Taxonomy, Biodiversity and Evolution
  • Postgraduate taught
  • MSc

Taxonomy, Biodiversity and Evolution

Receive broad training towards a career in biological diversity.

Receive broad training towards a career in biological diversity

Learn from subject specialists at the Natural History Museum and develop your computer and laboratory-based skills

Specialise in a research area of interest during an independent four-month project

Course key facts

  • Qualification

    • MSc

  • Duration

    1 year

  • Start date

    September 2024

  • Study mode


  • Fees

    • £15,150 Home

    • £30,600 Overseas

  • Delivered by

  • Location

    • South Kensington

Minimum entry standard

  • 2:1 in a biology or related subject

View full entry requirements

Course overview

Study how taxonomy and systematics provide the foundation for our understanding of biological diversity on this Master's course.

Based primarily at the Natural History Museum, this programme will equip you with the quantitative and analytical skills required for a career in biodiversity research.

This includes the chance to explore a range of computing, morphological and molecular techniques.

You'll attend lectures and carry out computer and laboratory-based practicals at the museum before applying your skills to field work at Imperial's Silwood Park campus.

You'll then further demonstrate your expertise by investigating a research area of interest during an independent four-month project.

This course's close links with the museum will also provide you with opportunities to attend regular seminars and network with leading researchers as you build towards future PhD study or a biodiversity career.

MSc Living Planet programme

Our MSc Living Planet course will equip you to tackle the great environmental challenges facing the world, providing training on the transferrable research skills you’ll need to develop science-based understanding and interventions. All our MSc Living Planet streams are available in full-time or part-time modes.

You may wish to consider if another stream is right for you according to your career aims and background:

MRes Living Planet course

We also offer an MRes in Living Planet course with the following streams:


This page is updated regularly to reflect the latest version of the curriculum. However, this information is subject to change.

Find out more about potential course changes.

Please note: it may not always be possible to take specific combinations of modules due to timetabling conflicts. For confirmation, please check with the relevant department.

You'll complete the following core modules:

You'll complete all the following core modules:

  • NHM Field Course and Basic Computing
  • Statistics in R
  • Introduction to Ecological and Evolutionary Data Science
  • Natural History Collections and Principles of Taxonomy
  • Phylogenetics and Molecular Systematics
  • Macroevolution and Speciation

Undertake an extensive independent research project, either at the Natural History Museum or at Imperial College (usually the Silwood Park campus). 

Topics should relate to the general subject area of systematics and/or biodiversity, and should show the scope for original observation or experimental design.

Teaching and assessment

Balance of teaching and learning


  • Lectures and practicals
  • Independent learning
  • Research project

Terms 1 and 2

  • 50% Lectures and practicals
  • 50% Independent learning
  • 0% Research project

Term 3

  • 0% Lectures and practicals
  • 0% Independent learning
  • 100% Research project

Teaching and learning methods

  • Person at lectern giving speech
  • Practicals
  • Workshops
  • Individual research project
    Individual research project

Assessment methods

  • Project report
  • Oral presentation
  • Papers from a written report
  • A person completing a written exam
    Written examinations

Entry requirements

We consider all applicants on an individual basis, welcoming students from all over the world.

How to apply

Apply online

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

Tuition fees

Home fee

2024 entry


Overseas fee

2024 entry


How will studying at Imperial help my career?

Hand holding a branch of three leaves

Develop qualitative and analytical skills to prepare for a career as a biodiversity researcher.

Column museum

Due to its unique location, you will have an opportunity to network with leading researchers in the field at the Natural History Museum.

Lightbulb above a book

With specialised knowledge as a Life Sciences graduate, you'll be highly sought after in a range of sectors.

Chemistry research on computer screen

These include government and industrial research, public health, and careers in business.

Terms and conditions

There are some important pieces of information you should be aware of when applying to Imperial. These include key information about your tuition fees, funding, visas, accommodation and more.

Read our terms and conditions

You can find further information about your course, including degree classifications, regulations, progression and awards in the programme specification for your course.

Programme specifications