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Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation in Action MSc/PGDip

Learn about the course below
September 2023
1 year full-time
£12,700 (UK) *
£15,100 (EU/INT) *
Course Leader
Dr Anne Ropiquet

This course is no longer accepting applications for September 2022 entry. The next start date will be September 2023.

The crisis in biodiversity is a crucial challenge for current and future generations. Every day, species diversity is rapidly declining. Despite the effort of evolutionary biologists to describe biodiversity patterns and processes, they are often missing from the dialogue about conservation of the biodiversity. This course is designed for those looking for an interdisciplinary programme at the interface of social and ecological systems.

Why study MSc/PGDip Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation in Action at Middlesex University?

This course combines expert teaching with unique experiences of work in real environmental and conservation settings to develop your ability to evaluate the biological and social processes that underpin interactions between biodiversity loss and human society. You will learn to gather and analyse quantitative and qualitative genomic ecological and social data; skills which are at the forefront of current research in conservation science and evolutionary biology.

You will gain invaluable practical experience through our field trips, in Mauritius for example, to work on a real research project, with an additional week in Jersey to learn about captive animal management and the role of zoos in conservation.

The programme is suitable for:

  • students who have a strong interest in evolutionary processes on biodiversity and conservation
  • graduates of biology and related degrees
  • professionals working within NGOs or research institutes who wish to further develop their skills

Course highlights

  • Field trip in a tropical environment (e.g. Mauritius) to undertake tropical biodiversity and a one week field trip to Jersey focusing on captive animal management and role of zoos in conservation
  • The programme is wholly grounded in practice and students develop field skills in ecology, laboratory skills in genomics, computing skills in statistics and GIS analysis, as well as proficiency in complex data analysis and mapping
  • Integrated approach to teaching the themes of conservation, evolution and biodiversity within and across all of the topics you will undertake
  • Specialist input from partner organisations including the Durrell Conservation Trust, Ebony Forest and Mauritian Wildlife Foundation

In case overseas travels are not possible due to governmental restrictions, guest lecturers from diverse international organisations will be invited to provide equivalent learning outcomes. UK field activities will be considered.

Find out more

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What will you study on the MSc/PGDip Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation in Action?

The programme focuses at building multidisciplinary skills at the interconnection between biodiversity, evolution and conservation science.

An induction to the programme begins in January. This part of the programme will be delivered online and on the Hendon campus, subject to COVID-19 restrictions, where you will participate in a range of activities, lectures, seminars, computing workshops, laboratories and field trips. During the year, there will also be a trip to learn about captive animal management and the role of zoos in conservation.

You will spend one month in Mauritius where you will undertake training at a tropical field station. In Mauritius, you will be deployed to research stations all over the island and will participate in a research project currently undertaken by Ebony Forest, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. Theoretical and practical knowledge will be delivered to you by professionals across the full range of the disciplines.

A major part of the course will the dissertation which is conducted from August to December.


  • Modules

    • Applied and Theoretical Approaches to Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation sciences (120 credits) - Compulsory

      This module focuses on the understanding of a range of theoretical and practical aspects of different natural environments, from ecology, biodiversity, evolution and conservation science. The module will provide students with high-level research training in biodiversity, focusing on the interactions between physical and biological processes and patterns of complex ecosystems. The module provides a broad understanding of the most up to date techniques in bioinformatics, genomics and computer-aided decision making for biodiversity conservation.

    • Research Project (60 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to provide an opportunity for the student to develop original and independent research investigations aimed at integrating theoretical knowledge and technical expertise to solve a practical problem at a relevant postgraduate level using appropriate research techniques.  Students will conduct a substantive piece of field or laboratory research led by a specialist supervisor.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we've learnt during recent years by enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning. Please regularly check this section of the course page for updates.

How is the MSc/PGDip Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation taught?

You will be taught through a mixture of online classroom, field, laboratory and computing workshop activities. Face to face activities will be subject to change depending on social distancing requirements due to COVID-19. There are also independent study weeks to enable you to develop your own learning. The programme culminates in an individual project which can take place in the field or in the laboratory.

