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Masters Degrees (Plant Taxonomy)

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With only a small percentage of the planet's diversity formally described by science, it is more important than ever to train a new generation of taxonomists who will go on to describe, understand and conserve biodiversity. Read more
With only a small percentage of the planet's diversity formally described by science, it is more important than ever to train a new generation of taxonomists who will go on to describe, understand and conserve biodiversity.

Of critical shortage are skilled scientists in plant and fungal taxonomy, scientists that underpin much bioscience, nature conservation, plant breeding work, as well as underpinning the development of environmental policy. This course delivers vital training to fill that skill shortage. The course will provide training in plant and fungal identification skills, in combination with a thorough grounding in molecular systematics, evolutionary biology, and conservation policy, theory and practice.

Collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

This MSc course is delivered in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and you will be based there for some of your teaching. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was founded in 1759, and has the largest and most diverse collections of plant and fungal specimens and associated biodiversity databases in the world. The combination of extensive specimen collections, databases, and scientific research conducted on a global scale is unique, and means that Kew plays a leading role in facilitating greater access to basic plant information, underpinning science and conservion activities worldwide.

Other taught modules will be based at Queen Mary, Mile End campus. You will also take a fieldwork module based in Madagascar.

Research

Queen Mary and Kew have a number of long-established research links, and these have led to research papers in leading science journals such as 'Science, Trends in Plant Science', 'Trends in Ecology and Evolution', and 'Plant Journal'.

You will be taught by world-leading experts, internationally recognised for cutting edge research in plant and fungal sciences, applying new technologies to answer fundamental questions about the diversity of plant and fungal life on the planet, how it evolved and how we can best conserve it.

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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. Read more

Programme description

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).

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.

Programme structure

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.

Courses
Conservation and Sustainability
Taxonomy and Plant Collections
Biodiversity of Angiosperms
Evolution of Cryptogams and Fungi
Evolution of Angiosperms
Plant Geography
Phylogenetics and Population Genetics
Biodiversity of Cryptogams and Fungi

Research:
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.

Career opportunities

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.

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Join the growers and activists at the forefront of a revolution in food production. This programme is delivered at Schumacher College, Dartington, Devon. Read more
Join the growers and activists at the forefront of a revolution in food production.

This programme is delivered at Schumacher College, Dartington, Devon..

Programme structure

This MSc brings together the thinking, research and practice at the cutting-edge of a global food revolution. Drawing from many different projects and schools of thought around the world, and looking at the roles of large-scale food production, biotechnology, ‘human scale’ horticulture and botanical diversity, our starting point is natural systems.

How can we work with nature and biological cycles to improve our horticultural production? And how do we do it without increasing environmental degradation, climate change or consumption of finite resources?

We offer you a unique and transformative blend of academic and practical learning opportunities from Schumacher College, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), Organic Research Centre (Elm Farm) and Plymouth University.

Programme content

• Science, systems and sustainability
• Resource use in socio-ecological systems
• Research methods
• Plant science and production
• Design and practices in horticulture
• Ethnobotany and plant taxonomy
• Food systems in the post-carbon world
• New food economy

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MPhil students must submit a dissertation for examination within the maximum period of their study. All graduate students attend induction and safety training courses in the department. Read more
MPhil students must submit a dissertation for examination within the maximum period of their study. All graduate students attend induction and safety training courses in the department. As well as undertaking your research, you will attend courses and lectures on some of the following: instrumentation, sequencing and database use, statistics, experimental design, analysing data, writing reports and a dissertation, introduction to MIMAS (a national data centre run by the University of Manchester), and how to give effective scientific presentations. Termly reports are provided on your work.

The course enables students to initiate careers in a wide range of disciplines including plant genetic engineering, plant development, plant molecular biology, plant biophysics, plant biochemistry, plant-microbe interactions, algal microbiology, plant ecology, crop biology, plant virology, plant epigenetics, epidemiology, plant taxonomy, plant physiology, eco physiology and bioinformatics.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/blpsmpbsc

Course detail

For students wishing to continue on to the PhD the MPhil provides suitable foundations. For students not wishing to continue the MPhil provides specialist training in scientific methodology relevant to the project subject area and based on the expertise of the supervisor and research group. This training also enables students from other scientific areas to proceed in a career in Plant Sciences and other allied areas. General training is also available and includes courses and lectures in instrumentation, sequencing and database use, statistics, experimental design, analysing data, writing reports and a dissertation, introduction to MIMAS (a national data centre run by the University of Manchester), and how to give effective scientific presentations.

