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Biological Photography and Imaging (MSc)

Course Description

In a fast-moving society, the professional image-maker has a powerful role in the way science is communicated to the world. The professional imager is vital to modern research, science communication, commerce and industry. The MSc Biological Photography and Imaging is ideal for students wishing to pursue a career in professional imaging. The study programme incorporates the areas of biological research, imaging (both industrial and media production) and communication. Developing your imaging skills during the course will allow you to integrate scientific and technical aspects with commercial applications. Graduates of our course have gone on to further study in molecular biology and biophysics, or pursued various careers such as medical imaging or wildlife filmmaking.

You are expected to have a high quality undergraduate degree in the biological or related sciences. Applicants with degrees in other disciplines may be accepted at the discretion of the Course Director. Applicants with professional experience at a level equivalent to that of a first degree will also be considered.

Applicants to this programme are expected to have their own digital SLR camera. Systems normally used on this course are Nikon or Canon; if you wish to operate a different system, you need to discuss this with the Course Director.

Key facts

Throughout the course you will have access to technical advice from a dedicated team of staff, high-spec computer equipment, photography studios and photographic stereo and compound microscopes. We also maintain a museum of biological specimens for you to use in assignments.
Teaching on our biology courses was rated as excellent (23/24) in the most recent Teaching Quality Assessment Exercise.
You will take part in a range of field trips in order to develop every aspect of your photography skills. Experts, such as professional wildlife photographers, are closely involved with these trips.
You will receive tuition in the leading industry-standard web design and animation software and will have the opportunity to set up an online portfolio of your work.
This course includes a business component, enabling you to present your skills to the competitive marketplace.

Visit the Biological Photography and Imaging (MSc) page on the University of Nottingham website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Alex Wilkinson

Why Nottingham

I was fascinated in the environment and our impact upon it. This course allowed me to capture the impact humans have and create a simple method of portraying the information that all can understand, while making it fun for myself.

I chose Nottingham as I had been studying my undergraduate here for the previous 3 years and the course is the only one of its type in the world, taught in one of the best University's in the world. The facilities at Nottingham University are world leading and are readily available to all of its students. The unique equipment available meant I could utilise the resources to their full to make my work unique and to a level greater than what would have otherwise been achievable.

What have you enjoyed doing outside your degree here

I have spent a large amount of time at the National Watersports Centre, where I have become a fully qualified white water raft guide, as well as continued to teach sailing, power boating and kayaking and undertaking all of these activities personally. I have also enjoyed my time living in Nottingham as the city is vibrant and has a variety nice bars and restaurants.

My career so far

I currently operate as a freelance photographer and videographer and am already earning a living to support myself. I have undertaken projects funded by WWF and the UNDP to dart and microchip rhinos to help prevent poaching. I have also been the photographer at a number of weddings. I have two websites www.alexwilkinsonphotography.co.uk which is a stock library for wildlife photography and a second website www.wilkinson-photography.co.uk for all commercial customers and enquiries.

What advice would you give to someone considering a postgraduate course at Nottingham

I would recommend your time management skills are good as your ability to manage work and personal life will ensure your time at the university is amazing.

(Student Profile)

Tom Reed

What attracted you to the course

I've always had a strong interest in wildlife, but it was only in recent years that I started to explore this visually through photography. Whilst studying for my undergraduate degree at Nottingham, I had the opportunity to undertake modules in photography. It was here that my long-standing interest in wildlife photography and film-making grew from being something that I considered a dream job to something that I could actually develop into a career. What attracted me most, was the opportunity to develop portfolio pieces that were highly personalised and that I could take full control over, particularly my
final project. I believe the course is quite unique in this way.

Why Nottingham

Nottingham is one of the only universities in the UK to offer this course, and the fact that I had already taken an undergraduate degree at Nottingham meant that I was already familiar with the campus. Nottingham is a great location for this course as it is close to areas such as the Peak District and Sherwood Forest; although with the university's very green setting, there were plenty of opportunities for wildlife photography without needing to leave campus!


The access to equipment is one of the highlights of the course. Each student was given a macro lens for the duration of the course, and there were many telephoto and wide angle lenses to borrow too. The course has its own micro natural history museum, with an incredible range of specimens to photograph - including native and exotic species. Each student also has access to their own Mac computer and an iPad for the duration of the course; this was great as the computers have a high memory capacity, which is essential when using programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Also, there is a studio, fully equipped with studio lights and is a great multi-purpose asset to the course - students can even use this space to practice green-screen filming!

My career so far

I have recently started an internship with the Woodland Trust as an Ancient Woodland restoration film-maker. I am hoping that this will help me gain a working knowledge of the conservation sector and to help enhance my video skills. I have already been putting the skills that I gained from the course into practice as a freelance photography/video tutor. In the long-term, I would like to pursue a career in media communications, particularly with a conservation organisation.


School of Life Sciences Post Graduate Taught course Scholarship 2016-17 - 12 Awards

The School of Life Sciences is offering 12 x £1,000 Scholarships towards tuition fees for the students who register to undertake one of the MSc courses offered by the School of Life Sciences to commence study in September 2016. The Scholarships are open to Home, European Union and International fee paying students; scholarships are awarded based on academic performance and individual merit. In order to apply for the scholarship applicants must have a copy of an acceptance letter confirming that you have a place of study for September 2016.The closing date for International student scholarship applications is 12:00 midday (UK time) on 24th June 2016.The closing date for Home and EU student scholarship applications is 12:00 midday (UK time) on 12th August 2016.

Value of Scholarship(s)



These scholarships are available to International, Home and European Union students. This is a competitive scheme and students will be awarded a scholarship on academic and individual merit.

Application Procedure

In order to apply for the scholarship you must have a Conditional Offer of a place of study.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

2:2 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject. English language requirements: IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element).

Last Updated

11 November 2016

Course Fees

Please see the University website for details

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