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Biological Sciences×

University of Edinburgh, Full Time MSc Degrees in Biological Sciences

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Programme description. Bioinformatics is about the application of computer-based approaches to understanding biological processes. Read more

Programme description

Bioinformatics is about the application of computer-based approaches to understanding biological processes. Our programme will introduce you to the current methods used to interpret the vast amounts of data generated by modern high-throughput technologies.

The aim of this MSc is to equip you with a strong background in biology, plus the computing skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the vast wealth of modern biological data. On completing this programme you will be able to take up PhD studies or bioinformatics posts in academia or in industry.

The programme covers programming skills, statistical analysis and database science as well as bioinformatics. Option courses allow you to specialise in several aspects of bioinformatics.

Programme structure

The MSc comprises two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project and dissertation. The project is a key element in deciding how your career in bioinformatics should develop further. Teaching is through lectures, tutorials, seminars, computer practicals and lab demonstrations.

Compulsory courses:

  • Bioinformatics Programming & System Management
  • Bioinformatics Research Proposal
  • MSc Dissertation (Bioinformatics)
  • Statistics & Data Analysis

Optional courses:

  • Bioinformatics 1
  • Human–Computer Interaction
  • Information Processing in Biological Cells
  • Molecular Modelling and Database Mining
  • Quantitating Drug Binding
  • Bioinformatics Algorithms
  • Bioinformatics 2
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Introduction to Website and Database Design for Drug Discovery
  • Molecular Phylogenetics
  • Next Generation Genomics
  • Software Architecture, Process, and Management
  • Drug Discovery
  • Introduction to Java Programming

Research

The research project is carried out independently, but under the guidance of a supervisor, during the summer, with results presented in a dissertation. A wide range of projects is available through both the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Informatics.

Career opportunities

The programme is good preparation for further academic research or for technical or managerial roles in various commercial sectors, from medical electronics to defence.



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This academically challenging and career-developing programme focuses on research and development using biological and chemical principles and systems to create new products, services and industries. Read more

This academically challenging and career-developing programme focuses on research and development using biological and chemical principles and systems to create new products, services and industries.

You will employ elements of the developing field of synthetic biology to bring about significant changes and major innovations that address the challenges of rapidly changing human demographics, resource shortages, energy economy transition and the concomitant growth in demand for more and healthier food, sustainable fuel cycles, and a cleaner environment.

Programme structure

You will learn through a variety of activities, including:

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • presentations
  • laboratory work
  • field work
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • discussion groups and project groups
  • problem-based learning activities

You will attend problem-based tutorial sessions and one-to-one meetings with your personal tutor or programme director.

You will carry out research at the frontier of knowledge and can make a genuine contribution to the progress of original research. This involves carrying out project work in a research laboratory, reviewing relevant papers, analysing data, writing reports and giving presentations.

Compulsory courses:

  • Applications of Synthetic Biology
  • Tools for Synthetic Biology
  • Social Dimensions of Systems & Synthetic Biology
  • Environmental Gene Mining & Metagenomics
  • Research Project Proposal
  • MSc Project and Dissertation

Option courses:

  • Biochemistry A & B
  • Introduction to Scientific Programming
  • Commercial Aspects of Drug Discovery
  • Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine
  • Biological Physics
  • Enzymology & Biological Production
  • Next Generation Genomics
  • Machine Learning & Pattern Recognition
  • Drug Discovery
  • Biophysical Chemistry
  • Bioinformatics Programming & System Management
  • Economics & Innovation in the Biotechnology Industry
  • BioBusiness
  • Molecular Modelling & Database Mining
  • Industry & Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology
  • Practical Skills in Biochemistry A & B
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Information Processing in Biological Cells
  • Data Mining & Exploration
  • Gene Expression & Microbial Regulation
  • Bioinformatics
  • Principles of Industrial Biotechnology

Learning outcomes

By the end of the programme you will have gained:

