MSc Ecology and Data Science

A person measuring a bog with a stick on a sunny day under a blue sky

 Measuring water quality in a wetland, image Shutetrstock/I. Noyan Yilmaz

This interdisciplinary programme will develop professionals who are equipped to address critical global environmental challenges across society.

This MSc provides students with the interdisciplinary skills, theoretical and practical expertise needed to apply innovations in data science, citizen science, sensor technologies and applied artificial intelligence.

It will teach students how to monitor and manage ecosystems and wildlife populations to understand and reverse catastrophic changes in global biodiversity. 

About this degree

The MSc Ecology & Data Science will be taught in UCL’s purpose-built People and Nature Lab at the new UCL East campus in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, opening for staff and students in 2022.

The MSc will realise the vision of a new type of programme which addresses the urgent need to produce professionals with expertise in both ecology and data science.

The course will be taught by a cross-disciplinary team of scientists, including from UCL’s departments of GEE, Computer Science; Geography; Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering; and The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment and industry partners from the Zoological Society of London and the Natural History Museum.

The MSc programme consists of five compulsory modules, one optional module and a research project. 

Compulsory modules

  • Foundations in Ecology and Ecological Monitoring
  • Computational Methods in Biodiversity Research
  • Technology for Nature
  • AI for the Environment
  • Nature-Smart Challenge

Optional modules

  • Foundations of Citizen Science
  • Biodiversity Generation and Maintenance
  • Behavioural Ecology for the Anthropocene
  • Science Communication for Biologists

Research project

A range of projects will be available working with UCL academics and programme partners including the Zoological Society of London, and the Natural History Museum London.

Students will carry out an original piece of research that answers an ecological and data science question developed with the student’s expert supervisory team. The student will produce a dissertation detailing and critically analysing their work, and will be expected to prepare an oral presentation delivered to an invited audience.

Career opportunities

The sustainable management of environmental resources for expanding human populations, and how global climate change and biodiversity targets will be met, are crucial societal challenges of our time.

Professionals who can design, implement and measure the effectiveness of potential solutions to environmental challenges are in demand across a wide range of industries, from sectors such as the built environment, natural environment, agriculture to conservation and global policy.

This creates a wealth of opportunities for individuals with ecological and environmental knowledge, who can use and apply a wide range of tools in data science and artificial intelligence to address these problems.

This is a new programme launching in 2022, and graduates of the MSc. Ecology and Data Science will leave with project management skills and theoretical and practical experience needed to implement statistical and computational solutions to address ecological and environmental challenges across society.

How to apply

Applications are processed through University College London.

Key information

Applications open: 16 October 2023
Deadline for applications: 28 June 2024 at 17.00 GMT 
Programme starts: September 2024
Duration: One year

Museum coordinator

Entry requirements

Normally, an upper second-class (2:1) 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.

Tuition fees

Fees (2024/25)

UK £22,700 FT

Overseas £37,500 FT

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.