Manchester Metropolitan University
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Manchester Metropolitan University: A transformative education for future conservationists

Home to some of the world’s most extraordinary ecosystems, Africa is facing an ever-increasing range of threats – from climate change to habitat loss. 

If these issues strike a chord with you, the MSc in African Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from Manchester Metropolitan University gets to the heart of it. It was developed in collaboration with the College of African Wildlife Management (CAWM). 

What’s great about this master’s programme is that you get to study in East Africa, carry out research in iconic wildlife areas and contribute to the conservation of resources and wildlife. This MSc programme is the latest development in Manchester Metropolitan’s long history of teaching and research in conservation and sustainability.  

Face-to-face learning takes place in Tanzania, at a campus outside Moshi – on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro – and its field station next to Tarangire National Park, for four blocks of three to four  weeks. Staff from CAWM and Manchester Metropolitan jointly teach this programme, culminating in an MSc awarded by both institutions. 

Learning is experiential. Each teaching block, typically, will have 5-6 days of fieldwork. As you build your knowledge of the latest analytical and statistical techniques for monitoring distributions, estimating population size, detecting habitat change and recording animal behaviour, you’ll develop the skills to compare different models of protected area management.

Manchester Metropolitan University

All teaching occurs in Tanzania at the CAWM campus in Moshi and its field station adjacent to Tarangire National Park. Source: Manchester Metropolitan University

Field trips and project work in UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area will help you go well beyond a theoretical understanding of conservation science. During these sessions, expect insightful conversations with your facilitators. Most of them are renowned for training wildlife managers and are research-active academics with long experience in the region — who better to learn from?

Still, the benefits run deeper. Most teachers work on a diverse range of applied research conservation projects – from invasive plant species to wildlife corridors and elephant migration. Some current projects deal with the impact of fencing on elephants, human-wildlife conflict, managing rangelands and forests, and the ecology, behaviour and genetics of black and white rhinos. As their student, you stand to gain a valuable closer look into some of the most important issues of our time.

Modules complement and underpin the hands-on knowledge you’ll gain in the field:

  • Population and Ecosystem Management introduces the underlying principles of how species populations are regulated, how we prioritise species for conservation and the success or otherwise of different models of protected area management
  • Ecological Research Techniques develops practical skills and up to date techniques needed to conduct field based research on habitats, mammals, birds, insects etc
  • Contemporary Issues in Conservation involves the critical appraisal of the most important current issues in African wildlife conservation and their interaction with human development
  • Statistics for Ecology and Conservation covers the design of research and monitoring and data analysis using R software
  • GIS and Remote Sensing for Conservation explores the production of land cover maps and the quantification of land cover change using earth observation imagery – essential tools for contemporary conservation
  • Conservation Project Management is concerned with the planning implementation, monitoring and reporting of wildlife conservation projects, including report writing, grant applications, budgeting, ethics and health and safety.
  • The Master’s Research Project is your opportunity to carry out an extended research project on almost any aspect of African ecology and conservation. You can choose to work within ongoing staff research projects and in a wide variety of national parks and other protected areas. 

    Manchester Metropolitan University

    The teaching staff have considerable experience in training wildlife managers in Africa and are involved in research and conservation projects in Tanzania and Kenya. Source: Manchester Metropolitan University

MSc courses offered by Manchester Met which are related to this topic include Zoo Conservation Biology, a collaboration with Chester Zoo that focuses on the links between ex-situ (off-site) and in-situ (on-site) species conservation. The MSc in Animal Behaviour examines the fundamental principles of behaviour and applications to animal welfare. The MSc in Conservation Biology identifies the ecosystem at risk, examines ways of conserving biodiversity and analyses the role of genetics and demography.

Whichever programme you choose, you’ll reap the perks of being part of one of the top modern universities for research quality. Manchester Metropolitan has received excellent results in the government’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 for its research within Earth systems and environmental sciences which includes its impactful work on conservation of biodiversity and habitats. Out of 40 departments in the country, it ranks fifth nationally for its research impact, with 100% of its research impact rated as outstanding (75%) or having very considerable impact (25%).

Little wonder why its graduates can go far with these versatile degrees. Those looking to conduct PhD-level research can consider a research pathway and build on the specialist knowledge, advanced techniques and practical experience acquired during their MSc programme.. 

If you are passionate about contributing to the work of international conservation organisations, governments, non-profits or wildlife organisations in the private sector, consider roles like a conservation biologist, wildlife manager or conservation scientist. 

Ready to immerse yourself in some of the world’s most extraordinary ecosystems and begin your career as a conservationist? Click here to discover how you can make that a reality at Manchester Metropolitan University today. 

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