MSc in Biodiversity & Taxonomy of Plants

General

Program Description

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). 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.

The programme can also be taken on a part-time basis over two years. Part-time students can opt either to take 60 credits of taught courses in the first year of study, followed by the remaining 60 credits of taught courses and the four-month research project in the second year of study, or all taught courses in the first year followed by the four-month research project in the second year of study.

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

  • Biodiversity of Angiosperms
  • Conservation and Sustainability
  • Evolution and Biodiversity of Cryptograms
  • Evolution of Plants
  • Phylogenetics and Population Genetics
  • Plant Genome Diversity
  • Plant Geography
  • Taxonomy and Plant Collections
  • Tropical Biodiversity Field Course
  • Project and Dissertation

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.

Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in biological, horticultural, or environmental science.

Relevant work experience is desirable (for example, any prior activities that would prepare you for the programme, such as: attending workshops or short courses, collecting trips, plant-related previous jobs, publication of papers etc).

Other degrees will be considered on an individual basis, provided that a keen interest in plants can be demonstrated.

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section

  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Last updated Dec 2019

About the School

We are one of the largest biology departments in the UK. As the modern inheritors of our 400-year-old reputation for excellence, our staff and students contribute to a vibrant academic community whose ... Read More

We are one of the largest biology departments in the UK. As the modern inheritors of our 400-year-old reputation for excellence, our staff and students contribute to a vibrant academic community whose visions are shaping tomorrow’s world. Read less