MRes Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation

Wild flowers

A variety of wildflowers at Tatton Park, Cheshire © Jonathan Ayres

A one year research-based postgraduate course based at University College London and run in collaboration with the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Zoology. 

The course is aimed at students who plan to undertake a PhD prior to a career in biodiversity research.  

Course description

The one-year full-time programme comprises of:

  • three taught modules during the first term (October to December)
  • two 18-week research projects (January-April and May-September).

Aims and objectives

After completing the MRes course in Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation students will have:

  • a rigorous training in quantitative methods used in evolutionary, ecological, environmental, and conservation science
  • a broad introduction to the range of research concerned with biodiversity, from its past evolutionary roots to its future preservation
  • research experience in pure and applied science in the diverse settings of a world-leading multidisciplinary university and two globally-renowned research organizations
  • transferable skills in quantitative data handling, oral and poster presentation, essay writing, reasoned argument, and critical thinking.

Course content

Taught courses

Each course will have required coursework, ranging from practicals to essays and presentations.

Topics focus on cutting-edge quantitative tools in:

  • ecology
  • evolutionary biology
  • genetics
  • bioinformatics
  • systematics
  • palaeobiology
  • conservation
  • environmental biology.

The taught portion that comprise the first term of the programme is divided into three courses:

Analytical tools in biodiversity and evolutionary resesarch

An intensive methods course which will provide students with practical training in the variety of analytical tools using in pure and applied research in biodiversity, evolution, and conservation (30 credits)

Research skills course

A generic research skills course which will provide training in oral and poster presentations and other transferable skills (15 credits)

Topics in Biodiversity research

A seminar and discussion course, in which students will attend a series of mandatory seminars at UCL, the Natural History Museum, and the Institute of Zoology which will serve as the subjects for essays and discussions (15 credits)

Research projects

The two research projects (60 credits each) will be marked based on a written dissertation and poster or oral presentation for each project.

Students will be required to choose projects based at two different institutions (out of the three partner institutions) to ensure that they gain experience in a range of methods and topics. See some of our students' previous research projects.

How to apply

Applications are processed through University College London.

Course director

Dr Ronald Jenner

Entry requirements

Normally, a minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree in life sciences, environmental sciences or related subject area, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applicants with an appropriate professional qualification and relevant work experience may also apply.

Non-UK applicants

Advice on the academic requirements from overseas institutions can be found on
UCL's website.


Fees 2015/6

Home and EU students    £13,285
Overseas students           £23,690
Bench fees                        £2000

Bench fees are required to cover expenses associated with the research projects.   


Scholarships of £2000 are being offered for this degree. They will be awarded to outstanding applicants (UK/EU or Overseas) for payment against bench fees. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, please indicate this in section 26 of the graduate student application.

Note: Scholarship applications must be received by 31st March 2015 for a candidate to be considered.

The Graduate School also offers various scholarships for UK/EU and Overseas students.

Questions about the course?