MSc Conservation and Primate Behaviour
Enhance your understanding of primate behaviour and primate conservation
At its core, the MSc in Primate Conservation and Behaviour provides a forum for understanding not only the behaviour of NHPs (non-human primates), but also the current issues and hot topics in NHPs conservation and management.
Many of the world's non-human primates (NHPs) face extinction due to habitat destruction, fragmentation, overexploitation, disease and/or increased competition over resources with their human relatives. In spite of the impressive behavioural flexibility and capacity for adaptation of numerous NHP species, global trends are alarming.
This pathway promotes a multidisciplinary approach and understanding of primate conservation issues. A combination of ecological, spatial, behavioural, and social methodologies and perspectives provides promising avenues to inform and achieve effective conservation management and to help combat these challenges. This pathway highlights the benefits of incorporating an understanding of local human communities' experiences and a sound knowledge of primate behavioural and landscape ecology to foster successful conservation of non-human primates. It will familiarise you with a diverse set of practical and theoretical tools to pursue successfully a future role in primate conservation.
The MSc offers collaborations with NGOs around the world, from the neotropics to Africa and Southeast Asia, as well as zoological institutions across Europe (eg, Howletts and Port Lympne Animal Parks, Kent) and African primate sanctuaries.
Why study with us?
- One-year taught Master's programme
- Teaching by research active experts drawing on extensive field research experience with primates and biodiversity conservation
- Benefit from DICE's extensive links and collaborations with international NGOs and zoological institutions around the world
- Wide suite of modules enabling you to design a learning syllabus to suit your individual interests
- Formal lectures and seminars supported by residential courses and day trips including to the Wildwood Discovery Park, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey, previous fieldtrips have also taken place in Scotland and Malta (these change annually)
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
General entry requirements
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.
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.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.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.Profile
Dr Zoe Davies: Senior Lecturer in 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).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.Profile
Dr Jim Groombridge: Reader in Biodiversity Conservation
Conservation of highly threatened bird species; conservation genetics of small populations; parrot conservation, genetics and biogeography.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.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.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.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.Profile
Dr Freya St John: Research Associate
Interface between biodiversity conservation and human populations who use natural resources.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.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.Profile
Enquire or order a prospectus
T: +44 (0)1227 827272
Katie Watson, Recruitment and Admissions Co-ordinator
T: +44 (0)1227 827013
We hold regular Open Events at our Canterbury and Medway campuses. You will be able to talk to specialist academics and admissions staff, find out about our competitive fees, discuss funding opportunities and tour the campuses.
You can also discuss the programmes we run at our specialist centres in Brussels, Athens, Rome and Paris at the Canterbury Open Events. If you can't attend but would like to find out more you can come for an informal visit, contact our information team or find out more on our website.
Please check which of our locations offers the courses you are interested in before choosing which event to attend.