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Biological Sciences×

University of Bristol, Full Time Masters Degrees in Biological Sciences

We have 9 University of Bristol, Full Time Masters Degrees in Biological Sciences

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Researchers in the School of Biological Sciences conduct cutting-edge research across a broad range of biological disciplines. genomics, biotechnology, cell biology, sensory biology, animal behaviour and evolution, population biology, host-disease interactions and ecosystem services, to name but a few. Read more
Researchers in the School of Biological Sciences conduct cutting-edge research across a broad range of biological disciplines: genomics, biotechnology, cell biology, sensory biology, animal behaviour and evolution, population biology, host-disease interactions and ecosystem services, to name but a few.

In 2014 the school relocated to a new £54 million, state-of-the-art Life Sciences building. Our new laboratory facilities are among the best in the world, with critical '-omics' technologies and associated computing capacity (bioinformatics) a core component. The new building is designed to foster our already strong collaborative and convivial environment, and includes a world-leading centre for evolutionary biology research in collaboration with key researchers from earth sciences, biochemistry, social medicine, chemistry and computer sciences. The school has strong links with local industry, including BBC Bristol, Bristol Zoo and the Botanic Gardens. We have a lively, international postgraduate community of about 150 research students. Our stimulating environment and excellent graduate school training and support provide excellent opportunities to develop future careers.

Research groups

The underlying theme of our research is the search for an understanding of the function, evolution, development and regulation of complex systems, pursued using the latest technologies, from '-omics' to nanoscience, and mathematical modelling tools. Our research is organised around four main themes that reflect our strengths and interests: evolutionary biology; animal behaviour and sensory biology; plant and agricultural sciences; and ecology and environmental change.

Evolutionary Biology
The theme of evolutionary biology runs through all our research in the School of Biological Sciences. Research in this theme seeks to understand organismal evolution and biodiversity using a range of approaches and study systems. We have particular strengths in evolutionary genomics, phylogenetics and phylogenomics, population genetics, and evolutionary theory and computer modelling.

Animal Behaviour and Sensory Biology
Research is aimed at understanding the adaptive significance of behaviour, from underlying neural mechanisms ('how', or proximate, questions) to evolutionary explanations of function ('why', or ultimate, questions). The approach is strongly interdisciplinary, using diverse physiological and biomechanical techniques, behavioural experiments, computer modelling and molecular biology to link from the genetic foundations through to the evolution of behaviour and sensory systems.

Plant and Agricultural Sciences
The global issue of food security unifies research in this theme, which ranges from molecular-based analysis of plant development, signal transduction and disease, to ecological studies of agricultural and livestock production systems. We have particular strengths in functional genomics, bioinformatics, plant developmental biology, plant pathology and parasite biology, livestock parasitology and agricultural systems biology. Our research is helped by the LESARS endowment, which funds research of agricultural relevance.

Ecology and Environmental Change
Research seeks to understand ecological relations between organisms (plant, animal or microbe) at individual, population and community levels, as well as between organisms and their environments. Assessing the effect of climate change on these ecological processes is also fundamental to our research. Key research areas within this theme include community ecology, restoration ecology, conservation, evolutionary responses to climate change and freshwater ecology. Our research has many applied angles, such as ecosystem management, wildlife conservation, environmental and biological control, agricultural practice and informing policy.

Careers

Many postgraduate students choose a higher degree because they enjoy their subject and subsequently go on to work in a related area. An Office of Science and Technology survey found that around three-quarters of BBSRC- and NERC-funded postgraduates went on to a job related to their study subject.

Postgraduate study is often a requirement for becoming a researcher, scientist, academic journal editor and for work in some public bodies or private companies. Around 60 per cent of biological sciences doctoral graduates continue in research. Academic research tends to be contract-based with few permanent posts, but the school has a strong track record in supporting the careers of young researchers by helping them to find postdoctoral positions or develop fellowship applications.

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Biophysics provides structural and mechanistic insights into the biological world and uses this knowledge to create solutions for major global problems, such as food production, climate change, environmental damage and drug production. Read more
Biophysics provides structural and mechanistic insights into the biological world and uses this knowledge to create solutions for major global problems, such as food production, climate change, environmental damage and drug production. It spans the distance between the vast complexity of biological systems and the relative simplicity of the physical laws that govern the universe.

Our Biophysics and Molecular Life Sciences MSc provides interdisciplinary training by bringing together concepts from chemistry, physics and the life sciences. It is taught by staff actively pursuing research in these areas and from members of BrisSynBio, a flagship centre for synthetic biology research in the UK.

The programme gives you an opportunity to gain knowledge and practical experience by studying molecular interactions and mechanisms at the level of the cell to the single molecule. Topics for study include molecular structure determination, dynamic molecular mechanisms, molecular simulation, molecular design and single-molecule technologies. You can also choose an additional unit that reflects your personal interests, allowing you to broaden your knowledge of biomedical subjects whilst focusing on biophysics. You will also learn about the commercialisation of research outcomes, including intellectual property, setting up a business, getting investment, marketing and legal issues.

Graduates from this programme will be well-prepared for a PhD programme in biophysics or related fields. Additionally, the numerical, problem-solving, research and communication skills gained on this programme are highly desired by employers in a variety of industries.

Robust evidence is the cornerstone of science and on this programme you will gain research experience in laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, including atomic force and electron microscopy, biological and chemical NMR, x-ray crystallography and mass spectrometry.

Your learning will be supported throughout the programme in regular, small-group tutorials.

Programme structure

Core units
Biophysics and Molecular Life Sciences I
-The unit begins with a short series of lectures that introduce the general area of molecular life sciences for the non-specialist. The remaining lectures cover a variety of molecular spectroscopies, molecular structure determination, an introduction to systems approaches using proteomics, and the mechanistic characterisation of biomolecules using a variety of biophysical techniques.

Biophysics and Molecular Life Sciences II
-The unit describes highly specialised techniques at the interface of physics, chemistry and the life sciences. This includes techniques for studying biomolecules at the level of a single-molecule, synthetic biology, bioinformatics and molecular simulations.

Core Skills
-A series of practical classes, lecture-based teaching sessions, and tutorials that prepare you for the practical project, provide a foundation for further studies and develop a range of transferable skills.

Literary Project
-An extended essay on a subject chosen from an extensive list covering the topics described above. You work independently under the guidance of a member of staff.

Project Proposal and Research Project
-You work independently under the guidance of a member of staff to produce a written project proposal. This is followed by a 12-week research project investigating your chosen topic. The research project forms the basis for a dissertation.

Lecture-based option
You will study one lecture-based unit from:
-Cancer Biology
-Cardiovascular Research
-The Dynamic Cell
-Infection, Immunology and Immunity
-Neuroscience
-Pharmacology

Careers

Typically, biophysics careers are laboratory-based, conducting original research within academia, a government agency or private industry, although the transferable skills gained on the course are ideal for many other careers outside of science, including business and finance.

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The scientific study of animal behaviour tells us how animals interact with both the physical and the social worlds that they live within. Read more
The scientific study of animal behaviour tells us how animals interact with both the physical and the social worlds that they live within. This MSc provides a rigorous scientific training in the study of animal behaviour to students aiming to continue to PhD research or for careers in animal biology, ecological and behavioural research, scientific communication, and wildlife management and conservation.

You will be taught by world-leading researchers, giving you the opportunity to learn about the latest, cutting-edge developments in animal behaviour, including behavioural ecology and evolution, optimisation and life history theory, sensory biology, decision-making, neural/physiological mechanisms of behaviour, social biology, and sexual selection.

This programme will enhance your skills in both theory and experimentation, as well as helping you to develop transferable skills including statistics, data handling, scientific writing, and research methods. It focuses on critical thought and the scientific method as well as on subject-specific knowledge.

Postgraduate Administrator, School of Biological Sciences
University of Bristol
Woodland Road
Bristol
BS8 1UG

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This programme is for students who are passionate about early life, dinosaurs, mass extinctions, macroevolution, fossil preservation and understanding the palaeobiology of extinct organisms. Read more
This programme is for students who are passionate about early life, dinosaurs, mass extinctions, macroevolution, fossil preservation and understanding the palaeobiology of extinct organisms. It examines quantitative aspects of the fossil record and the history of life. The research-oriented MSc bridges the biology-geology divide and will provide you with a strong background for independent research to PhD level or for a career in museums, libraries, management or the media.

This interdisciplinary programme is taught mainly in the School of Earth Sciences, along with some archaeology and biology units. You will engage in current debates in evolutionary biology, systematics and palaeobiology.

You will learn how to analyse problems quantitatively, and design experimental approaches to resolving questions in macroevolution and in the study of ancient organisms. First-hand training in research methods in palaeobiology involves laboratory techniques. In addition, you will learn a range of advanced skills throughout the programme, such as computer software use, numeracy, planning research, problem-solving and communication skills. You will learn multimedia techniques, including presentation of palaeontological data through talks, posters and formal written reports. A key aspect of the programme is preparing your projects for publication, and we provide continuing support to ensure as many projects as possible are published in leading international journals.

Programme structure

The first half of the programme consists of lectures, practical classes, tutorials and visiting speakers, designed to provide a firm foundation in the theory and methodology of the subject.

The programme comprises five core units which all students take, and a number of optional units of which students choose four. We recommend that biologists take some of the more geologically-orientated optional units, and that geologists take some of the biological optional units.

Core units
-Current Controversies in Palaeobiology and Macroevolution
-Scientific Communication
-Phylogenetic Methods in Palaeobiology
-Literature Review
-Research Methods in Palaeobiology

Optional units
-Biomechanics and Functional Morphology
-The Cambrian Explosion: the origin of animal body plans
-Early Human Origins
-Evolutionary Biology*
-Evolution of the Biosphere
-Geology for Research Palaeobiologists**
-Micropalaeontology
-Tree of Life
-Vertebrate Palaeobiology and Evolution

*Mandatory for non-biologists
**Mandatory for non-geologists

Careers

The degree is research-based, and about half the graduates go on to academic careers, usually starting with a PhD. The MSc is focused on methods, and you will learn the latest techniques in phylogenetics, biomechanics, and macroevolution training, which is highly sought after by PhD supervisors across the world.

The training in professional skills, including writing scientific papers, is also highly regarded. Some students have used the MSc as a means to go on to careers in museums, the media and education and now hold senior positions as curators and collection managers in national and regional museums. Graduates also work in making scientific documentaries, or are involved in science education at all levels.

Finally, some graduates have gone into commercial work in marketing, the oil industry and computing, where their practical skills in palaeobiology and communication have proved invaluable.

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This innovative programme aims to give you the knowledge, skills and practical training needed to work with wildlife, with special emphasis on wildlife health and conservation at the global scale. Read more
This innovative programme aims to give you the knowledge, skills and practical training needed to work with wildlife, with special emphasis on wildlife health and conservation at the global scale.

Cutting-edge topics include animal capture and handling techniques; the assessment, stabilisation and transportation of injured animals; methods for improving the welfare of captive animals; concepts in behavioural ecology; endangered species breeding programmes; the reintroduction of captive populations to the wild; practical conservation strategies; and the management of protected areas. The curriculum also delivers a comprehensive introduction to wildlife disease ecology, surveillance and control.

The MSc is based at the School of Veterinary Sciences near the Mendip Hills in Somerset, providing convenient access to Exmoor National Park and the rich wildlife habitats of south-west England. A large number of lectures, small group workshops and practical sessions take place at Bristol Zoo, allowing you to gain hands-on experience of exotic animal care while working behind the scenes in a modern zoological garden.

A special feature of this MSc is the large number of specialist lectures, workshops and seminars that are delivered by leading researchers, conservationists and wildlife veterinarians from outside the University. These provide a valuable networking opportunity that will benefit your future career.

By the end of the course you will have gained the skills and knowledge to deal with a variety of practical situations that professional wildlife biologists face on a day-to-day basis.

Programme structure

The course is split into two elements. A taught element from September to April provides training in:
-First Aid for Injured Animals
-Wildlife Care and Rehabilitation
-Captive Wildlife Management
-The Re-release of Wildlife into the Field
-Wildlife Conservation
-Wildlife Diseases and Integrated Health
-Animal Behaviour and Welfare
-Research Skills

A research element from May to August provides an opportunity for you to carry out an applied project on a wildlife topic of interest to you. You will undertake a literature review, collect and analyse data, and present your results as a written report suitable for publication. In previous years many of these projects have been carried out at Bristol Zoo or in Australia.

Careers

This course has been carefully designed for those aspiring to a career in wildlife health, conservation and management. Potential employers include national parks, zoological gardens, animal rescue centres, wildlife hospitals, environmental NGOs, conservation charities and government agencies with statutory wildlife responsibilities, both in Britain and overseas.

