£11,860 per year
The focus of the course is on methods commonly used in the study of large mammals, and especially carnivores, in the developing world. The curriculum consists of modules on wildlife ecology, monitoring and survey techniques, GIS and habitat assessment, population management and statistics, as well as two reports which together complete an independent research project. The mode of teaching involves lectures, group discussions, technical practicals on the use of computer software, field sessions and tutorials.
The independent research projects concentrate on the organisation, analysis and reporting of previously collected data that you bring with you or is provided by WildCRU researchers. There is no time to undertake primary data collection in country or abroad during the course duration. The project is divided into two phases: Phase One consists of a literature and methods review and a section containing data exploration; Phase Two builds upon this but also includes the full data analysis and discussion of results. Unifying threads running through the course are the global and human dimensions of biodiversity conservation. You will learn both the theory and practical aspects of field techniques, so that you can confidently adopt them in the future, as well as critically evaluate other projects.
Assessment is through the two project reports and four assignments. The project reports will be a maximum of 7,000 words, and each worth 30% of your final mark. The assignments will be up to 2,000 words, and each worth 10% of your final mark. Most module assignments will be short-answer questions, presenting data to be analysed, scientific research to critique, a problem for which you will design solutions, or information to be synthesised into a brief report/recommendation.
Up to eight students are accepted each year and applications are particularly welcomed from conservationists working in economically less-developed parts of the world, for whom need-based scholarships are available. Suitable candidates are early-career field conservationists, working with government agencies or NGOs, who will implement and disseminate their skills to their home countries.
Graduates of the course continue to build on their role as field biologists and conservation practitioners, working within national wildlife management and protected area systems, for NGOs or as independent practitioners. Many graduates further their academic studies within two or three years of completing the course. An online forum offers alumni networking opportunities with each other and the course tutors.