Recanati-Kaplan Centre Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice

The Recanati-Kaplan Centre Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice will equip you with the practical skills and theoretical understanding needed to contribute effectively to conservation research and action in the developing world.

You will benefit from the high calibre teaching and research at the world-renowned University of Oxford, a centre of academic excellence. The course is delivered by the Department of Zoology’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), which has been active in conservation research and practice for more than two decades, growing out of the Department’s pioneering history of ecological research. The course is made possible by a donation from the Recanati-Kaplan Foundation, and benefits from our collaborations with the University of Oxford’s Department for Continuing Education (DCE), and Lady Margaret Hall. For a list of more DCE courses in the environmental sciences, please click here.

The Diploma is suitable for those already working in conservation, and also for recent graduates, provided they have gained field experience during the course of their first degree. Although a degree in an appropriate natural science is normally required, we may make an exception if you can demonstrate equivalent accomplishment and aptitude for field-based conservation, and the potential to study at postgraduate level.

The full time, seven month residential course runs from March to September each year, and is preceded by one month of distance learning. The residential component consists of taught courses (4 months) and independent research on two projects (3 months).

Key features of the diploma are:

  • Understanding the theory behind a range of robust techniques for data collection and analysis, so that you can independently plan, implement and assess your own conservation research
  • Learning to interpret scientific data and reports, draw conclusions and apply new knowledge to conservation action
  • Learning through interactive problem-solving and case-studies, to facilitate understanding, application and adaptation of new skills to a range of conservation scenarios
  • Developing professional skills such as project management, fund-raising, proposal writing and communication
  • Using mammalian, and particularly carnivore case-studies – especially emphasising wild felids – as exemplars of conservation issues relevant to wider fauna and flora. Such mammals often function as umbrella species, and by protecting them and their habitat, wider biodiversity conservation goals can be fulfilled.
  • An international team of teachers, and students from all over the globe – you will experience many different perspectives on conservation, and learn how approaches from other countries can be adapted to the conservation problems you face in your own
  • Jointly run with University of Oxford’s Department of Continuing Education, taking advantage of their expertise in distance-learning, modular assessment, and a multi-national student body.

We expect that as a graduate of the course, you will continue to build on your role as a field biologist and conservation practitioner, working within national wildlife management and protected area systems, for NGOs or as an independent practitioner. The course will give you the scientific, communication and fund-raising skills to make a difference. Your greater knowledge and expertise will also benefit your colleagues, through informal peer-learning, skills transfer and the encouragement of critical thinking and debate.

On completing the course, you will have a comprehensive knowledge of globally-occurring terrestrial conservation problems likely to impact upon mammals, and especially felids, the most widely-adopted solutions to these problems, and barriers to their effectiveness. You will be able to apply the scientific method to conservation research, and critically evaluate such research.

You will know how to apply standard methods of biodiversity and population monitoring, and use the associated specialised equipment. You will be able to select appropriate field techniques depending on the information you need, and you will have the technical expertise to plan, implement, analyse and draw conclusions from your field work.

You will understand how to use a variety of different reporting styles, both written and verbal, to get your message across to a variety of audiences, be they scientists, government staff, donors or the general public.

If after reading these Diploma pages you have any further queries, please email wildcru.diploma@zoo.ox.ac.uk. If you are considering an application, we will usually request that you send a detailed CV outlining your qualifications and fieldwork experience.

  • Our 2013/14 students with two Alumni at the annual SCCS conference
    Our 2013/14 students with two Alumni at the annual SCCS conference