University of Chester

Programme Specification
Wildlife Conservation MSc
2016 - 2017

Master of Science

Wildlife Conservation

Wildlife Conservation

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester.

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory, Residential and Open,

1 year FT; 2 years PT

6 Years

Annual - October

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Biological Sciences

There are no subject specific benchmarks for Wildlife Conservation. The programme is designed to be consistent with Section 4 of the QAA (2008) framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which identifies the necessary descriptors for Level 7 (Masters taught degrees) training.

This programme complies with the credits per module and for award as recommended in the QAA National Qualifications Framework (NQF), and with the NQF qualifications descriptions for each Level. The module descriptors clearly demonstrate the competencies expected at each Level, and the amount of student effort required. The Level characteristics as described by the QAA in the National Qualifications Framework also relate closely to the overarching characteristics of learning as defined by the University of Chester.

The construction of this programme's learning outcomes, knowledge, skills and content together with the methods of learning, teaching and assessment have been informed by the QAA's ‘Master’s degree characteristics’ guidelines and advice document (March 2010).

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Biological Sciences

Wednesday 3rd December 2014

The programme aims to:

  • Provide students with advanced study of wildlife conservation to underpin future professional development;

  • Enable students to gain a high level of scientific knowledge in specialist areas of conservation including genetics, wildlife crime, behaviour and welfare, ex-situ conservation, threatened species management, and habitat conservation;

  • Increase employability in the wildlife conservation and management by development of a combination of key practical skills, an understanding of careers building, and an appreciation of the value of professional networking;

  • Develop an informed and critical approach to evaluation and application of scientific developments in the field of wildlife  conservation; and

  • Develop a mastery of the subject area through a research project.

Knowledge and Understanding

Have detailed knowledge and critical understanding of subject disciplines, investigative techniques and research methods relevant to Wildlife Conservation including those appropriate to:

  • manage wildlife populations of threatened, invasive and harvested species;
  • the use of genetic technologies in wildlife management
  • the role of animal behaviour and welfare in management and conservation of wild species
  • the use of GIS and statistics in investigating and designing wildlife conservation interventions
  • the use of wildlife forensics in management of wildlife crime
     

Key Skills

  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving 

These Programme specific Learning Outcomes map onto the QAA's ‘Master’s degree characteristics’ guidelines and advice document's (March 2010) criteria as follows:

QAA MSc. Degree Characteristics* Wildlife MSc Progr. Learning Outcomes          
                   
                   
  KU1* TCS1* PS1* KS1* KS2* KS3* TPS1* TPS2* TPS3 *
K1 x           x    
K2 X       X   X    
K3   X X            
K4 X X              
K5 X           X    
A1   X X X   X X    
A2   X X            
A3           X X X X
S1           X     X
S2                  
S3                 X

* K1-5, A1-3 and S1-3 mean Knowledge, Abilities, and Skills while KU, TCS, PS, KS and TPS mean Knowledge and Understanding, Thinking or Cognitive Skills, Practical Skills, Key Skills and Transferable Professional Skills, respectively.


The Wildlife MSc Programme's Learning Outcomes map onto the individual modules as follows:

Modules Prog. Learning Outcomes            
                   
  KU1* TCS1* PS1* KS1* KS2* KS3* TPS1* TPS2* TPS3*
BI7130 Conservation Genetics X X X X X
BI7131 Wildlife Crime X X X   X      
BI7132 Behaviour and Welfare in Wildlife Conservation X X X X    
BI7139 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation X   X X X X    
BI7138 Biodiversity Informatics X X     X      
BI7137 Managing Wildlife Populations and Landscapes X X     X X X    
BI7136 Research Dissertation X         X   X X X X

Cognitive skills

Graduates from this programme will be able to analyse, synthesise, evaluate, apply and reflect upon information gained from academic and professional literature, professional organisations, and practical exercises/experiences, in order to propose solutions to problems in wildlife conservation;

Practical Skills

Graduates from this programme will be able to deploy academic knowledge and understanding of the technical aspects of the management and conservation of wild organisms and their habitats into effective actions that will be encountered in the professional contexts that wildlife biologists encounter in the profession. 

