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Oxford, UK
Posted: 1 year ago

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£18,455 per course

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The MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management aims to provide a critical and conceptually sophisticated understanding of biodiversity science and the socio-economic, political, cultural and institutional environments within which management and policy decisions are made.

The course design is informed by the recognition that biodiversity conservation, as a domain of science and policy, needs to become more contextual and multi-level in its conception. The course content is rooted in our established strengths in conservation biogeography, governance and planning, in global change and in research design. The course design also responds to the rise of market-based conservation including engagements with enterprise and the transformative potential of new technologies.

The specific course objectives are to develop your abilities to:

  • critically engage with concepts and theory in biodiversity science and management from interdisciplinary perspectives and at an advanced level
  • describe by whom and by what space and territory is produced and governed in conservation over time
  • critically assess the modes through which conservation builds and extends power and describe in detail the factors that explain the emergence and performance of different governance modes;
  • appreciate the role of ethics, values and norms in producing culturally attuned and effective conservation interventions
  • embrace the implications of new technological forces for the future of biodiversity science and management
  • link theory, hypothesis, methods, data and field work so as to identify and develop advanced research questions and design.

The objectives are delivered through nine core modules: conservation landscapes, conservation biogeography, conservation governance, ecosystems, species responses to climate change, conservation and society, economics of the environment, professional research practice and research methods.

The core modules are assessed by written examination. You will also study two electives which are each assessed through a 4,000-word essay. You will also write a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching takes place through lectures, seminars and study days which provide in-depth exploration of key issues. The elective modules offer a tutorial-style teaching and discussion environment within smaller groups, based on a suite of contemporary research themes that reflect the specific interests of core faculty and visiting research associates. The teaching aim is to foster discussion and debate between academic staff and students to identify and explore theory, methods and practice in an academic space that encourages a critical dialogue.

There is a two-day ‘induction’ field trip, currently to Dorset, and a week-long field trip during the Easter vacation, currently to Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

Dissertation

An independent and original dissertation is an integral component of the course. In order to equip you with the necessary skills to undertake high quality research, course modules in research design and research methods teach skills and competences in a suite of common and emerging research practices and methods employed in biodiversity science, policy and management research.

Supervision

For this course, the allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the School of Geography and the Environment and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the School of Geography and the Environment.

Graduate destinations

The aim of the course is to train future leaders, managers and policy makers in biodiversity, conservation and natural resource management. Thus the course teaches conservation as a dynamic discipline integral to all the major areas of human concern – social and political governance, political economy, spatial planning, agriculture, population growth, human and institutional capacity, and investment and markets, in addition to the hard science of biodiversity.

Past graduates have gone on to obtain positions in a range of leading conservation and academic organisations and enterprises. Examples include policy positions in government departments, such as the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), management positions in global conservation NGOs, such as Conservation International and WWF, technical positions in sustainability consultancies, and international bodies such as IUCN. A significant number of students use the course as a gateway to start DPhil (PhD) research.

The department’s Alumni Office helps alumni keep in touch with each other and organises alumni events.

Changes to this course and your supervision

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. In certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

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