The understanding of plant diversity and resources has never been more important. As we face the unprecedented challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, effective environmental surveillance and conservation depend upon detailed knowledge of plants and their habitats.
This programme is run jointly by the University and the world-renowned Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). The RBGE is home to one of the world’s best living collections of plants (15,000 species across four sites, amounting to five per cent of known world species), a herbarium of three million preserved specimens and one of the UK’s most comprehensive botanical libraries.
RBGE offers collections-based biodiversity research opportunities across a wide spectrum of organisms and geographical regions. This diversity, coupled with the RBGE’s world-leading research in different continents, provides an unrivalled masters programme in plant biodiversity.
This programme is full time and consists of two semesters of lectures, practicals, workshops and investigations, followed by a four-month research project. The programme includes a two-week field course in a tropical country (recently Belize).
The programme is delivered mainly at RBGE but also at the University’s King’s Buildings campus.
There are no option elements to the programme – all courses are compulsory.
Your research project will be chosen in consultation with your supervisor, and will link directly with active research programmes at RBGE or other research institutions.
The field trip, together with training and a short practical exam, qualifies you for the RBGE Certificate in Practical Field Botany.
The programme is good preparation for roles in taxonomy, while many graduates have also continued to PhD studies. Past students have entered a wide variety of jobs at research institutions, conservation agencies and elsewhere.
This programme will give you an insight into the complex history of technology, medicine, scientific knowledge and methodology, as well as how they have shaped the world we live in.
You’ll explore the themes, concepts and debates in the study of the history of science through core modules. These will also allow you to develop your historical research skills, using our excellent library resources to work with primary and secondary sources. But you’ll also choose from a range of optional modules that allow you to specialise in topics areas that suit your interests, from birth, death and illness in the Middle Ages to modern science communication.
Guided by leading researchers and supported by our Centre of History and Philosophy of Science, you’ll learn in a stimulating environment with access to a wide range of activities. You could even gain research experience by getting involved in the development of our Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.
We have world-class research resources to support your studies. The Brotherton Library houses extensive manuscript, archive and printed material in its Special Collections, including Newton’s Principia, a first edition of his Opticks and thousands of books and journals on topics from the 16th century onwards on topics such as astronomy, botany, medicine, physiology, chemistry, inventions and alchemy. You’ll also have access to the collections of artefacts across campus that we have brought together through the Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.
The Centre also hosts a number of research seminars given by visiting speakers, staff members and doctoral students and which all postgraduate students are encouraged to attend. There are also regular reading groups on a wide range of topics and the seminar series of other centres within the School are also available.
In your first semester you’ll take a core module introducing you to different approaches and debates in history of science, technology and medicine, as well as how they have been used over time to help us understand scientific developments. You’ll build on this in the following semester with a second core module that will give you a foundation in historical skills and research methods, equipping you to work critically and sensitively with primary and secondary sources.
You’ll have the chance to demonstrate the skills and knowledge you’ve gained in your dissertation, which you’ll submit by the end of the year. This is an independently researched piece of work on a topic of your choice within the history of science, technology and medicine – and you can choose to take an extended dissertation if you want to go into even greater depth.
Throughout the year you’ll be able to choose from a range of optional modules, allowing you to develop your knowledge by specialising in a topic of your choice such as science and religion historically considered, or science in the museum. You’ll take one optional module if you take the extended dissertation, or two if you do the standard dissertation.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
You’ll take three compulsory modules, though you can choose whether to take a standard (60 credits) or extended (90 credits) dissertation. You’ll then choose one or two optional modules.
Most of our taught modules combine seminars and tutorials, where you will discuss issues and concepts stemming from your reading with a small group of students and your tutor. You’ll also benefit from one-to-one supervision while you complete your dissertation. Independent study is also an important element of the programme, allowing you to develop your skills and pursue your own interests more closely.
We assess your progress using a combination of exams and coursework, giving you the freedom to research and write on topic areas that suit your interests within each module you study.
You’ll gain a range of in-depth subject knowledge throughout this programme, as well as a set of high-level transferable skills in research, analysis, interpretation and oral and written communication that are very attractive to employers.
As a result, you’ll be equipped for a wide range of careers. Some of these will make direct use of your subject knowledge, such as museum work or public engagement with science, while your skills will enable you to succeed in fields such as business and finance, publishing, IT and teaching.
Graduates of our School also regularly go onto careers in journalism, the media, social work, human resources, PR, recruitment and the charity sector. Many also continue with their studies at PhD level and pursue careers in academia.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
The Master of Science (MSc) is a two-year degree which encompasses both coursework and research. The first year involves mainly coursework and preliminary research preparation. Students will have the opportunity to contribute to existing fields of research, or to begin to develop new areas.
The MSc can be studied in any of the subjects listed below, and may be taken by a combination of coursework and thesis, or by thesis only. Students who have a Bachelor's degree will complete the MSc by papers and thesis (at least two years of full-time study). Students who have an Honours degree or postgraduate diploma can complete the degree by thesis only (minimum of one year of study).
View the list of subjects offered for the Master of Science (MSc) and the Master of Applied Science (MAppSc).
The degree may be awarded in any of the subjects listed above. With the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sciences) the degree may be awarded in a subject not listed above.
The programme of study shall be as prescribed for the subject concerned.
