The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

C180 MEcol Master of Ecology (4 years)

This 4-year integrated Masters degree provides students with a focused training in ecological research, based on a solid biological foundation. A key part of the degree is experience in doing ecological research: students will do an independent research project in year 3, and an advanced research project in year 4. Students will also obtain essential ecological skills, receive advanced statistical training, and be able to engage with current ecological research.

Introducing your course

This is the course page for MEcol Master of Ecology at the University of Southampton. Find out everything about Master of Ecology and what studying here involves.

In this course page we explain a range of key information about the course. This includes typical entry requirements, modules you can take and how assessment works. We also suggest career opportunities open to you as a University of Southampton graduate of MEcol Master of Ecology.

If you still have questions, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any enquiries. See our contact us page for our telephone, email and address information.

MEcol Master of Ecology

Overview

Our Master of Ecology programme provides an opportunity to learn about a wide range of Ecolgical topics allowing you to gain the relevant skills and knowledge for a career in Ecology.

Year one will give you a broad foundation that will allow you to progress to more specialised topics in subsequent years.

Year two enables you to start to specialise in the research areas of your interest.

Year three allows you to put together your ideal package of modules including: cell biology, cellular & genetic aspects of animal development, spatial ecology & conservation, and global change biology. In addition, you will conduct practical or theoretical research for your third year dissertation.

The fourth year will develop your research skills in a more inter-disciplinary context than is possible in the three-year degree structures. You will also be exposed to cutting edge research, participating in seminar presentations in wide-ranging and specialist topics.

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

All undergraduate applications should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Click on the How to Apply tab of the navigation menu for detailed information on how to apply and further details about UCAS' website, phone and contact details. Specific application deadlines are available on the UCAS website.

Key Facts

  • Teaching located in the state-of-the-art Life Sciences building
  • Programme includes an 8-10 day residential field course in Spain
  • Includes two major projects of original research
  • Taught by world-renowned specialist academics in ecology
  • 100 per cent of our research has been rated world leading or internationally excellent for its impact on society (REF2014)
Thumbnail photo of Lucy Alford

“Southampton is world renowned for its research within the Faculty of Biological Sciences and as a Russell Group university, the lectures, tutorials, seminars and practicals I have received as an undergraduate at Southampton have included relevant and up to date information and skills that I can apply to my work currently and adapt to use in future work.”

Lucy Alford - MEcol Ecology, 2017
Thumbnail photo of Charlie Wilson

“The newly built Life Sciences Building means we have a very modern, well equipped teaching and learning space which contributes a lot to the learning experience.”

Charlie Wilson - MEcol Ecology, 2017
Thumbnail photo of Caitlin Ford

“My favourite memory here was the 2-week field course I went on to Spain. I really enjoyed working in a field environment and it gave me a taste of what it is like to be a field scientist.”

Caitlin Ford - MEcol Ecology, 2017

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

GCSEs:
QualificationGrade
GCSEGrades A*- C in English, mathematics and science. If you lack these formal qualifications, your aptitude for this biology degree course will be assessed at interview. International students whose first language is not English must have already attained the necessary standard in English, such as 6.5 in IELTS
A Levels:
QualificationGrade
GCE A-level AAB. For biology degrees, biology must be offered at A level (minimum grade B) with at least one other A level science subject. A level science subjects considered include chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology, environmental studies, geography and geology Applicants only offering A Level Biology will be considered on a case by case basis.
IB:
QualificationGrade
International Baccalaureate34 points, 17 at higher level including two higher level science subjects to include 6 points in Biology at higher level.
Other applicants

Applicants for MEcol Master of Ecology with alternative UK or EU qualifications and international applicants should first refer to the general entry requirements.

English Language

For details of our English Language entry requirements please see here

Selection process:

Selection for this ecology degree is normally based on actual or predicted grades plus the reference and personal statement on your UCAS application. Exceptionally we may ask you to come for an interview before making an offer.

Contextual Offers

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students flagged in this way will be given additional consideration and not be rejected solely on the basis of their predicted (or actual) grades.

Please see our contextual admissions pages for more information.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Modules

Typical course content

In the first year, there are a number of core and compulsory modules, which lay a solid foundation in the basic discipline of this programme. More specialised training and options that enable diversification commence in the second year and beyond. You can choose to follow a pathway that is either Biology or Zoology focused.

