MSc Ecology, Evolution and Conservation

This full-time, one-year course provides broad research training in ecology, evolution and conservation, suitable for a career in applied biology, conservation or as preparation for a PhD. It has an emphasis on the fundamental scientific principles that underpin the study topics, on interdisciplinary approaches, current research tools and on applying science to conservation issues.

MSc students enjoy 20 weeks of lectures given by internationally recognised experts in ecology, evolution and conservation science, including external visitors from a range of conservation organisations, followed by a five-month research project chosen from a wide range of topics.

Course Overview

The programme aims and objectives are to produce graduates equipped to undertake postgraduate research in ecology, evolution, conservation biology and other areas of whole organism biology. Our graduates leave with broad conceptual and analytical skills related to ecology, evolution and their application to conservation. Additionally, we promote an awareness and understanding of the scientific challenges and applied problems facing biodiversity scientists and practitioners.

The course is designed to develop an advanced level of understanding of the theoretical, statistical and research tools available to meet these challenges. You will finish the course with an advanced ability to devise, critically assess and implement a research programme through to dissemination of results in scientific papers, reports and presentations.

Research Projects

Research projects run for 22 weeks and are drawn broadly from ecology, evolution and conservation. Projects can be chosen by students from a diverse list of options to give practical experience of fieldwork, molecular lab work, experiments, and theory as well as a wide range of general research skills. Many projects are based at Silwood but we also have collaborations with a range of national and international project partners.

Further Study/Employability

Our goal is to produce graduates equipped to pursue careers in conservation agencies, the public sector and non-governmental organisations. The course structure and contents is specifically designed to give you a broad overview of key subjects with more detailed expertise and skills in the areas in which you plan to work in the future.

Taught Elements

The MSc has a modular teaching structure, with weekly topics taught by research staff from within the Department of Life Sciences. The first eight weeks present a series of core topics that introduce key ideas and research skills around the distribution and abundance of organisms, species interactions and the evolutionary origins of biodiversity. Students are introduced to “research thinking” through hands-on involvement in a series of research case studies.

The continuing taught course goes on to provide more detail on research topics across the fields of ecology, evolution and conservation. These topics will include: conservation and management; evolutionary analysis using bioinformatics, phylogenetics and selfish genetic elements and the application of ecological principles and methods to real and complex ecosystems.

We will cover a broad range of skills in the taught course, including both fieldwork and lab skills. The course also has a strong emphasis on teaching essential analytical skills, ranging from data collection, experimental design and database management, through to statistical modelling and the application of theoretical models to solving problems.


The MSc programme is assessed using four coursework elements (20%), essay and data interpretation exams (30%) and the research project (50%).

Key Information

Start date:


Imperial College London


Full Time





Contact Details: