MSc Restoration Ecology

Human activity is damaging the environment. Build the ecological skills to reverse this trend and build the tools to bring ecosystems back from the brink.

Attend an open day How to apply
Attend a course fair How to apply


Our world is over-developed. Today, the damage to many of our ecosystems is a recognised fact – something must be done. This masters degree is your chance to play your role.

Study with us and you’ll develop an expert understanding of restoration ecology, the attempt to bring damaged ecosystems back to a more natural state. Along the way, you’ll have the support of a teaching team with an excellent track record of high-impact research, who bring their unique mix of experience into the classroom.

The loss of habitats in many natural environments is a global trend. Industrial activity, population growth, urban expansion, pollution of our waterways – with human development comes damage to ecosystems the world over. But society is waking up to this issue. Now that more people recognise the value of biodiversity, many have started to turn back from exploiting nature for economic gain, and toward preserving and recovering habitats. And that means harnessing the science of restoration ecology.

That makes it a subject that’s not only wide-ranging and fascinating, but vitally important too. It’s a discipline that offers the tools to design, undertake and manage interventions in threatened ecosystems. In other words, it’s the science of making a difference.

From the scientific theory underpinning habitat restoration and species recovery, to the hands-on activities required to implement them in the real world, this programme covers every aspect. And that means learning real skills in the real habitats – with field trips to ongoing restoration projects in the UK, Europe, Africa or South America.

It’s a comprehensive programme shaped by the latest research and practice – ensuring you’ll graduate with the expertise to make a valuable contribution in a wide range of ecological roles.

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

This is a course that can open the doors to a wide range of career paths and professional possibilities, providing a route into restoration and conservation management, environmental education, animal management and more. While it provides the skills and understanding you’ll need to pursue your first role in this area, it’s also a valuable option if you’re already in a relevant role – with many students taking our masters courses as part of their professional development.

By the time you leave us, you should be equipped to pursue a career with organisations like environmental consultancies, government research and advisory bodies, zoos and NGOs, to go into teaching, or to continue your studies onto PhD level.

You’ll have careers support from the moment you join us, and for up to three years after you’ve finished our course. We have a variety of services on hand to help, from dedicated employability advisors to careers fairs and networking events.

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

You’ll need a good UK honours degree – at least a 2:2 – or the international equivalent, in a relevant subject. We might also consider your application if you have several years’ professional experience in a related field.

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

Course details

You’ll cover a total of eight units – including your field course and your dissertation project. As such, you’ll start off with core units exploring areas like restoration science, species recovery and statistical research.

It’s also a programme with the flexibility to delve into the specialist areas of the fields that interest you most, including option units like Avian Biology and Conservation, Organismal Genetics, and Topics in Conservation and Sustainability.

You’ll take a field course unit, travelling to Poland, East Africa or Ecuador, while your final masters-level dissertation project could also involve international travel for gathering data and conducting research.

Core units

  • Practical Techniques and Analysis
  • Statistics and Research Design
  • Field Course
  • Species Recovery
  • Restoration Science
  • Dissertation

Option Units

  • Topics in Conservation and Sustainability
  • Topics in Organismal Genetics
  • Avian Biology and Conservation
  • Earth Observation and GIS
  • Monitoring Habitat and Species Responses to Environmental Change

Read more about this year of study

Core Units


Consists of an 18,000-20,000 word dissertation on a subject that reflects your studies.

Field Course

This unit will introduce students to applied ecological techniques and behavioural data collection.  Students will design and deliver a research project during a residential or non-residential Field Course.

Statistics and Research Design

You will address problems and solutions associated with the analysis of ‘real’ ecological and behavioural data sets. You will use a problem-based approach, centred on a large data set, to investigate methods of data manipulation and transformation, exploratory analyses (numerical and graphical) and hypothesis testing.

Practical Techniques and Analysis

The unit will provide an introduction to the techniques of data collection and analysis which are appropriate to the different MSc courses which we offer. They will be a mix of standard but essential methods and the more modern approaches based on new technology and bespoke methods of analysis. Students will be assessed in one of these techniques but can attend others, subject to space and timetabling. 

Species Recovery

This unit focuses on conservation actions that aim to reverse declines in threatened species. These include reintroductions of endangered or extinction species, ex-situ conservation breeding, post-release monitoring, habitat manipulation and biological control, and research underpinning knowledge of the causes decline and recovery priorities. The unit will draw on case studies from the tropics, and from species recovery efforts for UK and European plants and animals. 

Restoration Science

This is a research-led unit that provides an understanding of the science underpinning the restoration of habitats and species populations. Using examples from a range of habitats and taxa, we will explore the rationale of restoration ecology, consider the potential scientific, political and legislative constraints on restoration, and apply ecological theory to evaluate the potential or success of restoration actions and schemes. 

Department of Natural Sciences

Our Department of Natural Sciences is a research-rich academic community with a well-established reputation in biology, chemistry, geography and environmental science.

The department works with research institutions, industry partners, national organisations and NGOs worldwide to address the challenges posed by environmental, socio-economic, cultural and political change, as well as health and advanced materials.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £8,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £16,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional costs

Placement Costs


Fieldwork is central to this course. These are subsidised but students can expect to pay a contribution to costs of approx. £250 for European (currently Poland) based field trips and £2,500 for the Tanzania based field course. For the field course to East Africa additional costs may incurred if inoculations are required (approx. £200-300).

Other Costs

Students often choose to buy a laptop for their degree (costing approximately £300 to £400) and a printer (costing £50 to £100 including print consumables) but there are numerous drop-in computer facilities across campus and laptops for loan in the library. Lab coats and safety glasses are provided free of charge and expected to last for the duration of the course. Students will have to purchase replacements for lost or damaged items.

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,906 for many Postgraduate Courses

Find out more

Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

Learn more

Want to know more?

How to apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for postgraduate taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.