MSc in Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity The University of Edinburgh - School of Biological Sciences
We live in a period of exceptional rates of environmental change, including climate change, urban expansion, the spread of invasive species, and ocean acidification. These changes present an unprecedented challenge to biodiversity.
This MSc is designed to equip you to play a key role in developing solutions to this global change crisis. The programme will provide you with opportunities to critically evaluate and apply state of the art quantitative ecological and evolutionary methods, combined with practical field skills, and to tailor communications for a diversity of audiences, from scientists to government.
You will be based in the School of Biological Sciences, which ranked in the top 5 for the UK for research power (REF 2022). The School is part of the new Centre for Adapting to Changing Environments, composed of over 100 research groups.
Courses will draw on a breadth of case studies across different ecosystems, from long-term vertebrate studies to marine microbes. There will be an emphasis on practice, including fieldwork, statistics, and coding.
The MSc comprises two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project and dissertation. Semester 1 includes 60 credits of compulsory courses and semester 2 has 30 credits of compulsory and 30 credits of optional courses.
Teaching is through lectures, tutorials, seminars, computer practicals, presentations and fieldwork. The semester 1 Professional skills for Ecology & Evolution course includes a residential field course, which will run at the start of semester 1.
Semester 1 courses:
- Professional skills for ecology and evolution
- Biodiversity under pressure
- Data analysis and statistics
Semester 2 courses:
- Eco-evolutionary responses to environmental change
- Research proposal
- Optional courses
The residential field course will run at the beginning of the academic year. As well as providing you with an opportunity to get to know and work alongside your peers, you will have the opportunity to learn/refresh use of a wide range of ecological survey methods that are appropriate for different organisms and habitats.
You will carry out your research project independently, under the guidance of a supervisor, with results presented in a dissertation. A wide range of projects based at the University and with external partners will be available.
The programme places a strong emphasis on collecting, accessing, handling, analysing and visualisation of data. You will also receive training in how to tailor written and verbal communications for a diversity of audiences and purposes.
Courses will emphasise the value of creativity and curiosity and identifying the limits of our knowledge and priorities for future work. There are many opportunities for discussion between students, and with staff and stakeholders embedded in the programme.
The programme has been designed with student experience in mind with courses capped at 30 to provide personalised feedback. Teaching will focus on skills, attributes, experiences and networks that benefit employability.
On completion of this programme, you will be able to:
- explain how ecological and evolutionary processes can underpin biotic responses to anthropogenic change at a variety of spatial scales
- identify the key steps and techniques involved with a major ecological project
- design and implement an empirical or theoretical study to quantify impact of environmental change on any level of biodiversity
- identify appropriate statistical approaches for analysing different types of data
- apply and evaluate evidence quantitative methods for assessing evidence of evolutionary changed
- account for the complexity and relationship of drivers and impacts in the face of sources of uncertainty
- apply data-handling, statistical, modelling and visualisation approaches, including use of R software
- communicate research outcomes to academic and non-academic stakeholders in written and oral presentations.
- Work effectively across a diversity of group settings, taking on a range of roles.
Program Tuition Fee
The Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity MSc will provide you with the skills, knowledge and experience for careers in research, conservation, environmental consultancy, public relations, media, industry and policy.
Teaching is centred around examining a breadth of global anthropogenic stresses on organisms, and you will learn how to apply state-of-the-art quantitative methods, critique findings and communicate results to different audiences.
The MSc programme was developed in consultation with a broad range of potential employers and includes training in the key skills they identified as important. These include field skills, data-handling, visualisation and modelling in R, GIS, and project design and implementation.