School of Anthropology & Conservation

Excellence in diversity Global in reach




Biodiversity Management Research Degrees

PhD & MSc by research with an interdisciplinary, international focus.

The School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent offers unique opportunities for advanced study and training in the conservation and management of biodiversity. The School is home to the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), a leading international research and training centre dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems around the world. Since it was founded in 1989, DICE has graduated over ninety research students, and as with all its other activities, a major characteristic of the research degree programme in biodiversity management is its international and interdisciplinary focus.

The varied research interests of our academic staff allows us to offer supervision of research on a wide variety of projects on different organisms or systems and in different habitats and countries. Hence, there are specific research projects underway on species conservation, wildlife management law, tourism and conservation, and the sustainable uses of biodiversity.

The programme

Academic programme

A candidate undertaking a research degree must submit a thesis that demonstrates an ability to undertake an original investigation, to test an hypothesis and to understand the relationship of your field of study to a wider field of knowledge. Additionally, in the case of a doctorate, the thesis submitted must be an original contribution to knowledge or understanding in the field of investigation.

For a MSc by research and thesis, a candidate is registered for 1 year of full time study or 2 years part-time, and is expected to produce a thesis of 30-40,000 words.

For a PhD, a candidate is registered for 4 years of full-time study or 6 years part time, and is expected to produce a thesis either of 80-100,000 words (in the case of a social science approach) or of between 160 and 250 pages including diagrams (in the case of a natural science approach). In exceptional cases we will consider cases for registration to an MPhil.


It is essential that prospective research students identify and contact a potential supervisor (by email) PRIOR to making a formal application. We are unable to process any application without such prior contact. You can find a list of potential supervisors and their research interests below. This gives you an idea of the wide range of projects, in terms of research focus, species groups and geographical location, in which we can supervise research students.

List of Potential Supervisors

Dr Peter Bennett Evolution, ecology and conservation of birds; biodiversity hotspots; life history evolution and extinction risk; marine mammals; wildlife disease.

Dr Ian Bride Guidance and interpretation; Conservation and tourism; Agroforestry; Conservation and the creative arts,

Dr Zoe Davies Applied ecology, using empirical data; conservation finance and investment; reducing carbon emissions; human -wildlife interactions.

Dr Robert Fish Sustainable landscapes; Culture and ecology; Environmental citizenship; Human and political ecology; Environmental sociology.

Professor Richard Griffiths Ecology and conservation of amphibians and reptiles; effects of environmental change on threatened species; survey and monitoring protocols for biodiversity.

Dr Jim Groombridge Conservation of highly threatened bird species; conservation genetics of small populations; parrot conservation, genetics and biogeography.

Dr Tatyana Humle Wildlife-human resource competition with a special focus on primate-human conflict mitigation and great ape rehabilitation and reintroduction.

Professor Douglas MacMillan Economics and wildlife conservation; environmental modelling; economics of collaboration in land and wildlife management; forest resource economics.

Dr Nicholas Newton-Fisher Primate behaviour and ecology; evolution of social systems, complex social behaviour and the evolution of primate cognition. Methods of data analysis; application of statistical models to understanding behaviour and social structure; Africa.

Dr David Roberts Species detectability and extinction, and orchid ecology; the response of orchids to climate change; epiphyte community ecology and modelling epiphyte seed dispersal.

Dr Bob Smith Indentifying priority conservation areas; Protected areas; Conservation and corruption; Conservation and marketing.

Dr Freya St. John Illegal behaviours; Conservation conflicts; Human decision making.

Dr Matthew Struebig Applied ecology, land-cover change, climate change, biodiversity survey and monitoring protocols, tropical ecology, mammal ecology and conservation

Dr Joseph Tzanopoulos Biodiversity conservation; plant ecology; reconciling biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in rural areas; impacts of land-use changes on mountain and island ecosystems; pollination networks; scenario analysis.



External Students & Split PhDs

Given the international nature of biodiversity conservation and management, we offer two additional options for registration of overseas students that are allowed for under the University's regulations. First, we are willing to consider registration as an External Student. However, an external student needs to establish arrangements with a local supervisor in some detail for the Graduate Studies Committee, as well as to ensure they have the facilities needed to conduct their research and complete their dissertation, such as laboratory, library and computing facilities. Furthermore, we also wish to ensure that purely external students have considerable contact with us by spending periods here, as well as their University of Kent supervisor visiting often.

The second option is to register for a Split PhD, which allows a student to spend a period undertaking fieldwork in his/her home country, while also completing the period of registration needed to complete a PhD. The normal pattern of a Split PhD is that the student will spend 1 year at the University and 2 years in the field. The period in UK is normally divided into 1-term/3 months to prepare detailed project proposal at the outset, and 2 terms/9 months to write up at the end. For the PhD in Biodiversity Management, students admitted to a Split PhD must be associated with a range of approved institutions, comprising conservation NGOs and relevant national wildlife authorities or museums.

The fee structures for both External and Split PhD programmes reflect the fact that students do not spend as much time in UK as do students with a standard registration.





School of Anthropology and Conservation - © University of Kent

School of Anthropology and Conservation, Marlowe Building, The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, T: +44 (0)1227 827056

Last Updated: 24/11/2016