MRes Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation

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.

Course description

This is an ideal degree for highly motivated students interested in the breadth of evolutionary, ecological, and conservation science and seeking a programme to provide a foundation in both pure and applied research in biodiversity.

The one-year full-time programme comprises:

  • three taught modules during the first term (October to December)
  • two 18-week research projects (January to April and May to 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
  • biogeography
  • 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 research (30 credits)

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

Science communication for biologists (15 credits)

Computational methods in biodiversity research (15 credits)


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. Data collected at Blakeney Point will be used for a scientific report and poster assessment.

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.

Museum coordinator

Dr Ronald Jenner

Application dates

Applications open: 16 October 2023
Deadline for applications: 5 April 2024 at 17.00 BST

Programme starts: September 2024

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.

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 (2024/25)

UK/EU: £19,300 (FT)
Overseas: £37,500 (FT)