MSc Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Key information

Duration: 1 year full-time
Start dateOctober 2021
Campus: Silwood Park
ECTS: 90 credits
Course overview
Apply now

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.

Please note that the curriculum of this programme is currently being reviewed as part of a College-wide process to introduce a standardised modular structure. As a result, the content and assessment structures of this course may change for your year of entry. We therefore recommend that you check this course page before finalising your application and after submitting it as we will aim to update this page as soon as any changes are ratified by the College.

Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about changes we have made.

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

Entry requirements

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

Admissions

Minimum academic requirement

Our minimum requirement is a 2.1 degree in life sciences or physical sciences.

A suitable grounding in mathematics is required, for example: A-level Mathematics grade A or B.

International qualifications

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications.

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

For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College, and not specifically this Department.

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

How to apply

Making an application

Apply online

All applicants must apply online.

Visit our Admissions website for details on the application process.

You can submit one application form per year of entry. You can usually choose up to two courses.

Application fee

For 2021–22 entry, we are introducing a pilot application fee for our Master's courses. This helps cover some of the administrative and staffing costs associated with processing the large volume of applications we receive.

This fee will be £80 per application and not per course. 

We will waive the fee for any applicant – Home or Overseas – who demonstrates that they are experiencing financial hardship.

Find out more about the application fee and waiver

The fee for MBA applications to Imperial College Business School is £135. There is no application processing fee for other postgraduate courses such as PhDs.

ATAS certificate

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

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

Home rate of tuition

2021 entry

£12,700 per year

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 2021 will apply to fees for the academic year 2021-2022.

EU/EEA students

Students from the EU, other EEA country and/or Switzerland starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home rate of tuition, and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note, this does not apply to Irish students or students with Citizens Rights benefitting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively.

For regular updates for EU students, please see our Imperial and the EU webpages.

Overseas rate of tuition

2021 entry

£25,200 per year

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 2021 will apply to fees for the academic year 2021–2022.

EU/EEA students

Students from the EU, other EEA country and/or Switzerland starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home rate of tuition, and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note, this does not apply to Irish students or students with Citizens Rights benefitting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively.

For regular updates for EU students, please see our Imperial and the EU webpages.

Postgraduate Master's loan

If you're a UK national, or EU national with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the UK government, if you meet certain criteria.

For 2020-21 entry, the maximum amount was of £11,222. 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. Find out more about our scholarships 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.

Further information

Social media icons: Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Weibo

Join the conversation

Connect on social media

Get a first-hand account of life at Imperial.

Newsletter

News direct to your inbox

Receive the latest news about studying at Imperial.

Sign up to our newsletter

Studying at Imperial

London Eye

Living in London

London’s fusion of culture and charm will give you a student experience unlike any other.

Students outside the Union

Student finance

Our tuition fees website has everything you need to know about funding your studies.

Students at graduation

International students

Imperial is ranked as the UK's most international universitywelcoming students from over 140 countries.

Terms and conditions

There are some important pieces of information you should be aware of when applying to universities. We've put together this information in a dedicated section of our website.Makerspace

Read our terms and conditions for these areas: