This programme is designed to equip you with a range of contemporary ecological and transferable skills that will provide an invaluable basis for your career.
Our MSc programme provides flexibility to enable you to gain knowledge and skills to meet your career aspirations, whether in research or as a practising ecologist. You will have the opportunity to gain hands on experience of everything from field survey to chairing discussions, from statistics and modelling to report writing and from identifying important ecological questions to researching them and writing a scientific paper. Previous graduates have gone on to the top of their chosen profession in research, consultancy, conservation, policy, education and advocacy.
Throughout the programme you will receive core training in plant community ecology, animal population ecology, GIS and experimental design and analysis (which includes use of R). You can select from a broad range of optional courses allowing you to tailor your studies to your interests and career aspirations. Students wishing to gain research training may join our informal ecology research group seminars throughout the year. Those interested in applied ecology may choose to study catchment management, marine spatial management and conservation management planning, amongst others. A key course for those aiming to work in consultancy is Environmental Impact Assessment. The opportunity to place your ecological study in a broader, interdisciplinary context is provided through a very popular course on ecology, conservation and society.
An important component of the programme is the individual research project which enables you to develop expertise and contacts in a topic of your own choosing. Preparation may begin as early in the year as you like.
How You'll Study
The programme comprises a combination of taught modules, each of which will involve lectures/seminars and practical work. There is a one week residential field course plus several day-long field trips from Aberdeen. Emphasis throughout is on active participation in class discussions, presentations and group work. The individual research project is developed by the student in consultation with a supervisor (a member of the School of Biological Sciences) and often with an external collaborator. The project title can be selected from an extensive list or based on the student’s own suggestion.
The programme is assessed entirely by continuous assessment. There are no exams. The assessments have been developed to provide training in key transferable skills. For example, a conference presentation, paper review, debate, preparation of a policy brief or chairing a discussion. Assessments for more applied courses include an environmental impact assessment and management plan. The final assessment is your project report submitted in the form of a scientific paper manuscript.
The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.
Minimum entry requirement for this programme is a degree in a biological, environmental or physical science, geography, or other relevant discipline at 2:1 (upper second class) UK Honours level, or an Honours degree from a non-UK institution which is judged by the University to be of equivalent worth. Candidates with at least a 2:1 or equivalent in other disciplines may be considered if they can demonstrate relevant experience and motivation.
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English Language Requirements
To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:
OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0
OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21
OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59
Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency:
OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169
Read more about specific English Language requirements here.
You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.
an up-to-date CV/Resumé
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
The programme focuses on providing training in state-of-the-art methods that will be invaluable both for careers in academic research and as a professional ecologist, for example in ecological or environmental consultancy or conservation. The UK’s Natural Environment Research Council and the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management have both published lists of the 'most wanted' skills in the ecological and environmental sector. Our MSc programme has been specifically designed to provide you with these sought after skills so that you are highly competitive in whatever career you choose to follow.
In addition to acquiring discipline-specific skills, the course work activities within our programme are designed to provide you with ample opportunity to develop generic skills required by employers including critical thinking, problem-solving, team work, written and oral presentation, time management and interdisciplinarity. Previous graduates have gone on to the top of their chosen profession in research, consultancy, conservation, policy, education and advocacy.
We collaborate with colleagues in research institutions all over the world and have active involvement with local, national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations including, for example, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Marine Scotland, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, British Trust for Ornithology, Scottish Wildlife Trust, National Trust for Scotland and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.