The MSc in Conservation and Rural Development explores the issues underlying the conservation-rural development debate and offers practical and methodological tools for working at the interface between conservation and rural development.
The relationship between conservation and rural development can best be described as an uneasy alliance: on the one hand there is substantial common ground between them in terms of preventing environmental degradation, but on the other, they are often in direct conflict. This pathway explores the issues underlying the conservation/rural development debate and offers practical and methodological tools for working at the interface between the two.
The programme is relevant to the work of national management and scientific authorities, international and national NGOs, consultancy firms and contractors, international agencies and donors.
Queen’s Anniversary Prize
The University of Kent was awarded a highly prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for the work of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE).
DICE leads projects in over 50 countries, including research on human wellbeing and nature, human-elephant conflict, oil palm deforestation, online illegal trade in protected species, national park planning and ecotourism projects and the mapping of biodiversity through eDNA.
Why study with us?
One-year taught Master’s programme
Teaching which provides substantive natural and social sciences trainingin both conservation and rural development
Formal lectures and seminars supported by residential courses and day trips including to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey, previous fieldtrips have also taken place in Scotland and Malta (these change annually)
Mix of formal academic training and practical field conservation experience
Research-led pathway taught by academics rated as world-leading and internationally excellent (REF2014) who are members of DICE
Benefit from DICE’s extensive links with international conservation organisations
About The Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE)
Conservation programmes offered by the School of Anthropology and Conservation are delivered by members of DICE.
DICE is Britain’s leading research centre dedicated to conserving biodiversity and the ecological processes that support ecosystems and people. It pursues innovative and cutting-edge research to develop the knowledge that underpins conservation, and sets itself apart from more traditionally-minded academic institutions with its clear aims to:
Break down the barriers between the natural and social sciences in conservation
Conduct research that informs and improves policy and practice in all relevant sectors
Disseminate knowledge and provide expertise on conservation issues to stakeholders
Build capacity in the conservation sector through research-led teaching and training
Strive for sustainable livelihoods and biodiversity conservation that benefits people
Our staff have outstanding international research profiles, yet integrate this with considerable on-the-ground experience working with conservation agencies around the world. This combination of expertise ensures that our programmes deliver the skills and knowledge that are essential components of conservation implementation.
A good second class honours degree, or better, in a relevant subject; a good honours degree in other subjects together with relevant practical experience.
In exceptional circumstances, DICE admits applicants without a first degree if their professional career and experience shows academic achievement of a high enough standard.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
English language entry requirements
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time
The MSc consists of six months of coursework and five months of research. The optional modules allow you the flexibility to devise a pathway that suits your specific interests, with an appropriate balance between natural and social sciences.
Please note that not all modules necessarily run every year. Please contact the School for more detailed information on availability.
Compulsory modules currently include
DI884 – Research Skills for Natural Sciences (15 credits)
DI1001 – Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Conservation (15 credits)
DI876 – Research Methods for Social Science (15 credits)
DI880 – Conservation and Community Development (15 credits)
Optional modules may include
DI883 – Special Topics in Conservation (15 credits)
DI877 – Population and Evolutionary Biology (15 credits)
DI836 – Integrated Species Conservation and Management (15 credits)
DI841 – Managing Protected Areas (15 credits)
DI849 – Principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (15 credits)
DI871 – International Wildlife Trade – Achieving Sustainability (15 credits)
DI885 – Ecotourism and Rural Development Field Course (15 credits)
DI888 – Economics of Biodiversity Conservation (15 credits)
DI889 – Leadership Skills for Conservation Managers (15 credits)
SE993 – Advanced Topics in Primate Behaviour (15 credits)
Compulsory modules currently include
DI998 – Dissertation – Conservation (60 credits)
Teaching and assessment
Assessment is carried out primarily through coursework with written examinations for some modules. The research dissertation is written up in the format of a paper for publication.
This programme aims to:
produce postgraduates equipped to play leading roles in the field of international conservation and biodiversity management
develop new areas of teaching in response to the advance of scholarship and practice
provide you with opportunities to gain a interdisciplinary perspective on conservation issues through collaborative exchange between DICE and the wider University
develop your competence in applying theoretical and methodological skills to the implementation of conservation practice and biodiversity management
develop your critical and analytical powers in relation to policy formulation and data analysis and interpretation
provide you with the skills to adapt and respond positively to change
develop critical, analytical problem-based learning skills and the transferable skills necessary for professional development
enhance the development of your interpersonal skills
assist you to develop the skills required for both autonomous practice and team-working.
Knowledge and understanding
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
fundamental ecological concepts and how they apply to conservation biology and biodiversity management
conservation at the species, population, community and ecosystem levels
fundamental social science perspectives on conservation, and the principles of interdisciplinarity
principles and significance of resource economics
biodiversity law, policy and legislative frameworks
principles and practice involved with sustainable resource use
principles and practice involved with managing protected areas for conservation
principles of conservation research design, implementation and analysis, including problem-led interdisciplinary approaches
principles and practice in conservation, business and rural development.
