The Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in Ecological Monitoring and Conservation is a part-time, research-based course that focuses on developing participants’ awareness and understanding of key issues in ecology and conservation. Over the course of two academic years, participants will be introduced to important aspects of modern conservation, such as global and local patterns of species diversity and current threats to biodiversity worldwide. Participants will find out why loss of species matters, how monitoring can help to inform policy and reduce these declines, and how this research can be properly planned and carried out.
Based around an introductory day-school and a series of eight structured supervisions over two academic years, the course will develop participants’ skills in critically evaluating research and of designing, implementing and interpreting meaningful ecological studies. During the second part of the course, participants will be supported in carrying out an original piece of ecological research, which will form the basis of a 10,000-12,000 word dissertation.
This course is open to all those with an interest in ecology and conservation who have qualifications in, or who can demonstrate previous experience of, this subject or a related discipline at an advanced level. The part-time format of our Advanced Diplomas makes the programme highly accessible for students residing outside Cambridge or the UK. The programme requires attendance at a minimum of five of the nine visits to the University over the two-year duration of the course; where feasible we can arrange for up to four of the eight supervisions to be conducted remotely, e.g. via skype, provided no two remote supervisions occur consecutively
How to apply
As part of the application process you will need to submit a research proposal. You are strongly recommended to discuss your research proposal with the Course Director as far in advance as possible before putting in an application. Applications close to the deadline without prior discussion might lead to you being asked to apply for the following year’s intake instead. See the section below for further details.
As well as your research proposal, we occasionally ask applicants to submit a sample piece of writing in ecological monitoring and conservation or a related field, or for other additional information, to help us assess applications.
When applying for the Advanced Diploma in Ecological Monitoring and Conservation, you are requested to preface your research proposal with your CV (creating one document to upload). Please include within your CV a full list of qualifications and prior study within the field of ecological monitoring and conservation (or related area). This list should include the name of the course provider and the course dates, as well as the qualification awarded (if any).
Please also include in your CV any relevant information about your career to date, including membership of relevant societies and any experience in conservation and ecological monitoring work, taxonomic identification and statistical analysis, such as voluntary conservation work or involvement with wildlife recording schemes. Please say when and where you gained this experience.
If you would like to apply to join this Advanced Diploma please follow the link to the online application form at the top of this page. If you are not a UK resident please visit our international students' page to read about visas for part-time students. Please make sure you have investigated your visa situation before applying, as the Institute cannot offer a refund if you find you are unable to take up the place due to visa constraints after you have booked your place on the course.
The deadline for applications is Monday 7 September 2015. Applications for this course can be received until midday (12 noon) on 7 September 2015.
If you are interested in taking an Advanced Diploma in the future but do not wish to enrol for the 2015-2017 intake, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the status of this qualification?
The course is taught and awarded at third-year undergraduate level (FHEQ 6) and offers 120 credits within the Higher Education Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS). This is equivalent to the third year of full-time undergraduate study.
When will the course run?
The course will accept one enrolment of students for 2015-2017 starting on 1 November 2015.
How will I be taught and assessed?
The course is taught through an induction day and eight supervisions spread throughout the course.
The induction day, which is at the start of the course, is held at Madingley Hall, the Institute's headquarters. This day, which all students are required to attend, enables you to meet the Course Director and your fellow-students, to discuss issues relating to your course and to receive advice and guidance on research and study skills. There will also be subject-specific sessions and you will be asked to tell your fellow students about your research proposal.
The induction day will be held on Saturday 7 November 2015.
All students are expected to take an active part in the course and submit work showing evidence of learning. In particular, you will be expected to:
1) attend the Induction day and supervision sessions
2) participate actively in supervision work
3) undertake reading and assignments set by your supervisor
4) access resources and submit assignments/dissertation through ICE Online, the Institute's virtual learning environment.
In the first part of your studies, the supervisions will support the preparation of preliminary assignments of 6,000-8,000 words in total in areas supporting your research. You will then move onto the preparation of your dissertation (10,000-12,000 words), with the support and guidance of your supervisor.
During your course, you will also have access to online support through our virtual learning environment (VLE), which will accelerate your learning and enhance your experience of the course. Visit the ICE Online introductory website for a taste of the kind of online support you will receive.
It is essential that you have an e-mail account and regular access to the internet. The course is supported by a web-based virtual learning environment and course communications will be sent via e-mail. Your assignments and dissertation will be submitted online, and feedback on your work is sent to you online.
The computing facilities available at a public library or internet café may be sufficient and unlimited free computing and internet access will be available to you within the University Library throughout your course.
The course fee is £3,600 and can be paid in full on acceptance of a place or in six instalments (credit or debit card only). The first instalment is due on acceptance of a place, with the remaining instalments payable on 1 November 2015, 1 February 2016, 1 August 2016, 1 November 2016 and 1 February 2017.
Outline research proposal
As part of your initial application, you must submit a research proposal along with your CV for consideration by the Course Director. The research proposal should be between 1 – 3 sides of A4 and should state the subject you would like to study. There should be some indication of the sources you intend to use and the research questions you will be asking.
Two examples of suitable research proposal questions are:
1) "What is the value of long grass areas for conservation? Public areas such as parks and urban green-spaces are increasingly being managed with conservation in mind. A common practice is to leave long grass areas to benefit insects and other invertebrates. This project will investigate the diversity of mowed and un-mowed areas to estimate the value of long grass areas for conservation."
2) "Is the rise of ‘grow your own’ good for wildlife? The last few years have seen a huge increase in uptake of allotments and of people growing their own vegetables at home. This project will investigate the biodiversity value of allotment areas, and whether flower beds or veggie plots are better for wildlife."
An example of a completed research proposal which shows you how to lay out the proposal and what to include in it can be found here: 'Example of research proposal'
You should expect that your proposal is likely to be refined after discussion at your first supervision and that it may have to be modified further as a result of your initial studies. Do not worry about this; being able to make adjustments because of lack of sources or time is part of the learning process when undertaking a sustained piece of research.
Areas of particular interest to the Academic Director at ICE are insect ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and habitat management for biodiversity but we also draw upon expertise across the University. For further details of the Academic Director's research interests and publications, please see http://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/who-we-are/institute-staff/ed-turner
To discuss your research topic with the Course Director, Dr Ed Turner, before application, please email Dr Turner at email@example.com.
Processing your application
Once the Admissions team has received your application, they will check the information you have supplied including any English Language assessment results (where applicable). Your application will then be forwarded to the Academic Programme Manager and Course Director, who may contact you directly about your application or ask you for more information. You should expect to hear back about your application in around 6 weeks although in some cases this might take longer.
Find out more
If you have any questions about the application process, contact our Admissions team: firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)1223 746262.
For all other enquiries, contact the Academic Programme Manager, Dr Liz Morfoot: email@example.com or +44 (0)1223 746226 / 746418.