Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health (MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma)
This programme will prepare you for a career in conservation, or help existing wildlife and conservation professionals to secure senior roles in specialist areas. Many of our graduates realise a passion for research, advancing into research roles or further study at PhD level.
With ever-increasing environmental threats, it is vital that people fully appreciate the complex relationships between human populations, wildlife and the ecosystems in which they live. There is an increasing need for those in the field of conservation to employ a holistic approach to ecosystem management in a way that accommodates the needs of all species living within them.
The goal must be to conserve the long-term capacity of ecosystems to support the ongoing requirements of both people and wildlife in the ever-changing world. If you want to be part of a global network working to achieve these goals, this programme may be for you.
What makes this particular masters programme so valuable is not only its time flexibility, but the knowledgeable professors, as well as the diverse pool of students all of which are always engaged and willing to support one another.
What will you learn?
In Year 1 of the programme you will study three core courses:
This course will develop your understanding of evolutionary theory and the concept of biodiversity, including how it is measured and managed. You will explore the drivers for biodiversity loss, with particular emphasis on the interaction between human activities and the current acceleration in biodiversity loss.
This course will develop your understanding of ecosystem health and how this relates to sustainability. You will look at various global conventions and initiatives that attempt to mainstream sustainability goals into broader human activity and to achieve internationally agreed targets. We will look at how the Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved as well as where barriers may exist.
This course explores the decisions, responsibilities and challenges that underpin many environmental and conservation interventions. From individual research projects to broader requirements of good governance we look at the ethical frameworks that assist in directing meaningful environmental science.
You will be encouraged to analyse in depth the many conflicts that can exist in the development and implementation of new technologies or strategies and to come to their own conclusions as to what is acceptable
In Year two you will choose six elective courses from the following:
- Behavioural Flexibility [BIME11160]
- Climate Change: Policy and Practice [BIME11027]
- Connecting Environment and Society [BIME11141]
- Conservation and Conflict [BIME11145]
- Conservation Genetics [BIME11025]
- Conservation Psychology [BIME1130]
- Ecosystem Resilience and Extreme Events [BIME11137]
- Understanding Environmental Law [BIME11147]
- Innovative Approaches to Health Challenges Across Disciplines [VESC11224]
- Introduction to Transboundary Diseases and their impact on trade and wildlife populations [INAH11024]
- Introduction to GIS and Spatial Data Analysis [INAH11017]
- Introduction to Wildlife Forensics [VESC11176]
- Invasive Non-native Species [BIME11012]
- Land Use and Food Security [BIME11011]
- Managing and Leading Conservation Projects [VESC11079]
- Reflections on Professional Development [BIME11136]
- Species Translocations [BIME11158]
- The Marine Environment [BIME11020]
- The Modern Zoo [BIME11019]
- The Use of Artificial Reproduction Technology (ARTs) in Threatened Species [BIME11018]
- Water and Sanitation [EMND11021]
- Wildlife, Animal Health and the Environment [INAH11008]
- Wildlife Trade [BIME11148]
- Zoonotic Disease [INAH11004].
In Year 3 you will complete a dissertation of 10000-15000 words. You will be supported by your supervisor to develop a detailed proposal around a research topic. Students often choose to work on topics relevant to their workplace or local conservation organisations that will have a genuine impact on live or planned conservation projects.
Full details of the courses you will study on the programme are available on the university Degree Programme Table (DPT)
You can study this programme on a part-time basis. On successful completion of the courses and assessments you can graduate:
- After one year with a postgraduate certificate
- After two years with a postgraduate diploma
- After three years with a Masters.
Intermittent study allows more flexibility in how you choose to study. With this option you will have:
- up to 2 years to complete the certificate
- up to 4 years to complete the diploma
- up to 6 years to complete the MSc
The standard programme structure is still maintained in terms of the progression requirement. However, you can tailor your education to fit more closely with commitments in both your private and professional life. If you choose to study this programme on a part-time intermittent basis, you also pay your tuition fees on a course-by-course basis rather than paying for the entire programme at the outset.
Postgraduate Professional Diploma
Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course, without the time or financial commitment of a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.
You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.
Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout the year you may only start a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.
These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.
A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a zoological, biological, environmental, veterinary or a relevant bio-science topic.
We may also consider your application if your degree is in an unrelated discipline but you have relevant work experience; please contact us to check before you apply. You may be admitted to Certificate level only in the first instance.
Full entry requirements, including international qualifications and English language requirements can be found on the University Programme Degree Finder.
Tuition fees are standard for all students regardless of location or nationality. We offer a 10% scholarship in postgraduate degree tuition fees for all alumni who have graduated with an undergraduate degree from the University of Edinburgh.
A breakdown of fees can be found on the University Programme Degree Finder.
Speak to a current student online
Want to find out more about the online experience? You can email an online student through our student portal, Unibuddy, and ask them questions about their experience.