  • a strong background knowledge in the fields underlying synthetic biology and biotechnology
  • an understanding of the limitations and public concerns regarding the nascent field of synthetic biology including a thorough examination of the philosophical, legal, ethical and social issues surrounding the area
  • the ability to approach the technology transfer problem equipped with the skills to analyse the problem in scientific and practical terms
  • an understanding of how biotechnology relates to real-world biological problems
  • the ability to conduct practical experimentation in synthetic biology and biotechnology
  • the ability to think about the future development of research, technology, its implementation and its implications
  • a broad understanding of research responsibility including the requirement for rigorous and robust testing of theories and the need for honesty and integrity in experimental reporting and reviewing

Career opportunities

You will enhance your career prospects by acquiring current, marketable knowledge and developing advanced analytical and presentational skills, within the social and intellectual sphere of a leading European university.

The School of Biological Sciences offers a research-rich environment in which you can develop as a scientist and entrepreneur.



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This one-year, full-time MSc by Research programme aims to introduce students to modern up-to-date molecular and cellular biological research in the field of reproductive sciences, reproductive health and reproductive medicine in a stimulating, challenging and vibrant research atmosphere, at the interface between basic science and clinical patient care. Read more

Research profile

This one-year, full-time MSc by Research programme aims to introduce students to modern up-to-date molecular and cellular biological research in the field of reproductive sciences, reproductive health and reproductive medicine in a stimulating, challenging and vibrant research atmosphere, at the interface between basic science and clinical patient care.

The programme is intended for high-calibre students with biological science, medical or veterinary backgrounds.

It is advised that you contact the Programme Director, Dr Simon Riley, prior to making your application to ensure this programme meets your academic aims. Email:

The main components of the programme are two 20-week research projects, performed on a very wide range of research fields within the reproductive sciences.

Topics that can be offered include using a wide range of models and in human, studying a number of important problems associated with human reproductive health and disease in testis, ovary, the uterus during the menstrual cycle and throughout pregnancy and labour, in the fetus and neonate, and in fetal programming resulting in increased risk of chronic disease in adulthood.

The MRC Centre for Reproductive Health has arranged its research under four themes:

Reproductive Resilience, Proliferation, Differentiation, Repair
Reproductive system cancers: aetiology, pathogenesis and therapy
Optimising Lifelong Health Through Pregnancy and Perinatal Interventions
Immune-endocrine interactions in reproductive health

These theme titles illustrate some of the remarkable properties that make reproductive systems such relevant and powerful models for translational studies across a wide spectrum of human diseases and pathologies in other systems.

The MRC Centre for Reproductive Health (CRH) has close links with other internationally recognised research centres in the Queen’s Medical Research Institute QMRI and elsewhere in Edinburgh, with the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, the Veterinary School, the University of Edinburgh science campus and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

Many student projects are organised with and between these centres, reflecting the interdisciplinary research environment, where students and trainees are regarded as the ‘lifeblood’ for the future.

Programme structure

The programme provides a core grounding in basic science and interlinked medical aspects of reproductive sciences. It is delivered by undertaking a two-week basic core laboratory skills training course, followed by gaining practical experience by performing two 20 week laboratory-based research projects. Examples of research projects completed in 2016-2017 can be found here: http://www.ed.ac.uk/centre-reproductive-health/students/msc-research-reproductive-sciences

These research projects provide you with hands-on laboratory experience and training in a wide range of up-to-date techniques in molecular and cellular biology. Students also gain a wide range of generic professional and scientific skills such as developing effective communication skills, and scientific writing through project reports and a grant application.

Alongside the project work there is a series of lecture modules and seminars delivered by internationally-recognised experts in the field, together with both staff and student-led small group tutorials.

Career opportunities

This programme is the ideal route for those wishing to embark on a PhD, or in a technical laboratory role, in the field of Reproductive Health, spanning the biosciences, clinical and veterinary fields.

The broad range of skills gained is also readily transferable into careers at the clinical-laboratory interface and in the broader biosciences industry opportunities.

