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MPhil in Conservation Leadership

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Taught modules


Core teaching for the course takes place in Michaelmas and Lent Terms. The taught elements of the course offer: (i) inter-disciplinarity across the social and biological sciences; (ii) integration with management and leadership skills; and (iii) an emphasis on practice through engagement with conservation professionals. This is achieved by: intensive discussion and challenge, among disciplines and between academic and professional insights; extensive use of case study material in all modules; group work, where students draw on their own background professional experience; experiential learning, through interaction with a high quality programme of senior visiting speakers; and professional mentoring through conservation practitioners.

The core taught element of the course comprises six modules, details of which are shown below. Module teaching includes:

  • Two-hour sessions led by over 60 different academics and conservation practitioners drawn from the participating university departments and conservation organizations in the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. These sessions include a mix of presentations, group work and debate.
  • One-day and residential field trips to explore conservation issues in the UK context.
  • Discussion sessions, facilitated by academic staff, to enable students to explore and challenge the concepts covered in the taught sessions.
  • For 2019-20, one module may be taught through online material combined with occasional classroom sessions

In addition, regular Conservation Leadership Lectures bring global conservation leaders to Cambridge to talk about their work with the student group. Furthermore, students give regular presentations of their own conservation experiences and ideas.

CL1 Conservation Problems and Practice

This module aims to explore the economic, social and biological context of biodiversity loss and conservation

CL2 Conservation Enterprise

This module aims to examine different forms of incentive-based conservation and review the costs and benefits of different types of conservation enterprise in terms of their economic, social and ecological values and contributions

CL3 Conservation Management

This module aims to give students the practical skills and strategies needed to manage conservation organisations and projects

CL4 Communicating Conservation

This module aims to help students explore different ways to communicate conservation and to identify the most appropriate forms of communication for different conservation contexts

CL5 Conservation Governance

This module aims to explore and critically assess the different forms of governance that are relevant to biodiversity conservation and understand the different actors that are involved in shaping decisions

CL6 Innovation for Conservation Leadership

This module aims to provide future conservation leaders with skills to manage, innovate and be entrepreneurial. It includes a group consultancy project, undertaken with one of the CCI partner organisations.