Course Overview

This Master of Science (MSc) course provides you with the crucial skills and knowledge needed to manage biodiversity resources sustainably. The programme’s objectives are:

  • To integrate an international perspective and new research findings into a biodiversity and land use approach
  • To provide research-led opportunities that will help find solutions for conservation and planning conflicts
  • To develop expertise within local authority and public/private sector staff so they can meet international biodiversity and conservation obligations

This part-time course extends over 24 months and runs in two-year cycles continuously from September through to the end of August of the second year. The modular course is devoted to scientific and policy coursework delivered in a blended learning format, comprising a mixture of face-to-face contact in addition to private study combined with online support.

Aimed at individuals employed in the conservation, planning and engineering sectors, this course has been re-developed to meet the needs of working graduates who wish to upskill or change careers. Provision of flexible learning opportunities is a key aim of this programme and the course is now open to students wishing to join the programme at any time during the academic year. To do this, prospective students register and pay for individual modules in a ‘select and pay-as-you-go’ fashion. Credits for modules taken may be accumulated over a period of up to six years.

The course includes site visits to observe practical examplesThe course includes site visits to observe practical examples

Scholarships available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here.

You may also be interested in one of our other Science of Sustainability postgraduate programmes.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

Dr Tiernan Henry
Lecturer Above The Bar
Earth & Ocean Sciences
Room A205
Quadrangle Building
University of Galway
View Profile
Dr Gesche Kindermann
MSc, Ph.D.
Applied Ecology Unit
Centre for Environmental Science
Arts/Science Concourse
National University of Ireland Galway
View Profile
Dr Rachel Cave
Earth & Ocean Sciences
Room A210a
Quadrangle Building
NUI Galway
View Profile
Dr Dagmar Brigitte Stengel
BSc, MA, PhD
Personal Professor
View Profile
Dr Karen Bacon
B.Sc., PhD
Botany & Plant Sciences
Martin Ryan Institute
View Profile

Requirements and Assessment

Continuous assessment, written exams and a research project thesis.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

The programme is open to individuals who have a Level 8 primary degree or equivalent in an appropriate discipline. Applicants who do not have an academic background but have relevant experience may also apply.

Additional Requirements

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Applicants who do not have an academic background but have relevant experience may also apply. 


2 years, part-time, 2-6 years modular

Next start date

September 2024

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

Please refer to the review/closing date website.

NFQ level

Mode of study

Blended Learning

ECTS weighting




Course code


Course Outline

This part-time course extends over 24 months and runs in two-year cycles continuously from September through to the end of August of the second year. The modular course is devoted to scientific and policy coursework delivered in a blended learning format, comprising a mixture of face-to-face contact (approximately 12–15 hours per module) in addition to private study combined with online support. Students are expected to carry out both individual and group projects and to prepare written reports and oral presentations on relevant subjects.

The programme has been jointly developed with Galway County Council. It is designed to enhance the skills of local authorityand private consultancy staff and to help to ensure compliance with the Habitats Directive’s requirements. The programme assists in meeting such legal obligations as Strategic Environmental Assessments, Environmental Impact Assessments, and Appropriate Assessments.

View Course Modules detail here.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Our obligations to protect the environment under EU legislation mean that this course will play a pivotal role for those currently working in or who wish to enter the planning or engineering professions in local government or as private consultants. Graduates of this course will ensure that governments, local authorities and private consultancies will help implement sustainable policies that contribute to economic recovery while managing limited biodiversity resources.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Transferable Skills Employers Value

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€8,570 p.a. (including levy) 2024/25

Fees: Tuition

€8,500 p.a. 2024/25

Fees: Student levy

€70 p.a. 2024/25

Fees: Non EU

€25,500 p.a. (€25,640 p.a. including levy) 2024/25

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant – please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €4,000 towards your tuition (2023/24).  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay tuition up to a maximum of €6,270. SUSI will not cover the student levy of €140.

Postgraduate fee breakdown = Tuition (EU or NON EU) + Student levy as outlined above.

Note to non-EU students: learn about the 24-month Stayback Visa here


Find out More

Dr Gesche Kindermann
Course co-ordinator
T: +353 91 493 863

What Our Students Say


Ronan Hennessy |   Executive Planner, Dublin City Council

I found the MSc course to be both challenging and extremely interesting. The teaching staff and guest lecturers were extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic and the student interaction was of significant benefit. The modules provided me with a solid background in ecology and built on this to provide in depth, relevant guidance and knowledge in relation to key areas of habitat management and European Directive requirements, as well as providing practical fieldwork and case studies. The project aspect offered me the opportunity to undertake an in-depth analysis of a topic of interest aswell as providing a solid grounding in methodological research and results presentation. Having completed the course I am now confident in undertaking a rigorous examination of the environmental and ecological aspects of development proposals and am familiar with the legislative requirements for the protection of biodiversity and the wider environment.I would recommend this course to anyone with an interest in sustainable development and the planning process and consider it to be a valuable and key resource in my professional work.

Oonagh Duggan |   Policy Officer, Birdwatch Ireland

I had been looking for a course which was based on solid teaching in ecology but which also offered practical training in the various assessment tools (EIA, AA, SEA) and the MSc BLUP met these criteria and more. The course of study, assessment and examination is rigorous and requires commitment but the course content is so interesting, the field trips are great and the interaction with other class participants make for a very rewarding learning experience. I found the quality of teaching, the variety of assessment methods and the course organisation to be of a very high standard. This course gave me the foundation in environmental science that I needed to further my career in the environmental field.

Postgraduate Scholarships