This programme does not amount to specific training to become a clinical embryologist.

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Programme description. This programme offers you an academically-challenging and career-developing study of biological systems at the molecular and cellular level. Read more

Programme description

This programme offers you an academically-challenging and career-developing study of biological systems at the molecular and cellular level.

Biochemistry is fundamental to most areas of life-science; it has a major impact on modern medical research and is essential in the pharmaceutical, nutrition, forensic, bioengineering, agricultural and environmental industries.

The programme is designed to produce highly skilled and motivated biochemists that are suitable for employment in the life-sciences or for further academic research.

You will be taught to apply chemical and physical principles to biological molecules in complex living systems in order to expand your understanding of the molecular basis of the processes which take place within these organisms.

Through a combination of taught courses, practical skills training and laboratory-based research, you will explore the structures, dynamics, interactions and metabolic pathways of biological molecules, from small molecules to large macromolecular complexes.

Programme structure

Teaching and learning activities include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • workshops
  • presentations
  • laboratory work
  • practical skills training and a research project
  • literature and database searching
  • discussion groups and project groups
  • seminars

Students will have practical skills training and will attend problem and computer-based tutorials and workshops.

Research

Those students progressing to MSc level will carry out their own research project at the frontier of knowledge and can make a genuine contribution to the progress of original research. This also involves reviewing relevant papers, analysing data, writing a dissertation and giving a presentation.

Learning outcomes

The programme aims to develop:

  • knowledge and understanding of biochemistry and awareness of the current state of research
  • enhanced practical skills in biochemical methods
  • ability to design, perform and record experiments independently
  • analytical skills to interpret data accurately and critically
  • ability to communicate biochemical information effectively in a wide range of contexts

Career opportunities

You will enhance your career prospects by acquiring knowledge of contemporary biochemistry from world experts in the field, by being trained in advanced analytical and presentation skills, and by having independent research experience in a modern, world-class laboratory.



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The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences has turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology. Read more

The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences has turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology.

Quantitative Genetics & Genome Analysis is part of a suite of programmes offering specialist routes in Animal Breeding & Genetics, Evolutionary Genetics, or Human Complex Trait Genetics.

Based in the internationally renowned Institute of Evolutionary Biology, this MSc draws from the wealth of expertise available there, as well as the teaching, research expertise and facilities of Scotland’s Rural College, the University’s Centre for Molecular Medicine, the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit and the Roslin Institute (birthplace of Dolly the sheep).

Each year the syllabus is fine-tuned to suit current issues in evolutionary, plant, human and animal genetics.

Applicants who wish to select their area of specialisation during the programme should apply for this umbrella programme. Applicants with a preferred programme option should apply via the following links:

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project, leading to a dissertation.

Compulsory courses

  • Population and Quantitative Genetics
  • Genetic Interpretation
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Linkage and Association in Genome Analysis
  • Research Proposal
  • Dissertation

Option courses (selected according to degree specialisation):

  • Quantitative Genetic Models
  • Molecular Evolution
  • Genetics of Human Complex Traits
  • Animal Genetic Improvement
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Molecular Phylogenetics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics

Career opportunities

You will develop the in-depth knowledge and specialised skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems, in both the biomedical and animal science industries, and to undertake research in evolutionary genetics, population genetics and genome analysis.



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. 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. 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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Programme description. The rapid transformation in the nature of drug discovery means that knowledge of related disciplines, and the technologies used, is essential for those considering a career in commercial or academic research. Read more

Programme description

The rapid transformation in the nature of drug discovery means that knowledge of related disciplines, and the technologies used, is essential for those considering a career in commercial or academic research.

This MSc will help you explore the latest methods of developing drugs and therapeutic compounds for humans and animals and disease control agents for plants.

You will learn about marketing, licensing and regulations, which are all part of the development process. Our multidisciplinary approach links structural biology, bioinformatics, chemistry and pharmacology.

You will investigate the fundamental scientific problems and techniques of drug discovery and design, alongside the challenges of developing principles for new therapeutic strategies.