Innovation modules outside of your subject area

Our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers you the chance to take optional modules outside of your chosen subject area. This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future. Modules range from "Living and working on the web" to "Business skills for employability".

View the Curriculum Innovation modules for this course

Learn a language

Some of our courses also give you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover ten languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level. 

View the language modules on offer for this course

Year 1

In the first year, there are a number of core and compulsory modules, which lay a solid foundation in the basic discipline of this programme.

Compulsory

The following modules are compulsory (i.e. the minimum qualifying mark of 25% is required) and must be taken:

BIOL1001     Experimental & Field Biology 

BIOL1003     Ecology & Evolution

BIOL1004     Patterns of Life

BIOL1005     Cellular & Genetic Mechanisms

BIOL1010     Macromolecules of Life

BIOL1011     Systems of Physiology

One further module must be chosen; this module can be from outside Biological Sciences; students are strongly urged to opt for an ecologically relevant module, e.g. marine ecology modules (SOES codes)  or environmental modules (ENVS codes).

Students without A-level Chemistry need to take CHEM1012 (Introduction to Chemistry) as an additional module.

Year 2

In Year 2 core modules, compulsory modules and optional modules are dependent on which pathway you chose. 

Compulsory

The following modules are compulsory (i.e. the minimum qualifying mark of 25% is required) and must be taken by students on both the Biology and Zoology pathways:

BIOL2001     Evolution

BIOL2004     Pure & Applied Population Ecology

BIOL2008     Quantitative Methods in Biological & Environmental Science

BIOL2041     New Forest Field Course

Optional
BIOL2002
Cell Biology
BIOL2014
Neuroscience

BIOL2035 Microbiology

BIOL2043
Biotechnology and the Living Cell

Year 3

In the third and fourth years, students are exposed to the forefronts of the discipline's knowledge, with the opportunity to conduct supervised original research.

Compulsory

A compulsory independent study is required by all:

BIOL3034     Laboratory Research Project

Or

BIOL3061     Field Research Project

At least four modules must be selected from:

BIOL3009     Applied Ecology

BIOL3010     Topics in Ecology & Evolution

BIOL3053     Spatial Ecology & Conservation

BIOL3056     Global Change Biology

BIOL3068     Fluxes, cycles and Microbial Communities

BIOL3070     Tropical Ecology Field Courses

Two further modules must be chosen from the following:

BIOL3001     Current Topics in Cell Biology

BIOL3003     Plant Cell Biology

BIOL3006     Cellular & Genetic Aspects of Animal Development

BIOL3051     Applied Plant Biology

BIOL3057     Biofilms & Microbial Communities

BIOL3067     Evolution and Development

BIOL3069     In-Silico Research Project

BIOL3070    Tropical Ecology field course

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Course fees for 2017/18 full-time UK and EU undergraduate students are typically £9,250 per year. Tuition fees for international students differ between each course. Most part-time courses cost 50% of the full-time fee.

View the full list of course fees

Funding

Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this programme typically also have to pay for:

TypeDescriptionCost
Printing and copyingCoursework such as essays, projects and dissertations may be submitted on line. In the majority of cases, though, students will be asked to provide a printed copy. The University printing costs are currently: A4 - 5p per side (black and white) or 25p per side (colour) A3 - 10p per side (black and white) or 50p per side (colour) Please note: Paper sizes not recognised by the printing devices will prompt you to select the size and then charge a minimum of 50p per black and white copy and a maximum of £1 per colour copy. You can pay for your printing by using the money loaders or by using print copy payment service by going to www.printcopypayments.soton.ac.uk Please remember that we are unable to refund any credit that has not been used by the end of your course, so please consider this when topping up your printing/copy account. You will be given a printing allowance of £3 per 7.5 ECTS BIOL module to cover the projected costs of printing lecture handouts. Practical handouts and module guides will be provided by the University. The University Print Centre also offers a printing and copying service as well as a dissertation/binding service. Current printing and copying costs can be found here: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/isolutions/services/copying_for_students_and_visitors/faq.php#659. They also provide a large format printing service, e.g. Academic posters. Details of current costs can be found here: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/printcentre/exhibition/academicposters.page?£0.05-1.00

