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Centre for Biological Sciences

C100 MRes Wildlife Conservation - 1 yr(s)

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.

Introducing your degree

This is the course page for MRes Wildlife Conservation at the University of Southampton. Find out everything about Wildlife Conservation and what studying here involves.

In this course page we explain a range of key information about the course. This includes typical entry requirements, modules you can take and how assessment works. We also suggest career opportunities open to you as a University of Southampton graduate of MRes Wildlife Conservation.

If you still have questions, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any enquiries. See our contact us page for our telephone, email and address information.

Programme Overview

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.

View the programme specification document for this course

Research briefs: 

MRes Wildilfe Conservation candidates must select their preferred project area upon application, from the opportunities available within Marwell Wildlife's conservation programmes. In exceptional cases, however, we may consider candidates who wish to propose a research project based on material and/or locations outside of Marwell's usual operations. 

Fee information (2015 entry):

UK and EU

The standard fee for the 1 year full-time programme is £10,000, 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: £1500, £2400 or £3900. Descriptions of each research project include an indication of its fee. You should indicate your preferred research project as part of your application. Overall fees are therefore £ 11,500, £12,400 or £13,900, depending on your preferred research project.

Overseas (non-EU)

The standard fee for the 1 year full-time programme is £20,000, 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: £1500, £2400 or £3900. Descriptions of each research project include an indication of its fee. You should indicate your preferred research project as part of your application. Overall fees are therefore £ 21,500, £22,400 or £23,900, depending on your preferred research project.

  UK and EU fees £ International (non-EU) fees £
Band A research project 11500 21500
Band B research project 12400 22400
Band C research project 13900 23900

To Apply

To register interest or to be sent more information please contact:

Postgraduate Admissions Office

+44(0)23 8059 4348

Application deadline for this degree programme is 31 May 2016


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 Structure

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.

Key Facts

Develop an extensive and in-depth knowledge of all aspects of wildlife conservation

Undertake an extensive research project abroad or in the UK

Join an exciting and active team of conservation biologists at Marwell Wildlife

Learn how to effectively communicate your research to colleagues and the public

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

Intake: 15

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.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


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.

Year 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.

Advanced 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.

Semester One

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.

Semester Two

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.

Research briefs:




United Kingdom

Population Management

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).

Career Opportunities

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.

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

Biological Sciences Building, Highfield Campus

The Life Sciences building is a £50 million state-of-the-art laborator...Find out more

Marwell Wildlife

Marwell Wildlife is a charity dedicated to the conservation of biodive...Find out more

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Collaboration with the conservation biologists at Marwell Wildlife
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10 day Kenya field course
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Techniques in monitoring and surveying
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Extensive individual 8 month research project
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Wildlife Conservation

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