You will have hands-on experience of crystallographic computer programming and computation for bioinformatics.

You will consider the moral and ethical aspects of the agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries through case studies, seminars and discussions.

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project, leading to a dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

  • Applicable Mathematics
  • Molecular Modelling and Database Mining
  • Quantitating Drug Binding
  • Protein Structure Determination
  • Commercial Aspects of Drug Discovery
  • Project Proposal and Literature Review
  • Preparative Methods for Structural Biology
  • Drug Discovery

Option courses:

  • Biochemistry A & B
  • Bioinformatics 1
  • Chemical Medicine
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Biophysical Chemistry for MSc Biochemistry
  • Introduction to Scientific Programming
  • Practical Skills in Biochemistry A & B
  • Introduction to Website and Database Design for Drug Discovery;
  • Detailed Characterisation of Drug or Ligand Interactions Using Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR);
  • Bioinformatics Programming & System Management
  • Bioinformatics Algorithms
  • Information Processing in Biological Cells
  • Bioinformatics 2
  • Protein Molecular Modelling Practical Skills
  • Tools for Synthetic Biology

Career opportunities

This MSc is designed to help you pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry or relevant government agencies, and it will provide a good background for managerial or technical roles in research, design and development. It is also a solid basis from which to continue your studies to PhD level.



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We offer an opportunity to train in one of the newest areas of biology. the application of engineering principles to the understanding and design of biological networks. Read more

We offer an opportunity to train in one of the newest areas of biology: the application of engineering principles to the understanding and design of biological networks. This new approach promises solutions to some of today’s most pressing challenges in environmental protection, human health and energy production.

This MSc will provide you with a thorough knowledge of the primary design principles and biotechnology tools being developed in systems and synthetic biology, ranging from understanding genome-wide data to designing and synthesising BioBricks.

You will learn quantitative methods of modelling and data analysis to inform and design new hypotheses based on experimental data. The University’s new centre, SynthSys, is a hub for world-leading research in both systems and synthetic biology.

Programme structure

The programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project and dissertation, which can be either modelling-based or laboratory-based.

Compulsory courses:

  • Information Processing in Biological Cells
  • Social Dimensions of Systems and Synthetic Biology
  • Dissertation project
  • Practical Systems Biology
  • Applications of Synthetic Biology
  • Tools for Synthetic Biology

Option courses:

  • Neural Computation
  • Probabilistic Modelling and Reasoning
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Bioinformatics Programming & System Management
  • Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Biobusiness
  • Gene Expression & Microbial Regulation
  • Bioinformatics Algorithms
  • Biological Physics
  • Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Molecular Phylogenetics
  • Next Generation Genomics
  • Drug Discovery
  • Biochemistry A & B
  • Environmental Gene Mining & Metagenomics
  • Economics & Innovation in the Biotechnology Industry
  • Industry & Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology
  • Introduction to Scientific Programming
  • Practical Skills in Biochemistry A & B
  • Mathematical Biology

Career opportunities

The programme is designed to give you a good basis for managerial or technical roles in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. It will also prepare you for entry into a PhD programme.



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Programme description. Changing demographics and growing demand for food, fuel and agricultural and environmental sustainability are among the key challenges the world faces today. Read more

Programme description

Changing demographics and growing demand for food, fuel and agricultural and environmental sustainability are among the key challenges the world faces today.

In this MSc you will learn research and development skills to enable the creation of new products and services. You will investigate the economic basis for current biotechnology structures and areas of future demand, including the global pharmaceutical industry and carbon sequestration.

You will learn how technology can be applied to solve pressing real-world biological problems and gain the skills and expertise needed for future developments in biotechnology.

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project or industrial placement, leading to a dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

  • Economics and Innovation in the Biotechnology Industry
  • Intelligent Agriculture
  • Principles of Industrial Biotechnology
  • Research Project Proposal
  • MSc Dissertation (Biotechnology).

