Ecological Management and Conservation Biology

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Key Programme Information

Entry Year


Programme length *

1 year(s)

Places available



Full-Time, Part-Time


Medicine, Health and Life Sciences


Biological Sciences

* MSc: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time PgDip: 9 months full-time


We’re in the middle of a biodiversity crisis; the sixth mass extinction event on Earth. Over half of the world’s wildlife has vanished in the last fifty years.

There is unprecedented pressure on the environment due to exploitation, habitat degradation and loss, climate change, invasive species, pollution and emerging diseases. You can be part of something to help address this.

For more information, watch our recent webinar!

Course Video

Why Queen's?

You will taught by staff with research profiles of international standing, with a wide range of interests in ecological management and conservation biology covering taxa from algae to mammals and environments from marine to terrestrial. 

Ecological researchers in the School of Biological Sciences maintain close links between academia and government departments responsible for the maintenance of biodiversity.

Laboratory facilities and access to field facilities are excellent and include a fully equipped Marine Laboratory at Portaferry on Strangford Lough.


You’ll do a professional development module with a work placement.

You don’t have to necessarily work in a conservation-orientated environment - previous students have gone to places as unusual as art galleries where they have created scientifically inspired artwork as an alternative method for scientific communication outreach. 


Dr Neil Reid is the Course Director. He wants to move students away from sitting in dry academic lectures to get you out into the real world to acquire the skills you’ll need for a job in conservation.

“My background is in Zoology and Ecology. I’ve worked a lot in the Tropics, in Central America in high-altitude cloudforest on the impact of bushmeat hunting on animals like tapirs.”

Dr Neil Reid, Lecturer in Conservation Biology‌

Did you know?

Each week there is a day trip to experience the practicalities of what you’ve learned in class and to see ecological management in-the-field.

Course Details

The programme has a backbone of taught academic lectures covering the full spectrum of subjects contained within conservation biology including:

Animal behaviour Biodiversity Conservation genetics Emerging plant pathogens
Environmental economics Environmental impact assessment Grassland management Invasion biology
Marine conservation Soil biology Wildfire ecology  


  • Each week there is a day trip to experience the practicalities of what you’ve learned in class and to see ecological management in-the-field.
  • You’ll visit captive breeding facilities for endangered species, offshore island bird colonies, river corridors along which invasive species are managed, ground-nesting bird conservation programmes, national nature reserves including sand dunes, bogs and species-rich grasslands, commercial industry, Belfast Zoo and the Mourne Mountains.
  • Although you’ll be based in the Medical Biology Centre (MBC), you’ll be taken off campus a lot, including to the Queen’s Marine Laboratory (QML) located an hour south of Belfast at Portaferry.


For more information, watch our recent webinar!


Take a look at some photos from recent field trips our current students took part in:

The course consists of five modules that are taken by all students:

Module Title

Module Vaue (CATS)

Semester 1 (Sept-Dec)
Ecological Management and Conservation Biology (BBC8034)  40 CATS
Foundations for Research in the Biosciences (BBC8042) 20 CATS
Conservation Biology Group Project (BBC8026) 10 CATS
Semester 2 (Jan-April)
Skills in Ecological Management (BBC8035) 30 CATS
Literature review (BBC8025) 20 CATS
Semester 3 (May-Aug)
Option 1: Work placement research project (BBC800X) - MSc only 60 CATS
Option 2: Academic research project (BBC8001) - MSc only 60 CATS
Total 180 CATS


Some helpful examples from 2016/17 entry, however course content may vary in future years


Assessment & Feedback

All assessment is Continuous Assessment such as coursework and module assignments based on self-driven, independent, study (there are no examinations).

A Postgraduate Diploma (PGDIP) student who achieves 50% or higher in completed modules may be permitted to transfer to the MSc Pathway subject to General Regulations. The MSc will be awarded with Distinction to a student who achieves an average mark exceeding 70% and with Commendation for those achieving a mark between 60-69%.

Learning and Teaching


You’ll be part of a small, informal and chatty class. You’re encouraged to butt-in and ask questions. You’ll get to know your classmates and your lecturers well during field trips. You are expected to become an integral part of the School of Biological Sciences and are invited to staff and postgraduate student coffee mornings each Thursday. 

Entry Requirements

MSc: a 2.2 Honours degree or above in a relevant area of science, such any type of biology (including animal science, biological science, environmental science, marine biology and zoology), agriculture or veterinary science and paleoecology or geography degrees are acceptable. Those who have experience but less relevant degrees will be referred to the School for judgement on a case-by-case basis. Examples of relevant experience include (but are not limited to); farming, zoo work, conservation charities, environmental consultancy, conservation relevant NGOs, relevant Government Departments and overseas conservation volunteering.

PG Diploma: A Pass degree is acceptable from the list of relevant subjects above. 

INTERNATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS For information on international qualification equivalents please select Your Country from the list on our International Students website.


International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required.

