Conservation Behaviour

ATU - Galway Campuses

Conservation Behaviour

Master of Science in Conservation Behaviour - Level 9
This one-year MSc degree focuses on how animal behaviour can be applied to wildlife conservation. This is an exciting new area of study, known as Conservation Behaviour, and is suitable for those interested in careers in animal behaviour and/or conservation.

You will study the behaviour of a wide range of species from marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats, and you will learn how an understanding of animal behaviour can contribute to the conservation and management of those species.
You will acquire a range of applied skills, such as camera trap surveying for terrestrial mammals, visual and acoustic monitoring of marine mammals, abundance estimation of marine mammals using mark-recapture and DISTANCE, geographic information systems (GIS), and data analysis using R and RStudio.

Staff Publications
Teaching on the course is closely linked to the research interests of staff, who are also members of the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre at GMIT. Some recent publications by the course co-ordinators, Martin Gammell and Joanne O'Brien, include:
• McFarlane, A., O'Brien, J. & Gammell, M. (2018). Observations on breeding of native Irish White-Clawed Crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) in captivity. Irish Naturalists' Journal 36: 18-22.
• Baker, I., O'Brien, J., McHugh, K., Ingram, S.N. & Berrow S. (2018). Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) social structure in the Shannon Estuary, Ireland, is distinguished by age- and area-related associations. Marine Mammal Science 34: 458-487.
• Perez Tadeo, M. & Gammell, M. (2018). Activity budgets in different habitats of a species of conservation concern in Ireland, the Light-bellied Brent Goose Branta bernicla hrota. Wildfowl 68: 84–103.

Course Highlights
1. Teaching by research-active staff working in the field of Conservation Behaviour, with particular interests in marine and freshwater species.
2. A week-long residential field course in the west of Ireland, where the behaviour of a number of species will be studied in a natural setting.
3. A major research thesis on a real conservation problem, in collaboration with a supervisor from GMIT and a supervisor from an external organisation.

Subjects taught

The course consists of six taught modules (5 ECTS each) and a major research thesis (60 ECTS).

The research thesis:
Students will undertake an approved research project under the direction of an internal supervisor and, if appropriate, a supervisor from a relevant external organisation.

Research projects may be drawn from any area within the course, or from an area of expertise of the supervisors, while also taking the interests and future career of the student into account.

Research projects to be carried out in 2019 involve collaborations with the Marine Institute, Inland Fisheries Ireland, and the Coral Restoration Foundation (Florida, USA), among others.

Year 1
Studies in Conservation Behaviour
5 credits

Data Analysis using R and RStudio
5 credits

Residential Field Course
5 credits

Applied Geographic Information Systems
5 credits

Animal Behaviour: Recording and Analysis
5 credits

Acoustic Monitoring as a Marine Conservation Tool
5 credits

Research Thesis
60 credits

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements:
The minimum requirement is a 2.2 in a cognate Honours Degree, e.g. Animal Behaviour, Conservation Biology, Zoology, Ecology, Environmental Science, etc. If you are not sure whether your degree is cognate, please feel free to email the course co-ordinators (contact details below), and they will be happy to advise.

Non-EU, non-native English speakers, must have a score of 6.0 in IELTS or equivalent.

Application dates

Applications opening date: February 17th, 2022
Application closing date: 27th May 2022.


1 year
Mode of Study: Full Time
Method of Delivery: On Campus

Post Course Info

Job Opportunities
Graduates will be well prepared for careers in wildlife conservation and management, or may continue to PhD research.

Potential employers may include:
• Ecological Consultancies
• Non-Governmental Organisations and Charities
• Research Institutes
• Government Agencies

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider