MSc Biodiversity and Global Change

Phytoplankton blooms in the Antarctic Ocean aerial image

Phytoplankton blooms in the Antarctic Ocean © NASA

This course provides a grounding in the science that is essential for tackling the biodiversity crisis, training the next generation of conservation professionals.

About this course

The programme is delivered through a combination of seminars, presentations, assigned papers, as well as data analysis and interpretation. Seminars at UCL, the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Zoology (Zoological Society of London) are a mandatory part of the course. Assessment is through essays, project reports, presentations and practicals. The research project is assessed by dissertation, and oral presentation.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits comprising compulsory modules of 135 credits and optional modules of 45 credits.

The programme consists of three compulsory taught modules (45 credits), optional modules to a total of 45 credits, and a research project (90 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Biodiversity and Global Change.

Compulsory modules

Taught modules focus on the concepts and skills needed to apply the latest research in global biodiversity changes, covering topics including  biodiversity generation and maintenance, species conservation, behavioural ecology in the Anthropocene, computational methods for biodiversity research, ecology and evolution, and science communication.

  • Computational Methods in Biodiversity Research (15 credits) (delivered collaboratively by UCL, ZSL and the Natural History Museum)
  • Biodiversity Generation and Maintenance (15 credits) (delivered collaboratively by UCL, ZSL and the Natural History Museum)
  • Applied Biodiversity Conservation (15 credits) (delivered collaboratively by UCL, ZSL and the Natural History Museum)
  • MSc Biodiversity and Conservation Research Project (90 credits) (delivered collaboratively by UCL, ZSL and the Natural History Museum)

Optional modules

  • Science Communication for Biologists
  • Species Conservation and Biodiversity
  • Behavioural Ecology for the Anthropocene
  • Plant Evolution and Ecology

Other modules offered by the Division of Biosciences or UCL East


All students undertake a 24-week research project on applied biodiversity research at UCL or with one of the partner institutions. This will culminate in a 5,000-word report and a 15-minute oral presentation.


Students undertake a field trip to Blakeney Point, Norfolk. Taking place towards the beginning of term 1, students are introduced to field techniques and experimental design

Teaching and learning

You will learn through a mixture of lectures, seminars, discussion classes, and group work, as well as undertaking personal reading and research for your dissertation under the supervision of at least one expert in the field. 

Additional costs

Students should have access to a laptop which can run R.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

How to apply

Applications are processed through University College London.

Museum coordinator

Dr Ronald Jenner

Application dates

Open 18 October 2021

Closes 31 March 2022

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. The programme may remain open if places are still available after 31 March 2022 and will be closed as soon as it is full or by 30 June 2022.

Programme starts: September 2022

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.

Tuition fees

Fees (2022/23)

UK/EU: £16,500 (FT)
Overseas: £29,400 (FT)


If you would like to be considered for a bench fees scholarship please indicate this in Section 26 of the graduate student application.

Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) must submit their applications as early as possible, as applications will be evaluated and offers made on a rolling basis.