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The MCM Experience

Beyond the Classroom and Laboratory

Conservation medicine at Cummings School is dynamic, collaborative, and integrative. Understanding that the challenges we face today in conservation and global health require an innovative and interdisciplinary approach, we have designed the Master of Science in Conservation Medicine around these very concepts. Our students’ learning extends beyond the classroom to where conservation medicine is really happening.

Students collaborate with an impressive network of experts and instructors; they apply their own expertise, skills, and interests to a year-long, self-directed case study project, and they immerse themselves in a four-week "real-world" conservation medicine externship.

Network of Experts

Embracing a truly interdisciplinary approach, the Master of Science in Conservation Medicine features a team of impressive faculty and experts to facilitate coursework and research. By the end of this 12-month program, students have learned from, collaborated with, and proven themselves to dozens of leaders and top experts in conservation medicine and related fields. This multi-disciplinary team is a great benefit to both our students’ education during the MCM program and their career opportunities afterward.

The program collaborates across disciplines within the veterinary school, across the university, and with colleagues around the world, in research as well as in teaching. Our diverse faculty—which includes wildlife and other veterinarians, epidemiologists, ecologists, policy experts, environmental engineers, and others—have pursued research at home and around the world in wildlife conservation, infectious diseases, environmental toxicants, humane animal population control, and environmental monitoring.

Interdisciplinary faculty and resources are drawn broadly from all schools at Tufts University including Cummings School of Veterinary MedicineGraduate School of Arts and SciencesSchool of EngineeringFletcher SchoolSchool of Medicine, and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, as well as from the Consortium for Conservation Medicine.

Case Study Project

Students undertake an intensive, year-long case study project to comprehensively analyze a challenging conservation medicine problem. The case study culminates in a capstone project presentation and written report assessing the problem and recommending strategies to address identified challenges. Based on their own knowledge, skills, and interests, students identify a relevant issue and are charged with synthesizing information and ideas from their coursework throughout the year and from a collaborative team involving appropriate faculty both within the university and through our network of conservation medicine partners. Completed case study reports are evaluated by project partners and Tufts mentors. Students register for the case study each semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer), complete their comprehensive written report during the summer, and present their case study in a special campus seminar in September of their graduating year. See current case study topics.


Students immerse themselves in a conservation medicine setting of their choice under the guidance of an academic mentor and a field mentor for a minimum of four weeks during the program year. Externships provide students with insight into how conservation medicine issues are addressed and how interdisciplinary approaches can be applied in a real-world setting. Students can participate in field, clinical, analytical, laboratory, project management, policy, or other experiences of their choosing that meet elective requirement and are approved by the program director or assistant director. The program encourages and assists students to create their own worthwhile externships in the direction of their own career goals and interests. Externships will be completed ideally during the winter break, though completion during the summer can be accommodated depending upon the opportunity. The program can assist students with applying for funding for externships but does not have its own funds to support students. Our students engage in amazing efforts with impressive conservation partners and organizations and often use these experiences as stepping stones to further their academic and professional careers. See MCM externships.

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Our program directors, faculty, alumni and current students would be happy to talk with you and answer your questions specifically.