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Module DXX-3510:
Advances in Conservation

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Julia Patricia Gordon Jones

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of this module is to give you advanced understanding of the current challenges in wildlife conservation, and how conservation science is contributing to efforts to address them.

Course content

The lectures and seminars will encourage you to engage with a range of topics while the individual report allows you the opportunity for a very deep exploration of a topic of your choice. For the in-depth report you will draw on and critically synthesise a range of literature. After the introductory lecture, the module will consist of a series of six lectures with an associated seminar (based on set reading). Students will need to prepare for each seminar by working in groups to deliver a short presentation (formative only i.e. this is not marked) and must complete the reading. Students will submit a brief summary of their learning from the seminars. There will be two opportunities to hand these in. Students will get feedback before the second hand-in date so they can improve their style. Students can submit between four and six in total and their best four marks will count. There will be a session early in the term where students will get feedback on the summaries submitted. Students will spend significant time working individually on their in-depth report. There will be tutorials available with the module organiser to help students improve their use of the literature and the structure of their argument for the in-depth report.

Assessment Criteria


B- to B+ A good understanding of the issues covered. A clearly written and professionally presented in-depth report which covers a range of appropriate literature in some depth. A good brief overview of seminars produced showing good understanding.


A- to A** An excellent understanding of the issues covered. A very clearly written and professionally presented in-depth report which covers an excellent range of appropriate literature in depth. An excellent overview of seminars produced showing very good understanding, clearly and concisely summarized.


Grade D- to D+ Aware of the key principles underlying the science. Pass level in in-depth report. Basic competence demonstrated in abstracts.

C- to C+

Grade C- to C+ Better understanding of the material. Competent demonstration of the understanding and use of the literature in in-depth report. Abstracts lack clarity and depth.

Learning outcomes

  1. A deep understanding of a range of current issues in conservation science, policy and practice

  2. An ability to use the academic literature to critically explore a current conservation issue in depth (and reference the literature appropriately).

  3. The ability to write a professional, critical and well-referenced report (in the style of an 'essay' in the journal Conservation Biology) on a current conservation issue of their choice.

  4. The ability to summarise information based on a range of sources to produce a concise, critical and informative written summary.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
REPORT office use only (summaries)

Best four marks would count. Marking Scheme:

Content 40%

Structure 20%

Clarity of writing 20%

Precision with which technical terms are used 20%

ESSAY in-depth report

Purpose of assignment:

To help you develop a deep understanding of a specific issue in conservation science and how it relates to policy or practice while developing your written skills and ability to use the literature appropriately. Specifically this assignment tests learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3.


Please write an in-depth report in the style of an ‘essay’ in the journal Conservation Biology on any topic of your choice with relevance to conservation science. The ‘essay’ category in Conservation Biology is described as ‘Comparatively speculative yet well-argued and well-documented papers that may offer personal perspectives’. There is a strict 3000 word limit for this exercise (excluding the literature cited and any figures or tables). Please give the word count at the end of your work. Please agree your topic with the module organiser before starting work.

There are some simple guides to writing essays in the web. Key points for performing well in this essay are:

A) It must have a clear introduction which sets up the context, frames the scope of the essay and sign-posts the structure to come.

B) It must be clearly structured (sub-headings can help with this)

C) It must be properly referenced with all sources referred to in the text and listed in alphabetical order by author at the back (please follow the style of Conservation Biology, using referencing software such as Mendeley can help).

D) It must have a clear concluding paragraph which draws the argument together.

Marking Scheme:

Structure and logical flow: 30%

Content: 30%

Quality of the writing: 20%

Sources, reference list & style: 20%


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

Students will have reading to do to prepare for each seminar. They will also need to work hard summarising the information provided in each session for the briefs. Finally, they will need to spend significant time working on their individual topic for the in-depth report. This will require a lot of reading and detailed research.


I will hold a session for giving feedback on the first (formative) topic summary they will write.

I will then hold regular tutorials and drop in sessions for students working on their in-depth reports.


Lectures will introduce the course and assessments and will introduce each of the seminar topics (giving the broader context).

Study group

I will timetable a time and place for students to meet to prepare for the seminars (working on presentations or other exercises). I will be available during the time and drop in from time to time to facilitate discussion if it is helpful.


I will deliver 6 topic-based seminars. Students will be set reading in advance (for some they will be asked to prepare a formative presentation) and I will facilitate a discussion based on the reading.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • PS1 Communication skills, covering both written and oral communication with a variety of audiences
  • PS2 Skills in the employment of common conventions and standards in scientific writing, data presentation, and referencing literature
  • PS5 Information location and retrieval skills, in relation to primary and secondary information sources, and the ability to assess the quality of information accessed
  • PS8 Time management and organisational skills, as evidenced by the ability to plan and implement efficient and effective ways of working
  • PS11 Problem-solving skills including the demonstration of self-direction, initiative and originality
  • PS6 Information technology skills which support the location, management, processing, analysis and presentation of scientific information
  • PS14 Independent learning skills required for continuing professional development
  • Recognize the moral, ethical and social issues relating to the subject.
  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Engagement with current subject developments and their application.
  • Engage in debate and/or discussion with specialists and non-specialists using appropriate language.
  • Demonstrate the independence and skills required for continuing professional development


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: