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Masters Degrees (Ecological)

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Are you dismayed, disturbed and totally disenchanted with what is happening to the only real planetary home we have? So are we. But are you also excited by the opportunities and prospects this opens up for us to create a better, brighter and more beautiful world? So are we. Read more

Are you dismayed, disturbed and totally disenchanted with what is happening to the only real planetary home we have? So are we.

But are you also excited by the opportunities and prospects this opens up for us to create a better, brighter and more beautiful world? So are we.

Then join us in this innovative new postgraduate programme from Schumacher College in collaboration with the School of Architecture, Design and Environment at Plymouth University, the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, the Dartington Hall Trust and surrounding communities.

Ecological Design Thinking

Never has there been a more important time for a new approach for engaging with the challenging situations we face from the local to the global levels. In a rapidly changing dynamic situation, solutions rarely remain optimal for very long and continuous active participation is a necessary ingredient for success. Growing resilience in individuals and communities is the way to keep going despite the continuous change around us.

Our programme in Ecological Design Thinking embraces and explores this complex world of interactions with lively engagement and an optimistic approach. It offers powerful, practical and ecology-centred skills and knowledge to apply to a diverse range of practices from design, education and business to the more specific roles of leadership, management and consultancy.

The Ecological Design Thinking programme is trans-disciplinary, insightful and universal in its application; pragmatic and integrative in its operation. It brings together theoretical and practical discourses on ecologically inspired design, with methods of design thinking that are merged with the latest developments in anthropology, psychology and socio- political economics. It aims to create a novel ground for change makers at the forefront of our transition to sustainable societies.

Ecologically inspired design includes the study of ecological worldviews, systems dynamics and applied complexity theory alongside the philosophies and practices of permaculture and biomimetic design.

Design thinking is a well-established participatory technique grounded in the empathic understanding of the feelings, experiences and emotions of others. It engages people in lively conversations, visually stimulated interactions and playful prototyping. It frames problems as opportunities, forms insights and generates creative and collaborative solutions in complex situations.

The Ecological Design thinking programme aims to provide a nourishing environment for participants by incorporating short-courses led by internationally recognised thinkers, place-making projects in collaboration with the Dartington Hall Trust, the home of Schumacher College, and short placements offered by external partner organisations.

This programme is the fourth radical postgraduate programme developed at Schumacher College and contributes to and enhance the College’s ongoing collaborative inquiry into sustainable living – a live and networked inquiry of practice underway around the world by the College’s 20,000 alumni and others.

Who is this course for?

We would be delighted to receive your application whether you are coming directly from an undergraduate degree, taking time-out to study mid-career or wanting an opportunity to develop your understanding of a practice that is of great importance to all of our futures. We encourage applications from community practitioners and activists as well as planners, educators, architects, politicians and policy makers. You do not necessarily need a first degree in design to apply for this course. You only need to be enthusiastic, resilient and committed.

We are looking for enthusiastic agents of change who are ready to co-design new approaches to the way we live that are socially just and ecologically sustainable. We are looking for those prepared to take risks and stand on the cutting-edge of new practices in this area.

Schumacher College welcomes students from all over the world in a diverse mix of cultural experience and age that allows for rich peer- to- peer learning.

You Will Learn

  • The foundation of an ecological worldview through subjects such as ecology, deep ecology, systems thinking, complexity science and Gaia theory.
  • Living systems principles through the philosophy and practice of permaculture design, biophilia and biomimicry.
  • Creative and process-focused problem solving techniques by applying the methods and principles of design thinking
  • A multi-perspective appreciation of ethical issues and their implications for the future consequences of redesigning existing systems and creating new ones.
  • To apply ecological design thinking knowledge and skills to the design of social systems as a part of an emerging new economics
  • Personal and group enquiry practices to raise awareness of the interdependent relationship between the individual, society and nature and between theory and practice
  • Co-creative participatory practices and theoretical principles for new approaches to the ecological design process that include a range of stakeholders in the full lifecycle of projects, and you will apply these both in the studio, on the Dartington Hall Estate and in short placements on live projects

Special Features

An interdisciplinary programme integrating design methods with those of ecology and the social sciences.

An integrative design programme rooted in deep ecological understanding and practice and informed by cutting edge thinking in new economic approaches and social dynamics.

A balanced distribution of time and resources on skill-based and cognitive-based knowledge and between practice and theory.

Access to some of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners in design, Gaia theory, complexity, climate science, systems thinking, new economics and social change.

Short courses led by internationally recognised thinkers and researchers.

Short practical placements with a range of partner organisations operating at the leading edge of social innovation.

An immersive, integrative and transformational teaching and learning approach rooted in the principles established by Schumacher College and Dartington Hall, and engaged in a living and working community on and around the Dartington Estate in Devon.

Where you will go?

Ecological Design Thinking can be applied to a wide range of contexts, from the personal to the societal. This programme aims to create a new generation of designers, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, educators, researchers, consultants and activists. Graduates will have the skills and knowledge to work for sustainable change in the public and private sectors as well as in civil society, or to set up their own projects or organisations that will contribute to the transformation of society.



