MRes aims and objectives

Systematics and the evolutionary understanding of biological phenomena have come to underpin wider areas of biology such as developmental biology, immunology, microbiology and parasitology.

After completing the MRes course, students will have:

  • a good understanding of the state of knowledge of the field, together with relevant practical experience in three areas of biosystematic science in which the student┬áhas expressed an interest
  • a broad appreciation of the scientific opportunities in biosystematics and associated fields and the┬ámany exciting developments in phylogeny reconstruction, bioinformatics, genomics and biodiversity research resulting from novel computer technology, molecular biology and theoretical advances
  • where applicable, the ability to contribute to the formulation and development of ideas underpinning potential PhD projects in areas of interest, and to make an informed decision on the choice of potential PhD projects
  • knowledge of a range of specific research techniques and professional and transferable skills.

Course content

The course hinges on three 15-week research projects in different Research Group laboratories, at least one of which will be based at the Natural History Museum and one at Imperial College at Silwood Park.

Training in scientific methods:

  • theory and philosophy of phylogenetic reconstruction
  • morphological character analysis
  • microscopy and image analysis
  • molecular systematics
  • taxonomic revisions
  • phylogenetics computing
  • genomics
  • bioinformatics
  • statistical approaches to biodiversity
  • GIS
  • population and conservation genetics
  • specimen handling and collection management

Participation in:

  • group discussions
  • seminars
  • work-in-progress lab meetings
  • journal clubs
  • selected lectures and seminars
  • key lectures of the MSc course in Advanced Methods in Taxonomy and Biodiversity

Training in core transferrable skills:

  • scientific writing
  • presentation skills
  • experimental design
  • statistics
  • science and ethics
  • computing
  • science career guidance
  • time management

Where applicable, there is also protected time for PhD project discussion and development.