The MSc in Conservation and Rural Development explores the issues underlying the conservation-rural development debate and offers practical and methodological tools for working at the interface between conservation and rural development.
The relationship between conservation and rural development can best be described as an uneasy alliance: on the one hand there is substantial common ground between them in terms of preventing environmental degradation, but on the other, they are often in direct conflict. This pathway explores the issues underlying the conservation/rural development debate and offers practical and methodological tools for working at the interface between the two.
The programme is relevant to the work of national management and scientific authorities, international and national NGOs, consultancy firms and contractors, international agencies and donors.
Why study with us?
- One-year taught Master's programme
- Teaching which provides substantive natural and social sciences training in both conservation and rural development
- Formal lectures and seminars supported by residential courses and day trips including to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey, previous fieldtrips have also taken place in Scotland and Malta (these change annually)
- Mix of formal academic training and practical field conservation experience
- Research-led pathway taught by academics rated as world-leading and internationally excellent (REF2014) who are members of DICE
- Benefit from DICE's extensive links with international conservation organisations
About The Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE)
Conservation programmes offered by the School of Anthropology and Conservation are delivered by members of DICE.
DICE is Britain’s leading research centre dedicated to conserving biodiversity and the ecological processes that support ecosystems and people. It pursues innovative and cutting-edge research to develop the knowledge that underpins conservation, and sets itself apart from more traditionally-minded academic institutions with its clear aims to:
- Break down the barriers between the natural and social sciences in conservation
- Conduct research that informs and improves policy and practice in all relevant sectors
- Disseminate knowledge and provide expertise on conservation issues to stakeholders
- Build capacity in the conservation sector through research-led teaching and training
- Strive for sustainable livelihoods and biodiversity conservation that benefits people
Our staff have outstanding international research profiles, yet integrate this with considerable on-the-ground experience working with conservation agencies around the world. This combination of expertise ensures that our programmes deliver the skills and knowledge that are essential components of conservation implementation.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Anthropology and Conservation was ranked 10th for research power and in the top 20 in the UK for research impact and research power.
An impressive 94% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
The MSc consists of six months of coursework and five months of research. The optional modules allow you the flexibility to devise a pathway that suits your specific interests, with an appropriate balance between natural and social sciences.
Please note that not all modules necessarily run every year. Please contact the School for more detailed information on availability.
|Modules may include||Credits|
DI1001 - Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Conservation
This module is designed to provide students from a diverse range of disciplinary backgrounds with a broad overview of different natural and social science approaches to conservation. It will introduce students to the fundamental concepts that underpin biodiversity management, as well as facilitating the development of professional skills that will enable them to work successfully with individuals/organisations operating across the environmental and conservation sectors. The focus will be on understanding how different disciplinary perspectives can contribute to problem-solving in practice.Read more
DI876 - Research Methods for Social Science
The module will begin with a broad overview of social science approaches to research, highlighting contrasts with standard natural science techniques and focusing on the qualitative-quantitative divide. Subsequent sessions will introduce individual methods such as participant observation, qualitative interviewing, questionnaire surveys and focus groups. Sessions will also be devoted to processing and analysis of qualitative data, but not with statistical analysis of quantitative data, since this will be covered elsewhere in the programmes. Towards the end of the module, we will examine the principles of integrated research design and mixed-methods approaches.Read more
DI880 - Conservation and Community Development
The curriculum will aim to give an integrated view of theoretical and practical approaches to conservation and community aspects of rural development. Indicative themes to be covered include:
An introduction to rural development, with a focus on community aspects
How do they see you? Community perspectives on researchers and project workers
Who sets the agenda? Consultation, collaboration and technical support
Community organisation: Institutions, representation and decision-making
Incorporating rights: indigenous peoples and conservation
Building on local knowledge systems: the role of technical expertise
Working with communities: and technical support
Community-based tourism: benefit-sharing and private partnerships
Wider perspectives: project cycles and multi-stakeholder processes
Policy and practice: the relationship between conservation and rural development.Read more
DI884 - Research Skills for Natural Sciences
The curriculum will review the approaches used by natural scientists in the design and analysis of research projects. The principles of experimental design and how these can be applied to field projects will be explained, together with the nature of both quantitative and qualitative data. An introduction to sampling strategies and the role of probability in inferential statistics will lead into the role of descriptive statistics and measures of variability in data exploration. This will be complemented by consideration of the application of both parametric and nonparametric statistics in data analysis (i.e. t-tests, ANOVA, regression, correlation and their nonparametric equivalents), coupled with training in the use of a statistical package to carry out such analyses. Finally, the rules underlying the appropriate presentation of statistical data in research reports will be discussed.Read more
DI998 - Dissertation - Conservation
The dissertation project represents a piece of independent research carried out by the student which is written up as in two reports: a review of relevant literature and a research paper. Before undertaking the research, students are trained in research design and planning, statistical analysis and writing skills. A project supervisor is allocated to each student and students are expected to produce a research plan and budget for their proposed programme of research in conjunction with the supervisor. The programme of research may consist of a literature review, analysis of existing data sets, analysis of newly-collected field or laboratory data, or a combination of these approaches. Students are provided with training in the writing-up of the dissertation which should be submitted in mid-September. The topic of the dissertation must be directly relevant to the programme of study.Read more
Teaching and Assessment
Assessment is carried out primarily through coursework with written examinations for some modules. The research dissertation is written up in the format of a paper for publication.