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Our Ecological Consultancy MSc gives you knowledge, specialised technical skills and professional awareness. It will prepare you for a career as an ecological consultant or in other environmental roles. Read more
Our Ecological Consultancy MSc gives you knowledge, specialised technical skills and professional awareness. It will prepare you for a career as an ecological consultant or in other environmental roles. The course has a professional focus, preparing you for the workplace.

We equip you with key skills which will enable you to pursue careers in ecology, including:
-Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing
-Experimental and survey design
-Wildlife surveying
-Wildlife legislation and natural history
-Environmental Impact Assessment

Graduates of this course have an excellent track record of gaining employment in the environmental sector. Within one year of graduation 18 of the 19 students from the 2011-12 cohort were employed, most in the environmental sector and the majority with ecological consultancy companies.

Examples of recent graduate destinations include students now working in ecological jobs for:
-Wardell-Armstrong
-Mott MacDonald
-BSG Ecology
-E3 Ecology

We provide a link to cutting-edge research that feeds into ecological consultancy, e.g.:
-Research projects on black grouse and wind farms. Paper in review with the Journal of Applied Ecology
-Noise and bird behaviour. Paper in revision in PLOS ONE
-Contracts for the Scottish Bird Wind Farm Steering Group. The class of 2013-14 helped collect data for one of these contracts. They were authors on the paper which is being written up on the data they collected.

Placements

Each Ecological Consultancy project runs in conjunction with an industrial client. These tend to be consultancies or NGOs, e.g.:
-E3 Ecology
-BSG Ecology
-Baker Consultants
-Denny Ecology
-Mott MacDonald
-RSPB
-Natural England
-IUCN
-Northumberland Natural History Society
-Durham Wildlife Trust

Ecological consultants contribute to the course via informal talks. For example, E3 Ecology run a workshop in induction week where company directors discuss how to get into the industry.

Practitioners with extensive UK wildlife legislation and wildlife management experience teach on some modules.

Accreditation

We are in the process of applying for accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM).

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Specifically the course will. ■ Provide knowledge in a wide range of applied ecological areas. ■ Underpin this with a sound understanding of the quantitative aspects of this field including statistical analysis, expert system design and population modelling. Read more
Specifically the course will:
■ Provide knowledge in a wide range of applied ecological areas.
■ Underpin this with a sound understanding of the quantitative aspects of this field including statistical analysis, expert system design and population modelling.
■ Provide taught elements linked to academic applied research groups.
■ Offer a rich research training through access to project supervisors with different expertise and disciplines.
■ Provide training in crucial transferable skills in writing, presenting, discussing scientific material.

The course

This MSc serves to reinforce the relevance of ecology to a broad range of applications and trains students to apply ecological tools and understanding in a wide variety of contexts. The course draws on and complements the established and highly regarded MSc programmes taught at Harper Adams. Along with core ecological training, students will be allowed to select modules from a number of the MSc courses running at Harper Adams, including Conservation and Forest Protection, Entomology, Integrated Pest Management, Rural Estate and Land Management and Sustainable Agriculture.

Specifically the course will:
■ Provide knowledge in a wide range of applied ecological areas.
■ Underpin this with a sound understanding of the quantitative aspects of this field including statistical analysis, expert system design and population modelling.
■ Provide taught elements linked to academic applied research groups.
■ Offer a rich research training through access to project supervisors with different expertise and disciplines.
■ Provide training in crucial transferable skills in writing, presenting, discussing scientific material.

How will it benefit me?

Having completed the course you will be able to recognize the major entomological groups worldwide, understand how to apply a logical framework to demonstrate management priorities in different environments and have an understanding of individual, population and community ecology. You will be able to assess the economic and environmental costs of ecological applications and evaluate their effectiveness.

You will also have a clear understanding of the remit and function of ecosystems and a detailed knowledge and understanding of the essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relevant to your chosen area of specialization. You will receive training in how to communicate your ideas and findings related to applied ecology to a range of audiences. Although there are some compulsory modules there is considerable flexibility enabling each student to focus on specialist subjects consistent with their interests and future career intentions

For the MSc, you will also be able to test hypotheses relevant to applied ecological research by designing, carrying out, analysing and interpreting experiments or surveys. Finally, you will learn to evaluate and interpret data and draw relevant conclusions from existing case studies.

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Ecological Economics focuses on how to make sustainability and environmental management work in practice by applying economic principles. Read more

Ecological Economics focuses on how to make sustainability and environmental management work in practice by applying economic principles.

This programme is run in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). Graduates with postgraduate training in this area are in greater demand than ever before in business, industry and government.

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Environment & Society Academy.

Programme structure

You will learn through lectures, group work, informal group discussion and individual study, as well as the spring study tour. After two semesters of taught courses, you will begin work on your individual dissertations. You will be able to choose from a wide selection of option courses to suit individual interests and career goals.

You will learn through lectures, group work, informal group discussion and individual study, as well as the spring study tour. After two semesters of taught courses, you will begin work on your individual dissertations. You will be able to choose from a wide selection of option courses to suit individual interests and career goals.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Foundations in Ecological Economics
  • Applications in Ecological Economics
  • Ecological Economics Field Methods in Research and Practice
  • Dissertation

Option courses previously available include:

In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of option courses^. We particularly recommend:

  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Marine Systems and Policies
  • Understanding Environment and Development
  • The Ecology of Ecosystem Services
  • Political Ecology
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Participation in Policy and Planning
  • Water Resource Management
  • Forests and Environment
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • Principles of GIS
  • Energy & Society I; Key Themes and Issues
  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Introduction To Spatial Analysis
  • Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
  • Frameworks to Assess Food Security
  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Encountering Cities
  • Development: Principles and Practices
  • Further Spatial Analysis
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • Interrelationships in Food Systems
  • Case Studies in Sustainable Development
  • Introduction to Environmental Modelling
  • Marine Infrastructure and Environmental Change
  • Ecosystem Service Values

^Courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change

Field trip

To experience and understand conflict between ecosystem conservation and human development needs at ground level, this programme typically includes a unique 7-10-day study tour, usually overseas and in the developing world (previous destinations have included South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania).

Career opportunities

Being able to identify ecological economic problems, and apply economic principles and methods to solve these problems is increasingly valued by employers.

Our graduates are working in a variety of sectors, including environmental consultancies; international and governmental agencies; NGOs; financial institutions; multinationals; environmental education and research.

Additionally around a quarter of our masters students go on to doctoral research programmes.

Student experience

Would you like to know what it’s really like to study at the School of GeoSciences?

Visit our student experience blog where you can find articles, advice, videos and ask current students your questions.



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The Master Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy (SEEP) is an innovative, internationally unique program that equips participants with the necessary theoretical background and factual information about the interconnected dynamics of economic and social systems and the physical environment. Read more
The Master Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy (SEEP) is an innovative, internationally unique program that equips participants with the necessary theoretical background and factual information about the interconnected dynamics of economic and social systems and the physical environment. The program also enables participants to use appropriate analytical tools to engage in decision processes and longer-term policy on multiple spatial levels.

Visit the website: https://www.wu.ac.at/en/programs/masters-programs/socio-ecological-economics-and-policy/overview/

Course detail

Rapid environmental change, population dynamics, poverty, and exclusion are interrelated processes that challenge human development. To tackle these complex issues, traditional disciplinary approaches to analysis and policy formulation are not sufficient. Instead, integrated and interdisciplinary approaches to studying the working of the human-environment system are needed. The Master Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy presents integrated approaches to development and human well-being that go beyond the usual polarization between socioeconomic development and environmental goals.

Purpose

The program offers training in socioeconomic analysis and focuses on the interfaces between environmental, economic and social challenges. This interdisciplinary and internationally oriented approach is based on three major pillars: theory, methodology, and application. The theory courses include concepts from a variety of disciplines, chosen for their relevance to global challenges. The methodological courses offer an integrated introduction to qualitative and quantitative methods and thus illustrate how they are best combined in empirical analyses. Relevance for policy making and organizational practice is emphasized throughout the program.

Our main focus lies on providing a thorough internationalization at the home university by attracting a diverse set of students from all over the world. The “international classroom at home” thus created is meant to allow students to experience foreign (academic) cultures, languages (especially English), and an international renowed faculty without having to leave the campus.

Format

The program offers four concentration areas of which you can choose two: Environment, Population, Multi-Level Policy and Social Policy.

- Semester 1 -

- Contemporary Global Policy Challenges
- Methodology for Interdisciplinary Research
- Growth, Well-Being, and Development
- International Institution, Governance, and Policy Evaluation
- Service Learning 1

- Semester 2 -

- Actors, Behaviors, and Decision Processes
- Qualitative and Quantitative Methods
- Service Learning 2

Concentration Area 1 and 2 – choice of two:

- Environment
- Population
- Multi-Level Policy
- Social Policy

- Semester 3 -

- Qualitative and Quantitative Methods 2

Concentration Area 1 and 2 – continuing the chosen two areas from 2nd semester:

- Environment
- Population
- Multi-Level Policy
- Social Policy

- Semester 4 -

- Research Seminar
- Master Thesis

Career Prospects

The program has been designed to provide students with the necessary understanding of global sustainability issues, an ability to work in interdisciplinary teams, and sound training in socio-economic concepts and methods.

The MSc program prepares graduates for:

- Employment as policy analysts, program managers, consultants, civil servants, project managers, and advisors who provide an insight into and support decision processes relating to sustainability issues by, for example, undertaking risk and uncertainty analyses in the social and environmental sectors; analyzing long-term developments relating to climate change, population development or aging in society; undertaking sustainability appraisals at company, regional or policy levels; helping design social, environmental, economic or educational policies; designing and facilitating participatory processes

- Working in international organizations, consultancies, companies, ministries, national and international NGOs, and research institutes where interdisciplinary skills and knowledge about the interactions of sustainability issues are needed

- Doctoral studies in the social sciences, in particular in economics, social policy, environmental studies and demography

How to apply: https://www.wu.ac.at/en/programs/masters-programs/socio-ecological-economics-and-policy/application-admission/

Funding

Information on funding and scholarships can be found at the following webpage: https://www.wu.ac.at/en/students/my-degree-program/masters-student-guide/grants-and-scholarships/

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This course provides both theoretical and hands on training in the application of ecological and evolutionary science to planning, monitoring, management and control. Read more
This course provides both theoretical and hands on training in the application of ecological and evolutionary science to planning, monitoring, management and control.