The programme is wholly grounded in practice and through the course delivery, you develop field skills in ecology, laboratory skills in genomics, computing skills in statistics and GIS analysis, as well as proficiency in complex data analysis and mapping. In addition to these fundamental scientific techniques, you will also be expected to design programmes, implement your own research and learn the methods of developing funding bids.


The assessments on the programme are designed to test activities that graduates are likely to be confronted with in real-life employment. This includes writing a management plan for a conservation area, a research grant proposal, a field journal, an analysis of genomic data and a conference presentation and poster.

Additionally, you will submit a dissertation on their major research project and undertake a viva related to the work. The project will be supervised by a member of academic staff but you are strongly encouraged to work with external partner institutions in the UK or overseas. In this case, you may also have a mentor based at the external institution. Working with partners and travel overseas is dependent on the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

Teaching and learning from 2022

We are currently reviewing our approach to teaching and learning for 2022 entry and beyond. We've learned a lot about how to give you a quality education - we aim to combine the best of our pre-pandemic teaching and learning with access to online learning and digital resources which put you more in charge of when and how you study. We will keep you updated on this throughout the application process.

Your timetable will be built around on-campus sessions using our professional facilities, with online sessions for some activities where we know being virtual will add value. We’ll use technology to enhance all of your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.

The table below gives you an idea of what learning looks like across a typical week. Some weeks are different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on-campus sessions.

This information is likely to change slightly for 2022 entry as our plans evolve. You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.

Learning structure: typical hourly breakdown in 2022/23

The programme is delivered in teaching blocks.

When on campus, students are in class 3 days a week (15 hours /week).

The taught component of the course includes 5 to 6 weeks of residential field trips (UK, Jersey and overseas depending on travel restrictions). Students need to be able to participate to all the residential field trips (UK, EU and/or overseas).

During the year, students will have 6 days fully online in order to also experience the full range of digital platforms they may have to use in their future careers.

Outside of these hours, you’ll be expected to do independent study where you read, listen and reflect on other learning activities. This can include preparation for future classes. In a year, you’ll typically be expected to commit 1200 hours to your course across all styles of learning. If you are taking a placement, you might have some additional hours.

Definitions of terms

  • Live in-person on campus learning – This will focus on active and experiential sessions that are both:
    • Led by your tutors including seminars, lab sessions and demonstrations We’ll schedule all of this for you
    • Student-led by you and other students, like small group work and presentations.
  • Live online learning – This will include lectures, tutorials and supervision sessions led by your tutor and timetabled by us. It also includes student-led group work that takes place online

  • Tutor set learning activities – This covers activities which will be set for you by your tutor, but which you will undertake in your own time. Examples of this include watching online materials, participating in an online discussion forum, completing a virtual laboratory or reading specific texts. You may be doing this by yourself or with your course mates depending on your course and assignments. Outside of these hours, you’ll also be expected to do further independent study where you’ll be expected to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time.


You have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will be delivered online and on campus and you have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU fees
  3. EU/International
  4. Additional costs
  5. Scholarships and bursaries

Groups of students from the MSc/PGDip Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation in Action programme have been engaging in real projects making real impact on biodiversity, evolution and conservation. Projects include trip to Jersey at the Durrell Conservation Trust where our students learn about captive animal management and the role of zoos in conservation and trip to Mauritius, where our students are deployed to research stations all over the island and participate in research projects currently undertaken by Ebony Forest, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.

Here are some key images from Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation students undertaking fieldwork in Mauritius:

How can the MSc/PGDip Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation in Action support your career?

Graduates could pursue employment with NGO's specialising in biodiversity and conservation. You will gain expertise in bioinformatics and genomics and could find employment in biotechnology companies. You will also have the skills to undertake a PhD, or be employed in a range of establishments such as national parks, environmental agencies, molecular biology laboratories.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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