About this course
With climate change challenging our conservation efforts, now is the time to play a role in the future of conservation by studying our MRes Wildlife Conservation course. We’re the only university in the UK offering a Masters of Research in close collaboration with a conservation organisation.
Studying this Masters of Research gives you the opportunity to complete a research project in a real and very critical cause; conserving wildlife and their supporting ecosystems. Our wildlife degree in research is designed to give you the professional and research skills to either study a PhD or become a conservation biologist.
During your studies, you’ll be based at the Science and Learning Centre at Marwell Wildlife Zoo where you’ll be considered part of the team. You’ll learn the foundations in advanced field research with access to their top of the range research equipment.
You’ll be able to apply your research skills to immediate use during a 10-day trip to Kenya, which is covered as part of the course fees. You’ll collect data and report your findings to stakeholders giving you real-life work experience of a conservation biologist working in Africa.
As part of this course you'll be given a choice of independent research projects to complete. This could take you from the local eco-systems in the UK, to the ranches of Kenya, or the mountains of Tunisia.The selection changes every year.
Students previous projects have looked at the following subjects:
- conservation grazing and its effect on local biodiversity
- re-introducing species, considering the effect of climate change
- evolution of species behaviour whilst in captivity
- management of large herbivores, considering socio-economic constraints
Our teaching staff are experts and the learning environment is open and inclusive, with a focus on self-reflection. This enables you to measure your own personal growth as a researcher during this transformational point in your wildlife conservation career.
Dr Judith Lock is Senior Teaching Fellow in Ecology and Evolution within Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton. Judith’s research expertise are in behavioural ecology, conservation biology and their interface. She joined us in September 2010, building a national and international reputation for curriculum innovative, including the development and now management of this collaborative provision MRes in Wildlife Conservation, with Marwell Wildlife.
Download the programme specification
The programme specification sets out the learning outcomes of this course and details how the course is taught and assessed.
You’ll need a 2:1 degree In a relevant subject, such as Biology, Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Geography or Zoology.
Got a question?
If you're not sure that you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course please contact our enquiries team; we're very happy to help.Email: email@example.com
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
The master’s in research is 33% taught and 66% research led. The taught elements of the course ensure you’re fully prepared to start your independent research.
You'll shortlist 3 research projects when you apply, take a look at the research projects by downloading the research project briefs for 2019-2020.
Semester 1 overview
You'll look at key issues affecting:
- individual animals
- ecological restoration
- anthropogenic sources of conflict
You’ll consider the role of a species’ life history, how individual differences affect the selective process in human-led environments. As part of this, you’ll look at locations like zoos and protected areas to understand how species preservation is managed.
You'll evaluate what you’re conserving while considering what is important, from either the species itself or the process that produces them.
You’ll learn about the biological components of species integrity, including:
- molecular genetics
- interactions with environment
- ecosystem functioning
You'll learn how to monitor and survey wildlife using the facilities at Marwell Wildlife and grow your understanding of modern techniques to capture relevant data.
In the later part of semester 1, you’ll put your new-found knowledge and research skills to use on a 10-day trip to Kenya. The trip to Kenya is a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience in a new and different environment. You’ll be treated as a real-life researcher as you collect data and report and present your findings back to stakeholders. As your knowledge and experience grows, you’ll track your professional and personal development through a reflective project.
Semester 2 overview
In semester 2 you’ll complete your independent research project. All students will have the continued support of a research expert at Marwell Zoo and a personal tutor throughout your research project.
Semester 2 continues through until September and the end of the course.
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
For entry in Academic Year 2020-21
You must study the following modules in year 1:
Learning and assessment
During the taught element of the course, you’ll learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, including:
- field trips in the UK and Kenya
- computer workshops
- group tutorials
- reflective project during the trip to Kenya
- lectures and interactive workshops
Recognising conservation issues will be a key part of your studies, ranging from individual animals, through to populations, reintroductions, ecological restoration and anthropogenic (human impact) sources of conflict.
The chance to spend independent study time familiarising yourself with the items and becoming competent and confident in their use will form a vital part of your learning.
Activities will depend on the modules that you take.
We'll assess you through a combination of the following methods:
- practical exercises
- stakeholder presentations in Kenya
- research project report
Explore course modules for full details of learning and assessment.
You'll need to complete a dissertation that will be assessed by both examiners from the university and Marwell Wildlife. Past dissertation projects have included:
- assessing holistic grazing as an effective management strategy in African Savannas
- examining ecosystem resilience by determining the functional response of below-ground invertebrates to a grazing pressure gradient
- identifying candidate species for re-introductions using habitat approaches
- effectiveness of post-release monitoring strategies for Partula snails
You'll be assigned a personal tutor and a mentor to help you during your research project. You'll also have access to support from the University throughout your studies, consisting of a project supervisor and a researcher at Marwell Wildlife.
Our graduates from this course go on to become conservation biologists or PhD students. The emphasis on professional skills and exposure to real-life research projects in the UK and Africa will increase your chances of employment after the course.
A number of students go on to complete a PhD. You'll experience what it's like to work within a team of conservation biologists and you'll develop a clear understanding of what's required to complete an intensive and focused research project.
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a vibrant entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK/EU students pay £13,000.
- International students pay £23,400.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and all examinations.
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and all examinations.
Your fees will get you access to Marwell Wildlife where you can a vast range of equipment to help conduct research. Unlike other courses, you won't have to pay additional costs for borrowing research equipment.
The 10-day trip to Kenya is covered within your fees, this includes flights, accommodation and equipment used.
Extra costs you might have to pay
See the full list of extra items and costs in the programme specification PDF opens in a new window 2020 to 2021 (PDF, 211.27 KB).
The cost of jabs and vaccinations are excluded from the fees for Kenya, you'll need to arrange and pay for these yourself.
Your choice of research projects will incur additional costs, you can see the costs associated with different research projects by downloading the research projects brief.
These costs are estimates required to cover the following things:
local and international travel
small equipment and consumables
During semester one you will work with your project supervisor to produce a detailed budget. These costs are exempt from the tuition fees because student's previously found it easier to manage their budget independently, rather than waiting for funds to be permitted.
10% alumni discount
If you’re a graduate of the University of Southampton you get a 10% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
Postgraduate Master’s Loans (UK and EU nationals only)
This can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master's course. Find out if you're eligible.
Funding your postgraduate studies
A variety of additional scholarships, grants and bursaries may be available to help you fund your master’s study, both from the University and from other organisations.
How to apply
You can apply directly through our online form by using the apply button on this page.
This course has two application deadlines per year, one in April and one in July.
When you apply, you'll be able to highlight 3 projects you are interested in. After the April deadline successful applicants will be allocated projects, therefore, if you apply for the July deadline there may be less projects to select from.
Applications must be received no later than 4 weeks before the start of the course. You must supply all supporting documentation at least two weeks before starting your course.
We recommend you apply at least 6 weeks before the start of the course to ensure you're able to meet our requirements and apply for a visa in time.
We cannot guarantee students who do not meet these deadlines will be able to begin their course.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
Learn more about how to apply with our postgraduate application guide.
What happens after you apply
After the application deadline has passed (either April or July), applications are shortlisted for interview, using an applications matrix.
If your application is not shortlisted we will inform you. If your application is successful you will be invited for an interview.
If you are successful you'll receive an offer, which will include details of your project.
We'll get back to you within 6 weeks with a decision about your application.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000