Format

The Department has the overriding aim to provide all its Graduate Students with every opportunity for a broad education and a compatible environment in which they may complete a PhD or MPhil successfully. The Department will aim to provide guidance and, where appropriate, the facilities to allow Graduate Students to develop a number of different skills including:

- Research methodologies and the process of research including quantitative and qualitative methods and data analysis; project planning and management
- The effective use of learning resources including library and information technology
- Personal skills including oral and written communication, time management and team work skills, professional development and the preparation of curriculum vitae and employment applications
- A broad knowledge of the discipline in which the Student is working
- Technical training to enable the Student to undertake their research work effectively and efficiently
- Professional presentations

After the end of each term, the Graduate Education Committee will ask for a brief report on your progress from your Supervisor. This information will be made available to you and you will be invited to respond to comments made in a termly self-assessment. This will allow you to review your own progress and to highlight any difficulties you feel you are facing.

Assessment

A submission of a Masters dissertation, with a word limit of 20,000 words, is required within 12 months from a student's registration date.

A viva voce examination of the dissertation will normally then take place.

Continuing

On successfully passing their MPhil, students are welcome to apply to continue to a PhD. Continuation is dependent on the approval of the receiving Department and Degree Committee.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

Individual supervisors may hold grant linked or CASE studentships. It is best to contact supervisors directly to inquiry into availability.

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

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The programme includes the following profiles. This profile introduces students into the study of animal and plant development, microbiology, cell signaling pathways, cytoskeleton dynamics, cancer biology, virology and immunology. Read more
The programme includes the following profiles:

Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology

This profile introduces students into the study of animal and plant development, microbiology, cell signaling pathways, cytoskeleton dynamics, cancer biology, virology and immunology. Courses of this profile span multiple levels of biological organization, from whole organisms down to the molecular level. Students choosing this profile not only receive up-to-date knowledge on these topics but also acquire the laboratory skills required to engage in cutting-edge research.

Environment, Biodiversity and Ecosystems

This profile allows students to gain experience in the research methods used to study the evolution and ecology of organisms found in terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystems. A staff of experts teaches up-to-date knowledge on individual organisms, populations, species communities and ecosystems, backed up by their active research experience in taxonomy and phylogeny, vertebrate and invertebrate ecology, evolutionary ecology, biogeography, plant ecology, plant-animal interactions, and nature management. In addition, students are introduced into ecological research by means of practical field training and excursions in Belgium and abroad.

Herpetology

This unique profile addresses biology students with a passion for amphibians and reptiles. An international team of visiting scientists organizes lectures on diversity, ecology, physiology, behavior, evolution and conservation biology and prepares students for a professional career in herpetology. Ecological and herpetological field courses in European and tropical countries form an important part of this programme. As a student, you will be in a stimulating environment, with fellow students and top-experts sharing your passion. For more information, have a look at http://www.herpetology.be.

Human Ecology

This profile focuses on the interaction between humans and their natural environment. The increasing impact of the human population on ecosystems worldwide stresses the urgent need for researchers with a multidisciplinary background, that engage in developmental plans for a durable use and management of natural resources. The profile Human Ecology addresses an international audience of students and offers a course programme that, besides scientific topics, also addresses technological, socio-economical and political aspects. For more information, have a look at http://www.humanecology.be.

EMMC Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems

The world faces a crisis risking extinction of species through global warming. Due to impact of e.g., changes in land use and destruction of habitats, tropical rain forests, mangrove forests and coral reefs are disappearing and with them ecosystem functions, goods and services on which human populations are dependent. In order to conserve nature, to manage or even to restore tropical biodiversity and ecosystems, we must understand patterns of tropical biodiversity, study how organisms interact with their environment and how they respond to perturbations and change. Next to research, this is dealt with in this unique masters programme. http://www.tropimundo.eu

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Ethnobotany is essentially interdisciplinary, involving knowledge of plants and their ecology in the context of their cultural, social and economic significance. Read more
Ethnobotany is essentially interdisciplinary, involving knowledge of plants and their ecology in the context of their cultural, social and economic significance.

