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 these problems.
Ecological Management and Conservation Biology highlights
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.
- Ecological researchers in the School of Biological Sciences maintain close links between academia and government departments responsible for the maintenance of biodiversity. Weekly day trips also include input from conservation charities, environmental consultants, zoological gardens, museums, nature reserve managers and independent research institutes.
- 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.
World Class Facilities
- Laboratory facilities and access to field facilities are excellent and include a fully equipped Marine Laboratory at Portaferry on Strangford Lough.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- 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.
- You'll take part in a class conservation biology project before being given the option to under a professional work placement project.
- 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
Course Details The programme has a backbone of taught academic lectures covering the full spectrum of subjects contained within conservation biology including:
Emerging plant pathogens
Environmental impact assessment
Semester 1 Modules Ecological Management and Conservation Biology (40 CATS)
Foundations for Research in the Biosciences (20 CATS)
Conservation Biology Group Project (10 CATS)
Semester 2 Modules Skills in Ecological Management (30 CATS)
Literature Review (20 CATS)
Semester 3 Modules Option 1: Work Placement Research Project (60 CATS)
Option 2: Academic Research Project (60 CATS)
What Else Will You Do? 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.
People teaching you
School of Biological Sciences
This MSc will equip you with the knowledge and skills required for a successful career in conservation or ecological consultancy. To date, graduates of the course have been employed by a range of non-governmental organisations (for example ORCA, The Irish Wildlife Trust and Bumblebee Conservation Trust), governmental organisations (NIEA and AFBI) and consultancies (including AECOM, WSP, WYG and RPS). Graduates have also progressed into research at various universities.
Employment after the Course
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
Employers who are interested in people like you:
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.
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.
Learning and Teaching
Learning opportunities associated with this course are outlined below:
You’ll get to know your classmates and your lecturers well during field trips.
Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:
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%.
A 2.2 Honours degree or above in a relevant area of science, such as 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.
We welcome applications from a diverse range of backgrounds, therefore applicants who do not meet the above academic requirements but hold a degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) and can demonstrate appropriate experience, will be considered on an individual 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.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
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).
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.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: 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.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) £6,140 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £6,900 Other (non-UK) EU £6,140 International £21,400
Unless otherwise stated the tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2020-21 with the exception of international fees which are for the academic year 2021-22. Tuition fees are subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Ecological Management and Conservation Biology costs
There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.
How do I fund my study?
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 £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
How to Apply
Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.
Fees and Funding