Masters degrees in Behavioural Biology explore the behavioural strategies which organisms employ in response to influences from their natural environment, to maximise survival. This includes training postgraduates in the advanced study of social and reproductive behaviour, foraging patterns, predator response, communication, and migration.
Research programmes such as MRes and MPhil courses are highly popular in this field, though taught MSc degrees are also available.
Degrees in this area do not always explore the typical ‘nature versus nurture’ approach. Masters courses in this field allow you to engage with a range of specialisms in human and animal behaviour. Most degrees offer multidisciplinary approaches, drawing on theory from the humanities and social sciences as well as biological and chemical sciences.
Careers in this field are highly varied and will depend on where your interests lie. If you decide to focus on human behaviour, you may work towards a career in the justice system, education, or social work and counselling. If animal science is your preferred route, you could work towards careers in zoo keeping, conservation, and breeding programmes.
A Masters in Behavioural Biology is also excellent preparation for further research at PhD level.
Learning how to make new discoveries that will contribute to a better understanding of normal and dysfunctional human behaviour and how to influence that behaviour.
Have you always wanted to discover what it is that makes people tick? Do you have questions about human behaviour that have not yet been tackled? Whether you are driven by scientific curiosity or are intrigued by the potential for more accurate diagnoses and for effective interventions in health or education, the Research Master’s in Behavioural Science is for you.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/bs
At Radboud University, we believe that a multidisciplinary approach is necessary to gain the best understanding of human behaviour. We combine knowledge and research methods from the fields of psychology, educational sciences and communication science. These disciplines are not taught separately but instead are brought together in most of our courses, making our approach unique.
Half of the programme consists of research experience. There are many issues you could tackle and a large research faculty you could work with. For example, there are over fifty staff members at the Behavioural Science Institute. The institute has internationally renowned researchers with expertise in a very wide range of topics. And that's not counting the other top scientists we invite to give workshops.
- Students get substantial hands-on research with a minor and major research project on different topics.
- We teach our students research methods and statistics, which we bring to life by revealing their applications to current hot issues in the field.
- Students are free to choose courses and research topics to create their own unique programme.
- Students can do the internship for their major research project abroad. Financial support for international research internships is available within Radboud University and the Behavioural Science Institute.
- You will participate in group-oriented education and be part of a small, select group of highly motivated national and international students.
- Master’s students are free to use any of the state-of-the-art equipment and labs found on campus, including the Virtual Reality Lab, Observational Lab and eye-tracking equipment.
- We have three Faculty Assistant positions for ambitious students to work alongside their course.
- A majority of our graduates gain PhD and other research positions and many students publish their Master’s thesis in peer-reviewed journals.
Due to our interdisciplinary approach, we accept Bachelor’s students from a wide variety of related fields, like psychology, pedagogy, educational science, biology, artificial intelligence and communication science. Simply put, this programme is for social scientists who want to discover the how and why behind human behaviour.
The Master's in Behavioural Science was recently awarded the quality label ‘Top Programme' in the Keuzegids Masters 2015 (Guide to Master's programmes), which indicates the programme belongs to the very best programmes in Dutch Master's education, across the entire range of disciplines.
The staff of the Behavioural Science Institute at Radboud University originate from the fields of psychology, educational sciences and communication science. Together they tackle issues regarding human behaviour. We believe that in order to fully understand human behaviour you need to use knowledge from all these fields together instead of separately. For example, looking at a psychological issue from a communication perspective could offer new and valuable insights that will lead to better diagnosis or interventions.
At Radboud University we will not just teach you existing research methods in the different fields. You will also learn to look beyond conventions and combine or adjust methods from other disciplines to enable you to do research that will answer your questions. You will not only become a highly skilled researcher but also an innovative one.
More than half of the Master’s programme in Behavioural Science consists of research. In the first year you’ll do a minor project in which you choose from a list research themes that are provided by staff members or PhD students.
In the second year, you’ll do a major project in the form of a nine month internship which provides you with the experience - and data - needed to write your Master’s thesis. Most internships are carried out within the Behavioural Science Institute (BSI), working closely with colleagues, many of whom are internationally renowned researchers. However, there is also the option to arrange an internship abroad.
To broaden your scope, we expect you to choose different research themes for the minor and major projects, preferably in different groups within the BSI.
Examples of Major Projects in the field of Behavioural Science
- Differential behaviours of teachers toward boys and girls in science classes
- The role of maternal pregnancy stress and other general children’s health issues
- The recovery potential of within-workday break activities
- The effectiveness of an intervention promoting water consumption via children’s social networks
- The effectiveness of video games to reduce anxiety in children using a randomised controlled trail
- The role of experience on clinical diagnostic decision-making
- Exploring the underlying cognitive mechanisms to learn more about the ability to learn to categorise new face groups
The career prospects of a graduate of Behavioural Science are good; almost 100% of our alumni have a job.
- Skills and knowledge
Besides the necessary theoretical knowledge about behavioural science and training in advanced quantitative data analysis, this programme also offers courses (7 EC in total) that will teach you additional skills that every researcher needs: to understand the ethics of research, to understand the process of academic publishing and grant proposals, and to comment on papers and proposals of others. We also encourage students to participate in workshops, colloquia, symposia and conferences to gain experience in the international academic field of behavioural science.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/bs
The Applied Ethology and Animal Biology master’s programme deals with animal behaviour and biology from an applied perspective, including problems associated with keeping animals in captivity. The aim is to provide students with a solid understanding of theory and methods of applied ethology.
You gain a good working knowledge of the programme’s central issues, such as the biology of stress and its role in animal welfare, the effects of domestication on animal behaviour, the physiology of behaviour, and conservation biology. The programme is taught in collaboration with Kolmården Wildlife Park, one of the largest and most highly renowned zoos in Sweden. Several teaching sessions are held at the zoo where you acquire first-hand knowledge from experienced zoologists.
The programme provides a solid understanding of theory and methods of applied ethology and broadens their understanding of animal biology through courses such as:
In addition to classroom lectures and seminars, you participate in hands-on projects involving studies of animals in captive environments. A key part of the programme is a one-year degree project in which you apply their theoretical and methodological knowledge.
After completing the programme, you will be well-acquainted with the theoretical background of animal behaviour and biology. You will have a deep understanding of animal welfare and conservation, and learn how to plan, implement and present a research project within the scientific field of the programme.
Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Biosciences at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
This MRes in Biosciences programme will provide you with research training in one or more of our Research Pathways and you will benefit from training in our Specialist Research Facilities. Research staff will share their expertise and assist you in developing the skills necessary to do independent research, leading to a dissertation written as a scientific paper.
All research students in Biosciences undertake taught modules followed by a major research project under the guidance of academic staff in one or more of our Research Pathways, and benefitting from training in our specialist research facilities.
The MRes Biosciences is a one-year programme. All research students undertake taught modules followed by a major research project under the guidance of academic staff in one or more of our Research Pathways , and benefiting from training in our Specialist Research Facilities.
Biosciences at Swansea has a good relationship with a wide range of external partners, including SMEs, Government Agencies, Local Government, UK and overseas research institutes and universities.
1) Behavioural and Movement Ecology
Studying adaptations, and the selective pressures in the social and ecological environment that bring them about. We specialise in the movement ecology of individuals and collectives and can provide specialist research training to understand the role of the environment in structuring the properties of animal movement and behaviour.
2) Evolutionary and Molecular Biology
Understanding the diversity of life from a molecular perspective. We use the latest genetic and genomics techniques to address key questions in ecology, behaviour and conservation from an evolutionary perspective in a range of non-model organisms, from fungi to plants and animals.
3) Marine Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture
From developing new techniques in fish husbandry and rearing of commercially important aquaculture species, to research in food and fuel security, low carbon technologies, biogeochemical cycles and climate change. Specialist research training can be provided on a diverse range of temperate to tropical aquatic organisms, from microplankton to invertebrates to fish, inhabiting marine to freshwater environments.
4) Mathematical and Statistical Ecology
Research that complements the full range of our academic expertise, from theoretical investigations of ecosystem complexity, stoichiometric ecology, pattern formation and animal movement, to practical agricultural applications and the operation of micro-algal biotechnology.
5) Population and Community Ecology
Combining experimental and theoretical approaches to develop our understanding of how species interactions with their environment (including other species) generate the spatial-temporal biodiversity patterns we observe in nature. Study systems include plankton ecosystems, coastal ecosystem functioning, disease control, conservation, and the impact of spatial-temporal environmental variation on community dynamics.
6) Whole Organism Biology
Our staff comprises world-leading experts on a range of organisms studied around the world, and welcome students who want to develop projects around such species.
7) Wildlife Diseases and Pest Control
Research focused on developing natural agents and solutions for the control of wildlife diseases and invertebrate pests that impact on food security and human and animal health. Research training provided in disease detection methods, disease management, and the socioeconomic benefits of pest control.
As a student on the MRes Biosciences programme, you will benefit from a range of facilities such as:
Our excellent facilities include a unique built Animal Movement Visualisation Suite (£1.35m), incorporating an electronic wall linked to a computer-tesla cluster for high-speed processing and visualisation of complex accelerometry and magnetometry data derived from animals. Coupled with this facility is the Electronics Lab with capacity for research, development and realisation of animal tags with new capacities (sensors, energy-harvesting systems, miniaturization, 3-D printing of housings etc.); a custom-designed 18m on coastal research vessel; a recent investment of £4.2m on a new suite of state-of-the art Science laboratories; and the £2m unique Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) with a 750 m2 controlled environment building, with programmable recirculating aquatic systems, unique within the UK’s higher-education sector. These are tailored for research on a diverse range of organisms, ranging from temperate to tropical and marine to freshwater. Coupled with this are nutrient and biochemical analytical capabilities.
Theoretical/mathematical research uses advanced university computing facilities that includes high-end graphics workstations, high-speed network links and the Blue Ice supercomputer located at the Mike Barnsley Centre for Climatic Change Research.
Several dedicated Bioscience labs housed within our grade 2 listed Wallace Building recently benefitted from a £4.2 million renovation programme, providing world-class research facilities that includes a specialist molecular ecology lab and a dedicated arthropod facility.
