MSc Wildlife Conservation and Drone Applications

Study mode

Full-time (1 year)

Start date(s)

September 2018

Tuition fees 18/19
Home (full-time, per year): £8,000
International (full-time, per year): £14,450

Contact details

General enquiries:

0151 231 5090

Faculty of Science

0151 231 2888

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About this course

Explore contemporary wildlife conservation and drone applications on this MSc at LJMU. Learn from world-leading experts and take part in an overseas field trip.

  • Learn from world-leading experts in the field of wildlife conservation and drone technology
  • Study on this course which is the only one of its kind in the UK
  • Enjoy an overseas field trip to Tanzania (included in your fees) and observe chimpanzees in the wild as you practice and develop advanced skills in behavioural observation and conservation monitoring*
  • Benefit from world-class teaching and laboratory facilities (including drone technology, genetics and GIS facilities)
  • Design and complete a wildlife conservation study abroad using the latest software packages, such as ArcGIS, R, and Distance 

* The air fare, site accommodation and site costs are paid by LJMU. You will need to fund other potential costs including field clothing, visas and immunisations (if required).

Wildlife conservation is an exciting field of study that has important implications for the way in which we manage our world. With an increasing global population, conserving our wildlife becomes more complicated and conservationists are increasingly using technology such as UAVs to help them with their efforts.

This Masters will provide you with advanced skills in using drone technology for wildlife conservation research and will give you the specialist skills to maintain and operate drone technology as well as using sensors to obtain and analyse data.

A postgraduate degree is highly recommended for a career in this area so that you can demonstrate the necessary theoretical background and practical skills to work in the field. LJMU boasts world-class teaching and laboratory facilities (including state-of the art drone technology, genetics and GIS facilities) which you will be able to use during the course. You will also have 24 hour computer access and access to specialist software. In addition, the LJMU library has an extensive collection of online and hard copy book, journal and internet resources related to studying Wildlife Conservation.


Your lectures and seminars will be delivered by world experts in the field of wildlife conservation and drone applications. The quality of research and teaching during the course mean that you will graduate with cutting edge knowledge and access to a host of international professional networks. The Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology (RCEAP) conducts research at the frontiers of biological anthropology, catalysed by discovery-oriented field research. The Drone Research Group comprises experts in the design, development and use of drone systems for a wide array of scientific applications.

Fees and funding

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students


The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:

  • Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to programme-appropriate software
  • Library and student IT support
  • Free on-campus wifi via eduroam

Additional costs

Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:

  • accommodation and living expenditure
  • books (should you wish to have your own copies)
  • printing, photocopying and stationery
  • PC/laptop (should you prefer to use your own)
  • mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
  • field trips (travel and activity costs)

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  • placements (travel expenses and living costs)
  • student visas (international students only)
  • study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
  • academic conferences (travel costs)
  • professional-body membership
  • graduation (gown hire etc)


There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From Postgraduate Masters Loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2017) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

As a graduate from the programme you will be able to pursue a career working for national or international wildlife conservation NGOs, national or international environmental consultancy companies, and environmental government bodies. The course is also excellent preparation for conservation research and academia. Staff involved in the course have a wide range of international and national connections that can provide exciting opportunities for students during and after the programme.  

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Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your course

Your programme is made up of a number of core modules and a dissertation.

The academic staff leading this course conduct research in this area. Your programme leaders uphold a wide range of international and national connections that can provide exciting opportunities for you during and after the course. You will have the opportunity to conduct fieldwork at international sites and make career-long connections. 

We will also encourage you to become members of the learned societies, such as Society of Wildlife Conservation.

Students in classroom - Course modules
Core modules

Survey, Mapping and Field Skills*

This module will give you a thorough understanding of research design, especially in the application of important tools and methods for data collection of wild animals. It aims to: help you understand and apply theoretical, practical, and analytical skills in primatological or other wildlife fieldwork; provide particular emphasis on how to census animals using line transects and build digital data-collection tools using open-access software; enable you to map the spatial distribution of findings for spatial analyses, present findings in a professional context, and employ these techniques in a field setting. 

* Includes an overseas field trip to Tanzania, which is included in your course fees. This is a fantastic opportunity to observe primates in the wild. You will practice and develop advanced skills in behavioural observation and conservation monitoring. The field trip air fare, site accommodation and site costs are paid by Liverpool John Moores University. You will be required to meet other potential costs, such as field clothing, visas and immunisations if required.