This programme aims to:
- produce postgraduates equipped to play leading roles in the field of international conservation and biodiversity management
- develop new areas of teaching in response to the advance of scholarship and practice
- provide you with opportunities to gain a interdisciplinary perspective on conservation issues through collaborative exchange between DICE and the wider University
- develop your competence in applying theoretical and methodological skills to the implementation of conservation practice and biodiversity management
- develop your critical and analytical powers in relation to policy formulation and data analysis and interpretation
- provide you with the skills to adapt and respond positively to change
- develop critical, analytical problem-based learning skills and the transferable skills necessary for professional development
- enhance the development of your interpersonal skills
- assist you to develop the skills required for both autonomous practice and team-working.
Knowledge and understanding
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
- fundamental ecological concepts and how they apply to conservation biology and biodiversity management
- conservation at the species, population, community and ecosystem levels
- fundamental social science perspectives on conservation, and the principles of interdisciplinarity
- principles and significance of resource economics
- biodiversity law, policy and legislative frameworks
- principles and practice involved with sustainable resource use
- principles and practice involved with managing protected areas for conservation
- principles of conservation research design, implementation and analysis, including problem-led interdisciplinary approaches
- principles and practice in conservation, business and rural development.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- the ability to marshal ideas and examples into well-organised written and oral presentations
- critical analysis of case studies
- reflective evaluation of theoretical and methodological frameworks
- design, implementation, analysis and write-up of a substantial research project (your Master’s dissertation)
- linking theory to practice in conservation science and social science.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- field biology skills
- social science methodologies
- experimental design and statistics
- methodologies for analysing and appraising conservation case studies
- population assessment and assessment of threat status
- methodologies for estimating sustainable wildlife management
- methodologies for protected areas management and planning.
You will gain the following transferable skills:
- IT: Word, Excel, statistical and modelling programmes, email, bibliographic and web searches
- presentation skills
- writing reports and funding proposals
- time management
- using a library
- working in groups
- the skills to exercise initiative and personal responsibility
- independent learning skills required for continuing professional development.
The School has a very good record for postgraduate employment and academic continuation. DICE programmes combine academic theory with practical field experience to develop graduates who are highly employable within government, NGOs and the private sector.
Our alumni progress into a wide range of organisations across the world. Examples include: consultancy for a Darwin Initiative project in West Sumatra; Wildlife Management Officer in Kenya; Chief of the Biodiversity Unit – UN Environment Programme; Research and Analysis Programme Leader for TRAFFIC; Freshwater Programme Officer, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Head of the Ecosystem Assessment Programme, United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC); Community Based Natural Resource Manager, WWF; Managing Partner, Althelia Climate Fund; and Programme Officer, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
The School has a lively postgraduate community drawn together not only by shared resources such as postgraduate rooms, computer facilities (with a dedicated IT officer) and laboratories, but also by student-led events, societies, staff/postgraduate seminars, weekly research student seminars and a number of special lectures.
The School houses well-equipped research laboratories for genetics, ecology, visual anthropology, virtual paleoanthropology, Animal Postcranial Evolution, biological anthropology, anthropological computing, botany, osteology and ethnobiology. In addition to various long-term study sites around the world we maintain an ecology field trials area and a field laboratory on the University campus.