We are 7th in the UK and top in Wales for research excellence (REF 2014)
93.8% of our research outputs were regarded as world-leading or internationally excellent and Swansea Biosciences had the highest percentage of publications judged ‘world-leading’ in the sector. This is a great achievement for the Department, for the College of Science and indeed for Swansea University.
This comprehensive course provides an in-depth view of the contemporary issues and techniques required of professional wildlife conservationists working both in the UK and overseas. The course is taught not only by our experienced academic staff but with the assistance of world-leading experts and conservation practitioners both in class and also in the field.
Importantly throughout the course we stress a holistic appreciation of the link between field and laboratory-based work and the necessity of professional level communication with a range of audiences. Where possible teaching will be undertaken through workshops and seminars so providing a more immersive environment to help develop an understanding of the operation of professional-level applied conservation skills in communication and problem solving.
The focus throughout is on animals in their wild settings and as such there is a strong emphasis on fieldwork and applied wildlife research. Modules to be studied are:
7AB012 Conservation Genetics - This module is focused on genetic applications to problems of conservation, reflecting the diversity of concerns relevant to conservation biology and covering the management of captive populations for conservation. Modern genetic techniques used by conservationists are also examined.
7AB009 Advanced Survey and Monitoring Techniques –The desktop survey, design, collection, processing, analysis and output production of environmental data (physical, vegetation and organismal) will be explored in a problem-based setting. This will involve the integrated use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Geographical Information Systems (GIS), geospatial imagery, telemetry, image acquisition, sound acquisition, ground-truthing and field survey techniques.
7AB011 Primate Conservation and Behaviour - This module focuses on the evolution of primate societies and asks how environmental and demographic factors influence animals’ decisions about how to organise their social and reproductive strategies. Throughout, the emphasis is on understanding key theoretical concepts and how these may be applied to empirical studies of non-human primates. This module explores also the science of scarcity and diversity of wild primate populations and the successful management of captive populations for conservation.
7AB013 Research Methods for Wildlife Conservation - This module prepares you with the skills needed for wildlife conservation research. You will develop advanced skills in literature searching and critical analysis of published work. You will explore the development of a research question, research design, data handling and statistics. You will prepare a professional portfolio of your research methods covered in the module.
7AB010 Field Course - The module will examine the whole process of research trip planning from funding and logistical planning through to the detail of content for individual session activities. The culmination of this process will be a residential field course in the UK or overseas.
7AB014 Conservation of UK Protected Species – In-depth consideration of the conservation of UK protected species including their ecology, protection legislation, conservation measures, habitat management and habitat creation.
7AB015 The Masters Project module - an opportunity to plan, undertake and deliver an extended, problem-focused, original independent investigation related to the chosen programme of study and is a requirement for the award of a Masters degree.
Whilst the majority of the material will be delivered by the core Departmental staff the course aims to bring-in external speakers from wildlife research, practice and policy to allow students access to the knowledge of professionals working in the sector.
The course prepares you for a role as a conservation professional working with strong applied and field-based components. In particular it gives you key opportunities for employment in conservation-type roles in the UK and beyond where higher-level qualifications are essential for demonstrating topic knowledge and technical competency. Such roles are found in a host of statutory and non-governmental organisations across the wildlife sector.
This programme provides flexible postgraduate study designed to specifically address the demand for online clinical animal behaviour teaching within a supported learning environment. The programme will utilise an evidence based approach to explore the potential motivations, management and treatment options for abnormal and/or problem behaviours commonly expressed by companion animal species living within a domestic environment.
The subject involves a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on knowledge and techniques from the fields of psychology, ethology, neurobiology, pharmacology and veterinary science. This programme will contain teaching and learning that is aimed at your academic preparation for a professional career working with companion animals in a variety of settings, including clinical animal behaviour counselling.
Our online learning technology is fully interactive, award-winning and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.
Our online students not only have access to Edinburgh's excellent resources, but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.
This MSc programme is modular in structure, offering a flexible student-centred approach to the choice of courses studied. You must complete a sufficient number of course credits to achieve the following awards:
You may undertake this programme by intermittent study (flexible progression route), accruing credits within the following maximum time limits:
Year 1: Certificate Courses
You will study Principles of Applied Animal Behaviour and Clinical Animal Behaviour along with either Anthrozoology (recommended for those continuing to Diploma/MSc) or one of two other elective courses.
Year 2: Diploma Courses
You will study Clinical Animal Behaviour in Practice along with two elective courses from a choice of 4.
Year 3: Masters
The dissertation element of the programme will allow further development of scientific skills and may take the form of a short research project, case studies relating to relevant professional experience or an extended literature review.
Postgraduate Professional Development
Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.
You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme. Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout a year you may only start a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.
Alongside the subject content, the programme will also enable the acquisition of a range of transferable skills, such as computer skills, report writing, giving online presentations and time and project management.
You will be able to:
Students are expected to find work in the field of companion animal behaviour and welfare as well as working in education, or as advisors with non-governmental organisations and governments.