M.Sc. On Campus

Conservation and Ecosystem Management

Newcastle University

12 months
26400 GBP/year
11700 GBP/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


Make a difference to our beautiful, but threatened planet by studying the Conservation and Ecosystem Management MSc at the Newcastle University. It will develop your academic understanding, and your practical skills, relating to conservation, biodiversity and ecosystem management.


About this course

You will study biodiversity and conservation in the context of a range of UK ecosystems including woodland, grassland and moor.

You'll develop practical skills in habitat assessment and species identification. You will also expand your academic understanding, contribute to relevant research and meet local practitioners.

The Conservation and Ecosystem Management course is suitable for graduates with a background in ecology, biology and environmental science, but also for people with an interest in wildlife who are seeking a career change towards conservation, habitat management or ecological consultancy.

We have strong links with public and private sector organisations including:

  • Northumberland National Park
  • Natural England
  • local Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • local Wildlife Trusts
  • Forestry Commission
  • National Trust
  • local ecological consultancies


Quality and Ranking

We rank in the top 150 for Environmental Sciences and in the top 100 for Life Sciences and Medicine - QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020

Our staff

You will be taught by lecturers who are experienced in industry and research and who have a passion for sharing their knowledge and experience with students. Fields of interest include:

  • moorland dynamics and restoration
  • grassland community conservation and ecology
  • soil quality and interactions with plants
  • sustainable farming systems and agro-ecology
  • soil-carbon dynamics
  • rewilding
  • urban agriculture and greening
  • human influences on the distribution of plants and lichens

Helen Adamson is lecturer, Senior Tutor and Degree Programme Director of MSc Conversation and Ecosystem Management She has worked in agro-ecological research in the UK uplands since 1991. Her current research focusses on management techniques to restore biodiversity and ecosystem functioning on blanket and raised bogs. Read her blog and Twitter feed to find out more.

Janet Simkin is a plant ecologist with a particular interest in species-rich grasslands and anthropogenic sites such as churchyards and lead mines. She is also a lichenologist and former President of the British Lichen Society. As well as teaching for Newcastle University, Janet teaches adult education classes in Botany and Ecology for the Natural History Society of Northumbria at the Great North Museum. She is also involved in a number of research projects, including the development of the Whin Sill grassland on the roof of Once Brewed National Park visitors centre. Read her Twitter feed to find out more.

Project work

You can choose and develop your own dissertation topic, or we work with you to develop a title. This will ideally be in association with a relevant organisations so that your research has value within the sector and you can build relationships within the industry. Current and recent projects include:

  • Reintroduction of grass snakes into Northumberland and Durham – The Wildlife Trust
  • Rare plant survey in North East England - Natural England
  • Factors that affect lichen distribution –British Lichen Society
  • Techniques for restoring bare peat on blanket bog –North Pennines AONB
  • Improving (ancient) woodland connectivity in Northumberland –National Park
  • Monitoring of threatened calamanarian grassland communities –Natural England
  • Use of low-cost technology to monitor red squirrel populations – The National Trust

Your thesis is in the form of a research paper, which can potentially be submitted to a conference or journal.


This course is taught in a block format each block lasting 4 weeks.

You will be taught through:

  • lectures and seminars
  • practical and field visits
  • tutorials
  • case studies
  • small group discussions
  • vocational activities

Independent study outside of these structured sessions is expected. Where possible assessments will be used to develop your employability skills such as:

  • presentations: oral or using video skills
  • management plans
  • consultancy reports
  • scientific papers
  • group reports
  • guided tours of conservation sites
  • reflective critical pieces

Exams are avoided wherever possible.


We have two University Farms:

  • Cockle Park Farm is a 262ha mixed farm that includes the renowned Palace Leas hay meadow experimental plots
  • Nafferton Farm is a 300ha farm with long running organic versus conventional trial plots

The farms have recently entered into an Environmental Stewardship agreement to maintain and enhance important habitats. The farms and facilities are accessible for your project work.

Newcastle is close to some very special natural and man-made habitats. These habitats all have biodiversity interest and many with challenging conservation issues. It is a prime location for study. We are located close to the hills and plains of Northumberland, County Durham and the Lake District.

There will be chances to visit:

  • Newcastle University farms
  • remote moorlands and bogs
  • ancient woodlands
  • Kielder Forest
  • diverse and threatened grasslands
  • rocky and marshy coast 

There are also great rail links to Edinburgh and London.

Programme Structure

Course Overview:

Our programme will help you to:

  • develop academic research and critical thinking skills as you complete a major conservation or biodiversity research project in the field or laboratory.
  • develop an understanding of the sector and its issues as we visit sites and welcome speakers from relevant and important organisations.
  • develop analytical and critical thinking skills as we debate the obvious questions like, ‘why do we conserve?’ along with deeper and more specific questions.
  • enhance your CV so that you are in a strong position in the job market, or so that you can embark upon a PhD. We work with our Careers Service to provide a careers event to improve your job application prospects. We work with external organisations to ensure you are thinking about career opportunities as early as possible

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 12 months
  • Part-time
    • 24 months
    • Flexible

Start dates & application deadlines

More details
  • There is no application closing date for this course.


180 alternative credits


On Campus

Academic requirements

GPA admission requirements GPA
Upper Second Class

Other requirements

General requirements

A 2:2 honours degree, or international equivalent, in a relevant science discipline, such as:

  • animal sciences
  • biology
  • environmental sciences
  • ecology
  • other science degree with relevant experience, voluntary or paid

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    26400 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 26400 GBP per year during 12 months.
  • National

    11700 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 11700 GBP per year during 12 months.

UK students

  • Part time: £5,850

Living costs for Newcastle upon Tyne

560 - 991 GBP /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Our partners

Conservation and Ecosystem Management
Newcastle University


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