Master of Conservation Leadership

Leading the way in conservation. Transforming today's conservation professional into tomorrow's conservation leader.

Covid-19 Notification for the MCL Program

We acknowledge that the current state of affairs across the world due to COVID-19 creates uncertainty and hardship for many. Because of this uncertainty, some aspects of the Master of Conservation Leadership program will be tentative, such as the dates of the residencies, future on-campus or in-person activities, and program courses and schedules. We will try to provide any updates to the program as soon as we can to the best of our abilities. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience as we collectively navigate these unique and challenging times. Stay safe, healthy, and mindful!

~ Sincerely, the MCL Team

The professional practice of environmental conservation has undergone rapid transformation over the past 20 years. Ongoing environmental and climate change, alongside a shift in conservation governance methods, means that the conservation of our biodiversity has never been more complex, nor more urgent.

The Master of Conservation Leadership program is designed to meet the needs of the conservation sector. It emphasizes innovative conservation practice including Indigenous-led conservation governance, partnership engagement and private and working lands conservation.

You will cultivate competencies in strategic planning, conflict resolution, team building, evidence-based decision making and partnership development and communication, preparing you for a senior leadership role within the conservation sector.

This 24-month program combines in-class and online learning, giving you flexibility to continue working while studying.

"We are excited to launch this innovative new program which fosters resilient leaders who are able to respond to rapidly changing ecological and political contexts"


— Dr. Robin Roth, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics

Program Highlights

A unique feature of this program is the creation of an Individualized Development Plan (IDP) to guide professional and academic development throughout the program, allowing you to align your academic expectations and responsibilities with your own interests and leadership goals.

The program Leadership Coach – a recognized conservation expert and experienced mentor – will help you explore ways to deepen your leadership and professional capacity. You will also choose a Mentor to provide on-going guidance tailored to your unique individual needs

The program also includes:

  • Three short, intense residencies that combine field-based learning with access to thought leaders and change makers in conservation
  • Online interactive learning modules with virtual collaborative learning spaces
  • A final project as part of your Final Learning Portfolio that helps address a real-world conservation challenge
  • Opportunity to grow your professional network and collaborate with leading conservation professionals
Timeline showing the residency and on-line periods.

Residency 1: Early May 2021 [virtual]

Residency 2: Early December 2021 [tentative due to Covid-19]

Residency 3: Early May 2022 [tentative due to Covid-19]

Study Indigenous-led conservation governance
Collaborate with leading experts in conservation design
Learn innovative tools and techniques

Admission Requirements

  • 3 years working experience in the field of conservation post Bachelor’s Degree
  • A B+ (77%) average in the last completed degree
  • Through the online application system you will be asked for two references to complete online assessments. Please make sure that one is an employer or someone who can speak specifically to your leadership potential. Please have this individual also email us a letter discussing your leadership potential. The second reference can be an academic or general reference, and no extra letter is required.
  • A statement of interest from the applicant

Applicants with substantial related work experience, five years or more, but who do not meet the minimum admission requirements (i.e. a B+ or 77% average) may be considered by the Department for admission under the University’s Alternate Admissions Criteria.

Offers of admission are contingent upon approval from the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance.

Early Application deadline is February 1st, 2021, with an extended deadline of March 1st, 2021 for qualified applicants. Admissions decisions for applications submitted by February 1st will be made by March 1st, and decisions for applications submitted after February 1st will be made by March 15th.

Download the application guide.



Tuition for this program is $4800/term ($28,800 total for 6 semesters) which includes all the courses, course material, leadership assessment and access to leadership coach. There will be an additional fee covering the residency (everything but transportation to/from U of Guelph) to be set shortly. Scholarships are available. Please note that International Tuition is $36,000 over two years.

Learn More about the Program

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