Skip to main content

Postgraduate Taught

MSc Island Biodiversity and Conservation

Please note: The below is for 2025 entries. Click here for 2024 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year full time
2 years part time
Entry year 2024

Jersey - Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies

Discipline Biosciences
Typical offer

View full entry requirements

Normally at least a 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent in Biology or a relevant science subject

Contextual offers


  • Delivered by a consortium of leading professionals and academics from across the globe and accredited by the University of Exeter
  • Designed to meet the needs of conservation professionals specialising in islands, students who wish to remain in academia and conservation practitioners from across the world
  • You will study in a beautiful island with rich biodiversity and have substantial fieldwork opportunities in most modules, including modules run out of JICAS Island field school and research centre
  • Comprises modules that target both research and practical conservation skills
  • Opportunities to complete the dissertation module in a number of different islands, including Hawaii, Greece, Canary Islands, Madagascar and Mauritius to name a few
  • This programme is taught at the Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies (JICAS)

Apply online

View 2024 Entry

Fast Track (current Exeter students)

Open days and visiting us

Get a prospectus

Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies


Programme Director: Dr Sean Dettman

Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

MSc Island Biodiversity and Conservation has been designed and is delivered by JICAS in Jersey, with support from the University of Exeter as the accrediting institution.

Dissertation options across the globe

Substantial fieldwork modules in the Channel Islands and Canary Islands

Training future leaders, managers and policy makers in island biodiversity and conservation

Entry requirements

Normally at least a 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent in Biology or a relevant science subject is required, although a 2:2 with relevant experience will be considered.

Applicants with significant, professional work experience seeking an academic qualification or the opportunity to enhance skills or knowledge in this field will also be considered.

Candidates may be asked to attend an interview (which may be by Skype, telephone or video link).

How we use your information

Please note, as this programme is delivered by Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies, the University may need to share your data with a third party external organisation in order to reach a decision on, or progress your application. In such circumstances we are committed to protecting your data in accordance with all relevant data protection legislation.

Entry requirements for international students

Please visit our entry requirements section for equivalencies from your country and further information on English language requirements.

Read more

Entry requirements for international students

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B2. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

Human activities in most peopled islands are eroding the natural resource base on which not only the islanders themselves, but also the nonhuman species depend for survival. Those vital resources include soil, water and the natural habitats of inland and coastal areas, all of which are affected by overexploitation, pollution, waste disposal and invasive species. 

With the added burden of climate change, some small island nations are being pushed to their environmental limits. Overcoming the challenges requires good scientific understanding of the island environment, adaptive management skills and solutions appropriate to island circumstances.

Read more from Dr Lee Durrell

Dr Lee Durrell

Chair, JICAS Steering Committee

Course content

Islands provide some of the planet’s most spectacular examples of biodiversity, making them important repositories of unique species. Yet there are more endangered species and habitats per capita in Small Island Developing States and territories than anywhere else in the world.

This one-year taught Masters programme is an innovative course dedicated to the understanding and conservation of the biodiversity of islands throughout the world. The programme boasts a significant research component with substantial fieldwork modules in the Channel Islands and Canary Islands, and dissertation options across the globe.

This applied degree provides a number of employability outcomes, including careers in management positions in global conservation NGOs, public conservation government ministries, organisations and departments, as well as technical positions in conservation and sustainability consultancies. This degree also serves as a gateway to a PhD and other academic positions in leading conservation organisations and enterprises in the UK and abroad.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

The situation on many islands is becoming critical as the area of undisturbed natural habitat diminishes. The result is a relatively large number of endangered (and extinct) species in countries where the scientific and financial resources available to deal with the problem are very limited. 

There are probably more endangered species per capita in Small Island Developing States and territories than anywhere else in the world.

While a number of countries have made great efforts in setting aside protected areas, the needs far exceed the means. In addition, islands with limited land seldom can afford to create single purpose parks and reserves solely for nature conservation. Solutions need to be more flexible and adapted to island circumstances. Conservation areas which are created and managed by the traditional land owners represent the kind of creative approach to conservation needed in islands.