Drone Technology and Operations

This module provides a comprehensive overview of drone technology at a conceptual and practical level. Special emphasis is placed on being able to specify, select, install and deploy sub-systems to fulfil the requirements of an application.

Wildlife Conservation

This module will give you a thorough understanding of the major themes in wildlife conservation. It enables you to critically evaluate published work and the practical skills to design and conduct your own research.

Research Methods

This module provides extensive training in generic research knowledge and statistical techniques for the Natural Sciences. It aims to:

  • provide you with a broad appreciation of research methods and methodology including an understanding of the uses and limitations of different research methods
  • teach you how to design and execute a research project keeping in mind feasibility, ethics, data protection, and project logistics and funding


The aim of this module is to enable you to conduct independent scientific research, in an appropriate manner, under the guidance of an academic tutor. It:

  • gives you the opportunity to make a major contribution in a chosen subject area through a supervised programme of individual study
  • allows you to demonstrate your ability to carry out scientific research and to present findings as a scientific report


An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

You will have a number of hours per module per week of taught material and/or laboratory work. The majority of teaching will take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, however the days/number of hours taught will vary week to week. Private study will cover both time spent studying at home or in the library, analysing data and completing directed tasks and coursework. Taught sessions will provide an orientation to the topic and opportunity for classroom discussion and debate. You will be expected to read widely using primary sources of reference material.

Teaching methods

There is a strong emphasis on practice-based learning through lectures, seminars, workshops, student-lead discussion groups and fieldwork. Self-guided study is also a key requirement at MSc level.

Applied learning

During your studies you will develop an hypotheses-driven study based on the latest wildlife conservation literature.

Converting your idea for a study into a practical plan will involve: learning how to write a grant proposal (from funding experts); creating a budget and thinking through the logistical issues of conducting research in challenging environments.

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You will learn how to operate drone technology for wildlife conservation research and how to analyse the data obtained using these systems; providing you with a unique skillset.

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How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.

Assessment methods on this course include: written, oral and practical assignments such as project reports and seminar presentations. Practical skills will be assessed via the dissertation and oral presentations.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

Serge Wich

Serge Wich

Programme Leader

Studying first at the University of Amsterdam, Serge obtained his PhD at Utrecht University before joining the Great Ape Trust of Iowa. Following a time at the University of Zurich and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, Serge joined LJMU in 2012. Two years later he became an Honorary Professor for the conservation of the great apes at the University of Amsterdam. Founding Director of the non-profit, Serge’s research interests focus on: primate behavioural ecology, tropical rain forest ecology and the conservation of primates and their habitats and the use of technology such as drones to study and conserve wildlife.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my role is being able to expose students to an emerging technology (UAVs) in order to improve conservation and, at the same time, prepare them well for a career in this field by giving them the ability to learn about such a novel technology.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

This programme is based in the City Campus. Here you will fins world-class teaching and laboratory facilities (including state-of the art drone, genetics and GIS facilities) which you will be able to use during the course. You will also have 24 hour computer access and access to specialist software. In addition, the LJMU library has an extensive collection of online and hard copy book, journal and internet resources related to studying Wildlife Conservation.

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Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a good second class honours degree in a relevant scientific discipline such as biology, conservation, animal behaviour, zoology or ecology
  • an academic reference
  • a satisfactory reference from your employer or line manager etc


  • professional experience, publications, written reports, CPD activities and other suitable evidence of accomplishment
  • a satisfactory reference from your employer or line manager etc
  • to attend an interview

Additional Information:

  • IELTS 6.5 (Minimum of 5.5 in each component)
  • Pearson 58-65 (minimum 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)
  • RPL is accepted on this programme
  • International students applying to study a full-time taught Masters, MRes, MPhil or PhD at LJMU should check if they require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate
  • International students entering on a Tier 4 visa cannot study part-time

If you have any specific queries, please contact

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Please note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

View country specific entry requirements

Contact LJMU's International Admissions Team for guidance on visa information. Further information is also available from our international web pages.

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Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the programme.

To study this programme you must be motivated towards and have a passion for conservation (as evidenced by engagements in local or international conservation activities, nature clubs or campaigns, for example).

You must also show that you are independent, creative, can think outside the box, are practical and interested in technology, - such as cameras, recorders and drone technology.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.