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Biological Sciences×

Masters Degrees in Systematic Botany

Masters degrees in Systematic Botany provide advanced training in a branch of taxonomy. They deal with the study of morphological, numerical, and molecular methods for identifying and classifying living and fossilised plants.

Courses range from taught MSc programmes, to research-based MRes and MPhil degrees. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as botany, biology or environmental science.

Why study a Masters in Systematic Botany?

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Bioinformatics is changing as high throughput biological data collection becomes more Systems oriented. This means that employers are looking for people able to work across the traditional disciplines. Read more
Bioinformatics is changing as high throughput biological data collection becomes more Systems oriented. This means that employers are looking for people able to work across the traditional disciplines.

The MSc in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology at Manchester reflects these exciting developments, providing an integrated programme taught by researchers at the forefront of fields spanning Bioinformatics, Genomics and Systems Biology.

Bioinformatics has been an identifiable discipline for more than a decade, driven by the computational demands of high volumes of biological data. It incorporates both the development and application of algorithms to decipher biological relationships.

Enormous success has been achieved, for example in defining homologous families of sequences at the DNA, RNA, and protein levels. However, our appreciation of function is changing rapidly as experimental analysis scales up to cellular and organismal viewpoints.

At these levels, we are interested in the properties of a network of interacting components in a system, as well as the components themselves. The concepts or Systems Biology and Bioinformatics complement each other, and both are addressed in this course.
This combination reflects the current skills sought in academic and industrial (eg pharmaceutical) settings. An important feature is the extent to which computational biology is concerned with finding patterns in biological data, and generating hypotheses that feed back into experiments.

Teaching is delivered by more than ten academic staff working in the fields of Bioinformatics, Genomics and Systems Biology, representing the breadth and depth of these areas.

Aims

The Bioinformatics and Systems Biology course provides students with theoretical and practical knowledge of methods to analyse and interpret the data generated by modern biology. This involves the appreciation of biochemistry and molecular biology, together with the techniques of IT and computer science that will prepare students for multidisciplinary careers in research.

To achieve this there are three main objectives:
-Provide biological background to the data types of Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics.
-Develop the computational and analytical understanding necessary as a platform for processing biological data.
-Demonstrate applications and worked examples in the fields of Bioinformatics and System Biology, integrating with student involvement through project work.

Coursework and assessment

Research projects provide experience in carrying through a substantive research project including the planning, execution and communication of original scientific research. They are assessed by written report.

Taught units involve lectures, practicals and problem classes and are assessed through both coursework and exam.

Course unit details

The taught part of the course runs from September to April and consists of 60 credits delivered from four 15 credit units.
-Bioinformatics
-Programming Skills
-Computational Systems Biology
-Experimental Design and Statistics

You will undertake two research project, each of 60 credits, in Semester 2 and the summer. Additionally tutorials and the Graduate Training Programme (skills development) will run through the whole programme.

Career opportunities

Graduates acquire a wide range of subject specific and transferable skills and gain extensive research experience. Around half of each class find PhD positions straight after the MSc, whilst others build upon their training to enter careers in biology and IT. The combination of Systems Biology and Bioinformatics addressed in this course reflects the current skills sought in academic and industrial (e.g. pharmaceutical) settings.

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About the course. -Designed to deepen your understanding of the diversity of plants and their conservation. -Taught by staff from academia and industry. Read more
About the course:
-Designed to deepen your understanding of the diversity of plants and their conservation
-Taught by staff from academia and industry
-Emphasises hands-on experience with plants, so theoretical understanding is matched by practical skills including plant identification
-Excellent record of graduates going on to higher (research) degrees or employment in the sector

WHAT WILL YOU STUDY?

Sample modules:
-Diversity and identification of plants
-Vegetation survey and assessment
-Global biodiversity and conservation
-Critical discussion
-Molecular systematics

Please note that all modules are subject to change.

WHAT CAREER CAN YOU HAVE?

All our master’s programmes emphasise the practical skills that employers need, whether that is the ability to identify plants, carry out environmental assessments or use the latest cutting-edge molecular techniques. As a University of Reading MSc graduate, you will be well equipped to work in the field or the lab, and in the private or public sector. Many of our graduates go on to study for a PhD and pursue a career in research either in industry or in universities.

Typical roles of graduates from our ecology and wildlife-based MSc programmes include conservation officers, project managers, field ecologists and environmental consultants. Graduates from our biomedical MSc programme typically go on to pursue PhD studies or work in the pharmaceutical industry.

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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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Ethnobotany is essentially interdisciplinary, involving knowledge of plants and their ecology in the context of their cultural, social and economic significance. Read more
Ethnobotany is essentially interdisciplinary, involving knowledge of plants and their ecology in the context of their cultural, social and economic significance.

