Master of Science in Protected Area Management

Courses and Study Australian courses Master of Science in Protected Area Management

This course provides specialist training in the background, principles, techniques and practices of protected area management with particular emphasis on tropical environments. There are over 120,000 protected areas worldwide, and their success depends on how well they are managed.

Start dates
February, July
1.5 years full-time
Part time available
Study mode
On campus

Career opportunities

This program provides specialist training for science graduates already working in this area (national parks and world heritage listed areas), or people wanting to work in this field.

Course highlights

James Cook University brings together a team of academic and associate staff across multiple disciplines.

  • World-recognised programs and research
  • state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities
  • internationally-acclaimed academic teaching staff
  • strong collaboration with industry and research organisations, both locally and internationally.

Course overview

Protected areas include marine and terrestrial national parks and World Heritage Areas. The protection of these areas is dependent upon their continued management. There are over 120,000 protected areas worldwide, and their success depends on how well they are managed.

How you will study

This course is available part-time (domestic students only) and full-time.

Flexible programs are offered in which students devise their coursework component in consultation with the course coordinator to match their professional goals and interests.

For more information regarding this course, please contact Dr Amy Diedrich.

How to apply

Complete an online application through our Online Application Portal.


MSc – Protected Area Management Major

Major code


Credit points

36 credit points

Major Structure


BZ5001:03 Quantitative Methods in Science

BZ5215:03 Conservation Biology or MB5004:03 Marine Conservation Biology

EV5020:03 Human Dimensions of Nature, Environment and Conservation or EV5252:03 Indigenous Environmental Management

EV5205:03 Conserving Tropical Rainforests or EV5210:03 Management of Marine Protected Areas

EV5209:03 Principles and Practices of Protected Area Management

EV5505:03 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems or EV5110:03 Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

EV5110:03 Environmental and Social Impact Assessment or EV5601:03 Social Impact Assessment: Environmental Management or EV5502:03 Advanced Geographic Information Systems

SC5055:03 Research and Communication Skills in the Natural Sciences


Select 12 credit points of level 5 subjects from List 1 or select up to 12 credit points of cross-institutional subjects*.  Study plans must be approved by the course co-ordinator.

* Partner institutions include members of the Protected Area Learning and Research Collaboration (PALRC).

List 1

AQ5015:03 Sustainable Aquaculture

BZ5440:03 Ecology and Conservation

BZ5740:03 Wildlife Ecology and Management

BZ5755:03 Biodiversity and Climate Change: Impact, Mitigation and Adaption

EV5003:03 Environmental Economics

EV5012:03 Tropical Landscapes and Livelihoods

EV5013:03 Climate Change: The Science, Impacts and Solutions

EV5020:03 Human Dimensions of Nature, Environment and Conservation

EV5110:03 Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

EV5200:03 Terrestrial Resource Management

EV5203:03 Conserving Marine Wildlife: Sea Mammals, Birds, Reptiles

EV5210:03 Management of Marine Protected Areas

EV5251:03 Environmental Impacts of Human Activities in Protected Areas

EV5252:03 Indigenous Environmental Management

EV5502:03 Advanced Geographic Information Systems

EV5505:03 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

EV5506:03 Remote Sensing

EV5601:03 Social Impact Assessment: Environmental Management

EV5701:03 Managing Coastal and Marine Environments

SC5901:03 Special Topic 1

SC5902:03 Special Topic 2

EV5910:03 Professional Planning Project (Pt 1 of 2)

SC5912:06 Minor Project, Seminar and Literature Review (1 of 2)

SC5913:06 Minor Project, Seminar and Literature Review (2 of 2)

EV5920:03 Professional Planning Project (Pt 2 of 2)

MB5300:03 Sampling and Experimental Design

MB5310:03 Marine Reserves as Fisheries Management Tools

SS5103:06 Post-Graduate Research Methods for the Social Sciences

Pathway into course

Please consult the admission requirements section in the Handbook for prerequisites and pathways into this course.

The Diploma of Higher Education is a one-year course (or two years, part-time) designed to help people who may not meet the academic requirements for entry into a Bachelor degree course. The course is also designed to help students develop the necessary skills to be successful university students.

The Diploma consists of a combination of introductory and first year degree subjects.  Successful completion of the Diploma will give you a recognised qualification in its own right.

Graduating with the Diploma will also allow you to enter many JCU Bachelor degree programs and may give you credit, for some of the subjects you successfully complete.

Please contact if you have any questions or call Anne Chatelain (07) 47815740 in Townsville or Gabi Newman (07) 4232 1155 in Cairns.


Master of Science

Course code


Course type

Masters Degree (Coursework) (AQF Level 9)


Tropical Environments and Societies

Award Requirements

Admission Requirements

Course pre-requisites

Completion of an AQF level 7 bachelor degree in Science; or equivalent.

Minimum English language proficiency requirements

Applicants of non-English speaking backgrounds must meet the English language proficiency requirements of Band 1 Schedule II of the JCU Admissions Policy.

Post Admission requirements

Some majors require attendance at block mode subjects on either the Townsville or Cairns campus.  Students may be required to attend block mode classes at a campus other than that at which they are enrolled, at their own expense.

Academic Requirements for Course Completion

Credit points

36 credit points as per course structure

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an advanced level of scientific knowledge from with their chosen major

  • Critically analyse scientific theory, models, concepts and techniques from within their chosen major

  • Critically read and evaluate quantitative and qualitative research findings from within their chosen major

  • Apply analytic tools and methodologies to define and describe scientific problems from within their chosen major

  • Communicate effectively and persuasively, both orally and in writing.

Course Structure


Select a discipline area (major)


Type of major



Credit points in major

36 credit points




Aquaculture Science and Technology



Environmental Earth Science




Environmental Marine Science

Townsville (Suspended 2015-2017)


Fisheries Biology and Management



Marine Biology and Ecology



Natural Resource Management


Cairns (Suspended 2017)


Protected Area Management


Cairns (Suspended 2017)

Tropical Biology and Conservation







Not all majors available in Cairns




Expected time to complete

18 months full-time or equivalent part-time

Maximum time to complete

5 years

Maximum leave of absence

2 years


Course progression requisites


Course includes mandatory professional placement(s)


Special assessment requirements


Professional accreditation requirements


Maximum allowed Pass Conceded (PC) grade


Supplementary exam for final subject

Not applicable

Advanced Standing


Students may apply for advanced standing for previous tertiary study in accordance with the Advanced Standing and Articulation policy and associated procedures.

Maximum allowed

12 credit points, unless part of an approved articulation process.


Advanced standing will be granted only for studies completed in the 10 years prior to the commencement of this course.


Advanced standing gained for any subject shall be cancelled 15 years after the date of the examination upon which the advanced standing is based if, by then, the student has not completed the course of study prescribed for the degree.

Other restrictions


Award Details

Award title


Approved abbreviations


Inclusion of majors on testamur

The major studied shall appear on the testamur.

Exit with lesser award

Students who exit the course prior to completion, and have completed the appropriate number of credit points, may, depending on the subjects studied, be eligible to receive the award of either the Graduate Certificate of Science or the Graduate Diploma of Science.

Course articulation

Not applicable

This website is intended as general guide. Prospective students should contact the university to confirm admission requirements and the availability of courses. James Cook University reserves the right to alter any course or admission requirement without prior notice.