masters programme. As well as your practical skills and confidence in the field, we use a wide range of teaching methods in this MRes. Prior to your in-depth 8 month research project, you will develop core knowledge and understanding via four compulsory taught modules which will include: module lectures, tutor-led and student-led tutorials, student-led seminars and presentations, practical classes, case studies, fieldwork, guided independent study, group study and your own research project. A wide range of support is available for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.
To test your knowledge and understanding of material presented in the lectures and associated practicals, you will be assessed via a combination of written examinations, oral presentations, essays, and fieldwork reports. In addition, at the start of Semester 2, you will complete a full research proposal based on your individual 8 month in-depth research project, which will be assessed by the project supervisors, based at the University of Southampton and Marwell Wildlife. Following this, data collection for your individual 8 month research project will be undertaken at one of Marwell Wildlife's conservation science sites. You will work closely with your supervisory team to ensure that the project outcomes address real identified needs arising from Marwell Wildlife's ongoing conservation work. The project will culminate in a final report, written in the style of a journal paper, submitted at the end of the 12 month full-time programme. Following successful completion of the project, there will be an opportunity to refine your draft paper, with your supervisory team, and to publish your research in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Additional support can be provided for those students who have further or specific needs.
Summative assessment contributes to your marks and involves a combination of unseen written examinations (at the end of the study module) and coursework (which includes essays, project reports, etc.). Assessment of your knowledge and understanding is undertaken primarily via these summative assessment methods; in addition you will receive feedback on all formally assessed work.
This MRes allows those with career aspirations within conservation to enhance their prospects in a number of ways. You will develop your academic credentials and your practical skills, jointly, without having to choose to invest in one route or the other. You will be exposed to, and have the opportunity to work alongside, practicing conservation biologists, providing you with valuable experience and insight into the realities of working in conservation. By undertaking an in-depth 8 month research project you will develop some specialist knowledge within your area of interest, and be exposed to a wider network of conservation biologists and other industry professionals working for organizations that collaborate with Marwell Wildlife (for example, European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, Kenya Wildlife Service, Natural England). This wide range of experience, and any contacts within the conservation network you have made, will assist you when applying for positions within conservation NGOs and wildlife focused government agencies.
Additionally, graduates will find the MRes programme an excellent way to prepare for a PhD in conservation science as you will gain experience of undertaking postgraduate research, as well as having the opportunity to begin developing your own specialist area of study, off the back of your 8 month in-depth research project . Students should note that the research undertaken for the MRes Project would be independent of research for a PhD.