*Taken within the last 2 years.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this programme, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this programme. Please click the links below for more information:

  • English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English

How To Apply

Applicants for Postgraduate programmes are strongly advised to carefully read the important information and follow the steps set out here before submitting their application via the Postgraduate Direct Applications Portal.

If you have queries on course content please contact the school representative below.

Lecturer in Conservation Biology, Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS)

Queen’s University Belfast, Office 05.014, MBC, 97 Lisburn Road, BELFAST. BT9 7BL

TEL: +44 (0)28 9097 2281 | EMAIL: @EconManBiol

How To Apply

Queen’s University Belfast Terms and Conditions 2017 Entry
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.

Career Prospects

This Master’s will transform your love of nature and interest in the environment into a professional career.

By the time you graduate, you’ll have a broad knowledge of academic conservation biology and you will have developed the practical skills in ecological management that will enable you to forge a career in environmental consultancy, museums, conservation charities, Government, environmental protection and enforcement as well as non-governmental organisations.


You will be perfectly placed as a site manager on a nature reserve or an environmental education officer. You could equally end up in industry conducting environmental impact assessments on projects such as alternative energy production like windfarms or marine turbines, or infrastructural developments such as airport runway extensions.

After your MSc you might want to travel and gain experience in places like Asia, South America or Africa.

You may even follow in the footsteps of Queen’s alumni like zoologist, wildlife photographer and television presenter Jonathan Scott, who has gone on to film wildlife documentaries for the BBC like Big Cat Diary.



Environmental consultancies (local, national and international), museums, conservation charities like the RSPB, National Trust or the Wildlife Trusts, government, for example, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) or local conservation groups such as those into fisheries management, stock assessment, habitat or species restoration.


career in environmental consultancy, museums, conservation charities, Government, environmental protection and enforcement as well as non-governmental organisations.


Many of our students go on to pursue further PhD study in relevant areas both here at Queen’s and further afield.  Others go on to work in a variety of roles in both the private and public sector here in Northern Ireland and internationally with some setting up their own companies. The following are some of the jobs they have taken on:

  • Principal Town & Country Planning Consultant at TC Town Planning
  • Psychologist, DOE Marine Division
  • Conservation Officer, The Irish Wildlife Trust
  • Managing Quantity Surveyor, Faithful & Gold
  • Survey Team Leader & Wildlife Guide at ORCA
  • Ecologist at Roughan & O'Donovan
  • Ecologist at Neo Environmental Ltd
  • MCO Spatial NI at Ordnance Survey
  • Outreach Officer Bumblebee Conservation Trust
  • HSEQ Coordinator & Advisor Remondis Australia
  • Scientific Officer at AFBI
  • Scientific Officer at Northern Ireland Environment Agency
  • Principal Environmental Consultant at Ayre Environmental Consulting
  • Assistant Ecologist WYG
  • Consultant Ecologist at AECOM
  • Network Development Manager (NE) Sustrans
  • Ecologist at Blackstaff Ecology Ltd
  • Project Manager for ESGE, Munich
  • Lab Analyst at Fibertec Environmental Services, Michigan
  • Freelance Seasonal Ecologist/ Bat Surveyor
  • Environmental Educator, UNESCO Dublin Bay Biosphere
  • Conservation Advisor at RSPB
  • Application Specialist, Exploristics Ltd 
  • Raptor Monitoring Officer at Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group
  • Environmental Assistant at Northstone (NI) Limited
  • AES Biodiversity Intern at Ulster Wildlife
  • Graduate Assistant Ecologist at Ecological Survey & Assessment (ECOSA) Limited
  • Ecologist at RPS Group
  • Ecologist at Focus Ecology
  • Compliance Officer at Norbrook Laboratories ltd
  • Assistant Ecologist Wild Frontier Ecology Ltd
  • Graduate Land Consultant at Mouchel
  • Regulatory Affairs Associate at Genpact Pharmalink
  • Engineering Technician at McCloy Consulting Limited
  • Volunteer at Belfast Hills Partnership Trust
  • Natural Resources Specialist at Equinox Environmental Consultation and Design, Inc. Ashville

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

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Fees & Funding

There is a range of funding and scholarship options available to those considering study at Queen's.

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For tuition fee information see

Postgraduate loans
From the academic year 2017/18, the Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,280 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

Funding may be available from County Councils (Republic of Ireland), and applicants from developing Commonwealth countries may be eligible for support from the DfID Shared Scholarship Scheme. For fees, funding and further information see:

Tuition Fees for 2017/18

Home/EU Fees: £5,500  (standard fee)

International Fees: £19,000  

For more information please see Tuition Fees

International Scholarships

Queen’s University offers a number of scholarships to talented international students. Please refer to the International Scholarship section for further details.

US Loans

Please refer to the US Federal loan webpages to find out if you are eligible.

Other Sources of Funding

For information on other potential sources of funding please refer to the University’s Postgraduate Funding webpages .


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