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Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics

MSc ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )

Overview

Cutting-edge ecologists and evolutionary biologists now routinely use high-throughput DNA sequencing in their research. But it is hard to find graduates with training in both genomics and ecology/evolution. This MSc programme will train a new generation in cross-disciplinary skills with many applications in academia and industry. You will be taught by internationally recognised researchers who are applying genomic methods to a wide range of issues in ecology and evolution.

This programme is taught by a dynamic group of scientists doing cutting-edge research. For example, Professor Steve Rossiter carries out world-leading research on bat genome evolution, Dr Yannick Wurm has discovered a social chromosome in fire-ants, and Dr Richard Buggs is using genomic methods to find tree genes for resistance to ash dieback. This means that our teaching is informed by the latest developments, and individual projects can be at the leading edge of current progress. You will also benefit from state-of-the-art super-computing and informatics resources.

My lab uses DNA sequencing technologies to study tree genomes. We use these to inform the conservation around threatened British tree species such as Dwarf Birch and the Common Ash. We currently have a major focus on using evolutionary methods to seek genes for resistance to ash dieback in ash species.
Dr Richard Buggs, Senior Lecturer

Research in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

In December 2014 the Research Excellence Framework (REF) demonstrated that 80% of our biology outputs were ranked as either 4-star (world-leading) or 3-star (internationally excellent) for impact, meaning that our work makes a demonstrable contribution to either society or the economy. You can watch Dr Richard Buggs, who teaches on the programme, discuss his project to decode the genome of ash tree in a bid to halt Britain's trees from being completely devastated by the ash dieback fungal disease on YouTube.

Our Evolution and Genetics research group has one of the highest concentrations of evolutionary genomics researchers in the UK. You can find out more about our research interests on the Evolution and Genetics group page or read about details of the projects included in the 2014 REF on our submission highlights page.

Informal enquiries

If you have questions about this programme which you would like to put to Dr Axel Rossberg, MSc Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics Programme Director, please contact:

Tel: +44(0)207 882 8441
Email: a.rossberg@qmul.ac.uk

Structure

This MSc programme combines taught modules with individual and collaborative research projects. You will apply the knowledge and techniques from your taught modules in a practical setting and may be able to publish your project findings.

If you have any questions about the programme content or structure, contact Dr Axel Rossberg

Taught modules

  • Genome Bioinformatics: Covers the essential aspects of next generation sequence (NGS) analysis, including genome assembly, variant calling and transcriptomics. Also covers essential computer skills needed for bioinformatics, such as Linux and using our high performance computing cluster.
  • Coidng for scientists: Assuming no prior programming knowledge, teaches you how to program in Python, using biological examples throughout. Python is one of the most popular languages in the bioinformatics community, and understanding Python provides the perfect foundation for learning other languages such as Perl, Ruby and Java.
  • Statistics and bioinformtics: Covers core statistics methods, within the R statistical computing environment. R has become the de facto environment for downstream data analysis and visualisation in biology, thanks to the hundreds of freely available R packages that allow biological data analysis solutions to be created quickly and reliably.
  • Post-genomics bioinformatics: Introduces techniques that have developed as a consequence of developments in genomics (i.e. transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, structural biology and systems biology) with particular emphasis on the data analysis aspects. Practicals cover the popular Galaxy framework, advanced R, and machine learning.
  • Research frontiers in evolutionary biology: Exploring the frontiers of research in evolutionary biology. Topics covered will include: incongruence in phylogenetic trees, neutral versus selective forces in evolution, the origin of angiosperms, the origin of new genes, the evolution of sociality, the significance of whole genome duplication and hybridisation. Current methods being used to tackle these areas will be taught, with an emphasis on DNA sequence analysis and bioinformatics.

Research modules

  • Evolutionary/Ecological Analysis/Software Group Project module: Students are organised into small teams (~3-4 members per team). Each team is given the same genomic or transcriptomic data set that must be analysed by the end of the module. Each team must design an appropriate analysis pipeline, with specific tasks assigned to individual team members. This module serves as a simulation of a real data analysis environment, providing invaluable experience for future employability.
  • Individual Research Project (50 per cent of the programme)

Student handbook

Find out more about this programme in our Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics student handbook.

 

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class BSc (Hons) degree (or equivalent international qualification) in a relevant subject, such as ecology, environmental science, biology or zoology.  Applicants with a good lower second class degree may be considered on an individual basis, taking into account relevant background and related achievements.

This programme includes one compulsory overseas field course to Borneo, during which students should expect to have to undertake physically-demanding work in remote locations. Applicants for the programme from outside the UK should ensure that there are no residency or travel restrictions that would prevent them from attending this course. Applicants with any disability that impacts upon their ability to undertake such activities should seek advice from the School before applying for this programme.

Costs for flights, accommodation and meals are fully covered by the tuition fees - you will not have to contribute additional funds towards this field trip.

English language requirements

All international students are required to provide evidence of their ability in English language.

The minimum level required for entry to our postgraduate programmes is:

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing Service) - (6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in writing)
  • WELT (Warwick English Language Test) – BBC/BCC
  • TEEP (Test of English for Educational Purposes) – 6.5
  • Cambridge ESOL Certificate in Advanced English – B
  • Cambridge ESOL Certificate of Proficiency in English – C

For further information about our English language requirements please visit the our international pages.

Am I eligible?

To check your eligibility contact our Postgraduate Admissions team:

Email: sbcs-pgadmissions@qmul.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 3328

Learning and teaching

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by a mixture of formal lectures and small group seminars. The seminars are designed to generate informed discussion around set topics, and may involve student presentations, group exercise and role-play as well as open discussion. We take pride in the close and friendly working relationship we have with our students.

Independent study

For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.

Assessment

Students are assessed by a combination of coursework and exams. A few modules are assessed by coursework only. If a module is assessed by means of coursework alone, this is usually in the form of a research project or dissertation, and the tutor project supervisor offers guidance and support in the researching and writing of this piece of assessment.

Dissertation

You will also be assessed on a supervised 10,000-word dissertation.

Fees

Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2017 entry
Full time £9,700

Tuition fees for International students

2017 entry
Full time £18,450

Funding

There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide [PDF] for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079
email bursaries@qmul.ac.uk

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717

Graduate Employment

Our postgraduates students go on to work in a wide variety of careers. Some apply their degree knowledge directly, working as conservation officers or research assistants. We have developed modules accommodating pure research and applied practical skills developed to promote graduate employability. The transferable skills gained through this enable graduates to work in areas beyond those directly related to their degree. These include government, education and retail. Other graduates pursue their subject interest by undertaking a PhD.

Career support

Throughout the course, postgraduates have access to a careers programme to prepare them for applying for work after graduation. This programme includes workshops on job hunting and job applications as well as employer events to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options. Recent career events open to the School’s postgraduates include the SBCS Industrial Liaison Forum featuring small and medium sized employers, and workshops on applying for and doing a PhD.

Queen Mary’s location between Canary Wharf, the City and the Olympic Village redevelopment means that there are substantial opportunities for on campus and local part time work and work experience. On campus there are 1200 job and volunteer opportunities ranging from E-learning Assistant to Website Administrator and from Society President to Student Mentor. QTemps job agency offers work suitable for current students and recent graduates, QMSU Volunteering facilitates volunteering and QM JobOnline hosts over 800 part time and full time job vacancies.

  • Read more about our careers programmes and range of work experience opportunities on the QM Careers pages.

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