As part of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative’s strategic vision for addressing global environmental challenges, the University of Cambridge and its partners have developed a unique interdisciplinary Masters in Conservation Leadership Programme.

The Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership welcomed its first students in October 2010. The outcomes of the course are twofold:

  • To equip conservation leaders with the strategic skills that they need to enable effective action by their organisations
  • To build a networked global community of conservation leaders who will be a force for change

Hosted by the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, and taught in the David Attenborough Building, the course involves teaching and lectures by colleagues from six departments across the University and from nine Cambridge-based conservation organisations and networks. The course combines taught modules with hands-on experiential learning through a group consultancy and an individual professional placement hosted by a conservation organisation.

Graduates join a global alumni network who receive ongoing support from the course team. Alumni are already making a global impact for conservation.

“The MPhil has been a turning point in my career as a marine conservationist from Madagascar. Working in conservation always feels like dealing daily with a lot of fires because of the current biodiversity crisis. The MPhil allowed me to reflect on how we do conservation. I learnt that we also need to address the root causes of biodiversity loss which often lie in global systemic issues and political economy. Since the MPhil, I have dedicated my career to address these drivers in fisheries management and marine conservation. The MPhil also opened the door to a strong network of conservationists from around the world whose insights and advice have been key in my current work.“

Mialy Andriamahefazafy, MPhil Alumni

Impact

The Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership has gone from strength to strength and has now trained over 200 students from over 80 different countries. Hosted by the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, and based in the David Attenborough Building, the course is taught by over sixty colleagues from multiple departments across the University and from CCI NGO partners. The course combines classroom modules with hands-on experiential learning through a group consultancy and an individual professional placement hosted by a conservation organisation. Graduates join a global alumni network, which is demonstrating collective leadership through its own projects and policy interventions. Alumni are creating positive change for conservation in NGOs, governments and private sector organisations from the local to the global level.

Students hitting the headlines

Getting social to save nature in Nairobi

Current student, Nyandire Reinhard is interviewed as part of the 'This Cambridge Life' series on how he used Twitter to save wildlife in Nairobi,

The conservationist, the herders and the fashionistas

Recent graduate Onon Bayasgalan (2019-20), is featured in 'This Cambridge Life', a series in the University's Research Horizons magazine. Onon helps herders in her home country, Mongolia, to preserve livelihoods and lands that are under threat from the luxury fashion industry.

Inspiring an early love of nature in India

In 2019 Vena Kapoor (cohort 2010-11) authored a children's book. Off to see spiders! is a book to introduce a few common spiders in India to young children who are just starting to read by themselves.

“Conservation is a multifaceted discipline and the great strength of the CCI lies in the diversity of scales, geographies, approaches and organizational frameworks that these organizations as a group represent. For those of us who teach on the MPhil in Conservation Leadership, harnessing this incredible confluence of conservation experience into the teaching space provides an unparalleled opportunity for our students to learn from conservation professionals who are simultaneously at the top of their profession and working on the front-lines of conservation. This diversity of conservation experience is critical, as our students come from over 80 countries with a diversity of conservation experiences themselves.”

Howard P. Nelson, Lecturer in Conservation Leadership, Fauna & Flora International

Applications open September to December for entry in October of the following year.

A limited number of scholarships are available support students attend the Masters. Offers of scholarships will be made competitively based on academic quality, professional experience and conservation leadership potential. Priority will be given to applicants from countries rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources, and who are not able to fund their studies from other sources.