Option courses:

  • Biobusiness
  • Biochemistry A & B
  • Bioinformatics
  • Bioinformatics Programming & System Management
  • Drug Discovery
  • Commercial Aspects of Drug Discovery
  • Environmental Gene-Mining and Metagenomics
  • Enzymology and Biological Production
  • Gene Expression and Microbial Regulation
  • Industry & Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology
  • Molecular Modelling and Database Mining
  • Practical Skills in Biochemistry A & B
  • Programming for the Life Sciences
  • Social Dimensions of Systems and Synthetic Biology
  • Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
  • Vaccines and Molecular Therapies

Research and laboratory work

There will be a considerable practical element to the programme. You will work in a biotechnology laboratory and learn how experimental technology is designed and operated.

Industrial placement

Your dissertation can be based on a laboratory-based project or an industrial placement. You can work with employers in the thriving Scottish biotechnology sector in areas such as multiple sclerosis research (Aquila BioMedical), vaccines research (BigDNA) or biorecovery and bioregeneration (Recyclatec).

Career opportunities

The programme will open up a wide variety of career opportunities, ranging from sales and marketing, to research and development, to manufacturing and quality control and assurance.



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Programme description. The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences have turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology. Read more

Programme description

The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences have turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology.

Based in the internationally renowned Institute of Evolutionary Biology, this MSc draws from the wealth of expertise available there, as well as the teaching, research expertise and facilities of Scotland’s Rural College, the University’s Centre for Genomics and Experimental Medicine, the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit and the Roslin Institute (birthplace of Dolly the sheep).

Each year the syllabus is fine-tuned to suit current issues in evolutionary, plant, human and animal genetics. This programme forms part of the quantitative genetics and genome analysis suite of programmes offering three specialist routes, which also include Human Complex Trait Genetics and Evolutionary Genetics.

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project, leading to a dissertation.

Courses are taught via lectures, tutorials, seminars and computer practicals. Assessment is by written examinations, in-course assignments and project work.

Compulsory courses:

  • Population and Quantitative Genetics
  • Genetic Interpretation
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Linkage and Association in Genome Analysis
  • Animal Genetic Improvement
  • Quantitative Genetic Models
  • Research Proposal
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

  • Molecular Phylogenetics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Molecular Evolution
  • Genetics of Human Complex Traits
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics

Learning outcomes

  • An understanding of general concepts in population and quantitative genetics and genomics
  • A solid grounding in the statistical methods required
  • In-depth knowledge of animal improvement and complex trait analysis
  • Development of independent research skills through individual mini- and maxi-research projects
  • Development of generic skills (IT skills, experience in writing scientific papers, the ability to work independently)
  • Presentation skills through student seminars, scientific presentation of project work and independent research projects.

Career opportunities

You will develop the in-depth knowledge and specialised skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems, in both the biomedical and animal science industries, and to undertake research in evolutionary genetics, population genetics and genome analysis.



Read less
Programme description. The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences have turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology. Read more

Programme description

The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences have turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology.

Based in the internationally renowned Institute of Evolutionary Biology, this MSc draws from the wealth of expertise available there, as well as the teaching, research expertise and facilities of Scotland’s Rural College, the University’s Centre for Molecular Medicine, the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit and the Roslin Institute (birthplace of Dolly the sheep).

Each year the syllabus is fine-tuned to suit current issues in evolutionary, plant, human and animal genetics.

This programme forms part of the quantitative genetics and genome analysis suite of programmes offering specialist routes, which also include Animal Breeding & Genetics and Human Complex Trait Genetics.

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project, leading to a dissertation.

Courses are taught via lectures, tutorials, seminars and computer practicals. Assessment is by written examinations, in-course assignments and project work.