A candidate whose qualification for entry to the programme is the degree of Bachelor of Science with Honours or the Postgraduate Diploma in Science or equivalent may achieve the degree after a minimum of one year of further study, normally by completing a thesis or equivalent as prescribed in the MSc Schedule.
A candidate may be exempted from some of the prescribed papers on the basis of previous study.
A candidate shall, before commencing the investigation to be described in a thesis, secure the approval of the Head of the Department concerned for the topic, the supervisor(s), and the proposed course of the investigation.
A candidate may not present a thesis which has previously been accepted for another degree.
A candidate taking the degree by papers and thesis must pass both the papers and the thesis components.
For the thesis, the research should be of a kind that a diligent and competent student should complete within one year of full-time study.
Coordinated by the School of Earth Sciences, the Master of Science (Earth Sciences) program offers two streams:
The program includes collaboration between Earth Sciences/Geosciences departments from at least two other institutions (originally Monash and La Trobe universities, under our Victorian Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences or ‘VIEPS’ legal agreement and partnership) expanding in the last decade to involve cooperation between several institutions (including Melbourne). Cooperation at this national level provides students from all participating institutions with the opportunity to access the best and broadest array of advanced coursework in the Earth Sciences discipline.
The School of Earth Sciences is home to diverse research activities that are well supported by equipment and technology both in the lab and field. Our research interests include: the solid Earth, the fluid Earth (including our atmosphere and oceans), and processes that operate at the interface between these regions. Current research activities in the School include: climate variability and change, sedimentary geology, palaeontology and the physics and chemistry of the Earth’s deep interior.
Students in the Master of Science (Earth Sciences) who have a weighted average mark of 80% or higher in the prerequisite undergraduate major, are eligible for consideration for the Graduate Research Program in Science. This is a five-year course of study comprising the Master of Science and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
Upon completion of this course, students should have:
As a graduate of this program, one can find a rewarding career in government organisations, research institutions, environmental consultancies, and the oil, gas and mining industries.
As a graduate, you may find a rewarding career as a:
The Master of Science (Ecosystem Science) offers students the flexibility to develop their own interests by selecting from a wide range of coursework subjects, including discipline core subjects and a professional skills module that provides high-level training in the areas of science communication, data analysis and modelling, ethics and/or leadership in science.
This degree provides students with essential skills, knowledge and research training through a Research Project in one of the discipline areas represented in the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences. These include: conservation biology, ecology, ecophysiology, environmental psychology, environmental and landscape management, forest science, genetics, horticulture, hydrology and soil science.
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
As a graduate, you may find a rewarding career in:
The MSc in Animal Behaviour addresses the interaction between environment, experience and physiology in the development and dynamics of behaviour. There is an applied element in terms of how the principles of animal behaviour can be applied to practical problems such as animal welfare and conservation. Students can gain experience of laboratory studies (of invertebrates) and field work. The programme features a strong numerical and research-orientated approach. A range of elective units are available, including Zoo Conservation Biology which takes place at Chester Zoo. There is also a compulsory residential field course in Poland or Tanzania.
The MSc is completed by a research-based project which can be carried out overseas or in the UK. There are also opportunities to work within Manchester Met research projects in Tanzania, Kenya, the Philippines, Mauritius and Madeira.
-We work with the College of African Wildlife Management and the Kenya Wildlife Service and are able to offer unique fieldwork experiences in Tanzania and Kenya.
-You will have the opportunity to stay for six weeks at one of our research bases in Tanzania or Kenya to collect data for your own research project.
-Course delivery is flexible and most lectures take place in the evening. Lectures, other course materials and assessment information are available via our online learning platform, Moodle.
-In the last ten years we’ve invested over £50 million in our home, John Dalton building, including high specification teaching and research facilities for biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics, microbiology, plant physiology, animal behaviour and exercise physiology and biomechanics.
-The course is taught by a vibrant community of research-active staff. Tutors are currently involved in research in Tanzania, Kenya, Mauritius, Madeira, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Indonesia as well as the UK and every year many of our MSc students work within this project.
-Students are encouraged to carry out their projects in association either with staff interests or those of external organisations such as Chester Zoo, local and national conservation bodies, water authorities, etc.
-The School of Science and the Environment has strong links with with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and close association to a number of organisations across the North West, including Blackpool Zoo, Chester Zoo and Knowsley Safari Park.
There are optional three month placements for those taking MSc Zoo Conservation Biology and these can take place at many different zoos in the UK.
Course delivery is flexible and most lectures take place in the evening. Lectures, other course materials and assessment information is available via our online learning platform, Moodle. You will be assessed mostly through coursework, although some units have a formal examination.
Our Masters programmes in behaviour and conservation are run by a large group of research active staff with strong links to a variety of research institutions, national organisations and non-governmental bodies in the UK and overseas.
Each term there is a research colloquium in which invited speakers talk about areas of research directly relevant to our MSc programmes.
Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.
All our master’s programmes emphasise the practical skills that employers need, whether that is the ability to identify plants, carry out environmental assessments or use the latest cutting-edge molecular techniques. As a University of Reading MSc graduate, you will be well equipped to work in the field or the lab, and in the private or public sector. Many of our graduates go on to study for a PhD and pursue a career in research either in industry or in universities.
Typical roles of graduates from our ecology and wildlife-based MSc programmes include conservation officers, project managers, field ecologists and environmental consultants. Graduates from our biomedical MSc programme typically go on to pursue PhD studies or work in the pharmaceutical industry.