Ecological Consultancy (MSc)

Newcastle University the United Kingdom

For more information about Ecological Consultancy at Newcastle University, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award

How long you will study
12 months

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How you will study

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About Ecological Consultancy 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.

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.

There are 100 credits of taught work (run mainly from October-March) and an 80 credit project (running from April-August). Contact and independent study times will vary depending on the modules, but there is a good range of practical elements both in computer (eg GIS, stats) and field classes (eg natural history skills, survey skills).


Standard practice is for each Ecological Consultancy project to be run in conjunction with an industrial client. Typically these are consultancy companies (eg E3 Ecology, BSG Ecology, Baker Consultants, Denny Ecology, Mott MacDonald), but often are NGOs (eg RSPB, Natural England, IUCN, Northumberland Natural History Society, Durham Wildlife Trust).

Ecological consultants contribute to the course via informal talks, for example E3 Ecology run a workshop in induction week and directors of companies come to discuss how to get into the industry. Some modules are taught by practitioners with extensive experience of UK wildlife legislation and wildlife management.


We are in the process of applying for accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM).


The School of Biology has an outstanding range of facilities to support our research and teaching, including:

  • fully equipped laboratories
  • a new field station with state of the art facilities for teaching and research

You will also have access, by arrangement, to the University's Cockle Park farm, managed by the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMScHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study12 months
    Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course

See our course fees and funding webpage -

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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