Addressing the fundamental biological consequences of environmental change.

Study Information

At a Glance

Degree Qualification

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The School of Biological Sciences has a global reputation for cutting edge research, incorporating theoretical, empirical and experimental studies on plants, animals and microbes, spanning from gene to global scales, from the deep to high altitude and from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

We welcome applications from self-funded students at any time.

We offer a small number of our postgraduate research degrees by distance learning. These are ideal for students who are unable to relocate to Aberdeen.

Most of the projects are computer based, using modelling or advanced data analysis to explore exciting challenges in biological sciences. A PhD in Biological Sciences (Distance Learning) can be either full-time (36 months) or part-time (60 months). If you are interested in an intensive 12 month MSc by Research through Distance Learning, please contact

Distance Learning students receive the same level of supervision as on-campus students, with supervision meetings normally conducted online or by telephone. Distance learning students have access to the University Library and resources, and are welcome to visit the campus (a student visitor visa may be required). For students conducting modelling projects, access to high power computing is provided.

Our Research

Research in the School of Biological Science is structured through 4 key clusters: ecology, evolution, environment and ecophysiology.

These research clusters bring together staff and students with shared research interests, to encourage multidisciplinary collaboration.


Ecology research within the School has a broad focus on understanding the impact of natural and anthropogenic processes on the abundance, dynamics and distribution of individuals, populations and species.

Key areas of research focus are:

  • Individual Variation
  • Population Dynamics and Trophic Interaction
  • Fisheries Ecology
  • Conservation Ecology
  • Tropical and Temperate Forest Ecology
  • Theoretical Ecology and Modelling
  • Life History Variation

Our Ecological Research


The School has world leading expertise in modelling ecoevolutionary dynamics in structured, natural populations. Our research also provides insight into the evolutionary adaptation of organisms to environmental change and understanding the causes and consequences of variation in levels of neutral and adaptive genetic diversity among individuals and populations.

Key areas of research focus are:

  • Modelling Ecoevolutionary Dynamics
  • Functional and Ecological Genomics
  • Molecular Ecology

Our Evolutionary Research


The School of Biological Sciences is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for research that addresses the global challenges of environmental change and environmental impacts.

Key areas of research focus are:

  • Soil Microbial Diversity
  • Soil Carbon
  • Ecosystem Processes
  • Marine Biogeochemistry
  • Biosensors and Bioremediation
  • Soil Physics
  • Environmental Modelling

Our Environmental Research


Studying the integrative processes and function of life at all levels of structural complexity from the molecular level through to the whole organisms. We then frame functional diversity in evolutionary, environmental, ecological and behavioural contexts.

Key areas of research focus are:

  • Fish Immunology and Physiology
  • Animal Energetics
  • Host, Pathogen and Parasite Interactions

Our Ecophysiology Research

Entry Requirements

If English is not your first language you must also show evidence of attaining standards in English.

English language criteria

Fees and Funding

View the tuition fee rates

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

School of Biological Sciences Showcase

Our showcase film highlights the benefits for students who choose to study here, the breadth of research carried out at the School and the superb facilities on offer.

Research Impact

Professor Paul Thompson and his team have been instrumental in mitigating the impacts of offshore installations on marine mammals in EU protected areas.

Watch video


There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

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