Read more from Professor Julia Fa

Professor Julia Fa

JICAS Senior Research Fellow


2023/24 entry

UK fees per year:

£17,050 full-time; £8,550 part-time

International fees per year:

£30,250 full-time; £15,150 part-time

JICAS funding

For more information on JICAS sponsored bursaries please visit the JICAS bursaries webpage.


We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students. This includes over £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*.

For more information on scholarships, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.

*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details.

Teaching and research

Learning and assessment

All material is designed for Masters level and will involve fieldwork, seminars, webinars and lectures. There is considerable scope for you to direct your own learning for the dissertation module, including opportunities to conduct your research in the Channel Islands, Canary Islands, Greece and other Mediterranean Islands, Seychelles, Anguilla, Montserrat, Cayman Islands and other UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean and South Atlantic.

The viva is a key component of the programme and will consist of a one-day symposium where all students will carry out an oral presentation of their MSc dissertation. This event will be streamed live on-line, and videos will be uploaded to the JICAS website.

Contact hours

The taught component of this programme is delivered in four-week blocks. Each taught module is structured in the following way:

Week 1 – Students will review the material via the Virtual Learning Environment in preparation for the lectures.

Week 2 – The module leader will deliver 30 hours of lectures over five days. Students are expected to attend all of the lectures, workshops and seminars during this week.

Weeks 3 and 4 – Students will work independently to complete all methods of assessment. The lecturer(s) will maintain constant contact with all students, either virtually or institutionally, to help supervise the task(s). The Programme Coordinator will always be on campus for additional support.

For all fieldwork-based modules, Week 2 will consist of fieldwork training and research.

Learning from experts

All students will have direct access to the Programme Coordinator, who is available for advice and support throughout your studies at JICAS. The allocation of a dissertation supervisor will be the result of an agreement between student and lecturer. If no such agreement can be arranged, JICAS will provide a number of options in order to successfully complete the module.

Read more


This course has been designed to include a maximum fieldwork and research component. You will spend a considerable amount of time in the field collecting data and conducting research.

Fieldwork statistics

This module will take place across Jersey, Channel Islands and consists of collecting data with proper statistical tools. You will learn by combining both theoretical and practical lecturers about the scientific method and how to design and gather field data from different surveys on distinct taxonomic groups, including basic competency with Excel, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and in-situ techniques such as small mammal and camera trapping.

Conservation in action

This module consists of a ten-day study trip to Tenerife (Canary Islands), where several protected areas and conservation-related institutions are housed. Led by Professor Robert Whitaker, JICAS students will work with staff and students at the University of LaLaguna to gain a deeper understanding of the environmental problems related with mass tourism and agriculture in Tenerife. This ten-day study trip will undertake an intensive course of fieldwork and site visits across the island, culminating with a group project exploring the different natural areas of protection and species red lists existing in the Canaries.


The dissertation module has been designed to include the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in islands across the world. JICAS has established links with Department of Environment, Jersey, Channel Islands; Department of Natural Resources, Guernsey, Channel Islands; Alderney Wildlife Trust, Alderney, Channel Islands; Department of Natural Resources and Climate Change, Greece, Mediterranean; The University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands; UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum; Department of Natural Resources, Anguilla, Caribbean; Central Caribbean Marine Institute, Cayman Islands; Marine Conservation Society, UK; South Atlantic Research Institute (SAERI) and more!

Read more


Employer-valued skills this course develops

The aim of the degree is to train future leaders, managers and policy makers in island biodiversity and conservation. Through integral collaboration with key players in the field of biodiversity and conservation, this MSc ensures the training you receive will prepare you for immediate employment both in the UK and abroad.

Careers Services

Our careers teams at the Career Zone at the University of Exeter can help guide you through a wealth of information to match your skills and interests to a career that will suit you. Our staff work with regional, national and international employers to develop new work placement, project and graduate opportunities.

After you graduate

This MSc also prepares you for a career in various academic positions and/or PhD study.

These include:

  • Pre-requisite and gateway to PhD
  • Academic positions in leading organisations and enterprises
  • Environmental and conservation consultancy services
  • Management positions in global conservation NGOs
  • Management positions in public conservation government ministries, organisations and departments
  • Management positions in other third sector conservation organisations and institutions
  • Technical positions in conservation and sustainability consultancies, and international bodies such as and IUCN
  • Corporate Social Responsibility