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.
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 (recently Belize).
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.
- Conservation and Sustainability
- Taxonomy and Plant Collections
- Biodiversity of Angiosperms
- Evolution of Cryptogams and Fungi
- Evolution of Angiosperms
- Plant Geography
- Phylogenetics and Population Genetics
- Biodiversity of Cryptogams and Fungi
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.
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.
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.
Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:
- Entry requirements by country
English language requirements
All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:
an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration
- UKVI list of majority English speaking countries
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(A): 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
Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson Test of English and Trinity ISE must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.*
(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates.)
Program taught in: