M.Sc. Environmental Studies (Conservation Practice) | The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU)

M.Sc. Environmental Studies (Conservation Practice)

The MSc Environmental Studies course in Conservation Practice jointly offered by Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) and TDU, equips natural and social science students with interdisciplinary knowledge, perspectives, and skills to understand and address conservation challenges. This course is curated to create young environmental leaders whose interdisciplinary skills will add value to corporate social responsibility and sustainability offices, development and conservation NGOs, and government line departments dealing with environment and development portfolios. In academic institutions, these leaders will lend a practical edge.

Is Conservation Practice just another environmental course?

No, it isn’t. It is the environmental course that walks the interdisciplinary talk. Even as environment and ecology degrees in conventional and new liberal arts and science universities experiment with interdisciplinarity, they continue to be research-oriented. Ahead of its time, but just in time, this programme focuses on conservation-skilling backed by rigorous socio-ecological knowledge. What you study matters; but where you study, and practice it, matters more. This course offers students the novel opportunity to interact with faculty who have shunned disciplinary silos over two decades and mixed natural and social science theories and methods to generate conservation and sustainability knowledge for policy and practice stakeholders.

ATREE is India’s pioneer in interdisciplinary conservation and sustainability studies, and has consistently ranked in the top 20 environmental policy think tanks since 2014, by the University of Pennsylvania. ATREE has also received the 2019 UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize that recognizes its contributions to participatory approaches in conservation and sustainability. The degree will be awarded by TDU, a Karnataka Government and UGC-recognised university in health and plant sciences. TDU is a National Centre of Excellence of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (GOI) and aims to transcend academic boundaries and engage with traditional knowledge. The Conservation Practice program is a product of this combination of ‘inter’ and ‘trans’ disciplinary pioneering, novelty and legacy.

What is practical about this interdisciplinary course?

Is this the right course for me?

What are the career opportunities?

What is the application process?


The Conservation Practice course comprises 80 credits in total, of which 18 are from the project semester and the remaining are from field and practice oriented classroom semesters. The first classroom semester comprises interdisciplinary foundation courses including ecology, sociology for conservation and sustainability ,environmental science, environmental economics theory of change, philosophy of science, philosophy of practice, research methodologies, and scientific communication. The second classroom semester comprises domain knowledge courses on biodiversity, food systems, and ecosystem services as well as perspectives courses on conservation ethics, impact assessment, political ecology, and social-ecological systems. The third and final semester includes practice-oriented domain skills courses on landscape restoration, conservation technologies, decision science, approaches to conservation, climate change, and conservation psychology. In addition, during this third semester students are offered a range of electives on project cycle management, adaptive learning, effective advocacy, ethnobotany, transdisciplinarity, environmental humanities, and medicinal plants to choose from based on their interests. A tentative list of courses can be downloaded here.

The fourth semester of the course is a project semester and students choose between undertaking a thesis under a supervisor from ATREE or TDU based on mutual interests and faculty expertise, or participating in an internship with a partner organization. The ‘thesis stream’ will involve conducting research at ATREE’s Community Conservation centres (CCCs) in the Western Ghats, Western Coast, and the Eastern Himalayas. ATREE set up the CCCs to aid the production of research that is pertinent to and usable by local communities in their conservation efforts. Furthermore, they provide a space for communities to interact with researchers and support conservation education programmes, collaboration in conservation efforts as well as long term socio-ecological monitoring. The ‘internship stream’ will enable students to learn from the expertise of partner organizations in NGO, corporate, government or academic sectors by undertaking an internship at a chosen organisation. Whether a student chooses the ‘thesis stream’ or the ‘internship stream,’ they will be given the opportunity to apply classroom learning to real world situations and partake in experiential learning.

The Ecoinformatics, Biosystematics, Conservation Genetics and Water and Science Lab at ATREE and the Research Hospital at TDU offer world class facilities for research in conservation and sustainability.

Admissions Process

The Conservation Practices Masters is open to students from diverse backgrounds. ATREE has an affirmative policy that encourages women and persons from underprivileged groups to apply. We use this affirmative action policy in concert with the Government of Karnataka’s reservation policy when considering student applications. We are also accepting applications from international students. TDU is registered with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) and will facilitate the registration of international students with the FRRO.


Application Requirements

Submission of Application

Entrance Exam


Fee Details

Selection Process


Students have the opportunity to interact with highly experienced faculty from both ATREE and TDU. A list of all faculty members along with links to their profiles can be accessed below. National and international scholars and practitioners from ATREE and TDU’s networks will also be invited to teach and mentor.

TDU Faculty

ATREE Faculty


Besides foundational knowledge in social and natural sciences, our graduates will accumulate domain knowledge and skills across a spectrum of conservation and sustainability themes and sectors ranging from forests and farms; biodiversity, ecosystems services and human well-being; environmental ethics and social justice; policy, governance and impact assessment; ecological restoration and landscaping; climate change; and field and machine learning technologies. A wide range of competencies in these fields makes our graduates competitive and sought-after candidates for roles in conservation and sustainability initiatives across the country. These include,

  • State and non-state institutions implementing, or investing in, rural and urban conservation programs and schemes can valuably employ graduates of the Conservation Practice Masters.
  • Corporate social responsibility departments and sustainability offices will value the knowledge and skills that graduates of this program will be equipped with.
  • Entrepreneurship in conservation and sustainability would inspire, benefit, and boost conservation and sustainability activities at various scales. Graduates of our program will be well-equipped for such initiatives.
  • Graduates of our program can contribute to global, national and local endeavours by NGOs and think tanks to further the cause of conservation and sustainability.
  • Environmental management or consulting organisations appreciate the range of knowledge and skills that graduates of the Conservation Practice program have.
  • The practical skills offered by the program advance the competencies and lend an “applied” perspective to  graduates who wish to continue in research oriented jobs.

ATREE and TDU are in the process of formalising partnerships with corporate, NGO, government and academic networks; campus placements will be initiated through them.

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