Masters degrees in Life & Chemical Sciences
If you are considering a masters degree in agriculture, biosciences, psychology, psychiatry or chemistry, this is the postgraduate guide for you! Also covered is food science, pharmacology & pharmacy, veterinary medicine and sport & exercise science.
Life Sciences are concerned with studying the flora and fauna of the planet, including humans. This wide-ranging discipline includes traditional sciences like Biosciences, Pharmacology and Pharmacy, alongside newer, more applied and/or softer sciences such as Agriculture, Forestry and Agricultural Science, Food Science and Sport and Exercise Science. Chemistry is a physical science concerned with matter in all its different states, its properties and how they can change. Biosciences range from Microbiology to Zoology to Biomedicine and Genetics. Pharmacology and Pharmacy are the branches of medical science concerned with how drugs are made and used in treatment. Agricultural Science is concerned with the management of the environment and its resources. Food Science encompasses everything from Biotechnology to Public Health or improving industrial processes of food production. Lastly, Sport and Exercise Science includes therapeutic elements like sports physiotherapy alongside less science-based concerns such as coaching, management and public policy.
Postgraduate qualifications in life and chemical sciences equip students and professionals already working in the field to do a staggering array of jobs. If you want to save the planet, Biosciences and Agriculture, Forestry and Agricultural Sciences offer plenty of opportunities to study sustainable environmental practices, climate change and its possible solutions and issues like food security (for which Food Science is also relevant). Or perhaps you are more interested in medical research and the pharmaceutical industry, in which case Chemistry, Pharmacology, Pharmacy and other types of bioscience courses will provide the right career path. Careers in the food industry could lead to you working in developing countries to increase their food production, engineering genetically modified crops or working for a multinational brewer or winemaker. But if what you really want is to meet athletes in a state of undress, sport science is definitely the subject for you: if you study any of the others you will have to try to rely on your social life to fulfil this goal.
Going way beyond brushing up your tractor skills, this very diverse subject area covers topics from food security and international rural development , through environmental science and sustainable tropical forestry to equine business management and European food and agribusiness. If you really do just want to become a farmer there’s also an MBA in Advanced Farm Management.
Both taught and research masters are offered, along with postgraduate diplomas and certificates and MBAs: the range of qualifications you can achieve is almost as diverse as the subject matter. For many of the courses you will need a hard science background, preferably in biological sciences or ecology. For others, economics, international development and even sociology would be more appropriate. Interesting career paths from here on are myriad: you might well end up advising governments on their agricultural policies or environmental planning; work for a conservation NGO lobbying the Brazilian government about the deforestation of the Amazon, or run an incredibly well managed racing stable.
This subject area offers a vast number of courses on a staggering array of subjects covering any and all aspects of the plant and animal worlds, medicine and the natural environment. Course titles range from MScs in Molecular Toxicology, Microbiology and Nanomedicine to Global Health: Pathogens and Policy, Space Physiology and Health or Pain, Science and Society. Research students who can self-fund may even get the opportunity to be part of Durham University’s project studying the population genetics of rodent species in Sulawesi, Indonesia.
You will almost certainly need an undergraduate degree in biology or a closely related topic to gain a place on the research and taught MScs, MAs, MPhils, MRes, PGCert and PGDips on offer. Career paths from here are legion: developing drugs for a pharmaceutical company, working as a research scientist in a university, advising governments on ecological policy, monitoring astronauts’ health for NASA and many, many more.
If watching the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster unfold on TV made you wish you had the skills to help then Chemical Engineering may be for you. Many of the courses in this subject area are concerned with applying scientific engineering skills to environmental problems. Check out the masters in Green Chemistry, Energy and the Environment, Clean Technology and Water Management, among others. Alternatively, if it made you long to work in the oil industry, Chemical Engineering is probably also for you. Check out courses such as the research MSc in Petroleum and Environmental Process Engineering or the taught MSc in Oil and Gas Chemistry.
You will need an undergraduate degree in materials science, chemistry or chemical engineering, to gain a place on both the taught (MTech, MSc(Eng), MSc, PGCert and PGDip) and research-based (MPhil, MRes) courses. Future careers might involve destroying the planet or saving it, but the demand for chemical engineers means you will surely have a career. It could be in plastics manufacturing or the oil industry, or you might work advising the government on how to reduce its carbon emissions or design systems to efficiently use and conserve water in developing countries.
Behind this modest subject title lies a surprisingly glamorous and worthwhile array of courses. Chemistry has many applications in medicine, industry, environmental science and the forensic investigation of crimes and insurance claims. Take your pick from research and taught degrees in Chemical Biology and Drug Design, Air Pollution Management and Control, Environmental Geochemistry, Cancer Chemistry, Fire Investigation or Forensic Ballistics. Or keep your options open with broader courses like an MSc in Analytical Chemistry or an MRes in Chemistry by research.
