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Course content

  • Delivered by leading international researchers in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation
  • Designed to prepare you for a future research career with excellent graduate employment opportunities, in the first year of operation, 78 per cent of our students had secured a PhD position before finishing the programme
  • Provides extensive training in current research techniques
  • Develops knowledge and critical awareness of current problems and new insights in evolutionary and behavioural ecology
  • Offers access to excellent facilities including state-of-the-art molecular and genetics labs with a full range of microscopy equipment, greenhouses, and controlled environment rooms

This Masters degree is taught by the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC), whose evolutionary and behaviour research groups are amongst the most dynamic in the UK. You will be integrated into these groups and conduct cutting-edge research projects that can make genuine contributions to the field of evolutionary and behavioural ecology and prepare you for a career in research.

The Centre is the fastest growing institute of its kind in the UK. Research is almost exclusively organismal, with particular emphasis on social mammals, birds, turtles and insects. We also specialise in modelling animal behaviour and species interactions and see this as essential and complementary to our whole approach. The other area of emphasis which underpins much of our work is quantitative and molecular genetics, which is fundamental to the evolutionary process and to conservation biology and policy issues.

Fieldwork

This programme includes a two week field course in Kenya, during which you will go on safari in areas of incredible biodiversity, allowing you to study the behaviour of a variety of wild animals. You will have an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of pioneering evolutionary biologists, visiting their field sites, observing their study species, and discussing their ground breaking research. These experiences will allow you to develop your own research questions and undertake a short project while in the field. Travel and subsistence costs for this part of the programme are included in the programme fee.

Find out more about our field course modules.

You can also keep up to date and share the experiences of our students in the field on our Field Course Fortnight website.

Learning and teaching

The taught component of this programme is delivered in the first five months, during which time you will be encouraged to develop your census research projects. The rest of the academic year is dedicated to these projects.

Teaching and learning methods

All material is designed for Masters level and will involve fieldwork, seminars and group discussion. Within modules there is considerable scope for you to direct your learning towards fields of particular interest, especially through your choice of research project. Students are located in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation laboratories, where close working relationships are fostered. Every student has the personal and academic support of the programme director, as well as their academic tutor, module leaders and project supervisors. Because of the layout of our research laboratory, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students interact closely with postgraduates to provide more personal support during the research phase of the programme.

Programme structure

The programme is made up of compulsory modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules can include;

  • Research Project;
  • Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology;
  • Approaches in Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology;
  • African Behavioural Ecology Field Course;
  • Statistical Modelling
  • Key Skills

Visit the MSc Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology page on the University of Exeter website for more details!

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