MRes Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Imperial College London

Program Description

MRes Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Imperial College London

MRes Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution

This MRes is designed for students with a passion for the diversity of life on earth, and who wish to be trained in cutting-edge biological research.

New technologies such as next-generation DNA sequencing are revolutionising biology. There are also huge amounts of biodiversity data to be collated and meta-analysed to respond to urgent research needs in a world of rapid global changes.

This course will offer an intensive one-year full-time programme designed to provide you with postgraduate-level training in research skills.

Uniquely, it will start with seven-week intensive training modules in the latest developments of informatics and genomics for whole-organism research.

This is followed by a single nine-month research project in the Division of Ecology and Evolution, which may be jointly hosted by one of our peer-institutes such as the:

  • Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
  • the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • the Natural History Museum

Project opportunities include genetics, conservation, tropical and environmental biology; they will either be purely analytical or have strong field and/or laboratory components.

It will also provide you with a solid grounding in a range of professional and transferable skills and the opportunity to make a more informed decision on the area of research and specific PhD project you wish to pursue in the future.

It will be ideal training for those who wish to pursue a career in academic, government or non-governmental organisations engaged in research into biodiversity.


The course will include:

  • Two-week module on genomics, including lectures and practicals in molecular ecology
  • Two-week module on biodiversity informatics, including lectures and practicals in GIS techniques (geographic information system)
  • Two-week module in programming, introducing core concepts such as control flow and simulation, R and languages such as Perl and Python
  • One-week module in statistics
  • A series of workshops, seminars and guest lectures on research techniques and rapidly-changing fields
  • One-week summer school on ‘Grand Challenges in Biodiversity Research’ (largely organised by the students as a retreat). This summer school will provide a relaxed set-up to run forums on current ‘hot’ topics, such as ‘biodiversity under climate change’, ‘ethics and genomics’, etc.
  • Training in complementary skills, personal development and business
  • One 36-week research project covering different research areas hosted by a laboratory within the Division of Ecology and Evolution, possibly in conjunction with a laboratory at an affiliated institution. The choice of the project will be student-led and the first eight weeks will provide ample time to choose a suitable host. Each project will be written up by the student in the format of a scientific publication. Although not compulsory, the expectation will be that the students will submit their reports for publication by the relevant peer-reviewed journals, e.g. Global Change Biology, Systematic Biology, Molecular Ecology, Genome Research as appropriate

The elements and components to be assessed will be weighted as follows:

  • Coursework (25%)
  • Mid-project report (15%)
  • Mid-project presentation (10%)
  • Final report (35%)
  • Final viva (15%)

The research project therefore attracts a total of 75% of the overall mark for the degree.

The best 36-week research project will receive a £1,000 prize from Illumina.

Course location

The course is based at the Silwood Park Campus. This is located between Ascot and Windsor, and is a one-hour journey west of central London.

With its large, research-active faculty, ‘state-of-the-art’ facilities, and wide links to academic researchers and science professionals in the UK and abroad, Silwood Park is in an ideal position to offer such a course.

Some accommodation is available on campus, together with sport and recreational facilities.

The research projects can also be partly based in our collaborating institutes elsewhere in London, and/or even overseas for projects where research in the field is necessary.

Minimum academic requirement

2.1 Honours degree in a biological, ecological, or other life sciences subject, or in a physical sciences subject, and an A-level in mathematics.

International qualifications

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification.

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications.

English language requirements

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated November 17, 2015
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Oct. 2016
1 year
Full time
9,400 GBP
Start date Oct. 2016
United Kingdom London, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 1 year
Price 9,400 GBP
- Home/EU; £19,200 - Overseas