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Masters in Conservation Leadership


Applications for the 2024-25 course are now closed. The next application period is scheduled to open in September 2024

The Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership is a ground-breaking course that equips students with the applied leadership and management skills needed to create positive change in conservation. A unique feature of the course is its delivery by a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and ten leading conservation organisations, which together comprise the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. The Masters in Conservation Leadership is designed for applicants with at least three years of relevant professional experience and clear leadership potential.

The curriculum combines taught modules with hands-on experiential learning through a group consultancy and an individual professional placement hosted by a conservation organisation. All students receive 1:1 mentoring from a senior leader. The course is based in the David Attenborough Building, in which it has its own dedicated teaching space, offering students outstanding facilities and constant access to world-leading conservation practitioners and researchers.

The Masters in Conservation Leadership aims to admit around 20 students each year. The course is designed for graduates with specific knowledge and work experience in conservation, public policy, business strategy or the voluntary sector, anywhere in the world. The course is aimed at both experienced mature graduates with experience of conservation work in NGOs, government or the private sector, and highly-motivated younger graduates of leadership potential with at least three to five years of relevant experience.

Graduates join a global alumni network from over 80 countries who receive ongoing support from the course team. Alumni are already making a global impact for conservation.

We are pleased to share our 2022-23 annual report, which highlights the achievements, impact, and growth of the Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership program over the past academic year.

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

The conservation organisations in CCI working with the University in the design and delivery of this course are:

Within the University, the Department of Geography shares teaching with five other departments within CCI, which makes up the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute

The CCI partnership of University departments and practitioner organisations allow the course to offer a truly interdisciplinary perspective on the management and leadership challenges that conservation faces, and that is not available in any similar course offered elsewhere. The course also draws on expertise from a variety of external organisations, individuals and University departments to give the best teaching available, each year offering the experience of over 60 individuals across the different elements of the course. 

Hosting researchers 

We welcome approaches from researchers wishing to study conservation leadership, please contact Course Director, Dr Chris Sandbrook with your ideas about research topics. 

The course team recently published an article in Oryx on Evaluating the impact of the first 10 years of the Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership