Ecological Survey Techniques Programme at the University of Oxford
What different short courses do you offer for ecologists and conservationists at the University of Oxford Continuing Professional Development Centre?
We offer a range of short courses (or modules) which come under the umbrella of the Ecological Survey Techniques Programme. This part-time postgraduate-level programme is modular and highly flexible because it is mostly delivered online and students can take it over one or two years. The short courses, or modules, that make up the programme can be taken either for credit or as stand-alone continuing professional development courses. Additionally, students can take one or two modules for credit before enrolling onto the full programme, and put the credit gained towards the Postgraduate Certificate in Ecological Survey Techniques.
The Postgraduate Certificate in Ecological Survey Techniques provides the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to conduct effective ecological field surveys for a range of key taxa and to analyse field survey data with confidence.
The individual modules or short courses are all tutor-led, part-time and last 5 weeks. Students have access to the University of Oxford e-library via their University card. The individual short courses are:
- Field Techniques for Surveying Mammals & Reptiles (11 January – 15 February 2017) – This course is designed to equip students with the skills and techniques needed to undertake surveys of mammal and reptile populations, including direct and indirect techniques, sampling strategies, indices to estimate population size.
- Field Techniques for Surveying Birds (15 February – 22 March 2017) – This course offers detailed training in passive and non-passive bird surveying techniques, including group-based counts, transect and aerial surveys, mist-netting and tagging, as well as bird survey design and reporting.
- Field Techniques for Surveying Fish & Amphibians (22 March – 26 April 2017) – This course provides training in fish and amphibian survey techniques and sampling, from initial considerations (handling and ethics) through to direct and indirect methods, sampling strategies and reporting.
- Field Techniques for Surveying Invertebrates (26 April – 31 May 2017) – This course offers training in invertebrate survey techniques from planning and preparation, through to sampling strategies, surveying methods and reporting.
- Field Techniques for Surveying Vegetation (September 2017) – This course enables students to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct effective surveys of vegetation and habitat, enabling them to choose the correct sampling strategies to answer particular conservation or ecological questions.
- Data Analysis in Ecology: Statistics for Ecologists and Field Biologists / Ten week run (22 February – 03 May 2017) / Five week run (November 2017) – An introduction to the key statistical principles and applications used by ecologists and field biologists to analyse data. The course teaches students via the open-source software R (or QED Statistics for less-confident students).
Who would most benefit from them?
These courses are ideal for anyone seeking flexible study combined with expert training including:
- Professional ecological consultants and managers
- Conservationists and field technicians, including from NGOs
- Researchers and postgraduate students, including students wishing to make the transition to a PhD
- Conservation volunteers or those wishing to change career into ecology or conservation
The online courses can be taken from anywhere in the world and are international in their use of case studies and examples.
What will people learn who take the courses?
These courses enable students to:
- Study while working
- Interact directly with tutor and peers
- Improve professional competency
- Relate international case studies to their own field surveys
- Explore the huge range of online resources at the University of Oxford
- Learn via up-to-date resources and techniques
- Improve scientific literacy (i.e. ability to critically engage with scientific literature)
- Enhance practical knowledge of a large range of survey techniques including the ability to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different methods and to identify the most suitable ones for their own surveys
- Improve their own quantitative skills for analysing and presenting ecological data
How will people’s careers benefit who take the courses?
The courses can help with applying for Chartered Status (see our Chartered Status and Essential Skills guide). Credit gained with CATS points can be counted towards a Master’s level qualification.
“I would highly recommend this course to all current and future ecologists, environmentalists, naturalists and volunteers who want to turn their ecological stepping stones into corridors of knowledge, gain necessary skills and practical experience.” Karolina Petrovic
“For me, studying online was the only viable option. The beauty of the PGCert was that I could continue with studies from wherever I was working (which could be anywhere in UK). The flexibility and ease of access to the online virtual learning environment was excellent. Support was always readily available and any problems were rectified almost immediately.” Nigel Robins
How can people apply or find out more?