Ethnobotany is the study of the interrelationship between people and plants, particularly the way in which plants impact on human culture and practices, how humans have used and modified plants, and how they represent them in their systems of knowledge. This programme combines anthropological studies of human-environment interaction and sociocultural knowledge of plants in different parts of the world with ecology, conservation science, environmental law and biodiversity management. It also covers plant conservation and sustainable management practices, taxonomy, and economic botany.

The programme is taught collaboratively with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (a World Heritage Site).

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/189/ethnobotany

Why study with us?

- One-year Master's programme.

- First programme of its kind in the world and only graduate course in UK and Europe.

- Study with the largest research group for Ethnobotany in Europe.

- More than 25% of our graduates complete PhD programmes.

- Integrates field methods with theoretical perspectives.

- Jointly taught with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and partners with The London School of Pharmacy, The Eden Project and the Endangered Languages Archive at SOAS.

- Research active lecturers, recognised as being world-leading and internationally excellent (REF2014), with wide geographical expertise.

- Field trips to the ancient woodlands of the Blean, the Powell-Cotton Museum and the Eden Project.

Applicants might also be interested in reading more about the Annual Distinguished Ethnobotanist Lecture (http://www.kent.ac.uk/sac/events/lectures-seminars/ethnobotany-lecture/index.html) and our Ethnobotanical Garden (http://www-test.kent.ac.uk/sac/research/research-centres/ethnobotany_garden.html).

This programme draws on the combined strengths of three academic centres. At the University of Kent, the Centre for Biocultural Diversity (http://www.kent.ac.uk/sac/research/research-centres/cbcd/) has pioneered research and teaching in ethnobotany and human ecology; it has been rated excellent for teaching, and its work in anthropological approaches to the environment flagged for excellence in the most recent HEFCE Research Assessment Exercise.

Careers

The School has a very good record for postgraduate employment and academic continuation. Studying anthropology, you develop an understanding of the complexity of all actions, beliefs and discourse by acquiring strong methodological and analytical skills. Anthropologists are increasingly being hired by companies and organisations that recognise the value of employing people who understand the complexities of societies and organisations.

As a School recognised for its excellence in research we are one of the partners in the South East Doctoral Training Centre, which is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This relationship ensures that successful completion of our courses is sufficient preparation for research in the various fields of social anthropology. Many of our students go on to do PhD research. Others use their Master’s qualification in employment ranging from research in government departments to teaching to consultancy work overseas.

Since 1998 we have trained nearly 150 students through our MSc programme. More than 25% of these have moved on to undertake research degrees in some area of ethnobotany (for example, Kent, Oxford, Sussex, Vienna, Florida, Tulane, British Columbia, McGill), or have taken up positions which utilise their training and knowledge, for example, in NGOs such as the Global Diversity Foundation, at the Harvard Museum of Economic Botany, conservation education, at various Botanical Gardens around the world (for example, Kew, Edinburgh, New York, Auckland, Beirut), at the United Nations Environment Programme, and in the pharmaceutical industry. Some have gone on to work in universities or start their own organisations and businesses.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

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With only a small percentage of the planet's diversity formally described by science, it is more important than ever to train a new generation of taxonomists who will go on to describe, understand and conserve biodiversity. Read more
With only a small percentage of the planet's diversity formally described by science, it is more important than ever to train a new generation of taxonomists who will go on to describe, understand and conserve biodiversity.

Of critical shortage are skilled scientists in plant and fungal taxonomy, scientists that underpin much bioscience, nature conservation, plant breeding work, as well as underpinning the development of environmental policy. This course delivers vital training to fill that skill shortage. The course will provide training in plant and fungal identification skills, in combination with a thorough grounding in molecular systematics, evolutionary biology, and conservation policy, theory and practice.

Collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

This MSc course is delivered in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and you will be based there for some of your teaching. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was founded in 1759, and has the largest and most diverse collections of plant and fungal specimens and associated biodiversity databases in the world. The combination of extensive specimen collections, databases, and scientific research conducted on a global scale is unique, and means that Kew plays a leading role in facilitating greater access to basic plant information, underpinning science and conservion activities worldwide.

Other taught modules will be based at Queen Mary, Mile End campus. You will also take a fieldwork module based in Madagascar.

Research

Queen Mary and Kew have a number of long-established research links, and these have led to research papers in leading science journals such as 'Science, Trends in Plant Science', 'Trends in Ecology and Evolution', and 'Plant Journal'.

You will be taught by world-leading experts, internationally recognised for cutting edge research in plant and fungal sciences, applying new technologies to answer fundamental questions about the diversity of plant and fungal life on the planet, how it evolved and how we can best conserve it.

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