Postgraduate taught 

Applied Conservation Science MSc

Man photographing birds on a rock with sea in the background. Credits: Jana Jeglinksi

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Embark on a transformative training programme, where advanced quantitative methods meet practical ecological skills. Whether you are interested in terrestrial or aquatic ecosystems, we offer opportunities for collaborative projects with leading conservation organisations, preparing you for a career in conservation and biodiversity research and management.

Why this programme

  • Collaborate on independent projects with leading conservation organisations in the UK and abroad, and gain real-world experience and opportunities to network for your future career.
  • This programme prepares graduates for specialised roles in biodiversity management and conservation, with a focus on innovative problem-solving.
  • You'll have access to modern facilities and fieldwork opportunities in diverse ecosystems, including the University’s field station for work in freshwater and woodland habitats, our own University farm and research centre for work in an agricultural setting, and numerous field sites abroad.
  • In a city rich in cultural and natural diversity, the University of Glasgow is the ideal place for studying and applying conservation principles
  • The programme is led by research-active faculty, providing an education aligned with the latest research and industry trends.
  • Providing a broad insight into conservation science with a strong focus on applied aspects, this programme combines practical ecological skills with advanced quantitative methods.
  • The programme offers a rich diversity of courses, allowing you to specialise in your chosen field.
  • Further information

Programme structure

Semester 1 focuses on core courses designed to provide foundational knowledge in conservation science and applied ecology, as well as essential quantitative skills.

Core courses:

Teaching methods include:

  • Interactive lectures for theoretical understanding
  • Seminars led by experts for in-depth discussion on contemporary issues
  • Tutorials for personalised guidance and problem-solving

Semester 2 provides a broad foundation in conservation science. Students can then choose optional courses tailored to their specific interests and career goals, and prepare for the significant research project undertaken in semester 3.

Core courses:

Optional courses:

Methods of instruction include:

  • Fieldwork for hands-on experience in ecological and conservation techniques
  • Laboratory work for practical skills in data analysis and modelling
  • Project work for applying theoretical knowledge to real-world problems
  • Teamwork to develop collaborative skills and problem-solving in groups
  • UK or international study trips to understand conservation in various contexts

Semester 3 focuses on an independent research project under the guidance of faculty and, optionally, in collaboration with conservation organisations.

Projects will be wherever possible in collaboration with a conservation organisation to allow for networking and experience with the work of conservation organisations.

A research proposal (2,000 words) for the project, contributing 10% of the total assessment.

A comprehensive report (10,000 words), contributing 80% of the total assessment, based on independent research that is analysed using the most appropriate methods learned during the first two semesters of their programme, and written to a high standard of English, in the style of research paper appropriate for publication, including a critical analysis of the background literature and how their results fit into the context of the broader body of literature. 

The remaining 10% will be awarded based on a presentation (oral or poster) of the completed project.

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Career prospects

Our MSc offers diverse career opportunities in conservation and ecology, and provides a strong foundation for further studies in related fields.

Career options:

  • Environmental and ecological consultancies
  • Government and non-government (NGOs) environmental agencies focusing on conservation
  • National parks and nature reserve management
  • Ecotourism and sustainable development sectors

Job roles:

  • Biodiversity officer
  • Conservation project manager
  • Ecological data analyst
  • Environmental consultant
  • GIS specialist
  • Research scientist in conservation agencies
  • Sustainability advisor
  • Wildlife biologist

Fees & funding

Tuition fees for 2024-25



  • Full-time fee: £10650

International & EU

  • Full-time fee: £28260


International and EU applicants are required to pay a deposit of £2000 within four weeks of an offer being made.

Deposits: terms & conditions

This programme requires some students to pay a deposit to secure their place.

If you are an international student, we will only issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) once the deposit has been paid.

Your offer letter will state:

  • how to pay the deposit payment
  • the deadline for paying the deposit

The following guidelines will apply in determining whether a deposit will be refunded. Where the deposit is refunded, a 25% handling fee will be deducted.

Deposits will be refunded to applicants under the following circumstances:

  1. Where the University is unable to offer you a place.
  2. Where the applicant has personal circumstances such as illness, bereavement or other family situations that has prevented them coming to the UK. Medical or other proof may be requested.
  3. Applicant can prove that they have applied for a visa to attend the University of Glasgow, but the VISA has been refused. The applicant must have shown 'real intent' to study at the University of Glasgow but has been unable to obtain their visa.
  4. Applicant does not meet his / her conditions of offer: this may be academic or language test requirements. Satisfactory evidence must be uploaded to the student’s applicant self-service to prove that they have not met the conditions of their offer (note that applicants who do not meet the language condition of their offer must show reasonable attempt to meet this, i.e. they must provide a language test which was taken after the date that the deposit was paid).