You develop intellectual skills in:
the ability to marshal ideas and examples into well-organised written and oral presentations
critical analysis of case studies
reflective evaluation of theoretical and methodological frameworks
design, implementation, analysis and write-up of a substantial research project (your Master’s dissertation)
linking theory to practice in conservation science and social science.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
field biology skills
social science methodologies
experimental design and statistics
methodologies for analysing and appraising conservation case studies
population assessment and assessment of threat status
methodologies for estimating sustainable wildlife management
methodologies for protected areas management and planning.
You will gain the following transferable skills:
IT: Word, Excel, statistical and modelling programmes, email, bibliographic and web searches
writing reports and funding proposals
using a library
working in groups
the skills to exercise initiative and personal responsibility
independent learning skills required for continuing professional development.
The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In TheComplete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Anthropology and Conservation was ranked 10th for research power and in the top 20 in the UK for research impact and research power.
An impressive 94% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings and books. Articles have recently been published in prestigious periodicals including: Nature; Science; Biological Conservation; Conservation Biology; Conservation Letters; Journal of Applied Ecology; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; Ecological Economics and Human Ecology.
Recent or current projects cover topics such as:
Ecology of flagship Amazonian species – red Uakari monkeys and giant river otters
Monitoring population trends in tigers and their prey in Kirinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra
Chameleon trade and conservation in Madagascar
Global biodiversity hotspots and extinction risk
Conservation genetics of the critically endangered Seychelles paradise flycatcher
Traditional knowledge, intellectual property rights and protected area management
Collaborative wildlife management and changing social contexts in Amazonian Peru
The economic value of mammals in Britain
Estimating extinction dates of plants, birds and mammals
Habitat loss and fragmentation at different scales across Europe
Mapping the Falklands: facilitating systematic conservation planning and implementation
Professor Zoe Davies : Professor of Biodiversity Conservation
Conservation planning and practice; conservation financial and investment; urban ecology and human-wildlife interactions; biodiversity and ecosystem service relationships; species and assemblage responses to environmental change (eg, climate and habitat loss/fragmentation).
Dr David Roberts : Senior Lecturer in Biodiversity Conservation
Species detectability and extinction; international wildlife trade; perception of biodiversity; the response of orchids to climate change; epiphyte community ecology and modelling epiphyte seed dispersal.
Dr Matthew Struebig : Lecturer in Biological Conservation
Ecology and management of tropical mammals; species response to climate change; biodiversity impacts of land-use change, disturbance and fragmentation; conservation value of degraded lands; oil palm and biodiversity.
Dr Joseph Tzanopoulos : Senior Lecturer in Biodiversity Conservation
Biodiversity conservation using a landscape approach to assess impacts of policy scenarios; reconciling biodiversity conservation and sustainable development on rural areas; landscape ecology and GIS; conservation policy and governance; agro-ecology and agricultural landscapes.
The School has a very good record for postgraduate employment and academic continuation. DICE programmes combine academic theory with practical field experience to develop graduates who are highly employable within government, NGOs and the private sector.
Our alumni progress into a wide range of organisations across the world. Examples include: consultancy for a Darwin Initiative project in West Sumatra; Wildlife Management Officer in Kenya; Chief of the Biodiversity Unit – UN Environment Programme; Research and Analysis Programme Leader for TRAFFIC; Freshwater Programme Officer, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Head of the Ecosystem Assessment Programme, United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC); Community Based Natural Resource Manager, WWF; Managing Partner, Althelia Climate Fund; and Programme Officer, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
The School has a lively postgraduate community drawn together not only by shared resources such as postgraduate rooms, computer facilities (with a dedicated IT officer) and laboratories, but also by student-led events, societies, staff/postgraduate seminars, weekly research student seminars and a number of special lectures.
The School houses well-equipped research laboratories for genetics, ecology, visual anthropology, virtual paleoanthropology, Animal Postcranial Evolution, biological anthropology, anthropological computing, botany, osteology and ethnobiology. In addition to various long-term study sites around the world we maintain an ecology field trials area and a field laboratory on the University campus.
The DICE postgraduate student body is global. Since 1991, there have been over 500 taught MSc graduates from 75 countries, most of whom now have successful full-time conservation careers. The PhD research degree programme has produced over 90 graduates from 27 different countries. Several graduates have gone on to win prestigious international prizes for their outstanding conservation achievements.
Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master’s programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
Our Ultimate Guides give you in-depth answers to your top questions about working in conservation. From the 15 key conservation job types, to the top paid and free internships, to how to apply for jobs, you’ll find it here.