MSc Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Key information

Duration: 1 year full-time
Start date: October 2018
Campus: Silwood Park
ECTS: 90 credits

Applications for 2018

Open to applications for 2018 entry
Course overview
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Overview

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

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.

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.

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

Study programme

You take approximately half of your core modules in the Autumn term before completing the remainder in the Spring term.

You begin your research project in the Summer term which accounts for half of your MSc grade.

Careers

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.

You study a combination of taught modules and complete a research project.

Structure

Taught modules

You take all of the core modules below.

  • Bayesian Statistics
  • Biological Computing in Python
  • Biological Computing in R
  • Biological Data Structures and C
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Evolutionary Modelling
  • Foundations of Biological Computing
  • Generalised Linear Modelling
  • Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • High Performance Computing (HPC)
  • HPC Long Practical
  • Maths for Biology
  • Maximum Likelihood
  • Miniproject
  • Population Genetics
  • Research Project
  • Spatial Analyses and GIS
  • Statistics in R

Research project

You will take a research project in the Summer term, lasting about six months. The project can be supervised by staff members from Imperial 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).

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

  • Computer-based work with cloud-based version control
  • Individual research project and dissertation (5 months; can include placements)
  • Lectures
  • Mini projects
  • Online lecture and assessment materials
  • Online seminar recordings
  • Primers
  • Seminars

Assessment methods

  • Computing coursework
  • Mini-project
  • HPC Long Practical
  • Seminar Diary
  • Exams
  • Oral presentations
  • Final Project Report + Presentation
  • Viva

Tuition fees and funding

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

For more information on the funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees (Home and EU students)

2018 entry
£9,800

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2019 will apply to fees for the academic year 2019–2020.

Tuition fees (Overseas and Islands students)

2018 entry
£22,600

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2019 will apply to fees for the academic year 2019–2020.

Postgraduate Master's loan

If you are a Home or EU student who meets certain criteria, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £10,280 from the UK government. The loan is not means-tested, and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.

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.

There are a number of external organisations also offer awards for Imperial students, find out more about non-Imperial scholarships.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.

Admissions

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

For advice on the requirements for the qualifications listed here please contact the Department (details at the bottom of this page).

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. If the requirements for your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page for guidance on which qualifications we accept.

Admissions

Minimum academic requirement

Our minimum requirement is at least a 2.1 UK Honour's degree in life sciences or physical sciences.

Additionally, an A-level in Mathematics at grade A is 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 then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirement (all applicants)

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.

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