Curriculum and Assessment

This unique post-graduate diploma will equip you with the practical skills and theoretical understanding to enable you to contribute effectively to conservation research and action in the developing world.

You will study the following five modules, under two principles:

Principle 1 – Ecology, population biology and habitats

  • Wildlife Ecology and Behaviour
  • Species and Biodiversity Monitoring
  • Population Management
  • Habitat Assessment

Principle 2 – Conservation as an interdisciplinary field

  • Human Populations/Actions and Conservation

You will also learn transferable skills throughout the course.


Common themes

  • Use of the scientific method, quantitative analysis and hypothesis testing in conservation science
  • Statistics and computer-based modeling
  • Critical appraisal of science and conservation action

Wildlife Ecology and Behaviour

  • Predator, prey and community ecology
  • Behaviour and socio-ecology, including radio-tracking and dietary analysis
  • Species and Biodiversity Monitoring  Species and individual identification
  • Species/population monitoring techniques using sign, audio and visual recording, including camera-trapping
  • Trapping, handling and animal welfare
  • Distance sampling

Population Management

  • The role of genetics in conservation
  • Emerging diseases
  • The impact and management of invasive species

Habitat Assessment

  • Practical skills in habitat assessment, including Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS), creating maps and analysing spatial data


Human Populations/Actions and Conservation

  • Human-wildlife conflict, wildlife utilization and community involvement in conservation
  • Human beliefs, attitudes and education
  • Conservation as a global problem
  • Biodiversity loss and climate change
  • The ethics and economics of conservation

Transferable, professional and operational skills

  • Fund-raising
  • Field project management and reporting
  • Communication with different audiences through reports, posters and presentations
  • Health and safety

You will also undertake two projects in the field of conservation research and action.These will be arranged within the diverse family of WildCRU programmes, and will build on the material studied in the taught modules. Projects offer the opportunity to put into practice your newly-acquired skills in an on-going and applied conservation project, which may be based on your own work, or in a conservation scenario new to you.

The course will be examined through the two project reports and four assignments, one on each of the five taught modules. The project reports will be a maximum of 7000 words, and each worth 30% of the marks.The assignments will be up to 2000 words, and each worth 10% of the final mark.

Most module assignments will be short-answer questions, presenting data to be analysed, scientific research to critique, a problem for which you will design solutions, or information to be synthesised into a brief report/recommendation.

You will be taught all necessary software during the course, including the use of sector-specific professional software such as Presence, Mark and Distance.