Transferable Professional Skills


Graduates from this programme will:

  • have understanding of the limits of their own knowledge, and how this influences analysis and interpretations based on that knowledge.
  • have skills of self-evaluation to understand own strengths and weaknesses, challenge received opinion, and develop own criteria and judgement.
  • have key/transferable skills and confidence to undertake further training, develop existing skills, and acquire new competences that will enable the assumption of significant responsibility within relevant organisations.


Graduates from this programme will be able to:

  • effectively communicate information, arguments, and analysis in a variety of forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • use IT to manipulate quantitative and qualitative information to solve defined problems.
  • work effectively within a team, giving and receiving information and ideas, and modifying responses as appropriate.
  • manage resources for effective learning.

The MSc in Wildlife Conservation involves the study of the six taught modules and the research project (180 credits at Level 7).

The PGDip in Wildlife Conservation involves the study of the six taught modules only (120 credits at Level 7).

There are 4 possible PGCerts (each 60 credits at Level 7) available from the Programme in Wildlife Conservation:

  •  A PG Cert in 'Applied Wildlife Forensics' requires students to take: BI7130 Conservation Genetics; BI7131 Wildlife Crime; BI7139 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation.

 

  • A PG Cert in 'Applied Wildlife Conservation' requires: BI7132 Behaviour and Welfare in Wildlife Conservation; BI7137 Managing Wildlife Populations and Landscapes; BI7139 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation.

 

  • A PG Cert in 'Conservation in Practice' requires:  BI7137 Managing Wildlife Populations and Landscapes; BI7139 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation; BI7138 Biodiversity Informatics.

 

  • A PG Cert in 'Wildlife Conservation' : awarded as an intermediate/exit award where students have successfully completed three taught modules other than those required for the 3 previous PG Certificates 

Each module comprises 200 hours of total student study time, typically comprising:

  • 21 hours intensive course of lectures, seminars, group discussions, laboratory/field activities;

  • 10 hours of tutorial support;

  • 169 hours of directed self-study

Students prepare an assignment using the tutor-prepared Module Text, accompanying online learning resources and primary research journals. The specific assessment requirements for each module are set out in the module descriptors and supplemented with further detailed information in the Module texts/VLE.

The modular content of this programme is designed to enable learners to develop specialist knowledge required for careers in the major sub-sidciplines of wildlife conservation, and so allow for further career advancement. Students not only follow a core programme covering advanced techniques, concepts and current issues relevent to wildlife conservation, but also have the opportunity to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills in more specialised areas of wildlife conservation (e.g. conservation genetics; wildlife crime). In addition, students aiming for the MSc award are required to undertake a research dissertation, where strong emphasis is placed on the development of independent research technique, practical skills, and the ability to present scientific data.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
BI7130 7 Conservation Genetics 20 Comp
BI7131 7 Wildlife Crime 20 Comp
BI7132 7 Behaviour and Welfare in Wildlife Conservation 20 Comp
BI7136 7 Research Dissertation 60 Comp
BI7137 7 Managing Wildlife Populations and Landscapes 20 Comp
BI7138 7 Biodiversity Informatics 20 Comp
BI7139 7 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation 20 Comp

The MSc in Wildlife Conservation involves the study of the six taught modules and the research project (180 credits at Level 7).


The PGDip in Wildlife Conservation involves the study of the six taught modules only (120 credits at Level 7).
There are 4 possible PGCerts (each 60 credits at Level 7) available from the Programme in Wildlife Conservation:

 

  • A PG Cert in \'Applied Wildlife Forensics\' requires students to take: BI7130 Conservation Genetics; BI7131 Wildlife Crime; BI7139 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation.

 

  • A PG Cert in \'Applied Wildlife Conservation\' requires: BI7132 Behaviour and Welfare in Wildlife Conservation; BI7137 Managing Wildlife Populations and Landscapes; BI7139 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation.

 

  • A PG Cert in \'Conservation in Practice\' requires: BI7137 Managing Wildlife Populations and Landscapes; BI7139 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation; BI7138 Biodiversity Informatics.

 

  • A PG Cert in \'Wildlife Conservation\' : awarded as an intermediate/exit award where students have successfully completed three taught modules other than those required for the 3 previous PG Certificates

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Applicants should normally have one of the following:

  • An Honours degree (minimum 2.1) containing a significant content of ecological/behavioural/biological science or a relevant postgraduate qualification.
  • Substantial relevant work experience, together with evidence of recent study or writing at an appropriate level

Overseas Candidates should also be competent in English and have achieved, as a minimum, one of the following standards: IELTS-6.5; TOEFL – 60.

 Potential students may be invited to attend for interview.

This programme complies with the credits per module and for award as recommended in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) as identified by the QAA, and with the NQF qualifications descriptions for each Level. The module descriptors clearly demonstrate the competencies expected at each Level, and the amount of student effort required. The Level characteristics as described by the QAA in the National Qualifications Framework also relate closely to the overarching characteristics of learning as defined by the University of Chester.

Although there are no QAA subject specific benchmark statements for wildlife conservation, this programme\'s learning outcomes, knowledge, skills and content together with the methods of learning, teaching and assessment have been informed by the QAA's ‘Master’s degree characteristics’ guidelines and advice document (March 2010), specifically:

Students will have demonstrated the following knowledge and understanding:

  • a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study or area of professional practice (K1);
  • a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship (K2);
  •  originality in the application of knowledge, and a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline (K3);
  •  conceptual understanding that enables critical evaluation of current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline (K4); 
  • conceptual understanding that  allows for evaluation and critiques of methodologies and where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses (K5);

Students will have demonstrated the ability to:

  • deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences (A1);
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level (A2);  
  • continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level (A3).

And students will have acquired the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:

  •  the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility (S1);
  • decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations (S2);
  • the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development (S3).

The programme will be delivered by blended learning in the form of learning packages, web-conferencing, e-mail, discussion boards, telephone contact, and residential schools . The Module Texts (supplemented by set texts) will provide the main learning materials and the University VLE/Moodle will be used to provide the learning framework, information on work patterns, additional support materials and the platform for communication throughout the programme. Laboratory-based and field-based practical exercises which contribute to the Learning Outcomes of some modules will be undertaken within the appropriate Residential School, which will be scheduled at the start and end of each module.

Members of the Department of Biological Sciences have many years of experience in offering distinctive programmes of study at diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate and post-experience levels. The Department has considerable experience of supporting the learning needs of mature students and of students generally with ‘non-standard entry’ qualifications. Considerable experience has been achieved with students with limited entry qualifications both in terms of academic performance and personal development.  

Residential Schools 

At the start of each module, students will attend a Residential School at which the module content (including support provision, learning materials and assessment details) will be described. In addition, this will provide an opportunity for the delivery of some subject matter and, where appropriate, relevant practical and field-based work. Cohort meetings will also be scheduled to take place at the Residential Schools. Students will be encouraged to form self-help groups (communicating through e-mail, discussion boards or telephone) and these will be explained and organised at the Residential School.

Learning Packages

(a) The main learning materials will be in the form of Module Texts supported by a Programme Handbook. The Module Texts will contain a range of materials (e.g. text, articles, data handling exercises and so on) and will be augmented by on-line learning. Students will be encouraged to carry out self-assessment which will be progressively developed using a variety of in-text questions (ITQs) and self-assessment questions (SAQs) where appropriate by module. Answers to these questions – together with explanatory notes where appropriate – will give valuable on-going feedback to the students as they progress through the learning materials.

(b) On-line learning

On-line facilities (using the University VLE/Moodle) will be used to provide the following (where applicable by module):

  • A structured weekly guide to the module content
  • Additional self-assessment questions
  • Assessment details and guidance (e.g. on presenting the assignment(s)
  • Access to distant, appropriate websites
  • Access to Library resources 
  • Access to the Discussion Board
  • E-mail links to the tutors 
  • Text references
  • Access to the support infrastructure

 Teleconference seminars Use of Webex conferencing platform to provide tutorial support where applicable to specific modules.

 E-mail seminars  Time will be given each week to student/staff interaction via e-mail. Students will be allocated a time slot during which the module tutor will be able to answer e-mails concerning the module content and/or assessment.

Practical work  Where appropriate, there will be practical exercises/laboratory workshops set within the modules which will be performed at the relevant Residential School.

Visiting Lecturers Visiting Lecturers will be used to support the delivery of the programme in certain modules. This will provide expertise in specialist areas and will include contributions from a range of personnel involved in various conservation disciplines. 

Assessment Methods

The assessment methods employed all place great emphasis (as shown in their assessment criteria) on the learner's ability to demonstrate skills through the production of coherent responses either to problems or tasks set. Examples include;

  • Written assignments that critically review and cite key research papers;
  • Case studies which identify and formulate appropriate responses and intervention strategies to wildlife conservation and management issues;
  • Preparation of research proposal

Specific details are shown by module in the table below:

Module

Assessments
BI7130 Conservation Genetics i. An essay based assignment addressing aspects of the theoretical content of the module - Learning Outcomes 1-3 - (2000 word equivalent = 50% of the module assessment).ii. A laboratory report based on results obtained in the case study investigation - Learning Outcomes 4-6 - (2000 word equivalent; report = 50% of the module assessment).
BI7131 Wildlife Crime i. One essay based assignment in the form of a critical review of aspects of the theoretical content of the module  - Learning Outcomes 1-3 -(2000 word equivalent = 50% of the module assessment). ii.   A crime scene report based on results obtained in the case study investigation - Learning Outcomes 4-9 - (2000 word equivalent report = 50% of the module assessment).
BI7132 Behaviour and Welfare in Wildlife Conservation i. One 2000 word critical analysis of a study in which behaviour has been used to assist conservation  - Learning Outcomes 1-5 -(2000 word equivalent = 50% of the module assessment). ii.a scientific laboratory report of the practical component of the module - Learning Outcomes 2-4,6  -(2000 word equivalent = 50% of the module assessment).
BI7139 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation

This course will use 100% course-work assessment and has no final exam.

I. an individual literature review/case study and critical analysis of a given suite of wildlife research techniques to assess their advantages, limitations, current and potential applications. Assesses learning outcomes 1 & 2, and 4 & 5 (2000 word equivalent = 50% of the module assessment). Assessment of the format, delivery and subject knowledge associated with aspects of learning outcomes 1, 2, and 4, 5 and 7.

II. A written group proposal for a field research study for a named wildlife species, based on the activities covered during the field course. This will be presented to the class orally as a group. Oral presentations are assessed individually and account for 50% of grade on this assignment. A group grade is assigned to the written component of this assessment which accounts for 50% of this assessment. Assessment of the format, delivery and subject knowledge associated with aspects of learning outcomes 1-5. (2000 word equivalent = 50% of the module assessment)

BI7138 Biodiversity Informatics This course will use 100% course-work assessment and has no final exam. i. Assessment of 4 practical exercises during the course -Aspects of Learning Outcomes 1-5 - (1600 word equivalent; 40% of the module assessment). ii. Two coursework assignments which examine biological data analysis and GIS - Aspects of Learning Outcomes 1-5 - (2400 word equivalent; 60% of the module assessment).
BI7137 Managing Wildlife Populations and Landscapes

This course will use 100% course-work assessment and has no final exam.

i. Literature review and case study of published wildlife management practice for a threatened, harvested or alien invasive species in the form of a scientific review paper. Learners undertake a critical analysis of the effectiveness of current management, clearly identifying the criteria used. (2000 word equivalent= 50% of the module assessment) assessing aspects of learning outcomes 1,2,and 4, 5 and 7.

ii. Report on a group-project to develop a management plan, for either a threatened, harvested or alien invasive species. This is presented orally as a group (2000 word equivalent = 50% of the module assessment). Teams write a group report and give an oral group presentation in class. Oral presentations are assessed individually and account for 50% of grade on this assignment. A group grade is assigned to the written component of this assessment which accounts for 50% of this assessment. Assessment of the format, delivery and subject knowledge associated with aspects of learning outcomes 1-7.

BI7136 Research Dissertation

Learning outcomes will be assessed through one coursework component (100%) comprising the following elements: 1) Submission of a scientific report in the form of a journal article which follows criteria set out in the Module Handbook (8,400 word equivalent; 70% of module assessment). Assesses module outcomes 1-4. 2) Preparation of a scientific poster detailing a key finding(s) of the dissertation (1,200 word equivalent; 10% of module assessment).  Assesses module outcomes 4-5. 3) Oral presentation of the research dissertation (2,400 word equivalent; 20% of module)  assesses learning outcomes 1,4,5. 4) Submission of a research proposal and/or ethics application (formative assessment ONLY).

This programme is designed to equip graduates with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to pursue careers in the discipline of wildlife conservation. In addition, the transferable skills embedded throughout the programme will benefit graduates considering a change of career and equip them to enter other areas of employment. Graduates of this MSc programme should be able to:

  • deal with complex issues systematically and creatively, and communicate  their findings to specialists and non-specialist groups;
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in problem-solving across a variety of areas;
  • continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level and possess the necessary qualities and transferable skills at an advanced level;
  • To work in multidisciplinary teams to solve complex wildlife conservation issues; 

Postgraduate study involves the development of reflective practice, such that the student can modify personal professional activity, critically evaluate scientific information sources and methodologies, and possess the ability to perform such activities autonomously. 

The following Table illustrates how these graduate characteristics and the programme learning outcomes (see Section 23) articulate with explicit modular learning outcomes.

Graduate Characteristics and Programme Learning Outcomes  Addressed in Module Learning Outcomes
 Knowledge and Understanding
  • BI7130 Conservation Genetics - Learning Outcome 2
  • BI7131 Wildlife Crime - Learning Outcome 2
  • BI7132 Behaviour and Welfare in Wildlife Conservation - Learning Outcomes 1&2
  • BI7139 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation - Learning Outcome 1
  • BI7138 Biodiversity Informatics - Learning Outcome 3
  • BI7137 Managing Wildlife Populations and Landscapes - Learning Outcomes 1,4,7
  • BI7136 Research Dissertation - Learning Outcome 1
 Thinking or Cognitive Skills  
  • BI7130 Conservation Genetics -Learning Outcomes 1,3,5,6
  • BI7131 Wildlife Crime - Learning Outcomes 1-3, 5, 7
  • BI7132 Behaviour and Welfare in Wildlife Conservation - Learning Outcomes 3&5
  • BI7139 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation - Learning Outcomes 2&4
  • BI7138 Biodiversity Informatics -  Learning Outcome 5
  • BI7137 Managing Wildlife Populations and Landscapes - Learning Outcomes 2&4,5
  • BI7136 Research Dissertation - Learning Outcomes 2, 3, 5
 Practical Skills
  • BI7130 Conservation Genetics -Learning Outcomes 2,4,6
  • BI7131 Wildlife Crime - Learning Outcomes 4,6,8
  • BI7132 Behaviour and Welfare in Wildlife Conservation - Learning Outcomes 4&6
  • BI7139 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation - Learning Outcome 2, 5
  • BI7138 Biodiversity Informatics - Learning Outcomes 1,3,4
  • BI7137 Managing Wildlife Populations and Landscapes - Learning Outcomes 5&6
  • BI7136 Research Dissertation - Learning Outcomes 4&5
  Key Skills
  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving
 
  • BI7130 Conservation Genetics - Learning Outcomes 4-6
  • BI7131 Wildlife Crime - Learning Outcomes 5,6,8
  • BI7132 Behaviour and Welfare in Wildlife Conservation - Learning Outcome 4
  • BI7139 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation - Learning Outcomes 3&4
  • BI7138 Biodiversity Informatics - Learning Outcome 1&3
  • BI7137 Managing Wildlife Populations and Landscapes - Learning Outcomes 3&6
  • BI7136 Research Dissertation - Learning Outcome 4&5
 Transferable Professional Skills  
  • BI7130 Conservation Genetics - Learning Outcomes 4-6
  • BI7131 Wildlife Crime - 2,4,6,8
  • BI7132 Behaviour and Welfare in Wildlife Conservation - Learning Outcomes 4-6
  • BI7139 Field Research Techniques for Wildlife Conservation - Learning Outcome 2&3
  • BI7138 Biodiversity Informatics - Learning Outcomes 1&3
  • BI7137 Managing Wildlife Populations and Landscapes - Learning Outcomes 3&6
  • BI7136 Research Dissertation - Learning Outcomes 2-5

The programmes of study in the Department of Biological Sciences fully embrace the University’s commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. The  University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students.  The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for.  At a departmental level all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:

  • Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality. 
  • Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.
  • There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.
  • The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues.  Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.
  • Supportive formative exercises may be presented in modules to help give all students an equal chance of succeeding.
  • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking and the blue sticker scheme also enhance equal opportunity to all students.
  • In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.
  • All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.
  • All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of the Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise. 

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