Ecology students

Duration: 1 year full-time
Start date: October 2017
LocationSilwood Park
ECTS: 90 credits
 
This course is now open to applications for 2017 entry.

In this unique course we teach quantitative methods and biological concepts together, through application of the methods to cutting-edge biological research problems.

About the course

Overview

Over the past 10–20 years, biology has become increasingly quantitative, and mathematical sciences have in turn been increasingly influenced by biology.

It has been said that “mathematics is biology's next microscope, only better” (Cohen, Plos Biology, 2004) because mathematical, statistical, and computational sciences will continue to reveal unsuspected and entirely new worlds within biology, just as the microscope revealed previously unseen worlds following its invention.

It has also been said that “biology is mathematics' next physics, only better” (Cohen, Plos Biology) because biology will in turn continue to spur major new developments in computation, mathematics and statistics, just as physics has done in past centuries.

In this unique course we teach quantitative methods and biological concepts together, through application of the methods to cutting-edge biological research problems.

This course is suitable for:

  • Life scientists wishing to expand their quantitative skills in light of the increasingly quantitative nature of modern biology
  • Physical scientists (mathematicians, physicists, statisticians, computer scientists) with a strong interest in biology

The course serves as ideal preparation for either PhD studies or employment in fields of applied quantitative biology, such as resource management and conservation.

Structure

Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

This course provides the combination of biological and quantitative skills necessary for students to address modern and pressingly important questions in biological research, conservation, management, and other applications. The course is structured around cutting-edge questions such as:

  • How do ecology and evolution interact in the face of a changing climate?
  • How do we infer the mechanisms driving population dynamics from limited data?
  • How do we predict the likely effects of human disturbances such as climate change?

The focus is on current topics in modern quantitative biology, such as interactions between ecological and evolutionary dynamics, and the effects of climate change on ecological communities.

You will also have the chance to develop your knowledge in mathematical, statistical, and computing tools through their application to important research problems.

The course comprises a taught component, and a research project lasting about six months. The project can be supervised by staff members from Imperial College or a number of outside institutes with which we have collaborative links (including Kew Botanical Gardens, the Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, and the Institute of Zoology).

Modules

Modules in the taught component of the course currently include:

  • GIS in application to global biodiversity conservation
  • The R programming language in application to population dynamics
  • Molecular ecology
  • Maximum likelihood in biology
  • Modelling complex communities

See the Department of Life Sciences' website for further course detail.

Entry requirements

Minimum academic requirement

2.1 Honours degree in a biological, ecological, or other life sciences subject, or in a physical sciences subject.

A-level mathematics is also required.

International qualifications

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification. 

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications. For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying for then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirements

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

How to apply

All applicants must apply online.

You can usually apply for up to two courses, although your second choice will only be considered if your first-choice application is unsuccessful.

Most courses don't have a formal closing date, but popular courses close when they are full, so you should apply early to avoid disappointment. There may also be funding deadlines that apply to you.

You will need to upload documents with your applications, which may include transcripts and degree certificates.

Offer holders will need to pay a deposit to secure your place. This will be deducted from the balance of your tuition fees.

For full details on the online application process, or to start your application, please visit the How to Apply section of our website.

ATAS Certificate

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

Fees and funding

Home and EU students

2017 entry:

£9,600

Islands and overseas students

2017 entry:

£19,600

Government funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

If you are a Home or EU student who meets certain criteria, you can apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £10,000 from the UK government for programmes beginning in October 2016. The loan is not means-tested, and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs. 

Funding from Imperial

Scholarships

We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Try our scholarships search tool to see what you might be eligible for.

For more information on the Postgraduate Master's Loan scheme and other funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.