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Ecological Consultancy, MSc

Newcastle University, the United Kingdom

Newcastle University

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About Ecological Consultancy, MSc - at Newcastle University

Our Ecological Consultancy MSc gives you knowledge, specialised technical skills and professional awareness. It will prepare you for a career as an ecological consultant or in other environmental roles. The course has a professional focus, preparing you for the workplace.

We equip you with key skills which will enable you to pursue careers in ecology, including:

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing
  • experimental and survey design
  • wildlife surveying
  • wildlife legislation and natural history
  • Environmental Impact Assessment.

Graduates of this course have an excellent track record of gaining employment in the environmental sector. Within one year of graduation 18 of the 19 students from the 2011-12 cohort were employed, most in the environmental sector and the majority with ecological consultancy companies.

Examples of recent graduate destinations include students now working in ecological jobs for:

  • Wardell-Armstrong
  • Mott MacDonald
  • BSG Ecology
  • E3 Ecology

We provide a link to cutting-edge research that feeds into ecological consultancy. Examples include recent research projects on black grouse and wind farms (paper in review with Journal of Applied Ecology), noise and bird behaviour (paper in revision in PLOS ONE) and contracts for the Scottish Bird Wind Farm Steering Group. The class of 2013-14 was invited to help collect data for one of these contracts and to be authors on the paper which is being written up on the data they collected.

Quality and Ranking

We rank in the top 150 for Environmental Sciences - QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019.

Our staff

The Degree Programme Director, Professor John Bythell, is an active research ecologist. He has 27 years of experience of ecological consultancy work, particularly in Environmental Impact Assessment and International Development. His research focuses on wildlife diseases, mainly in tropical marine environments such as coral reefs.

Professor Mark Whittingham is a bird ecologist who contributes significantly to the degree programme. He has a wide network of contacts that can help you gain experience in this area. As a senior editor of the Journal of Applied Ecology he is aware of a wide range of ecological science and how this relates to ecological consultancy work.

Dr Phil McGowan provides international expertise for students wishing to pursue international projects and has extensive global contacts in the conservation sphere. He is heavily involved in work with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


The course is taught and based on the Newcastle campus. It is delivered mostly in two week blocks but initially several modules run concurrently over a six week period.

The course consists of:

  • 100 credits of taught work (October to March)
  • 80 credit project (April to August).

Contact and independent study times vary depending on the module. We have a good range of practical elements in computer (eg GIS or statistics) and field classes (eg natural history skills or survey skills).

Notes about fees for this course

See Fees and Funding tab in the Programme information in our online Prospectus.

Entry requirements

A 2:2 BSc or BEng honours degree, or international equivalent, in a related subject, such as:

  • microbiology
  • agriculture
  • environmental engineering
  • biology
  • biological sciences
  • ecology
  • environmental science
  • zoology
  • marine biology
  • oceanography
  • geography

We will also consider applicants on an individual basis with lower or non-standard qualifications.

International Students

To study this course you need to meet our Band 2 English Language requirements:

Direct Entry : IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)

If you have lower English Language scores, you may be accepted onto a pre-sessional English course. 

Our typical English Language requirements are listed as IELTS scores but we also accept a wide range of English Language tests.

The equivalent academic qualifications that we accept are listed on our country pages.

Pre-sessional English Course Requirements

  • 6 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 6.0 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)
  • 10 week Pre-sessional entry:  IELTS 5.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.0 in all sub-skills)

You can study a pre-sessional English course at our INTO Newcastle Centre.

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