You'll study biodiversity and conservation in the context of a range of UK ecosystems including woodland, grassland and moor in this master's in Conservation and Ecosystem Management.
You'll develop practical skills in habitat assessment and species identification. You'll also:
- expand your academic understanding
- contribute to relevant research
- meet local practitioners
This master's in conservation is suitable for graduates with a background in ecology, biology and environmental science. It would also suit those with an interest in wildlife who are seeking a career change towards conservation, habitat management or ecological consultancy.
You'll benefit from our strong links with public and private sector organisations including:
- Northumberland National Park
- Natural England
- local Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- local Wildlife Trusts
- Forestry Commission
- National Trust
- local ecological consultancies
You'll be taught by lecturers who are experienced in industry and research. They are passionate about sharing their knowledge and experience with students. Fields of interest include:
- moorland dynamics and restoration
- grassland community conservation and ecology
- soil quality and interactions with plants
- sustainable farming systems and agro-ecology
- soil-carbon dynamics
- urban agriculture and greening
- human influences on the distribution of plants and lichens
We've highlighted important information about your course. Please take note of any deadlines.
Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the programmes, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption.
Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitments outlined are subject to guidelines that may be in place from time to time.
View our COVID-19 Study page, which gives information about your Newcastle University study experience for the academic year 2021-22.
See our terms and conditions and student complaints information
What you'll learn
You'll develop understanding, practical ability and critical awareness around the following:
- temperate zone ecosystems and wildlife species, for example forest and woodland, moorland, calaminarian, whin, coastal and other grassland, and other habitats
- contemporary conservation issues, for example rewilding, conflict in the countryside, biodiversity threats
- habitat assessment appropriate for ecological consultancy work
- surveying and mapping using technology such as GIS
- plant and animal species identification skills
- practical management planning for selected ecosystems
- communication including presentations, short videos, report writing and teamwork
We offer help in academic and professional skills such as:
- ecology for non-ecologists
- critical thinking for scientists
- information literacy
- data manipulation, analysis and presentation
Our approach to data analysis is suitable for different ability levels. We use R software assuming basic knowledge. We build on this quickly so you can analyse and present dissertation data professionally, and undertake similar research in your future employment.
You will study modules on this course. A module is a unit of a course with its own approved aims and outcomes and assessment methods.
Module information is intended to provide an example of what you will study.
Our teaching is informed by research. Course content changes periodically to reflect developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback.
Full details of the modules on offer will be published through the Programme Regulations and Specifications ahead of each academic year. This usually happens in May.
Optional modules availability
Some course have optional modules. Student demand for optional modules may affect availability.
To find out more please see our terms and conditions.
How you'll learn
This master's in conservation is taught in a block format each block lasting 4 weeks.
You'll be taught through:
- lectures and seminars
- practical and field visits
- case studies
- small group discussions
- vocational activities
You'll study independently outside of these structured sessions.
You'll be assessed through a combination of:
- Case study
- Computer assessment
- Oral examination
- Oral presentation
- Practical lab report
- Written exercise
Where possible assessments will be used to develop your employability skills such as:
- presentations: oral or using video skills
- management plans
- consultancy reports
- scientific papers
- group reports
- guided tours of conservation sites
- reflective critical pieces
Exams are avoided wherever possible.
You can choose and develop your own dissertation topic, or we work with you to develop a title. This will ideally be in association with a relevant organisation. This ensures your research has value within the sector. You can also build relationships within the industry. Current and recent projects include:
- Reintroduction of grass snakes into Northumberland and Durham – The Wildlife Trust
- Rare plant survey in North East England - Natural England
- Factors that affect lichen distribution –British Lichen Society
- Techniques for restoring bare peat on blanket bog –North Pennines AONB
- Improving (ancient) woodland connectivity in Northumberland –National Park
Your thesis is in the form of a research paper. It can potentially be submitted to a conference or journal.
Support is available to you if you:
- have been out of education for some time
- have come from different specialisms
- are from education systems different from those in the UK
Your teaching and learning is also supported by Canvas. Canvas is a Virtual Learning Environment. You'll use Canvas to submit your assignments and access your:
Throughout your studies, you’ll have access to support from:
- our University Student Services Team
You'll also be assigned an academic member of staff. They will be your personal tutor throughout your time with us. They can help with academic and personal issues.
Helen Adamson is lecturer, Senior Tutor and Degree Programme Director of MSc Conversation and Ecosystem Management She has worked in agro-ecological research in the UK uplands since 1991. Her current research focusses on management techniques to restore biodiversity and ecosystem functioning on blanket and raised bogs. Read her blog and Twitter feed to find out more.
Janet Simkin is a plant ecologist with a particular interest in species-rich grasslands and anthropogenic sites such as churchyards and lead mines. She is also a lichenologist and former President of the British Lichen Society. As well as teaching for Newcastle University, Janet teaches adult education classes in Botany and Ecology for the Natural History Society of Northumbria at the Great North Museum. She is also involved in a number of research projects, including the development of the Whin Sill grassland on the roof of Once Brewed National Park visitors centre. Read her Twitter feed to find out more.
You'll develop a range of valuable skills and knowledge such as:
- academic research and critical thinking skills as you complete a major conservation or biodiversity research project
- an understanding of the sector and its issues as we visit sites and welcome speakers from relevant and important organisations
- analytical and critical thinking skills as we debate the obvious questions like, ‘why do we conserve?’ along with deeper and more specific questions
- data manipulation, analysis and presentation skills
Our graduates have found employment with organisations including:
- Wildlife Trusts - project officer
- Natural England - wildlife advisor
- Ecological Consultancy - ecologist
- Environment Agency - biodiversity officer
We'll help you enhance your CV so that you are in a strong position in the job market, or so that you can embark upon a PhD. We work with our Careers Service to provide a careers event to improve your job application prospects. We work with external organisations to ensure you are thinking about career opportunities as early as possible
Our Careers Service
Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.
Quality and ranking
All professional accreditations are reviewed regularly by their professional body
From 1 January 2020 there is an update to the way professional qualifications are recognised by countries outside of the UK
The School of Natural and Environmental Sciences has an outstanding range of facilities to support our research and teaching, including:
- Cockle Park Farm: a 262ha mixed farm that includes the renowned Palace Leas hay meadow experimental plots
- Nafferton Farm: a 300ha farm with long-running organic versus conventional trial plots
Newcastle is close to some very special natural and man-made habitats. These habitats all have biodiversity interest and many with challenging conservation issues. It is a prime location for study. We are located close to the hills and plains of Northumberland, County Durham and the Lake District. Highlights include:
- remote moorlands and bogs
- ancient woodlands
- Kielder Forest
- diverse and threatened grasslands
- rocky and marshy coast
There are also great rail links to Edinburgh and London.
Fees and funding
Tuition fees for 2021 entry (per year)
If your studies last longer than one year, your tuition fee may increase in line with inflation.
For courses commencing from September 2021 and beyond, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fees or Student Finance England support.
If you are from the EU you will pay international tuition fees.
What you're paying for
Tuition fees include the costs of:
- tuition (or supervision)
- library access
Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.
Find out more about:
- additional costs
- living costs
- tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts
If you're applying for funding, always check the funding application deadline. This deadline may be earlier than the application deadline for your course.
For some funding schemes, you need to have received an offer of a place on a course before you can apply for the funding.
Search for funding
Find funding available for your course
The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.
Qualifications from outside the UK
English Language requirements
How to apply
Using the application portal
The applicant portal has instructions to guide you through your application. It will tell you what documents you need and how to upload them.
You can choose to start your application, save your details and come back to complete it later.
If you’re ready, you can select Apply Online and you’ll be taken directly to the applicant portal.
Alternatively you can find out more about applying on our applications and offers pages.
Applications for 2022/23
You'll be able to apply for 2022/23 entry from September 2021
Open days and events
The situation with Covid-19 means that we're unable to hold open days on campus. However, you don’t have to visit in person to experience Newcastle.
From the comfort of your sofa you'll be able to:
- explore our beautiful campus
- find out about our vibrant city
- discover what students think about studying at Newcastle
You'll also have the opportunity to speak to academic staff and find out more about the courses you're interested in.
We regularly travel overseas to meet with students interested in studying at Newcastle University.
We also hold various online and virtual events.
Get in touch
Questions about this course?
If you have specific questions about this course you can contact:
For more general enquiries you could also complete our online enquiry form.
Our Ncl chatbot might be able to give you an answer straight away. If not, it’ll direct you to someone who can help.
You'll find our Ncl chatbot in the bottom right of this page.
We regularly send email updates and extra information about the University.
Chat to a student
Chat online with current students with our Unibuddy platform.
Get involved with the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences.