Ecology and evolutionary biology offer a perspective on biology from the level of genes to communities of species.
In the master's degree program, you can become familiar with a wide variety of topics in three areas: ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation biology. You can choose studies from any of these areas, as well as from other master's degree programmes. The programme is diverse and multidisciplinary: teaching is done with lectures, laboratory and computer training courses, interactive seminars, study tours and field courses. The field courses range from the northern subarctic region to tropical rainforests.
Our wide expertise extends from molecular ecology to population and community biology. The Centres of Excellence of Metapopulation Biology and Biological Interactions are located in our department.
Our programme offers you a wide range of options: evolutionary biology or genetics for those interested in ecological genetics and genomics, as well as the ability to take advantage of the high-quality molecular ecology and systematics laboratory; conservation biology for those interested in regional or global environmental problems; and ecological modelling skills for those interested in computational biology. Our training also offers Behavioural Ecology.
Ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation biology are not only fascinating topics for basic research, they also have a key role in addressing global environmental challenges.
Upon graduating from the Master's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology programme, you will:
Further information about the studies on the Master's programme website.
The Master's degree program includes studies of ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation biology. The studies are organised in modules. You can affect the content of the studies by planning your personal curriculum. You can study the following themes:
Biodiversity, evolution and conservation are of growing importance due to climate change, extinction, and habitat destruction. This new research-led programme is run in collaboration with the Institute of Zoology and the Natural History Museum, providing a rigorous training and unparalleled opportunities across the full breadth of pure and applied research in evolutionary, ecological, and conservation science.
Taught modules will focus on cutting-edge quantitative tools in ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics, bioinformatics, systematics, palaeobiology, conservation, biogeography and environmental biology. Seminars, journal clubs and the two research projects will provide students with diverse opportunities for experience at UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment & Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of three core taught modules (60 credits) and two 16-week research projects (120 credits).
All students undertake two 6000-word, 16-week research projects, which each culminate in a written dissertation, and poster or oral presentation.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of seminars, presentations, assigned papers, as well as data analysis and interpretation. The seminar series includes mandatory seminars at UCL, the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Zoology (Zoological Society of London). Assessment is through essays, project reports, presentations and practicals. The two research projects are assessed by dissertation, and poster or oral presentation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation MRes
This programme offers students a strong foundation with which to pursue careers in academic research, environmental policy and management, applied conservation, public health, or scientific journalism.
Recent career destinations for this degree
This programme provides students with a strong foundation to pursue careers in academic research, environmental policy and management, applied conservation, public health, or scientific journalism.
Interested in a PhD? Find out about London NERC DTP
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
This programme is an innovative collaboration between three globally renowned organisations: UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment & Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London.
By consolidating research expertise across these three organisations, students will gain a unique and exceptionally broad understanding of ties among different fields of research relating to the generation and conservation of biodiversity.
The MRes offers diverse research opportunities; these include the possibility of engaging actively in fundamental and applied research and participating in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (based at the Natural History Museum) or the EDGE of Existence programme (based at the Zoological Society of London).
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Biosciences
82% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
This course is designed to prepare you for a career in conservation, or for further research at PhD level. If you’re already an established conservation professional, our modules provide additional skills to support you to progress in your employment.
Distinct from similar courses offered in the UK, the course concentrates on the biological principles underlying biodiversity, its assessment and management. You’ll learn to identify plants and animals, explore the institutional framework underlying biodiversity and conservation and gain key analytical and practical skills for a range of academic and professional careers. You’ll also gain valuable experience in biodiversity and conservation-related research.
The University of Leeds has twice been recognised by the European Union as a "centre of excellence" for biodiversity and conservation training. We believe biodiversity can only be managed and conserved when it can be measured and interpreted properly.
This degree offers you a wide range of options, allowing you to personalise your study in preparation for further academic research or professional development in the field.
We’ll equip you with a diverse set of skills needed for ecological careers and further research. The course combines theory-based modules on the principles of ecology and conservation with a wide range of practical skills-based modules. These include survey, management and identification skills, where the emphasis is on spending time in the field, and analytical skills such as statistics and GIS.
The independent research project is one of the most important and potentially fulfilling parts of the degree. Projects cover a wide range of topics and usually include around six to eight weeks of practical work. A number of our students have been based overseas for their project.
If you study part time, the course will last for two years and you’ll study around half of the total number of modules each year.
MSc or MRes – what’s the difference?
MRes students have fewer taught modules, and carry out two major research projects rather than one. The MSc is the broader course, suitable for both conservation careers and PhD study, while most students taking the MRes are planning to go on to do a PhD. The MSc allows students to widen their skills base through the additional taught elements that are available. An increasing number of students treat the MSc as a conversion course, after having taken degrees in non-biological subjects.
The course is made up of modules that add up to 180 credits, with a mix of compulsory and optional modules. These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
You’ll have access to the very best learning resources and academic support during your studies. We’ve been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2017), demonstrating our commitment to delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.
Your learning will be heavily influenced by the University’s world-class research as well as our strong links with highly qualified professionals from industry, non-governmental organisations and charities.
You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including formal lectures, interactive workshops, problem-solving, practical classes and demonstrations.
Through your research project and biodiversity and conservation modules, you’ll receive substantial subject-specific training. Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop you into a professional who is able to think independently, solve problems, communicate effectively and demonstrate a high level of practical ability.
As an MSc student, you’ll carry out one research project. The range of project topics is large and diverse, covering applied, empirical and theoretical subjects. Projects can be carried out in the UK or overseas: projects have been carried out in over twenty countries so far, and this year alone we have projects in Belize, Thailand, Greece, Bermuda and Morocco.
There are many opportunities to develop valuable practical skills through modules such as Practical Conservation with the National Trust, Insect Identification, Plant Identification, and by overseas field courses within Europe and Africa (see field courses) and research project work. You can also build your analytical skills, with modules in GIS and statistics.
Leeds is one of the best locations geographically to study Biodiversity and Conservation. You’ll be within easy reach of three areas of great natural beauty and dramatic scenery; Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire Moors and the Peak District – providing you with a wide range of project and fieldwork opportunities.
We use a variety of assessment methods: practical work, data handling and problem solving exercises, group work, computer-based simulation, essays, posters and oral presentations.
Specialist and transferable skills are key component of our degrees, opening up diverse opportunities for our graduates. A proportion of both MSc and MRes graduates go on to study for a PhD and enter a research career. Many graduates go on to a career in an applied ecology or conservation-related area. Potential employers look for academic qualifications in combination with practical skills and experience, and a relevant MSc course can give you the edge in a highly competitive field.
Please visit the website for more details regarding career opportunities and support.