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Recanati-Kaplan Centre Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice

Deadline June 19, 2020

The Recanati-Kaplan Centre Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice is an eight-month full-time course (of which one month is distance learning) focusing on the global dimensions of wildlife conservation, and the survey and analysis methods commonly used in the study of terrestrial mammals. The course is intended for early-career conservationists, working with government agencies or NGOs, or recent graduates with considerable field experience, particularly in developing nations.

You will benefit from the high calibre teaching and research at the world-renowned University of Oxford, a centre of academic excellence. The course is delivered by the Department of Zoology’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), which has been active in conservation research and practice for more than two decades, growing out of the Department’s pioneering history of ecological research. The course is made possible by a donation from the Recanati-Kaplan Foundation, and benefits from our collaborations with the University of Oxford’s Department for Continuing Education (DCE), and Lady Margaret Hall. For a list of more DCE courses in the environmental sciences, please click here.

The Diploma is suitable for those already working in conservation, and also for recent graduates, provided they have gained field experience during the course of their first degree. Although a degree in an appropriate natural science is normally required, we may make an exception if you can demonstrate equivalent accomplishment and aptitude for field-based conservation, and the potential to study at postgraduate level.

The full time, seven-month residential course runs from March to September each year and is preceded by one month of distance learning. The residential component consists of taught courses (4 months) and independent research on two projects (3 months).

Key features of the diploma are:

  • Understanding the theory behind a range of robust techniques for data collection and analysis, so that you can independently plan, implement and assess your own conservation research

  • Learning to interpret scientific data and reports, draw conclusions and apply new knowledge to conservation action

  • Learning through interactive problem-solving and case-studies, to facilitate understanding, application and adaptation of new skills to a range of conservation scenarios

  • Developing professional skills such as project management, fund-raising, proposal writing and communication

  • Using mammalian, and particularly carnivore case-studies – especially emphasising wild felids – as exemplars of conservation issues relevant to wider fauna and flora. Such mammals often function as umbrella species, and by protecting them and their habitat, wider biodiversity conservation goals can be fulfilled.

  • An international team of teachers, and students from all over the globe – you will experience many different perspectives on conservation, and learn how approaches from other countries can be adapted to the conservation problems you face in your own

  • Jointly run with University of Oxford’s Department of Continuing Education, taking advantage of their expertise in distance-learning, modular assessment, and a multi-national student body.

IT requirements

This course uses the Department’s online assignment submission system. In order to prepare and submit your course assignments, you will need access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification. Students of this course may use the student computing facilities provided in Departmental buildings.


Students are normally accommodated in the study bedrooms at the Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Tubney House.


A grant by the founder of the Panthera Foundation (Dr Thomas Kaplan) provides for the sponsorship of candidates from the developing world. Depending on the amount of own or third party funding secured by candidates, applications can be made for any or all of the following costs:

  • Course fees

  • International travel, to and from the UK

  • Accommodation

  • Living expenses for the duration of the course

How to Apply

The University requires you to apply online via the Online Graduate Application Form. A guide to applying online is available here: http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/applying-to-oxford.

You need to include the following documents in your application:

  1. A completed Application Form.

  2. A Statement of Purpose detailing why you want to take the course, and your subsequent career plans. This should demonstrate your motivation and ability to complete the course, and offer a clear and well-argued understanding of the benefits of the course to your current employment and future prospects.

  3. A concise Curriculum Vitae, describing your qualifications and experience.

  4. Academic transcipt(s) from your degree(s), translated to English.

  5. Evidence of English Language skills. If your first language is not English, or it is English but you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country (as defined by UK Boarder Agency – see here), you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s English language standard for graduate level taught courses in the form of a certificate of an English language test (i.e. IELTS; minimum component scores must be met, otherwise UKBA will not issue a student visa). These certificates must be taken within two years of the date of the course start. Further guidance is available on the University’s Graduate Admissions website here. If you have completed a full-time degree-level course of a minimum of nine months at a recognised institution where English was the sole language of instruction and assessment, you may request a waiver of the English language proof requirement. To do this, include in your application a) a letter explaining on what grounds you are requesting the waiver, and b) an official signed letter from your institution confirming that English was your language of instruction and assessment. These can be attached to your online application form on page 16, ‘English Language Test Waiver Request’.

  6. References from three referees, at least one of whom is qualified to comment on your academic potential.

  7. A Scholarship Application Form, if needed (see our Financial support webpage for more details).

  8. An Application Fee of £75 (pounds sterling). Residents of certain countries may be exempt from this. Please see https://uniofoxford.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1074 for more information.



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