Compulsory courses:

  • Population and Quantitative Genetics
  • Genetic Interpretation
  • Linkage and Association in Genome Analysis
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Research Proposal
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

  • Molecular Phylogenetics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Molecular Evolution
  • Genetics of Human Complex Traits
  • Quantitative Genetic Models
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Animal Genetic Improvement
  • Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics

Learning outcomes

You will gain the knowledge and skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to undertake research in evolutionary and quantitative genetics, population genetics and evolutionary genomics.

  • A thorough understanding of general concepts in population and quantitative genetics and genomics
  • In-depth knowledge of evolutionary genetics
  • A solid grounding in the statistical methods required for quantitative biology
  • Development of independent research skills through individual mini- and maxi-research projects
  • Development of generic skills (IT skills, experience in writing scientific papers, the ability to work independently)
  • Presentation skills through student seminars, scientific presentation of project work and independent research projects.

Career opportunities

You will develop the in-depth knowledge and specialised skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems, in both the biomedical and animal science industries, and to undertake research in evolutionary genetics, population genetics and genome analysis.



Read less
The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences have turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology. Read more

The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences have turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology.

Based in the internationally renowned Institute of Evolutionary Biology, this MSc draws from the wealth of expertise available there, as well as the teaching, research expertise and facilities of Scotland’s Rural College, the University’s Centre for Molecular Medicine, the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit and the Roslin Institute (birthplace of Dolly the sheep).

Each year the syllabus is fine-tuned to suit current issues in evolutionary, plant, human and animal genetics.

This programme forms part of the quantitative genetics and genome analysis suite of programmes offering specialist routes, which include Animal Breeding & Genetics and Evolutionary Genetics.

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project, leading to a dissertation.

Courses are taught via lectures, tutorials, seminars and computer practicals. Assessment is by written examinations, in-course assignments and project work.

Compulsory courses:

  • Population and Quantitative Genetics
  • Genetic Interpretation
  • Linkage and Association in Genome Analysis
  • Genetics of Human Complex Traits
  • Quantitative Genetic Models
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Research Project Proposal
  • Dissertation.

Option courses:

  • Molecular Phylogenetics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Molecular Evolution
  • Quantitative Genetic Models
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Animal Genetic Improvement
  • Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics

Learning outcomes

You will gain the knowledge and skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems in the biomedical industry, and to undertake research in quantitative and population genetics and genome analysis.

  • A thorough understanding of general concepts in population and quantitative genetics and genomics
  • In-depth knowledge of complex trait genetics in humans
  • A solid grounding in the statistical methods required for quantitative biology
  • Development of independent research skills through individual mini- and maxi-research projects
  • Development of generic skills (IT skills, experience in writing scientific papers, the ability to work independently)
  • Presentation skills through student seminars, scientific presentation of project work and independent research projects.

Career opportunities

You will develop the in-depth knowledge and specialised skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems, in both the biomedical and animal science industries, and to undertake research in evolutionary genetics, population genetics and genome analysis.



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Programme description. This programme provides flexible postgraduate study designed to specifically address the demand for online clinical animal behaviour teaching within a supported learning environment. Read more

Programme description

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.

Online learning

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.

Programme structure

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:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: 60 credits
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 120 credits
  • Master of Science: 180 credits

You may undertake this programme by intermittent study (flexible progression route), accruing credits within the following maximum time limits:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: 12-24 months
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 24-48 months
  • Master of Science: 36-72 months (this includes a maximum period of 12 months from the start of your dissertation to its completion)

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.

Learning outcomes

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:

  • consider how a scientific understanding of how biology and normal species specific behaviour can be applied in the management of problematic and/or abnormal behaviour in a range of companion animal species
  • develop a thorough understanding of the methods and approaches used for the management and treatment of common problematic behaviour in companion animals
  • gain an understanding of the scientific basis to a range of adjuncts used in the management of problem behaviour, including behavioural therapy, psychopharmacology and pheromonotherapy

Career opportunities

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.



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The Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation (IANC) is a world-leading institute dedicated to the theoretical and empirical study of adaptive processes in both artificial and biological systems. Read more

Research profile

The Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation (IANC) is a world-leading institute dedicated to the theoretical and empirical study of adaptive processes in both artificial and biological systems. We are one of the UK’s largest and most prestigious academic teams in these fields.

