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MPhil in Conservation Leadership

Professional placements


A central component of the MPhil in Conservation Leadership is the professional placement with an organisation engaged in conservation practice and/or research. Placements take place between May and August, following detailed planning during the Michaelmas and Lent Terms. Students work on a specific and carefully defined project, which could be a professional engagement (developing or managing some aspect of conservation activity), or a piece of research (including a project more akin to a conventional academic 'dissertation' projects if desired). The aims of the placements are (i) to give students the opportunity to develop applied conservation leadership skills, (ii) to put into practice some of the ideas and methods learned during the taught component of the course, and (iii) to allow students to follow their personal interests by carrying out an in-depth piece of work on an issue or problem that particularly interests them.

Students can either select their placement from a list of ideas provided by the CCI partner organisations and circulated in the Michaelmas term, or develop their own ideas and approach potential supervisors directly. Placements can be within a University department or a conservation organisation, and can be undertaken in Cambridge or elsewhere. Students will be expected to make a presentation on their proposed work to a forum during the Lent Term, and to produce a detailed logframe for their placement during the Easter Term. Placements are assessed by submission of a report of up to 10,000 words.

Examples of placement topics

The following are examples of previous MPhil Conservation Leadership placement projects:

  1. The role of conservation clusters in promoting and creating innovative conservation solutions (with the Judge Business School)
  2. Challenges in communicating and conserving global freshwater biodiversity: shortfalls in freshwater species conservation (with IUCN)
  3. Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation: carbon stock estimation and stakeholder views in the Miombo woodland (with UNEP-WCMC)
  4. Governance of marine protected areas: turning paper parks into effectively managed units (with FFI)
  5. What sells the conservation message? An analysis of negative and positive messages in communicating and fundraising for nature conservation (with the Department of Zoology)