Biodiversity loss remains one of the key environmental concerns of our time, and conservation work requires experts who understand the science underpinning practical activities. The MSc Biodiversity and Conservation will develop your understanding, providing excellent preparation for careers in ecological consultancy or conservation management.
The conservation and enhancement of our biodiversity relies upon highly skilled environmental scientists. Our MSc Biodiversity and Conservation course draws on our world-class reputation for environmental research and provides an industry-relevant masters education for a career as an environmental scientist in conservation.
Through this course you will be able to accurately monitor species diversity, change, population abundance and distribution, all key skills in the protection and enhancement of our ecosystems.
In your first semester, you will develop the fundamental skills required for a career in ecology. You will learn about Environmental Impact Assessment, deepen your understanding of freshwater ecosystems and their management, whilst developing skills in spatial ecology and conservation. In the second semester, you will learn to action global change by analysing ecosystems and their impact on populations and communities.
Each semester, you have the option to specialise in modules related to your interests and career aspirations, from Environmental Pollution to Deep Sea Ecology to Environmental Law and Management. You will have the chance to apply geographical information systems, modelling and spatial analysis and acquire the interdisciplinary skills required for effective research project management. We provide students with the knowledge and ability to accurately monitor species diversity, change, population and distribution, in order to protect and enhance our ecosystems, individual species and habitats.
The final part of the year will centre on individual research. You will complete an advanced research project and be encouraged to work with industry to apply your newly deveoped knowledge.
You can apply for this course through the University of Southampton's online postgraduate application system. For more background and detailed information, visit how to apply.
The deadline for applications is the 31st July each year.
The academic year for students on the MSc course is divided into three parts: two semesters of taught modules (which are a mix of compulsory and optional topics) followed by a period of self-directed study for the Advanced Research Project over the summer. We encourage you to conduct your research projects with external organisations and potential employers. You are not required to submit a dissertation but instead write a research article (7,000 words maximum) in the style of a peer-reviewed journal for submission in September. This article contributes one-third of the marks towards your MSc degree and is therefore a key component of your studies. This programme is also available to apply for on a part time basis.
The taught component of the MSc course is assessed independently of the research project component. Progression to the research project depends on successful completion of the taught component. The MSc award depends on passing the examinations and on successful completion of a dissertation on the project. The possible exit points are:
We only accept applications to the 180 Credit MSc course. The PG Diploma and PG Certificate are exit points only and are not standalone qualifications.
Provides an education suitable for a wide variety of careers in the environment after graduation
Includes training in a range of practical, transferable skills
Typical entry requirements
An upper second-class honours degree or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University in Environmental Sciences, Geography, Zoology, Oceanography, Biology, Geology, Physics.
A first class honours degree or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University and interview are normally required for applicants with an Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering or Mathematics degree.
Applications are assessed on an individual basis and we encourage candidates with alternative qualifications plus relevant experience in the environmental sector to apply. Students holding qualifications in non-Science or non-Engineering based subjects areas are normally only eligible to apply for the MSc Integrated Environmental Studies (from the five Environmental Science MSc courses available).
Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate that they have sufficient command of English to undertake the course, for example, through an overall IELTS test score of 6.5 (with a minimum of 5.5 in every component) or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.
30-35 across all Environmental Management pathways
Average applications per place:
All individuals are selected and treated on their relative merits and abilities in line with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy. The University of Southampton welcomes applications from disabled students. We have extensive experience of supporting students with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions including sensory loss, mobility issues, mental health needs, long terms health conditions, autistic spectrum disorders and any specific learning difficulty. Applications from disabled applicants will be considered in the same way as any other application and a decision will be made that is based upon the candidate's academic merit and potential.
If you have a disability or health condition and would like to discuss your requirements please contact Enabling Services to discuss your academic and other support needs.
In the first semester, you are required to complete three compulsory modules, and select one other from a wide range of choices. In the second semester, you take two compulsory modules, and select two further optional modules. The range of modules available in both semester is broad and can be tailored to suit your specific interests within this area of expertise. You will also be required to complete the MSc Research Project (FEEG6012).
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
Fees & funding
Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are
listed for UK,
EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course
Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you
through your course.
Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or
your country of origin.
These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.
Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such
essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the
academic requirements for each programme of study.
There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the
Approved calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
You will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
Where a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source.
Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Design equipment and materials: Standard construction/modelling materials will be provided where appropriate, unless otherwise specified in a module profile.
For customisation of designs/models calling for material other than standard construction/ modelling materials, students will bear the costs of such alternatives.
Field course clothing: You will need to wear suitable clothing when attending field courses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source.
Printing and copying
In some cases, coursework and/or projects may be submitted electronically. Where it is not possible to submit electronically students will be liable for printing costs, which are detailed in the individual module profile.
Optional visits: Some modules may include additional optional visits. You will normally be expected to cover the cost of travel and admission, unless otherwise specified in the module profile.
In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated
with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also
ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and
Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.
Learning & Assessment
Knowledge and understanding
On completing the course, you should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
The importance of environmental concepts, terms, principles and methods, and the need for multi- and interdisciplinary approaches
The value of a holistic approach to environmental science by using techniques and ideas in different subject disciplines
The socio-economic context of environmental issues and the legal framework through which environmental regulation is facilitated
Current issues, paradigms and approaches within a specialist subject area of the environmental sciences
The contribution of science, engineering or communication to the identification, understanding and, where appropriate, resolution of environmental issues and concerns.
The human causes and consequences of environmental impacts, and responses to such impacts.
General environmental concerns, which may include: biodiversity; environmental limits to economic or population growth; demand for, and consequences of, water resource utilization; energy and material production and use, including alternatives; air, land and water pollution; climate change; environmental change.
Teaching and learning methods
Acquisition of core knowledge and understanding is through lectures, seminars, field and laboratory classes, workshops and independent research. You are expected to supplement and consolidate your understanding and knowledge by independent study. Strong emphasis is also placed on the importance of using the flexibility of the course to provide you with the opportunity to build an individual portfolio of knowledge and skills which reflects your particular interest(s) in the environment.
We recognise that students come from diverse backgrounds and have very varied levels of experience in scientific methods. All students therefore participate in team work, with team members drawn from different backgrounds, which provides an opportunity to share experiences. Training is also provided on data collection, data handling and analysis to help prepare you for project work and future employment.
Knowledge is assessed throughout the course through a combination of formative methods (to provide you with constructive feedback to help you develop your skills and understanding) and summative methods (to assess your performance).
Formative assessment takes the form of feedback on essays, reports, presentations and the research project, and is stressed from the beginning of the course. Formative assessment is delivered in part through informal assessment of work that does not contribute directly to your results (e.g. class debriefings on oral presentations).
Summative assessment takes the form of unseen and open-book examinations and tests, presentations, project work and coursework.