MSc Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Expand your knowledge of quantitative skills and modern biology on this unique full-time course

Key information

Duration: 1 year full-time
Start dateOctober 2022
Campus: Silwood Park
ECTS: 90 credits
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

This page reflects the latest version of the curriculum for this year of entry. However, this information is subject to change.

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 this year of entry.

We recommend you check this page before finalising your application and again before accepting your offer. We will update this page as soon as any changes are confirmed 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 any changes made.

Page last reviewed on 25 October 2021.

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 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.

Competence standards

Our competence standards highlight the core skills students should be able to demonstrate by the end of this course.

View the Department of Life Sciences' competence standards [pdf]

We believe in providing the widest practicable access to all of our degree programmes and will make reasonable adjustments wherever possible to support your study. For more information, please contact the Department using the contact details below.

Department of Life Sciences

E: L.Barron@imperial.ac.uk

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

If you are applying for a taught Master’s course, you will need to pay an application fee before submitting your application.

The fee applies per application and not per course:

  • £80 for taught Master's applications (excluding MBAs)
  • £135 for MBA applications

There is no application fee for MRes courses, Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas or research courses, such as PhDs and EngDs.

If you are facing financial hardship and are unable to pay the application fee, we encourage you to apply for our application fee waiver. 

Find out more about the application fee and waiver

ATAS certificate

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

Further questions?

Find answers to your questions about admissions. Answers cover COVID-19, English language requirements, Visas and more.

Visit the FAQs

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.

Find out more about fees and funding opportunities.

Tuition fees

Home rate of tuition

2022 entry

£13,200

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 2022 will apply to fees for the academic year 2022-2023.

Fee status

Whether you pay the Home fee depends on your fee status.

Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status.

Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

EU/EEA/Swiss students

The Government has confirmed that EU/EEA/Swiss students who begin a course before the 31 July 2021 will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

EU/EEA/Swiss students starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note, we do not expect this to apply to Irish students or students benefitting from Citizens' Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens' Rights Agreement respectively. However, we are currently awaiting the formal publication of the amended Fees and Awards regulations.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has useful information on the conditions you currently need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the Home rate for study on a higher education course in England and reflect the regulations as they currently stand (not the amended regulations which are subject to publication).

UKCISA has also provided some information in response to Questions for students starting their course from the 1 August 2021. 

Overseas rate of tuition

2022 entry

£26,200

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 2022 will apply to fees for the academic year 2022–2023.

Fee status

Whether you pay the Overseas fee depends on your fee status.

Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status.

Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

EU/EEA/Swiss students

The Government has confirmed that EU/EEA/Swiss students who begin a course before the 31 July 2021 will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

EU/EEA/Swiss students starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note, we do not expect this to apply to Irish students or students benefitting from Citizens' Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens' Rights Agreement respectively. However, we are currently awaiting the formal publication of the amended Fees and Awards regulations.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has useful information on the conditions you currently need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the Home rate for study on a higher education course in England and reflect the regulations as they currently stand (not the amended regulations which are subject to publication).

UKCISA has also provided some information in response to Questions for students starting their course from the 1 August 2021. 

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 2021-22 entry, the maximum amount is £11,570. 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.

See what opportunities you may be eligible for.

If you are an Iranian national and are accepted to study at Imperial starting this October, you may be eligible to apply for the Irani family scholarship.

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

Life Sciences

Got a question?

Fathima Uddin
E: f.uddin@imperial.ac.uk

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