The Conservation Practice course comprises 80 credits in total, of which 25 are from the project semester and the remaining are from practice-oriented immersive and experiential classroom semesters. The first semester comprises interdisciplinary foundation courses, including ecology, sociology for conservation and sustainability, environmental science, environmental economics, and scientific communication. The second semester comprises domain knowledge courses on biodiversity, food systems, and ecosystem services and a perspectives course on interdisciplinary practice. 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 the third-semester, students can take a range of electives on project cycle management, adaptive learning, effective advocacy, ethnobotany, transdisciplinarity, environmental humanities, and medicinal plants based on their interests.
The fourth semester of the course is a project semester. Students choose between doing a thesis under a supervisor or an internship with a partner organisation. The ‘thesis stream’ could involve conducting research at ATREE’s Community Conservation centres (CCCs) in the Western Ghats, Western Coast, and the Eastern Himalayas, or TDU’s Medicinal Plant Conservation Areas network. ATREE set up the CCCs to aid the production of research pertinent to and usable by local communities in their conservation and livelihoods efforts. The CCCs provide a space for communities to interact with researchers and support conservation education programmes, collaboration in conservation efforts, and long-term socio-ecological monitoring. The ‘internship stream’ will enable students to learn from and contribute to the expertise of partner organisations in NGO, corporate, government or academic sectors. In thesis or internship streams, students can apply classroom learning to real-world situations and partake in experiential learning.