Previous students have gone on to work for a range of employers, including the Environment Agency, Cheetah Conservation Botswana, Chester Zoo, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Sloth Institute of Costa Rica, the World Wide Fund for Nature, Frontier, Ecofieldtrips Singapore and Natural England. Our graduates are now spread across the world, working to achieve wildlife conservation from positions of influence in Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Africa.

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This programme brings together expertise from across the many subject areas in the biomedical sciences to provide you with training in several key areas of current research interest. Read more
This programme brings together expertise from across the many subject areas in the biomedical sciences to provide you with training in several key areas of current research interest. The programme focuses on experimental science and it is research-informed. It will provide you with practical laboratory-based experience with access to specialist techniques, in state-of-the-art facilities.

It is a flexible programme: you will select three units of your choice during your studies, giving you the opportunity to investigate a range of different topics within the biomedical sciences. For your final research project, you again have the flexibility to choose your research area from a wide range of suggested projects or you can design your own research project, working with academic staff. You can also choose a project offered at an off-campus site, such as Southmead Hospital, Bristol Dental School or the Bristol Heart Institute.

You will learn in small teaching and tutorial groups. The taught and research elements of this MSc are carefully balanced: your research project, for example, runs over a 12-week period free of lectures, allowing you to focus solely on your project.

The skills you can develop during this programme include presentation, report-writing and work-planning. Several students have contributed to published papers and many go on to study at PhD level.

Programme structure

Core skills
-A series of practical classes, lecture-based teaching sessions and tutorials that prepare you for the practical project, provide a foundation for further studies and develop a range of transferable skills.

Literary project
-An extended essay on a subject chosen from an extensive list supplied by the unit organiser. You work independently under the guidance of a member of staff.

Project proposal and research project
-Each school provides a number of research project topics within the themes described below. You work independently under the guidance of a member of staff to produce a written project proposal. This is followed by a 12-week research project investigating your chosen topic. The research project forms the basis for a dissertation.

Lecture-based units
You will study three lecture-based units from:
-Cancer Biology
-Cardiovascular Research
-The Dynamic Cell
-Infection, Immunology and Immunity
-Pharmacology
-Neuroscience

Each taught unit is assessed independently by written examinations, or - in the case of Core Skills - by written examinations and coursework. The literary project, project proposal and practical projects are presented as written dissertations.

Careers

Approximately one third of our students have gone on to PhD-level studies at the Universities of Bristol, Bath, Manchester, Glasgow, Dublin and Plymouth, among others. The next largest group of students are those that have gone on to study medicine. Others have gone on to research assistantships, teacher training, biomedical scientist training or non-scientific careers, such as accountancy.

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This programme offers a fascinating range of subjects, including molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, tissue engineering, clinical medicine, laboratory management and statistics. Read more
This programme offers a fascinating range of subjects, including molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, tissue engineering, clinical medicine, laboratory management and statistics.

It is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science and is based at one of the largest transfusion centres in the world, enabling visits to manufacturing, testing and tissue typing sections. You will learn from specialist lecturers based at the University, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), and NHS hospitals, and have an opportunity to become fully embedded in an NHS environment while you develop your knowledge.

The programme will give you extensive practical experience of transfusion and transplantation, allowing you to gain skills that directly relate to your future career. As well as being academically interesting, this continually developing area of healthcare science has a major impact on patients' quality of life.

The programme:
-Is one of just two specialist full-time courses in transfusion and transplantation, and is a recommended course at level seven in the Career Framework for Health.
-Gives you the opportunity to carry out your MSc project with NHSBT research staff within the transfusion centre.
-Has high contact hours, with teaching each day and practical classes.
-Includes a large skills component (eg writing in different formats, conference and publication skills, assignments with specific study aims).
-Includes laboratory management, a key skill required at level seven.
-Attracts a diverse range of students (about 50 per cent overseas students), including new graduates, those working in blood centres or blood transfusion/haematology in hospitals, or training to lecture in transfusion.