We foster world-class interdisciplinary and collaborative research bringing together a range of disciplines.

Our research falls into three areas:

-machine learning
-computational neuroscience
-computational biology

In machine learning we develop probabilistic methods that find patterns and structure in data, and apply them to scientific and technological problems. Applications include areas as diverse as astronomy, health sciences and computing.

In computational neuroscience and neuroinformatics we study how the brain processes information, and analyse and interpret data from neuroscientific experiments

The focus in the computational biology area is to develop computational strategies to store, analyse and model a variety of biological data (from protein measurements to insect behavioural data).

Training and support

You carry out your research within a research group under the guidance of a supervisor. You will be expected to attend seminars and meetings of relevant research groups and may also attend lectures that are relevant to your research topic. Periodic reviews of your progress will be conducted to assist with research planning.

A programme of transferable skills courses facilitates broader professional development in a wide range of topics, from writing and presentation skills to entrepreneurship and career strategies.

The School of Informatics holds a Silver Athena SWAN award, in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The School is deploying a range of strategies to help female staff and students of all stages in their careers and we seek regular feedback from our research community on our performance.

Facilities

The award-winning Informatics Forum is an international research facility for computing and related areas. It houses more than 400 research staff and students, providing office, meeting and social spaces.

It also contains two robotics labs, an instrumented multimedia room, eye-tracking and motion capture systems, and a full recording studio amongst other research facilities. Its spectacular atrium plays host to many events, from industry showcases and student hackathons to major research conferences.

Nearby teaching facilities include computer and teaching labs with more than 250 machines, 24-hour access to IT facilities for students, and comprehensive support provided by dedicated computing staff.

Among our entrepreneurial initiatives is Informatics Ventures, set up in 2008 to support globally ambitious software companies in Scotland and nurture a technology cluster to rival Boston, Pittsburgh, Kyoto and Silicon Valley.

Career opportunities

The research you will undertake at IANC is perfectly suited to a career in academia, where you’ll be able to use your knowledge to advance this important field. Some graduates take their skills into commercial research posts, and find success in creating systems that can be used in everyday applications.

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Programme description. Our programme gives graduates the scientific knowledge and practical skills to carry out research in the emerging area of animal science and ‘One Health’, by providing foundation knowledge about the functioning of the animal body. Read more

Programme description

Our programme gives graduates the scientific knowledge and practical skills to carry out research in the emerging area of animal science and ‘One Health’, by providing foundation knowledge about the functioning of the animal body. We explore applications of basic animal sciences to veterinary and human medicine, the livestock industry and food security.

The programme is held in the world-famous Roslin Institute, which is housed in a state-of-the-art research building on the Easter Bush campus, adjacent to the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. As a member of staff at the Institute, you will benefit from our world-class reputation for research in a vibrant, successful academic community.

You will acquire expert scientific knowledge and practical skills in animal sciences, veterinary and human medicine, the livestock industry and food security.

Programme structure

The programme involves courses that are a blend of lectures, guided practical studies and independent research. You will also complete your own dissertation.

Courses include:

  • Foundations of Animal Science
  • One Health and Comparative Animal Models
  • Laboratory Tools for the Biosciences
  • Avian Biology and Development
  • Analytical Methods in Animal Biosciences
  • One Health, Zoonoses and Emerging Infections

Dissertation

You will prepare a research proposal based on your laboratory or bioinformatic research project and will carry out this project under the supervision of a staff member of the Roslin Institute.

Career opportunities

This programme develops theoretical knowledge and practical skills, giving graduates a number of potential career development options in academia or industry.

We envisage that at least 50 per cent of our graduates will find a PhD placement after this MSc.

Our programme has been tailored to fulfil industry demand in vivo skills and a wide range of our industrial partners have told us that graduates from this programme will be attractive employees.



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