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Taught postgraduate

PgC / PgD / MSc / MRes

Forest Protection with Conservation

Year of entry


1 year (full-time)
2 to 3 years (part-time)

Start date: September 2022

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Are you interested in conservation and the forest environment? Are you looking for a research career working in practical conservation? Do you want to do something positive for the environment? Then this is the course for you!

The course

Forests are vital global habitats covering over 33.5 million square kilometers globally and whose true value is often underappreciated. Tropical forests are renowned as sources of biodiversity while the northern boreal forests are major regions of carbon sequestration and they too are under threat through timber and mineral exploitation. Without forests our climate would be drastically different from the one we experience today, with much of the globe would be desert and uninhabitable. Yet despite their importance as sources of biodiversity and climate regulation they are, especially in the tropics and the far north, constantly under threat. In temperate regions, commercially managed forests are important sources of much-needed products for our homes and industry. They are also important refugia for threatened wildlife and provide educational and recreational uses for a significant proportion of the population.  Despite their importance we still know very little about how to manage them sustainably and how to protect our rapidly shrinking natural forests and woodlands and the organisms that live within them.

This course covers a broad range of topics in conservation and forestry. All students receive training in fundamental skills that will enable them to enter a conservation or forestry-related work environment. These skills will also facilitate a strong foundation to pursue a research career in conservation or forestry and woodland ecology. There is, however, considerable flexibility enabling each student to focus on specialist subjects consistent with their interests and future career intentions. As this programme was designed to answer calls from conservation bodies for people with practical conservation skills as well as a strong academic background, each taught module includes a practical field-based component.

A distinctive and integral feature of our MSc is the high degree of input from forest and conservation scientists in collaborating governmental organizations and consultancies. This participation takes a variety of forms, including guest lectures, field visits and specific training courses, but may also include providing research projects in their organizations.

Examples of collaborating organizations include, Butterfly Conservation, CEH Wallingford, Forest Research, The James Hutton Institute, The Natural History Museum London, and Rothamsted Research.

How will it benefit me?

The aims of the MSc are to provide students with which will (a) prepare them for a career in sustainable forest management and/or conservation (b) prepare them for PhD studies (c) enable them to make a more informed choice for their PhD research and (d) offer practical vocational training in the area of conservation. This course covers a broad range of topics providing specialized training in practical conservation and forest ecology and all students receive training in fundamental skills which will enable them to enter an appropriate work environment or a research career. There is, however, considerable flexibility enabling each student to focus on specialist subjects consistent with their interests and future career intentions.

Having completed the MSc you will be able to recognise the major biotic and abiotic problems affecting temperate and tropical trees and forests. The course will develop your analytical skills to enable you to recognise and resolve environmental, conservation and landscape management problems using fundamental principles of forest ecology and integrated forest management. You will also be able to show how forest and tree protection is directed to economic and social objectives and how ecological processes can be used to meet these objectives. You will also learn how to source and evaluate the latest developments in technology, and produce integrated management solutions that pay due regard to silvicultural, social and environmental requirements. 

The research project for the MSc will allow you to test hypotheses relevant to pure and applied research by designing, carrying out, analysing and interpreting experiments or surveys. You will also learn to evaluate and interpret data and draw relevant conclusions from existing studies.


The full-time and part-time courses (two years) are eligible for a postgraduate loan.

Block-based study

Modules are delivered in one week (and in a select few modules two week) blocks on campus. You will know in advance which weeks require physical attendance as they’ll be scheduled on the timetable. In addition to this, you will be required to allocate time for self-study to complete the assignments associated with each of the modules. Some modules may also include research and/or exam elements, these are also highlighted on the timetable.

Entry requirements for 2022

For PgC/PgD entry candidates should possess one of the following:

  • Honours degree (at least a 2.2)
  • A good UK based HND or Foundation Degree, together with related industrial or professional experience of at least two years
  • A Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate or equivalent

For MSc entry candidates should possess one of the following: 

  • Honours degree (at least a 2.2)
  • A Postgraduate Diploma or equivalent

Accredited by: Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF)

This course is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters and gives partial fulfilment of Professional Membership Entry based upon appropriate module selection.


Students from the MSc in Conservation and Forest Protection have gone on to work for Research Institutes such as Forest Research, FERA, RHS Wisley and Kew, or become ecological consultants.  They have also gained employment with conservation bodies such as Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, The National Trust or overseas.  A number of graduates have worked as Council Tree Officers and Biodiversity Officers and others have joined the Forestry Commission.  Typically 60% of graduates from this course will go into research careers or onto PhD courses.

98% Employability

Harper Adams University has the best and most consistent long-term graduate employment performance in specialist agri-food higher education

(HESA 2017)

No. 1

In the UK for graduate employment
(Graduate Outcomes 2020)


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