MSc in Taxonomy and Biodiversity

Imperial College London

Program Description

MSc in Taxonomy and Biodiversity

Imperial College London

MSc in Taxonomy and Biodiversity

This taught course is based mainly at the Natural History Museum, where you will attend lectures, together with computer and laboratory-based practicals. The Natural History Museum is in South Kensington and is just a five-minute walk from Imperial's main campus.

The course equips you with quantitative and analytical skills in computing, morphological and molecular techniques in systematics, taxonomy and biodiversity research.

As well as a one-week field course at Imperial’s Silwood Park Campus, you will also have the opportunity to specialise in your chosen subject during an independent four-month research project, based either at the Museum or the Silwood Park Campus.

You may choose to undertake fieldwork carrying out biodiversity surveys, work in the molecular laboratories, or use the Natural History Museum’s world-renowned collection of natural history specimens.

The unique location of this course enables you to attend regular seminars given by top researchers and to have important networking opportunities for future PhDs and careers.


The MSc course comprises a number of taught modules including a field course, spread over two 11-week terms. This is followed by a four month research project. There are no optional courses.


  • Taxonomy of major groups and the Tree-of-Life: An introduction of major branches of the Tree, including identification exercises, presented by NHM experts
  • Statistics and Computing: A two-week intensive course at Silwood Park
  • Field course: trapping and collecting techniques for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems
  • Phylogenetic Reconstruction: the principles of building phylogenetic trees
  • Molecular Systematics: generating and analysing molecular data; model-based phylogenetics
  • Phylogenomics: Genomic techniques for studying evolutionary processes and biodiversity
  • Biodiversity (Concepts): speciation, radiation, macroevolution
  • Biodiversity (Applied): Measuring biodiversity, geospatial analysis, collection management and biodiversity informatics
  • Palaeobiology: Studying the fossil record and what we can learn for biodiversity

Minimum academic requirement

2:1 Honours degree in any area of biology or related science-based subject (e.g. palaeontology, geology, marine biology, anthropology, environmental sciences).

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.

Fees (2016-2017)


  • Full-time — £9,400; 2 years part-time — £4,700 per year; 3 years part-time — £3,133 per year


  • Full-time — £19,200; 2 years part-time — £9,600 per year; 3 years part-time — £6,400 per year
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 - 3 years
Part time
Full time
Start date Oct. 2016
United Kingdom London, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 1 - 3 years
Price Request Info