Master of Conservation Leadership

Transforming today's conservation professional into tomorrow's conservation leader

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.

In the Master of Conservation Leadership (MCL) program, you will cultivate competencies in strategic planning, conflict resolution, team building, Indigenous engagement, evidence-based decision making and partnership development and communication, preparing you for a senior leadership role within the conservation sector.

Why Choose the Master of Conservation Leadership?

  • Focus on today's conservation needs. The MCL program emphasizes innovative conservation practice including Indigenous-led conservation governance, working landscape conservation and partnership engagement.
  • Continue your career growth. The 24-month program combines online learning and land-based residencies, giving you flexibility to continue working while studying.
  • Deepen your leadership skills. Drive transformative growth through your Individualized Development Plan, allowing you to align the program with your own interests.
  • Choose your mentor. Our faculty and advisors are actively engaged in the conservation field and community. Your mentor will provide ongoing guidance tailored to your individual needs.

Field-Based Learning

Expand your horizons with three week-long residencies throughout the Master of Conservation Leadership.

The residencies provide hands-on, land-based experiential learning opportunities for students either on campus or in a location hosted in collaboration with a partner organization or First Nations Elders. They offer a refreshing break from the individual and online learning platform to meet in-person with your fellow cohort of students.

The first residency of the MCL program takes place in partnership with First Nations Elders and thought leaders, focusing on Indigenous history, relationships with the land, traditional and contemporary governance, conservation, and ceremony.

Tomorrow's Conservation Leaders

The Master of Conservation Leadership is a career-focused program for conservation professionals who are ready to take the next step into conservation leadership. Our students come to the MCL program from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds.

"I think conservation leadership is really about inspiring and communicating and connecting with people, today more than ever, because the conservation issues we’re dealing with are massive. We’re talking about biodiversity losses, huge habitat alterations and climate change, and those are not problems that are going to be solved by conservation professionals, they’re going to be solved by everybody taking on responsibility for their own actions and caring and wanting to make change. I think leadership right now is really about trying to get that message across in a hopeful way."

— Jackie Scott, Master of Conservation Leadership Graduate



  • Our certified Leadership Coach – a recognized conservation expert – will help you explore concrete ways to deepen your leadership and professional capacity.
  • Our Leadership Coach works closely with you to create and implement your Individualized Development Plan (IDP), which enriches your experience in the program, with results that resonate on into your life and work.
Mary Granskou
  • Leadership Coach Mary Granskou has over 30 years of experience as an advisor in the environment and sustainability fields. Her former roles include policy advisor in the Prime Minister's office and executive director of a national environmental group. As a consultant, Granskou has worked with governments, Indigenous leaders, NGOs, industry, and scientists helping cross-sector partnerships navigate their way to success.
  • Granskou also used her experience facilitating partnerships for environmental change during her term as Kinross Chair in Environmental Governance at the University of Guelph.

  • 3 years working experience in the field of conservation post bachelor's degree
  • A B- (70%) average in the last completed degree

We welcome applicants from conventional and non-conventional educational pathways. If you are interested in the MCL program and have a lower average in the last completed degree but hold considerable conservation leadership experience, contact us at to discuss admission options.


Several program funding options are available to you in the Master of Conservation Leadership. Most students accepted into the MCL program have been successful in receiving funding. Our scholarships include:

Scholarship Name Value Eligibility How to Apply
Billes Conservation Leadership Scholarship 5 awards of $8,000 This scholarship is available to incoming students with excellent applications No application required
Two Eyed Seeing/Etuaptmumk Indigenous Scholarship 1 award of $10,000 This scholarship is available to an incoming Indigenous student Apply by letter to the department by February 15 of the cohort year

Take the Next Step

Start the application process for the Master of Conservation Leadership.