The DICE postgraduate student body is global. Since 1991, there have been over 500 taught MSc graduates from 75 countries, most of whom now have successful full-time conservation careers. The PhD research degree programme has produced over 90 graduates from 27 different countries. Several graduates have gone on to win prestigious international prizes for their outstanding conservation achievements.
Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
A good second class honours degree, or better, in a relevant subject; a good honours degree in other subjects together with relevant practical experience.
In exceptional circumstances, DICE admits applicants without a first degree if their professional career and experience shows academic achievement of a high enough standard.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.
English language entry requirements
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Need help with English?
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings and books. Articles have recently been published in prestigious periodicals including: Nature; Science; Biological Conservation; Conservation Biology; Conservation Letters; Journal of Applied Ecology; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; Ecological Economics and Human Ecology.
Recent or current projects cover topics such as:
- Ecology of flagship Amazonian species – red Uakari monkeys and giant river otters
- Monitoring population trends in tigers and their prey in Kirinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra
- Chameleon trade and conservation in Madagascar
- Global biodiversity hotspots and extinction risk
- Conservation genetics of the critically endangered Seychelles paradise flycatcher
- Traditional knowledge, intellectual property rights and protected area management
- Collaborative wildlife management and changing social contexts in Amazonian Peru
- The economic value of mammals in Britain
- Estimating extinction dates of plants, birds and mammals
- Habitat loss and fragmentation at different scales across Europe
- Mapping the Falklands: facilitating systematic conservation planning and implementation
Staff research interests
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Dr Peter Bennett: Reader in Biodiversity and Evolutionary Ecology
Evolution, ecology and conservation of birds; biodiversity hotspots; life history evolution and extinction risk; marine mammals; wildlife disease.View Profile
Dr Richard Bodmer: Reader in Conservation Ecology
Population dynamics and community ecology of rainforest mammals; community-based conservation, sustainable use, wildlife management in tropical ecosystems.View Profile
Dr Ian Bride: Senior Lecturer in Biodiversity Management
Conservation education; biodiversity management; PA and visitor management; nature tourism; guiding and interpretation; community-based conservation; and restoration ecology.View Profile
Professor Zoe Davies: Professor of Biodiversity Conservation
Conservation planning and practice; conservation financial and investment; urban ecology and human-wildlife interactions; biodiversity and ecosystem service relationships; species and assemblage responses to environmental change (eg, climate and habitat loss/fragmentation).View Profile
Professor Richard Griffiths: Professor of Biological Conservation
Ecology and conservation of amphibians and reptiles; effects of environmental change on threatened species; survey and monitoring protocols for biodiversity.View Profile
Dr Jim Groombridge: Reader in Biodiversity Conservation
Conservation of highly threatened bird species; conservation genetics of small populations; parrot conservation, genetics and biogeography.View Profile
Dr Tatyana Humle: Lecturer in Primate Conservation
Primate conservation and behavioural ecology; ethnoprimatology; cultural primatology; primate rehabilitation and reintroduction; human wildlife conflict and resource competition.View Profile
Professor Douglas MacMillan: Professor of Conservation and Applied Resource Economics
Economics and wildlife conservation; environmental modelling; economics of collaboration in land and wildlife management; forest resource economics.View Profile
Dr David Roberts: Senior Lecturer in Biodiversity Conservation
Species detectability and extinction; international wildlife trade; perception of biodiversity; the response of orchids to climate change; epiphyte community ecology and modelling epiphyte seed dispersal.View Profile
Dr Bob Smith: Senior Research Fellow
Designing conservation landscapes and protected area networks, especially as part of long-term projects in southeast Africa and the English Channel.View Profile
Dr Freya St John: Research Associate
Interface between biodiversity conservation and human populations who use natural resources.View Profile
Dr Matthew Struebig: Lecturer in Biological Conservation
Ecology and management of tropical mammals; species response to climate change; biodiversity impacts of land-use change, disturbance and fragmentation; conservation value of degraded lands; oil palm and biodiversity.View Profile
Dr Joseph Tzanopoulos: Senior Lecturer in Biodiversity Conservation
Biodiversity conservation using a landscape approach to assess impacts of policy scenarios; reconciling biodiversity conservation and sustainable development on rural areas; landscape ecology and GIS; conservation policy and governance; agro-ecology and agricultural landscapes.View Profile
The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
|Conservation and Rural Development - MSc at Canterbury:|
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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