Management of Conservation Areas - Master degree program

International postgraduate master degree program

The planning and managing of conservation areas involves many different legal, administrative and technical aspects – the demand for highly skilled experts is growing. The Carinthian University of Applied Sciences has launched an international postgraduate master degree program dealing with these inter- and transdisciplinary challenges.

Managers of conservation areas

The aim of the Management of conservation areas program is to promote biodiversity conservation and regional sustainable development in Europe and worldwide by educating and training (future) managers of conservation areas. The MCA program focuses on skills which enable and empower to:

  • manage conservation areas effectively;
  • use new ways of communication;
  • deal with stakeholders in a better way;

Graduates of this program work as managers of conservation areas, national parks, biosphere reserves or world heritage sites. They develop and support community- managed sites and indigenous protected areas or shape the future of international organizations. Graduates may also work in the consulting, planning and scientific sector.


Rethinking tourism in the national park community of Heiligenblut

The final workshop of expedition.nationalpark.2023 took place on November 7th in the “Haus der Steinböcke” in Heiligenblut. Together with 22…

Release of HUMANITA Report on Monitoring Tourism's Environmental Impacts in Protected Areas

After months of dedicated work within the Interreg Central Europe HUMANITA project, we are thrilled to announce the release of our first publication –…

Publication of EuroMAB conference proceedings on World Biosphere Reserve Day

The International Day for Biosphere Reserves was celebrated on November 3rd for the second time.

Carinthian mire becomes an outdoor laboratory for students

The "Stiftung der Kärntner Sparkasse" (Carinthian Savings Bank Foundation) acquired the Metschacher Moos "the Mire of Metschach" in Liebenfels.…

Information & Contact


If you have any questions feel free to contact:

Melina Hierländer, BA
Course administrator of Centre for Further and Continuing Education at CUAS

+43 5 90500 4305

Hauptplatz 12
9560 Feldkirchen

Qualification awarded
Master of Science (Continuing Education) - MSc (CE) 

ECTS Credits

€ 13.900,-

Duration of study
4 terms

Mode of study

Language of instruction


Next course start: Fall 2024

Interviews: The interviews will take place in January 2024. 

    Learning Target & Content

    After completing the MSc (CE) Program the manager and decision makers of conservation areas will be able to fully promote and understand biodiversity conservation and its contribution to sustainable development. The knowledge will be applicable worldwide and hence will have a strong focus on development cooperation.

    Participants will gain:

    • a comprehensive understanding of the aims and roles of conservation areas with regards to the conservation of biodiversity and (integrated) regional development;
    • a detailed knowledge of the full range of tools available for the management of conservation areas;
    • the ability to analyze and solve problems encountered when establishing, planning or managing conservation areas, including the implementation of inter- and transdisciplinary dialogues with all stakeholder groups;
    • hard and soft skills to create mutual benefits for nature conservation on the one hand and the local population on the other hand, particularly in peripheral regions as well as in developing countries.

    The technical components of the program have a focus on terrestrial, in particular mountainous ecoregions.

    Besides the core team (Carinthian University of Applied Sciences and E.C.O.), lecturers are around 30 internationally recognised experts. They represent the broad portfolio of different backgrounds, ranging from theoretical (science) to practical knowledge (park managers, consultants, international organizations). Innovative teaching and training formats support the development of relevant competencies. Interactive settings give way to peer-to-peer learning and allow for individual interaction with trainers and lecturers. An international advisory board supports the program in terms of quality control and gives access to most recent research, technologies and trends.

    Organisation & Dates

    The duration of the university certificate program for 2024 is 4 terms (2 years) and 19 courses. The total work load of the program is 120 ECTS. Hence, substantial components of the training are provided by e-learning. Presence courses will be held in different venues, for instance in seminar facilities of different parks and conservation areas in Central Europe.

    Next course start: Fall 2024
    Interviews: The interviews will take place in January 2024. 


    1st Semester:

    • Attendance weeks: 16.09. – 05.10.2024
    • Online weekends: 08. – 09.11.2024, 17. – 18.01.2025

    2nd Semester:

    • Attendance weeks: 03.03. – 22.03.2025
    • Online weekends: 16. – 17.05.2025, 27. – 28.06.2025

    3rd Semester:

    • Attendance weeks: 03.11. – 22.11.2025
    • Online weekends: 19. – 20.09.2025, 17. – 18.10.2025, 16. – 17.01.2026

    4th Semester:

    • Attendance weeks: 22.06. – 04.07.2026
    • Online weekends: 27. – 28.02.2026, 20. – 21.03.2026, 10. – 11.04.2026, 24. – 25.04.2026, 29. – 23.05.2026

