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MSc Species Identification and Survey Skills -
Careers – University of Reading

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  • Species identification


MSc Species Identification and Survey Skills -

Programme Director: Dr Jonathan Mitchley


It is now widely recognised that people are becoming more detached from the natural world and the problems it faces. One consequence of this is that the skills required to work in the fields of ecology, biodiversity and conservation are in short supply, such as the ability to identify plant and animal species under field conditions and to carry out ecological surveys using standard protocols. Several sectors demand people with these types of skills and regularly find it hard to fill positions. This includes ecological consultants, and conservation and biodiversity organisations. This MSc programme is designed to provide students with the skills and opportunities necessary to develop careers in these sectors.

There are two main routes that students can follow on the MSc: either they can target ecological consultancy, and such students tend to opt for the placement module option, or they may follow the broader ecology and conservation route and these students will tend to take the research project option.

The ecological consultancy sector is buoyant as legislation and land management restrictions are becoming ever more stringent, and developers must use the skills of ecological consultants to determine potential ecological impacts prior to construction and to plan any mitigation or compensation required. Consequently there are extensive employment opportunities and this MSc is unique in the UK being designed to offer students a stepping-stone into Ecological Consultancy. To ensure that appropriate training is provided to achieve this, the School of Biological Sciences has established a partnership initially with RSK Group Ltd and subsequently with Aspect Ecology to jointly deliver material.

In addition to this consultancy linkage the identification and survey skills emphasis of the MSc offers all students an outstanding opportunity to develop their skills and build a CV fit for purpose and to facilitate interview and subsequent employment in the ecology, conservation and biodiversity sectors including environmental education, ecological organisations and research, wildlife trusts, statutory conservation agencies, museums and botanic gardens amongst others.

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