Programme structure

The programme comprises eight taught units that run from September to March and a research project that begins in May and runs until August. Example project topics have included:
-A study on red cell antibody formation in trauma patients
-Optimisation of platelet antigen detection using recombinant proteins
-Expression of red cell membrane proteins during large-scale red cell culture
-A comparison of stem cell mobilisation drugs for stem cell transplantation

Taught units
-Transfusion and Transplantation Science:
-Pathology of Transfusion and Transplantation Science
-Provision of Blood, Cells, Tissues and Organs
-Clinical Transfusion and Transplantation
-Transfusion and Transplantation in Practice (two units)
-Biostatistics
-Research and Laboratory Management

Assessments are designed to teach skills such as comprehension, scientific writing in different formats and conference skills, and to further knowledge in subject areas not covered in the lectures. Students must pass the taught component to be able to progress to the project.

Part-time students complete the Postgraduate Certificate components in their first year and the Postgraduate Diploma in the second. The project is usually taken during year three to complete the MSc.

Careers

Some of the career paths that graduates have followed include: blood transfusion and fetal medicine research, working for a bone marrow donor laboratory or bone marrow registry, biostatistics, graduate entry to medical school, NHS Clinical Scientist Training programme, and progression to PhD study in several areas including cancer biology and stem cell regeneration.

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This innovative distance-learning programme is taught online and will provide you with knowledge and understanding in the highly topical and exciting field of stem cell biology and regeneration. Read more
This innovative distance-learning programme is taught online and will provide you with knowledge and understanding in the highly topical and exciting field of stem cell biology and regeneration. You will be guided from the origins of this field through to its application (and potential applications) in treating human disease, covering the latest tools and technologies available for study in this area. Programme content is delivered by researchers active in the field, ensuring that the latest breakthroughs are communicated.

Using a creative distance-learning model, the programme delivers lectures, online discussions and assessments over the internet. This offers you more flexibility than traditional campus-based courses as you can study in your own environment. You will only be required to visit Bristol for your formal examinations at the end of the academic year. This distance-learning model, together with a part-time study option, makes the programme particularly appealing to those students who wish to combine full-time employment with study.

Programme structure

Core units
-Introduction to Stem Cells and Regeneration
-Neurodegeneration and Ophthalmic Disorders
-Molecular Tools in Stem Cells and Regeneration
-Peripheral Neuropathy and Spine
-Cell Signalling
-Biomaterials and their Use in the Skeletal System
-Stem Cells in Cardiac Systems
-Research Project/Dissertation

Careers

The programme can open up a number of different career opportunities. It can be used as a pathway to further studies (eg PhD) which in turn could lead to a research or academic career in the field. It can also open up opportunities in private industry, for example:
-Biotechnology sector research/sales
-Stem cell business development
-Stem cell banking
-Stem cell patents
-Stem cell clinical translation
-Charity research development
-Pharmaceutical industry
-Stem cell regulatory bodies

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The programme provides intensive training in the neurosciences as they relate to the physiologic function and behaviour of the organism. Read more
The programme provides intensive training in the neurosciences as they relate to the physiologic function and behaviour of the organism. It builds on the broad research strengths of recognised scientists, particularly in basic and clinical neuroscience, molecular and cell biology, neuroendocrinology, behaviour, neurodegeneration and psychopharmacology. Guest lecturers from other universities bring their specialist and advanced knowledge to the programme.

Throughout the programme, basic principles will be taught and illustrated in the context of various brain diseases, including psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. A practical and a research project will give you valuable experience in experimental neuroscience. Importantly, tutorials and presentations will also help to develop your communication skills.

This programme is organised by the School of Clinical Sciences and is housed in the state-of-the-art Dorothy Hodgkin Building with dedicated MSc facilities.

The MSc will be of interest to those with a medical training who want to diversify into research, and to science graduates who wish to develop their knowledge and skills before embarking on a doctoral research programme. While part-time study is available, this needs to be discussed with the programme director.

Programme structure

-Foundations of Neuroscience
-Cell Signalling
-Gene Expression in the Brain
-Neuroendocrinology
-Neurodegeneration: Symptoms, Molecular Mechanisms and Therapies
-Integrative Molecular Neuroscience
-Research Project

Careers

The MSc in Molecular Neuroscience can open up a number of different career paths. Many graduates of the programme have secured PhD studentships here in the UK or in other parts of the world, including the US, Australia and Germany. This often leads to a career in research or academia (eg as a research assistant or research associate, teaching fellow, lecturer).

Other graduates have gone on to a career in industry, scientific writing or clinical trial co-ordination. Some graduates have gone into medicine studies after completing the course. Staff are available to discuss prospective career pathways with students who undertake the programme.

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