Deposits will not be refunded to applicants under the following circumstances:

  1. Applicant has decided to defer – in this situation the University will retain the deposit and credit it against the applicant’s account for securing their place for the following year of entry.

Refund requests must be made within 30 days of the programme start date stated on your offer letter.

Requests made after this date will be subject to discretion.

Additional fees

  • Fee for re-assessment of a dissertation (PGT programme): £370
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed: £350
  • Registration/exam only fee: £170

Funding opportunities

Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loans England only (PTFL)

If you’re an English student looking to study a taught Masters programme in Glasgow then you can apply for a student loan. Students from England are able to apply for a non-means tested Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £11,570 to help with course fees and living costs. You have to repay your Postgraduate Master’s Loan at the same time as any other student loans you have. You’ll be charged interest from the day you get the first payment.

If you’re studying by distance learning, you can also apply.

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

Entry requirements

A 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant biological subject. Relevant subjects include but are not limited to aquatic biology, botany, conservation behaviour, organismal biology, wildlife biology and zoology.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 6.5 with no subtests under 6.0
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test
  • IELTS One Skill Retake accepted.

Common equivalent English language qualifications

TOEFL (ibt, mybest or athome)

  • 79; with Reading 13; Listening 12; Speaking 18; Writing 21
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements , this includes TOEFL mybest.

Pearsons PTE Academic

  • 59 with minimum 59 in all subtests
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE) and Cambridge Advanced English (CAE) 

  • 176 overall, no subtest less than 169
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Oxford English Test

  • Oxford ELLT 7
  • R&L: OIDI level no less than 6 with Reading: 21-24 Listening: 15-17
  • W&S: OIDI level no less than 6.

Trinity College Tests

  • Integrated Skills in English II & III & IV: ISEII Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

  • Tests are accepted for 2 years following date of successful completion.

Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • Degree from majority-English speaking country (as defined by the UKVI including Canada if taught in English)
    • students must have studied for a minimum of 2 years at Undergraduate level, or 9 months at Master's level, and must have complete their degree in that majority-English speaking country and within the last 6 years
  • Undergraduate 2+2 degree from majority-English speaking country (as defined by the UKVI including Canada if taught in English)
    • students must have completed their final two years study in that majority-English speaking country and within the last 6 years

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept UKVI approved Secure English Language Tests (SELT) but we do not require a specific UKVI SELT for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office using our enquiry form

International students

We are proud of our diverse University community which attracts students and staff from over 140 different countries.

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We cannot accept applications any other way.

Please check you meet the Entry requirements for this programme before you begin your application.


As part of your online application, you also need to submit the following supporting documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • One reference letter on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process.

You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload supporting documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

For more information about submitting documents or other topics related to applying to a postgraduate taught programme, see how to apply for a postgraduate taught degree

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately; they are also available within the help section of the online application form. 

If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application, see Application System Help.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.

Reference: Please provide one reference. This should typically be an academic reference but in cases where this is not possible then a reference from a current employer may be accepted instead. Certain programmes, such as the MBA programme, may also accept an employer reference. If you already have a copy of a reference on letter headed paper then please upload this to your application. If you do not already have a reference to upload then please enter your referee’s name and contact details on the online application and we will contact your referee directly.

Application deadlines

September 2024

International applicants

As there is extremely high demand for places on this degree programme, the University has established an application process with application rounds. This process aims to ensure fairness and equity to applicants and should support applications being open for the full admission cycle.

Round 1 application dates

1 October 2023 to 1st December 2023. You will receive our decision on your application by 29 January 2024. Please note highly qualified applicants with, or on course for, a UK 1st or equivalent should expect to receive a decision on their application by 5 January 2024.

Round 2 application dates

2 December 2023 to 1 February 2024. You will receive our decision on your application by 1 April 2024. Please note highly qualified applicants with, or on course for, a UK 1st or equivalent should expect to receive a decision on their application by 8 March 2024.

Round 3 application dates

2 February 2024 to 1 April 2024. You will receive our decision on your application by 20 May 2024. Please note highly qualified applicants with, or on course for, a UK 1st or equivalent should expect to receive a decision on their application by 3 May 2024.

Round 4 application dates

2 April 2024 to 15 May 2024. You will receive our decision on your application by 1 July 2024. Please note highly qualified applicants with, or on course for, a UK 1st or equivalent should expect to receive a decision on their application by 7 June 2024.

Round 5 application dates

16 May 2024 to 1 July 2024. You will receive our decision on your application by 4 August 2024. Please note highly qualified applicants with, or on course for, a UK 1st or equivalent should expect to receive a decision on their application by 19 July 2024

As we receive a great number of applications, prospective students are only allowed to apply once per year.

Home applicants

  • 16 August 2024

Applications received after the final deadline may be considered and any offers will be made based on remaining programme capacity.

Apply now

More information about this programme