Based at Silwood Park Campus, an internationally renowned centre of excellence for ecological research, the course is run with outside partners such as:

The Biological Records Centre
The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
CABI
Syngenta
Surrey Wildlife Trust
Natural England
Thomson Ecology

This makes it of direct relevance to current applied research.

Each module is taught by a leading researcher in that field, focusing on the practical, quantitative and analytical skills desired by ecological employers in industry, the public sector and NGOs, or in preparing for a PhD in applied ecology.

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Join us for our. Master Open Day. to find out more about our courses. We are pleased to announce the creation of our new MSc Ecological Economics. Read more

Join us for our Master Open Day to find out more about our courses.

We are pleased to announce the creation of our new MSc Ecological Economics. The course is based in the School of Earth and Environment with some of the modules being taught by the Leeds University Business School.

It reflects a new approach to teaching economics that focuses on real-world problems and integrates a wide range of different perspectives.

Many of the most serious environmental and social problems that we face can be traced to root causes in our economic system.

On this course, you'll develop an understanding of how economic activity gives rise to environmental and social problems, and be introduced to the main tools to tackle them.

You'll join one of the largest and most renowned centres of ecological economics research in the world on a course that challenges conventional thinking and introduces a real-world approach to teaching economics.

You can combine modules that help you build strong conceptual foundations in sustainability with specialist modules in ecological, environmental, and heterodox economics.

The course is ideal if you have an interest in economic issues with a focus on their social and environmental consequences, but you don't need to have completed a previous degree in economics.

Course highlights

  • Study topics ranging from the value of ecosystem services to managing an economy without growth.
  • Learn analytical tools such as input-output analysis and dynamic system modelling.
  • Gain skills that are in demand by organisations ranging from government and academia to international NGOs and social enterprises, and have access to career opportunities through our vibrant alumni community.
  • Potentially carry-out your research dissertation project with a partner organisation. This collaborative arrangement is designed to help you to deliver research that generates a real-world impact, while at the same time creating high employment prospects. Please see the Career Opportunities section for a list of organisations you could possibly partner with.




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International Student Fees 2017/2018. Read more

International Student Fees 2017/2018

If you want to protect species against decline and extinction by working in either research, consultancy or conservation professions this programme gives you advanced skills in Ecology and linked subject areas such as Environmental Science, GIS, EIA and Catchment Management Planning. You attend a field research trip at Bettyhill on the North coast of Sutherland followed by training in plant ecology, animal population GIS design and analysis. You learn applied Ecology and conservation in an interdisciplinary context. Many environmental consultancies and government bodies require Ecologists as part of their environmental teams, and there are further charities and activist organisations which require Ecologists as part of their teams. The degree provides many useful and overlapping skills within environmental science such as EIA Environmental Impact Assessments. These are reports and studies used to determine issues and challenges to the natural environmental from economic development of all types.

You learn relevant skills environmental policy, legislation, risk assessment models, environmental analytical instrumentation and implementing models. Employment options may be within consultancies, regulators and NGOs. Regulation of economic impact on the natural world has never been so highlighted across the worlds media as it is now in terms of how to protect species and highlight decline.

Courses listed for the programme

Semester 1

  • Plant Ecology
  • Core Skills in Environmental Science
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Applications of GIS

Semester 2

  • Ecology, Conservation and Society
  • Catchment Management
  • Environmental Analysis
  • Ecological and Environmental Modelling
  • Land Use and the Change Environment on Deesside

Semester 3

  • Project in Environmental and Ecological Sciences

Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page

Why study at Aberdeen?

  • Environmental and Soil Science is rated within the top 10 in the UK at Aberdeen and the soil ecology group has been ranked No.1 for overall research excellence (REF 2014)
  • You are taught be established and renowned researchers with 50 years experience of teaching Ecology. Many graduates can be found in leadership professions in Ecology around the world.
  • You are invited to seminars, conferences and talks held at Aberdeen across the Environmental and Soil Science  disciplines and centres.

Where you study

  • University of Aberdeen
  • 12 Months Full Time or 24 Months Part Time
  • September start

International Student Fees 2017/2018

Find out about international fees:

  • International
  • EU and Scotland
  • Other UK

Find out more about fees on the programme page

*Please be advised that some programmes also have additional costs.