To apply for these taught and research masters you will need to have an undergraduate degree in – you guessed it – chemistry, or a closely related discipline. Other non-essential requirements are looking good in a lab coat and having a brain the size of Jupiter. Potential careers include being a crime scene investigator for the police, a drug designer for a pharmaceutical company or a member of a lab team trying to create more effective treatments for cancer.
Whether you’re trying to help poor nations produce more food or rich nations consume less of it, this is the subject area for you. Courses range from Biotechnology and Food Security through Food Management and Safety, Brewing and Distilling and the rather fun-sounding MSc by research in Wine Studies, to Nutrition and Public Health and Dietetics. They will be of interest to those who wish to work in the food and drinks industry, but also in healthcare, agricultural sciences and international development.
Many of taught and research masters and postgraduate certificates and diplomas will require a science-based first degree. Career paths from here lead in many directions. You could advise on food security for an NGO like Save The Children or CARE International, work as a dietician or nutritionist in a hospital or work in the commercial food and drinks industries. Or once you’ve completed your research masters in Wine Studies, you may well be inspired to go on to do a PhD.
Pharmacology is a branch of medical science that deals with drugs and how they work. Pharmacists prepare and dispense drugs for medical treatment.Both lead to work in the medical or pharmaceutical professions, either undertaking research or treatment and many are aimed at already qualified practitioners in these fields, wishing to boost their skills and knowledge. Courses include MScs in Medicinal Chemistry, Cancer Pharmaceutics, Clinical Pharmacy and Forensic Medical Sciences. The MSc in Drug Delivery Skills is not what students – or their parents - might assume.
Both research and taught masters are available, as well as postgraduate certificates and diplomas. You will need a first degree in one of the biomedical sciences. Some courses are aimed at registered pharmacologists and pharmacists with professional experience and confer CPD points. Potential career paths from here include working as drug developer for a pharmaceutical company, in the clinical trials unit of a hospital research department or as a forensic toxicologist advising the police and Crown Prosecution Service on drug-related crime and poisonings.
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and how it controls behaviour. Psychiatry is the diagnosis and therapeutic treatment of mental and emotional disorders by medically qualified doctors. The hundreds of courses on offer here include qualifications in a wide range of psychotherapies from Dance, Art, Play, Music and Family therapy to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Many other courses are dedicated to subjects like Child Psychology, Neuroscience, Forensic Psychology, clinical Psychology and Cognitive Science.
Both research and taught masters are offered, as well as a number of postgraduate certificates and diplomas. As well as requiring a first degree in psychology or medicine, some courses also ask for professional experience and are aimed at practitioners already working in the field of mental health. Potential career paths from here include becoming an educational psychologist employed by a school or college; a clinical neuroscientist or perhaps a business psychologist. Rock bands like Metallica have even been known to hire therapists to help them get through dry creative spells, so who knows how strange and glamorous things could get?
Resting somewhere on the scientific spectrum between Astrophysics and Sociology, Sport and Exercise Science is a hands-on kind of science, dealing holistically with the practise and philosophy of sport and sportsmanship. A multidisciplinary area, it includes elements of physiology and psychology as well as practical skills like coaching and management. The qualifications on offer range from Exercise Rehabilitation, Sports Injury Management and Physiotherapy to Golf Coaching, Sports Management and International Sport Policy.
Both research and taught masters are available, as well as postgraduate certificates and diplomas and MBAs in International Sports Management and Sport Business.Masters courses in physiotherapy are aimed at existing practitioners wishing to redirect their career into sports. Potential career paths from here include being a sports coach or agent, implementing government schemes as a civil servant in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, or trying a hands on role as a physiotherapist for a Premier League football team.
Becoming a vet is probably even harder than training to be a human doctor, as the insides of different animals are unsurprisingly also arranged differently, so there’s much more to learn. Plus, unless they are very unlucky, human doctors don’t have to put up with poisonous snakes or stinky skunks in their consulting room. Many of the courses in this subject area are aimed at qualified veterinary practitioners. Others are suitable for zoologists with an interest in animal health and welfare, but will not qualify them to become a practising vet. Among the courses are MScs in Veterinary Parasitology, Veterinary Infection and Disease Control and Animal Welfare.
Both research and taught masters are offered, as well as a number of postgraduate certificates and diplomas. For many courses you will need to be a qualified veterinary surgeon, for others a degree in biology or a biomedical science will suffice. Potential careers might involve being the vet at a zoo, curing lions’ toothaches and hippopotamuses upset tummies. Or, less amusingly, looking after the welfare of animals being used for research in a scientific laboratory.