About the Course
The factors affecting the wider environment are constantly increasing and range from agriculture and forestry to recreation, urban development and population growth. These in turn have knock-on effects such as climate change, water and food shortages, habitat and species loss and the impact of non-native species.
One of the areas where these factors come together is in the field of wildlife and conservation management where the public use of the countryside interacts with professional land managers and can result in conflict.
This programme encompasses a broad range of topics and land uses ranging from conservation management to rural land use planning and interpretation to land use history. Applications are accepted from those either with or without specifically related previous qualifications - previous students have included graduates of History, Education, Business Management and Engineering, as well as Biological and Natural Sciences. Non-graduate entrants have included students with significant experience in aspects such as countryside rangering, town & country planning and ecology.
Students are expected to have a broad knowledge of how the countryside that we see around us has developed in a historical context and how this relates to factors such as climate, ecology and soils. This in turn helps to determine current land use practice whether it be for agriculture or forestry, conservation or recreation.
Inevitably these land uses are interlinked in complex ways and the wildlife and conservation manager is expected to be able to identify the potential conflicts and to arrive at appropriate management options.
Of course, there is rarely a simple answer in such situations and the resulting decisions have to be based on an understanding of the competing claims and an awareness of how to work with individuals, interest groups and communities to ensure that stakeholders' views have been taken into account.
The MSc/PgDip/PgCert Countryside Management is validated by the University of Glasgow.
A degree or evidence of equivalent academic competence and /or extensive work experience in a relevant sector. Evidence of English language of IELTS 6.5.
There are eight taught modules providing for the development of a range of technical, practical and professional skills. Residential study weekends are also used as a vital tool in delivering some of the practical aspects of the course.
Ecological Survey and Assessment - This module uses technical guidance material to ensure students are trained to industry standards. Students will develop skills in both planning and recommending surveys, whilst also interpreting the significance of the results.
Principles of Interpretation and Education for Sustainability - Interpretation has been identified as important management tool which contributes to sustainable tourism through enhancing visitor experience and managing behaviour to protect site resources. Effective interpretation follows a plan incorporating key principle and communicates good practice alongside recognised psychological theories.
Planning and Sustainability - This module will look at the importance of both the historical and cultural heritage of the landscape and the reasons for its designations. This module will consider how sustainability is integral to the planning system and provide an understanding of frontline planning topics, such as natural capital and ecosystem services.
Farming, Forestry and the Environment - This module will enable students to understand the potential impacts of a range of agricultural enterprises on different aspects of the environment, comparing systems such as conventional farming with organic farming and High Nature Value Farming. Conflicts and synergy with managing forestry and conservation will also be explored.
Advances in Land Management - This module will introduce students to the latest advances in cutting-edge research at SRUC and beyond. Much of the work will be undertaken studying research outputs, encouraging research-led teaching. The focus will be on digital intelligence to aid sustainability in the rural sector, rather than the ability of use technology..
Managing the Outdoors for People and the Natural Environment - Urban greenspaces and rural landscapes are increasingly used as multi-functional resources for education, leisure, recreation, fitness and tourism. Protected areas, in particular, experience both the benefit and cost of their status which makes them highly marketable for tourism that brings economic benefits at all levels. However, the fragility of many such areas renders them extremely susceptible to the varied impacts of such activities. This module examines the various visitor management techniques used to provide an enjoyable visitor experience while not compromising protection of the natural resources.
Topical Issues in Countryside Management - In this module students will engage in constructive debates on topical issues in Countryside Management and their impacts on wider society. The module is designed to develop students’ critical and evaluatory skills whilst dealing with complex issues and making informed judgements.
Conservation Management Planning - This module approaches conservation management using multiple scales. This includes: species focussed approaches (e.g. protected species management), habitat management and landscape scale projects. Management planning is however not simply a list of activities. By evaluating importance and constructing work programmes, managers are able to prioritise, budget and control staff and volunteers.
MSc Project In this module, students will undertake a research project related to Countryside Management which will be agreed in consultation with the Module Leader and project supervisor. This will build upon the knowledge and skills gained in the earlier aspects of the course. It is expected this module will aid students in gaining skill sets required for careers in research, consultancy and management.