Scholarships

View all funding options on our funding database via the programme page and the latest postgraduate opportunities

Living in Aberdeen

Find out more about:

Your Accommodation

Campus Facilities

Find out more about living in Aberdeen and living costs



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The Postgraduate Certificate in Ecological Survey Techniques provides the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to conduct effective ecological field surveys for a range of key taxa and to analyse field survey data with confidence. Read more
The Postgraduate Certificate in Ecological Survey Techniques provides the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to conduct effective ecological field surveys for a range of key taxa and to analyse field survey data with confidence. The PGCert offers an effective blend of face-to-face, online and experiential learning, which ensures that specialist training can fit alongside busy work schedules and commitments.

The course is designed for a wide range of professionals needing to up-skill in environmental management, environmental assessment and biodiversity monitoring, including consultants, environmental managers and educators as well as volunteers and those looking to make a career change that are seeking flexible study combined with expert training. The course provides excellent opportunities to network and share practical experience and ideas.

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The course prepares students for careers in ecological management and conservation biology. Staff have a wide range of relevant interests, and students benefit from interactions with the government-university partnership Quercus (http://www.quercus.ac.uk/). Read more
The course prepares students for careers in ecological management and conservation biology. Staff have a wide range of relevant interests, and students benefit from interactions with the government-university partnership Quercus (http://www.quercus.ac.uk/).

The 5 modules are: Foundations; Professional Development (gives experience in local companies and organizations); Literature Review; Ecological Management and Conservation Biology (covering topics such as biodiversity action plans, conservation genetics, risk of invasions, environmental impact assessments, data handling and databasing, and species identification skills); 3-month Research Project.

Our graduates have an excellent record of finding employment in relevant jobs in governmental agencies and at environmental consultancies.

Up to date information on course fees can be found at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/sgc/finance/TuitionFees/

The University provides information on possible sources of awards which is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/graduateschool/PostgraduateFunding/

Additional information for International students

http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/StudyatQueens/InternationalStudents/

Applicants who are non-EEA nationals must satisfy the UK Border Agency (UKBA) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes, by providing evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

*Taken within the last 2 yrs.

Please see http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs for more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals.

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Global ecological change is occurring at a rapid rate and we are seeing an unprecedented spread of diseases, collapses in biodiversity and disruption to ecosystems. Read more

Global ecological change is occurring at a rapid rate and we are seeing an unprecedented spread of diseases, collapses in biodiversity and disruption to ecosystems. We aim to understand not just patterns in the natural environment, but the ecological and evolutionary factors that drive them, from the behaviour of individual organisms to population and whole community dynamics.

You will study the concepts and theories that will help you understand factors underpinning global ecology and evolutionary change, including modern techniques for environmental process research, invasive species ecology and conservation genetics. Students also learn techniques important for environmental policy and management and as such, our graduates are well placed to progress onto PhD research or careers in industry, consultancy and conservation. 

You will conduct your own substantive six-month research project, which may be jointly supervised by contacts from related institutes or within industry. Students also take part in a field course in Borneo - see photos from a recent trip on Flickr - giving you the opportunity to develop first hand experience of theory in action.

You will have access to advanced analytical research facilities at the Freshwater Biological Association's River Laboratory in Dorset through our River Communities Research Group. You will have the opportunity to conduct both fieldwork and lab projects at this site.

Programme highlights

  • Two-week tropical ecology field trip (currently in Borneo), as well as fieldwork in Dorset, UK
  • Modules that develop pure research and applied practical skills
  • Guest lectures by stakeholders and potential employers
  • Opportunities for research projects in UK and overseas, and in conjunction with collaborators such as the Institute of Zoology, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the Natural History Museum

Research and teaching

By choosing to study at a Russell Group university, you will have access to excellent teaching and top-class research. You can find out more about our research interests and view recent publications on the School of Biological and Chemical Science's Evolution and Genetics group page.

Structure

Your taught modules take place in blocks of two weeks of full-time teaching (normally 9am-5pm), followed by week-long study breaks for independent learning and coursework. This structure allows for an intensive learning experience, giving students the opportunity to immerse themselves in their subject.

This programme combines taught modules with individual and collaborative research projects. You will apply the knowledge and techniques from your taught modules in a practical setting and may be able to publish your project findings.

Taught modules

  • Ecological Theory and Applications: Look at the theory behind our understanding of ecological systems and how that theory can be applied to ecological problems in the real world. Starting with populations of a single species we will progress to understanding two-species interactions including predation, competition and parasitism and then to whole communities of interacting organisms. We will then study how ecological theory, used in concert with population genetics and evolutionary theory, can be applied to understanding ecological issues such as the conservation of small populations, harvesting natural populations and predicting responses to environmental change.
  • Ecosystem Structure and Function: Ecosystems are under continued and growing threat from human activity (e.g. habitat loss, invasive species and diffuse pollution) and if we seek to preserve them we need to understand how ecosystems function and how they respond to either enforced or natural change. Here we focus on the structural and functional elements of many ecosystems, from shallow lakes to tropical forests, with a particular focus on contrasting aquatic environments.
  • Statistics and Bioinformatics: Covers core statistics methods, within the R statistical computing environment. R has become the de facto environment for downstream data analysis and visualisation in biology, thanks to the hundreds of freely available R packages that allow biological data analysis solutions to be created quickly and reliably.
  • Research Frontiers in Evolutionary Biology: Explore the frontiers of research in evolutionary biology. Topics covered will include: incongruence in phylogenetic trees, neutral versus selective forces in evolution, the origin of angiosperms, the origin of new genes, the evolution of sociality, the significance of whole genome duplication and hybridisation. Current methods being used to tackle these areas will be taught, with an emphasis on DNA sequence analysis and bioinformatics.
  • Tropical field course - usually in Borneo; see photos from a recent trip on Flickr. Topics will encompass aspects of taxonomy, ecology, biogeography, conservation and evolution. Specific areas of content will include ecological processes in tropical rainforests (decomposition, pollination and seed dispersal); rainforest structure and defining characteristics (including the importance of rainforests as centres of biodiversity) and anthropogenic factors affecting rainforests (including disturbance, forest fragmentation and agriculture). There will be strong emphasis on practical training. In particular, students will be trained in a range of survey methods covering diverse terrestrial and aquatic taxonomic groups. The module will also provide training in data collection, analysis and presentation.
  • Science, Policy and Management: Here a broad spectrum of human environmental impacts and their mitigation will be explored. The first half of the module will bring the student ‘face to face’ with potential regulators, practitioners and potential employers (typically Defra, EA, Natural England) through a series of guest lectures. These topics are then explored and summarised through an unpacking and feedback workshop. The second half is field based with current practitioners working directly in the field of bioassessment and biomonitoring. National and international legislation and directives are introduced through a series of ‘Case Studies’ to look at the link between successful science and policy.

Research module

  • Research project (90 credits)

Part-time study

You can take the MSc over two years via studying part-time; you should aim to register for 50% of taught modules per year. You can discuss the exact combination of modules with the programme director, Dr Christophe Eizaguirre

Projects can also be undertaken over a two-year period, subject to finding an approved schedule of work which equates to the same time requirements as a full-time MSc. You may also enrol on a Postgraduate Certificate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (60 credits), which is comprised of four taught modules.



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Ecologists and evolutionary biologists now routinely use next-generation DNA sequencing in their research, and graduates who are skilled in both genome analysis as well as ecology and evolution are rare. Read more

Ecologists and evolutionary biologists now routinely use next-generation DNA sequencing in their research, and graduates who are skilled in both genome analysis as well as ecology and evolution are rare. Genome-enabled approaches are helping rapidly to advance our understanding of the dynamic relationship between genotype, phenotype and the environment.

Our programme will give you cross-disciplinary skills in a rare combination of areas of expertise, from bioinformatics and evolutionary inference to computational biology and fieldwork.

You will be taught by researchers who apply genomic methods to a wide range of issues in ecology and evolution, from bat food-webs and genome evolution to microbial biodiversity in natural and engineered ecosystems. For example, Professor Steve Rossiter carries out world-leading research on bat genome evolution; Dr Yannick Wurm has discovered a social chromosome in fire-ants; and Dr China Hanson is using genetic methods to study microbial biogeography. This means that teaching on our programme is informed by the latest developments in this field, and your individual research project can be at the forefront of current scientific discovery. 

You will conduct your own substantive six-month research project, which may be jointly supervised by contacts from related institutes or within industry. You will also take part in a field course in Borneo - see photos from a recent trip on Flickr - giving you the opportunity to develop first hand experience of theory in action.

Programme highlights

  • Work with leading researchers in environmental genomics - learn more on the Evolution and Genetics research group page 
  • Two-week tropical ecology field trip (currently to Borneo)
  • Strong foundation for careers in consultancy, environmental policy and management or research
  • Strong foundation for PhD training in any area of genomics, ecology or evolution

Research and teaching

By choosing to study at a Russell Group university you will have access to excellent teaching and top class research. You can find out more about our research interests and view recent publications on the School of Biological and Chemical Science's Evolution and Genetics group page.

Structure

This MSc programme combines taught modules with individual and collaborative research projects. You will apply the knowledge and techniques from your taught modules in a practical setting and may be able to publish your project findings.

If you have any questions about the content or structure, contact the programme director Dr Christophe Eizaguirre.

Taught modules

  • Genome Bioinformatics: Covers the essential aspects of next generation sequence (NGS) analysis, including genome assembly, variant calling and transcriptomics. Also covers essential computer skills needed for bioinformatics, such as Linux and using our high performance computing cluster.
  • Coding for scientists: Assuming no prior programming knowledge, teaches you how to program in Python, using biological examples throughout. Python is one of the most popular languages in the bioinformatics community, and understanding Python provides the perfect foundation for learning other languages such as Perl, Ruby and Java.
  • Statistics and bioinformatics: Covers core statistics methods, within the R statistical computing environment. R has become the de facto environment for downstream data analysis and visualisation in biology, thanks to the hundreds of freely available R packages that allow biological data analysis solutions to be created quickly and reliably.
  • Post-genomics bioinformatics: Introduces techniques that have developed as a consequence of developments in genomics (i.e. transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, structural biology and systems biology) with particular emphasis on the data analysis aspects. Practicals cover the popular Galaxy framework, advanced R, and machine learning.
  • Research frontiers in evolutionary biology: Exploring the frontiers of research in evolutionary biology. Topics covered will include: incongruence in phylogenetic trees, neutral versus selective forces in evolution, the origin of angiosperms, the origin of new genes, the evolution of sociality, the significance of whole genome duplication and hybridisation. Current methods being used to tackle these areas will be taught, with an emphasis on DNA sequence analysis and bioinformatics.

Research modules

  • Evolutionary/Ecological Analysis/Software Group Project module: Students are organised into small teams (3-4 members per team). Each team is given the same genomic or transcriptomic data set that must be analysed by the end of the module. Each team must design an appropriate analysis pipeline, with specific tasks assigned to individual team members. This module serves as a simulation of a real data analysis environment, providing invaluable experience for future employability.
  • Individual Research Project (50 per cent of the programme)


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The Ecology and the Environment master’s programme prepares students to work with the management of ecosystems, ecological communities and populations, based on a thorough knowledge of ecological concepts and theories. Read more

The Ecology and the Environment master’s programme prepares students to work with the management of ecosystems, ecological communities and populations, based on a thorough knowledge of ecological concepts and theories.

The programme has a critical scientific approach to ecology and its applications in society. Students acquire training in practical areas such as experiment design, data interpretation, ecological fieldwork and theoretical modelling, both in a classroom setting and through fieldwork.

There is a strong focus on the practical application of ecological knowledge in society. You learn about environmental and natural resource management, and how it is implicated by various stakeholders. Courses cover population ecology, community ecology and ecology systems theories, including their relationship to current environmental problems. Furthermore, the programme has an internship period and a course that focuses on ecological decision support for forestry and agriculture.

One-year thesis project

The key part of the programme is a one-year master’s project in which students apply their theoretical and methodological knowledge. The project can be linked to current research projects at the Division of Biology in subjects such as conservation ecology, ecology of shallow waters, design and management of treatment wetlands, spatio-temporal ecology, and population and community ecology. Alternatively, the master’s project can be conducted at a university or research institute abroad, in a field such as tropical ecology or ecological engineering.

Emphasis on mathematical models

This programme also emphasises the need for mathematical models and statistical analyses to address complex ecological and environmental problems. Typical applications are in helping to identify crop management strategies for effective biological control, understanding the impact of life-history strategies on the risk of population extinction in a varying environment, and evaluating the preservation status of nature reserves and how they should be managed.



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he contribution of mathematical and computational modelling to the understanding of biological systems has rapidly grown in recent years. Read more
he contribution of mathematical and computational modelling to the understanding of biological systems has rapidly grown in recent years. This discipline encompasses a wide range of life science areas, including ecology (e.g. population dynamics), epidemiology (e.g. spread of diseases), medicine (e.g. modelling cancer growth and treatment) and developmental biology.

This programme aims to equip students with the necessary technical skills to develop, analyse and interpret models applied to biological systems. Course work is supported by an extended and supervised project in life science modelling.

Students will take a total of 8 courses, 4 in each of the 1st and 2nd Semesters followed by a 3-month Project in the summer. A typical distribution for this programme is as follows:

Core courses

Modelling and Tools;
Mathematical Ecology;
Dynamical Systems;
Mathematical Biology and Medicine.

Optional Courses

Optimization;
Numerical Analysis of ODEs;
Applied Mathematics;
Statistical Methods;
Stochastic Simulation;
Partial Differential Equations;
Numerical Analysis;
Geometry;
Climate Change: Causes and Impacts;
Biologically Inspired Computation;
Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation Measures.

Typical project subjects

Population Cycles of Forest Insects;
Modelling Invasive Tumour Growth;
The replacement of Red Squirrels by Grey Squirrels in the UK;
Wiring of Nervous System;
Vegetation Patterning in Semi-arid Environments;
Daisyworld: A Simple Land Surface Climate Model.

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This unique transdisciplinary course, open to people from all backgrounds, offers a special focus on contemporary social sculpture, ecological citizenship, connective eco-social practices, cultural activism, expanded art practices and transformative, creative action. Read more
This unique transdisciplinary course, open to people from all backgrounds, offers a special focus on contemporary social sculpture, ecological citizenship, connective eco-social practices, cultural activism, expanded art practices and transformative, creative action. It enables you to explore strategies of engagement, agency and the relationship between imagination and transformation. The programme also makes special reference to the proposals and legacies of Joseph Beuys, Schiller and Goethe, as well as other pedagogies of transformation such as Joanna Macy's and Paulo Freire's. It introduces theoretical and philosophical frameworks, with a special emphasis on phenomenology and experiential knowing; explores the relationship of social sculpture to ecological sustainability and offers practice-based research methodologies and creative strategies as the basis for developing individual and collaborative social sculpture processes, interdisciplinary expanded arts and reflective social practice.

The MA is Social Sculpture is, with the MA in Sound Arts, one of two taught postgraduate courses for socially-engaged artists, composers and transdisciplinary practitioners currently offered by the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes University. These MAs share two core modules in Creative Strategies and Phenomenological Methods of practice-based work. These shared modules enable cross-pollination and potential for collaboration between social sculpture and connective practice practitioners and those working in the field of sound arts. The MA in Social Sculpture is linked to the Social Sculpture Research Unit and is part of a thriving post-graduate research culture. There are opportunities to volunteer in social sculpture projects like University of the Trees: Lab for an Eco-Social Future.

Why choose this course?

The MA in Social Sculpture is an internationally renowned programme, running since 2006, linked to the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Oxford Brookes. A dedicated team of international specialists and emerging practitioners delivers innovative cross-disciplinary and socially-engaged creative practices that many students have described as 'life changing'.

-Participating in a community of dialogue and reflection: the unique 'Feedback Forum' approach which runs throughout the programme replaces the traditional art-school 'crit', offering a radical, supportive and creative form of feedback on your work. Another special feature is the regular MA Forum, in which students and staff meet to discuss creative practice in a supportive and stimulating environment. It also offers fortnightly individual tutorials and small group supervision.
-Coherent and unique teaching approach: a carefully sequenced set of modules enable you to uncover, explore and develop your own concerns within the field of contemporary social sculpture, creative cultural action and other interdisciplinary connective practices.
-Research culture and opportunities beyond the programme: MA Social Sculpture students are welcome to participate in 7 day-long 'PhD Social Sculpture Fora' per year. This is part of a stimulating environment where tutors, alumni, research fellows and student interns work closely together in the Social Sculpture Research Unit, and in projects like University of the Trees: Lab for New Knowledge and an Eco-Social Future.
-Based in the School of Arts' beautiful Richard Hamilton Building: situated very close to the city centre in a wooded landscape and arboretum, it offers excellent technical support; well-equipped workshops in video, photography, sound, artists books, printmaking and a variety of 3-D processes; a well- equipped library with materials appropriate to our programme and dedicated support for practice-based research students. There is bookable installation space, a group studio base and 24/7 studio access.
-Wider context: research and teaching programmes in the School of Arts are linked to some of Oxford’s leading cultural organisations such as Modern Art Oxford, and the annual Social Sculpture Festival of MA student work takes place in an around Oxford, using accessible local venues as a hub. You are encouraged to make links with local communities and social and ecological organisations as well as being able to design certain projects related to their home contexts. Once you graduate from the programme you have the opportunity to participate in the annual Social Sculpture Platform which is open to the public.

This course in detail

MA in Social Sculpture students take five compulsory modules - Creative Strategies 1 and 2, Social Sculpture 1 and 2 and a Major Project - in which they develop their particular concerns.

PGDip in Social Sculpture students take four compulsory modules - Creative Strategies 1 and 2 and Social Sculpture 1 and 2.

Teaching and learning

Our teaching methods include:
-Seminars and lectures on interdisciplinary creative practice, practice-based research, phenomenological root methodologies and social sculpture.
-Team teaching in group seminars, involving research methodologies for practice-based research.
-Feedback from staff and students during group feedback sessions, in which you receive constructive feedback on your work.
-Staff-led group discussions arising out of practical presentations.
-Regular individual tutorials that address your research concerns.
-Introductions to creative strategies for generating and making practice-based social sculpture and other forms of connective cultural action and reflective social practice.
-Introductions to the School of Arts technical facilities.
-Induction sessions with subject librarians.

The learning methods include:
-Regular forums where staff and students formulate and articulate responses to work.
-Social sculpture and interdisciplinary creative practice presentations.
-Presentations of practical research.
-The researching and writing of reflective reports, assignments and self-evaluations.
-Private research and study.
-Presentations to peers and group feedback via the 'feedback forum' approach to 'reception theory' in practice.

Careers and professional development

In this unique programme graduates develop excellent creative capacities and new ways of thinking that enable them to identify and develop interdisciplinary arenas and contexts for public engagement with specific communities, organisations and other constituencies.

A strong aspect of the programme is the way it enables graduates to return to existing professions and contexts in new ways: as interdisciplinary practitioners with insightful understandings, greatly enhanced imaginal capacities and knowledge of new forms of reflective and interdisciplinary connective practice.

Many Social Sculpture graduates continue as social sculpture practitioners or eco-cultural activists, whilst others develop careers related to their knowledge, expertise or interests, for example within organisational change, social enterprise programmes, festival management, tertiary education, agro-ecology, arts administration; arts and music teaching, medical humanities, educators and practitioners in arts for health, promoting ecological citizenship, community cross artform work and as sustainability activists.

These diverse career possibilities have much to do with the close relationship between the content and the pedagogic approaches offered on the MA Social Sculpture programme with its focus on experiential knowing, active citizenship and connective practices.

Combining the rigour of a traditional academic programme with innovative practical and vocational components makes graduates well placed for roles as practitioners as well as for further research in territory that includes the arts and sustainability, ecological citizenship, individual and community change processes, cultural and ecological activism and the field of contemporary social sculpture and connective aesthetics.

The methodologies taught also enable new forms of interdisciplinary and postdisciplinary practice and research.

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