Society of Biology

This programme is recognised by the Society of Biology.


MSc Conservation and Biodiversity


This programme is run at the Penryn Campus, Cornwall

Programme overview

  • Designed in consultation with multiple external agencies to ensure relevant training that maximises graduate employability
  • Substantial field work opportunities in the UK and overseas
  • Provides opportunities to connect with external agencies and organisations to further enhance your training
  • Delivered by leading international researchers in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation
  • Offers access to excellent facilities including state-of-the-art research laboratories, greenhouses, aviary and controlled environment rooms
  • Modules target both research and practical conservation skills

This one-year full-time Masters programme is taught at our Penryn Campus in Cornwall by the Centre for Ecology and Conservation; the fastest growing institute of its kind in the UK. The course boasts a significant research component, with substantial fieldwork opportunities in the UK as well as a field course in Africa. A distinctive and integral feature of our MSc is the high degree of input from conservationists in collaborating governmental and non-governmental organisations. This participation takes a variety of forms, including guest lectures, field visits and specific training courses, but may also include providing research projects in their organisations. Collaborating organisations include: Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Marine Conservation Society, Natural England, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (links open in new windows).

The course provides excellent employability, with our alumni moving into careers such as: ecological consultancy, government conservation in UK and overseas, NGO conservation in the UK (Bat Conservation Trust, RSPB, Wildlife Trusts) and overseas and fully funded PhD positions in ecology and conservation.

The MSc Conservation and Biodiversity programme at the Cornwall Campus was exactly what I was looking for. One of the best aspects of the Cornwall Campus is the beautiful nature in the area. While studying I’ve even found the time to surf, join FX-PEDITION 2010 and volunteer for the conservation charity BTCV.  

Su Shan from Taiwan, MSc Conservation and Biodiversity 2010

After completing my Zoology degree, I decided I needed to gain more knowledge and experience of current conservation policy and practice to allow me to get ahead of the competition in this competitive field. I researched a number of Masters degrees around the UK and found that this Biodiversity and Conservation MSc was the best course to gain the qualifications required. One of the most useful aspects of the course was the focus on key skills that give you an advantage on job applications and also the considerable involvement of a number of conservation NGOs. There was a large research project component of the course, which allowed me to develop my scientific writing skills. The principle aim of my project was to investigate if birds prefer carotenoid rich foods given their beneficial health and sexual selection advantages. I was encouraged by my supervisor to gain as many different skills as possible during this period, such as the latest laboratory techniques and how to get research published. I recently accepted a position as Biodiversity Policy Officer with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, based at their HQ in Sandy. This involves working on biodiversity action planning and UK habitat restoration policy. I feel the knowledge gained during my Masters on these topics not only helped me get the job, but will also give me an excellent head start in this position.

Nick Phillips, MSc Conservation and Biodiversity graduate