Duration: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
Start date: October 2017
LocationSilwood Park
ECTS: 90 credits

This course is now open to applications for 2017 entry.

This course provides students with high-level research training in the latest developments in tropical forest ecology.

About the course


This course is the only postgraduate programme within the UK that focuses solely on tropical forest ecology, and it covers the physical and biological aspects of the forest ecosystem, with an emphasis on understanding the linkages between these two components.

This will enable you to develop practical research skills, preparing you for a career in tropical forest ecology research or PhD studies.

A taught field course in Malaysia is an important part of the programme, and it is anticipated that students will work in a wide range of additional tropical nations for their project work. Training on the field course will include working collaboratively with researchers, directly embedding you in an active global network.

This degree is embedded within the Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment Initiative that promotes interdisciplinary research and partnerships, bringing together natural scientists, engineers, mathematicians, medics, economists and social scientists.


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

The modules offered will develop your research skills and background knowledge of models used in tropical forest ecology, with topics such as:

  • Hydrology and meteorology
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Plant and animal ecology
  • GIS/environmental data
  • Statistics and programming
  • Metabolic ecology
  • Science communication

Field skills will be taught in a three-week field course held in Sabah, Malaysia. You will be trained in the taxonomic identification of plants, vertebrates and invertebrates and will obtain practical experience in designing, collecting and managing meteorological, hydrological, biogeochemical and biodiversity field data.

You will spend most of the year working on a research project in your chosen area, accounting for more than half of your work during the year. We encourage you to develop project ideas with supervisors in tropical nations and will work with you to find contacts and placements that make this a smooth process.

The course consists of class-based teaching, field work and a major research project.

Entry requirements

Minimum academic requirement

2:1 Honours degree in a science-based subject.

International qualificiation

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.

Fees and funding

Home and EU students

2017 entry:
  • £12,600 full-time
  • £6,300* part-time

Islands and overseas students

2017 entry:
  • £22,600 full-time
  • £11,300* part-time

* Please note that the tuition fee amount you will pay may increase each year.

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


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.

How to apply

All applicants must apply onlineFor full details on the online application process, or to start your application, please visit the How to Apply section of our website.

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 of our postgraduate courses don't have a formal closing date, but popular courses close when they are full. We therefore recommend applying early to avoid disappointment, especially students who will also be applying for funding or applying for a visa.

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.

ATAS Certificate
An ATAS certificate is required for overseas students applying for this course. Your Tier 4 visa application, or extension of stay, will automatically be refused if you need an ATAS certificate and cannot provide one.

For further guidance on obtaining an ATAS certificate please see the information on our International Student Support team website.

Further information

Find out more about the MRes in Tropical Forest Ecology, including more detailed course content.