Course Director:

Prof. A.P. Vogler 

Course Administrator:


More information


Natural History Museum

This is a one-year research-based postgraduate course, run jointly by Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, a leading institute in systematics research, where the students will be based for much of their time. The course provides students with a broad perspective of taxonomy and systematics, together with relevant practical experience. The course is aimed at students who wish to broaden their knowledge in this area before undertaking a PhD or embarking on a career in systematics research. The course runs alongside the MSc in Taxonomy and Biodiversity and students will attend key lectures of that course.  Students are fully integrated in research groups and attend lab meetings and research seminars.

 The MRes Biosystematics is unique in that it comprises three consecutive 14-week research projects, which gives students the opportunity for ‘rotation’ through multiple research labs and types of projects. While studies of the subject area are by hands-on research, wide coverage of the field is achieved by selection of one project each from three main areas, including: (a) specimen-based phylogenetics, (b) molecular systematics and genomics, and (c) ‘big-data’ bioinformatics and biodiversity informatics. The projects are selected from a list of eligible topics or are developed with the student’s input.  The very wide range of research interests of potential supervisors at Imperial and NHM ensures a broad choice of topics.

One of the projects will be based at Silwood Park.

More information

Course Structure

Core modules (compulsory)

Full details of Core modules can be found in the Handbook.

Specialist options

Full details of Specialist options can be found at the Natural History Museum webpages

Dissertations/projects (compulsory)

Full details of Dissertations/projects can be found at the Natural History Museum webpages

Students also have opportunities to attend professional skills training run by the Imperial College Graduate School: MasterClasses.

How to Apply

Apply here

or  for further information email Mrs Jennifer Bennett

If your first degree is from a country other than the UK, you may find the guidelines within our Country Index helpful. Please note that these guidelines indicate the College minimum.

Links with Employers

 Imperial College works closely with employers and industry, including Industrial Advisory Panels to design Master’s courses which provide graduates with technical knowledge, expertise and transferable skills and to encourage students to take internships and placements. All Master’s courses are designed with employer needs in mind with some Master’s courses accredited by Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies.

Fees and Funding

For details of fees for 2016/17

For scholarship opportunities

What the Students Say

Read more about how former students' projects have contributed to the PREDICTS project run by NHM and recently published in Nature.

See below for comments from former students about the quality of supervision and their progress in developing their research skills.

"The course allowed me to gain a variety of new skills in a range of different areas, and highlighted new interests that I had been previously unaware of. Though challenging, it allowed me to gain insight into collaborative research, and experience in the miriad of different ways that phylogenies can be used to answer all manner of different questions." (MRes Student 2017/18)

“Two of my supervisors were exceptional; they were both always on hand to offer advice and discuss points of theory.” (MRes Student 2013/14)

“My three supervisors were very helpful, always making time to approach them and discuss my study.” (MRes Student 2013/14)

“This course has been a fantastic opportunity to work with numerous types of researcher all of whom have been encouraging and supportive.” (MRes Student 2013/14)

“I had undertaken a number of research placements/jobs prior to this course so I was already confident in my ability to undertake research. This course has, however, boosted my confidence in three key areas: (1) planning/designing research projects based on my own interests, (2) independently learning statistical analysis tools, and (3) questioning the choice of methods and critically analysing papers.” (MRes Student 2013/14)

“I have learned a huge amount about carrying out research.” (MRes Student 2011/12)

“Group tutorials were fantastic and helped a lot!” (MRes Student 2013/14)

“Being part of a research group had a fundamentally positive impact on my work” (MRes Student 2013/14)