Ethnobotany is the study of the interrelationship between people and plants, particularly the way in which plants impact on human culture and practices, how humans have used and modified plants, and how they represent them in their systems of knowledge. This programme combines anthropological studies of human-environment interaction and sociocultural knowledge of plants in different parts of the world with ecology, conservation science, environmental law and biodiversity management. It also covers plant conservation and sustainable management practices, taxonomy, and economic botany.

The programme is taught collaboratively with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (a World Heritage Site).

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/189/ethnobotany

Why study with us?

- One-year Master's programme.

- First programme of its kind in the world and only graduate course in UK and Europe.

- Study with the largest research group for Ethnobotany in Europe.

- More than 25% of our graduates complete PhD programmes.

- Integrates field methods with theoretical perspectives.

- Jointly taught with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and partners with The London School of Pharmacy, The Eden Project and the Endangered Languages Archive at SOAS.

- Research active lecturers, recognised as being world-leading and internationally excellent (REF2014), with wide geographical expertise.

- Field trips to the ancient woodlands of the Blean, the Powell-Cotton Museum and the Eden Project.

Applicants might also be interested in reading more about the Annual Distinguished Ethnobotanist Lecture (http://www.kent.ac.uk/sac/events/lectures-seminars/ethnobotany-lecture/index.html) and our Ethnobotanical Garden (http://www-test.kent.ac.uk/sac/research/research-centres/ethnobotany_garden.html).

This programme draws on the combined strengths of three academic centres. At the University of Kent, the Centre for Biocultural Diversity (http://www.kent.ac.uk/sac/research/research-centres/cbcd/) has pioneered research and teaching in ethnobotany and human ecology; it has been rated excellent for teaching, and its work in anthropological approaches to the environment flagged for excellence in the most recent HEFCE Research Assessment Exercise.

Careers

The School has a very good record for postgraduate employment and academic continuation. Studying anthropology, you develop an understanding of the complexity of all actions, beliefs and discourse by acquiring strong methodological and analytical skills. Anthropologists are increasingly being hired by companies and organisations that recognise the value of employing people who understand the complexities of societies and organisations.

As a School recognised for its excellence in research we are one of the partners in the South East Doctoral Training Centre, which is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This relationship ensures that successful completion of our courses is sufficient preparation for research in the various fields of social anthropology. Many of our students go on to do PhD research. Others use their Master’s qualification in employment ranging from research in government departments to teaching to consultancy work overseas.

Since 1998 we have trained nearly 150 students through our MSc programme. More than 25% of these have moved on to undertake research degrees in some area of ethnobotany (for example, Kent, Oxford, Sussex, Vienna, Florida, Tulane, British Columbia, McGill), or have taken up positions which utilise their training and knowledge, for example, in NGOs such as the Global Diversity Foundation, at the Harvard Museum of Economic Botany, conservation education, at various Botanical Gardens around the world (for example, Kew, Edinburgh, New York, Auckland, Beirut), at the United Nations Environment Programme, and in the pharmaceutical industry. Some have gone on to work in universities or start their own organisations and businesses.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

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The disciplines of ecology and evolutionary biology involve complementary perspectives on biological systems. Individual and collaborative research within the department covers the range of both disciplines and often involves study and synthesis across multiple levels of organization. Read more
The disciplines of ecology and evolutionary biology involve complementary perspectives on biological systems. Individual and collaborative research within the department covers the range of both disciplines and often involves study and synthesis across multiple levels of organization. Professors' research interests include anatomy/physiology, behaviour, behaviour genetics, bioinformatics, community/population/ecosystem/landscape/evolutionary ecology, conservation biology, developmental biology, genetics/genomics, microbiology, molecular evolution, plant biology, taxonomy/systematics, and theoretical biology. Professors who supervise graduate students are located on all three campuses of the University (St. George, Mississauga, Scarborough) as well as at the Royal Ontario Museum.

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