      The scientific director Michael Jungmeier (jungmeier[at]cuas[dot]at) has taken the overall responsibility for the scientific and pedagogic quality of the program. The administrative director Alexandra Liegl answers to all organizational matters. Program coordinator Melina Hierländer is the contact point for lecturers, applicants, participants and graduates (m.hierlaender[at]fh-kaernten[dot]at). She is supported by a network of regional contact points:

      • Andean region: Martin Schachner (
      • Amazonian region: Erica de Oliveira Coutinho (
      • Balkan region: Ana Strbenac (
      • Baltic region: Meldra Langenfelde (
      • Caucasus region (Armenia, Georgia): Arpine Jenderedjian (
      • Danube Carpathian region: Bohdan Prots (
      • East-Africa: Ayele Kebede Gebreyes (
      • Himalaya-Hindukush-Region: Sunita Chaudhary (
      • Russia and Central Asia (CIS, Azerbaidschan): Elena Smirnova (
      • Scandinavian region: Åsa Svensson (
      • South-East Asia and Pacifics: Ludi Apin (
      • South Asia: Muhammad Shariful Islam (

      The program Management of Conservation Areas is supported by three boards:

      • Scientific board (Chair: Prof. Franz Rauch, University of Klagenfurt)
      • Austrian experience Pool (Chair: Peter Rupitsch, National Park Hohe Tauern)
      • Institutional advisory board (Chair: Andrej Sovinc, Ph. D., IUCN WCPA Previous Regional Vice-Chair Europe)

      Please get in contact with the team any time. Please learn more about program, the team, our lecturers and trainers and members of the adivsiory board at our homepages: and



      Applicants have to prove an excellent academic and professional record and hence shall have:

      • a completed relevant Bachelor's degree programme at a university of applied sciences with at least 180 ECTS credits, 
      • the completion of another relevant degree programme of at least the same level of higher education at a recognised domestic or foreign post-secondary educational institution, or 
      • a course of study defined in the curriculum of the higher education programme and 
      • several years of relevant professional experience,
      • a very good command of English
      • and a demonstrable interest in contributing professionally to the sector.

      The application procedure is based on submission of documents (application form plus supporting materials, a full CV, a letter of motivation and two reference letters) and a subsequent oral interview (personal, skype). The interviews will take place in January 2024. 

      International applicants:

      International applicants have to provide translated and legalized copies of their documents in German or English. More information can be found here:

      Advisory Boards

      The programme Management of Conservation Areas is being counselled by 3 different Advisory Boards. A continuous flow of information and exchange within this network provides the programme management with up-to-date knowledge and access to current trends and discourses in nature conservation.

      The Institutional Board of the MCA’s function is to give access to most recent developments, decisions and policies of relevant international institutions. Amongst others, members are representatives of the IUCN/WCPA, the Ramsar Convention, the Europarc Federation, the ALPARC Network, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the Agence Française pour la Biodiversité, the KfW German Development Bank, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the FAOSEC (FAO) and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism (BMNT)

      The Scientific Board is securing the excellency of scientific methods and pedagogic approaches, as well as to give access to most recent concepts and theories, empiric work and research results. It consists of scientists and researchers from Europe’s centres of excellence in environmental studies and from most renowned Universities.

      The Austrian experience pool is an open forum that gives access to exemplary Austrian parks, best practice, show cases, model projects but also conflicts and problems that can be visited, discussed and analysed by the program´s participants. Possibilities for seminar works, master thesis and internships arise out of the fluent exchange.


      Mag.iur. Hans-Christoph Vonihr

      Mag.iur. Hans-Christoph Vonihr

      During the lockdowns I have benefitted greatly from an intact nature and alpine region.

      Marta Korchemlyuk, Ph.D.

      Marta Korchemlyuk, Ph.D.

      I have had the pleasure to participate in the virtual information tour regarding this program and to speak to past alumni, and I have been very…

      Gudrun Bruckner, BSc

      Gudrun Bruckner, BSc

      Have you ever heard of Ikigai?

      Elisabeth Wiegele, BSc

      Elisabeth Wiegele, BSc

      Recognizing and appreciating the value of nature is the true art of living.


      FH-Prof. Mag. Dr. Michael Jungmeier
      Scientific director

      +43 (0)5 90500-4314

      Europastraße 4
      9524 Villach

      Mag.a Alexandra Liegl 
      Head of Centre for Further and Continuing Education at CUAS

      +43 5 90500 4311

      Melina Hierländer, BA
      Course administrator of Centre for Further and Continuing Education at CUAS

      +43 5 90500 4305

      Hauptplatz 12
      9560 Feldkirchen

      Monika Auinger, MSc.
      Junior Researcher
      UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Managament of Conservation Areas

      +43 (0)5 90500-2145 

      Europastraße 4
      9524 Villach