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

TypeDescription
EquipmentApproved calculators: For compulsory residential field courses accommodation and travel are normally provided though where necessary, you will be expected to cover the cost of getting to and from the departure point which may be an airport. You are usually expected to cover the costs of food and drink, although some courses may include meals. For optional field courses, you may be asked to make a contribution to the travel and/or accommodation costs. Undergraduates are automatically covered under the University’s travel insurance whilst on organised and supervised field courses. Those travelling independently in connection with their programme can be included under the University’s travel insurance upon application – there may be a cost attached to this. There are also opportunities to undertake field courses with another organisation, e.g. Operation Wallacea. Students who choose to do this, do so at their own expense – for example, see http://opwall.com/undergrad-research-assistants/dates-and-prices/ Where necessary students will need to arrange and pay for any vaccinations. Specific details additional costs are detailed in the individual module profiles which can be found under the modules tab of the programmes details of the relevant academic unit.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentLaboratory and field equipment and materials: All materials required for laboratory or field work are provided. Where necessary, suitable specialist safety equipment will be provided.
EquipmentIT: Computer discs or USB drives Students are expected to provide their own portable data storage device.
EquipmentIT: Software licenses All software is provided.
EquipmentIT: Hardware It is advisable that students provide their own laptop or personal computer, although shared facilities are available across the University campus.
ClothingLab coats and safety spectacles: One laboratory coat and a pair of safety spectacles are provided at the start of the programme to each student. If these are lost the student must replace them at their own expense. The Students Union Shop stock these items.
ClothingField course clothing: You will need to wear suitable clothing when attending field courses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source.
FieldworkFieldwork logistical costs (accommodation, travel and health insurance, travel costs, immunisation/vaccination costs, other costs): For compulsory residential field courses accommodation and travel are normally provided though where necessary, you will be expected to cover the cost of getting to and from the departure point which may be an airport. You are usually expected to cover the costs of food and drink, although some courses may include meals. For optional field courses, you may be asked to make a contribution to the travel and/or accommodation costs. Undergraduates are automatically covered under the University’s travel insurance whilst on organised and supervised field courses. Those travelling independently in connection with their programme can be included under the University’s travel insurance upon application – there may be a cost attached to this. There are also opportunities to undertake field courses with another organisation, e.g. Operation Wallacea. Students who choose to do this, do so at their own expense – for example, see http://opwall.com/undergrad-research-assistants/dates-and-prices/ Where necessary students will need to arrange and pay for any vaccinations. Specific details additional costs are detailed in the individual module profiles which can be found under the modules tab of the programmes details of the relevant academic unit.
PlacementsStudents who choose to go on an industrial placement at the end of Part 2 can expect to cover costs for health and travel insurance, accommodation and living expenses, travel costs and visa costs. This will vary depending on which country you are travelling to.
OtherParking costs: There may be a requirement to undertake work at Marwell Zoological Park or other sites away from the University campus), for example during a research project. Students may need to cover costs for transport to travel to these sites or for car parking.
OtherTravel costs: Students who opt to undertake a module delivered at Marwell Wildlife will be responsible for their own travel expenses.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

Career Opportunities

With a MEcol Master of Ecology degree you could be expected to find work in the following areas:

  • Ecology
  • Research
  • Teaching 
  • Conservation and the environment
  • Agriculture
  • Industry
  • Journalism

Learning & Assessment

The academic year

On this MEcol Master of Ecology degree eight modular units are taken each academic year, four in semester one and four in semester two. A unit normally consists of two lectures a week plus a three-hour practical on alternate weeks. Practicals and other components of in-course assessment make up 25% of your final mark for the year. We also provide workshops and pastoral tutorials in which you can get specific help on the content of your lectures. Each week students therefore attend eight 45-minute lectures, an average of two 2 to 3 hour practical classes and may also attend a small group tutorial, which should take up to two hours to prepare.
Examinations are held in the two weeks after each semester, in January and June. The marks for the first year do not count towards the final degree classification, but you do have to gain an overall pass in your first year.

A key part of the degree is experience in doing ecological research: students will do an independent research project in year 3, and an advanced research project in year 4.

The tutorial system

Every student on the Ecology programme is assigned a personal tutor when they start their university degree. Your course tutor changes every semester, but your personal tutor will stay the same throughout your time here. Your personal tutor will meet you when you enrol, and you will see him/her three or four times a term in the first year, for academic as well as pastoral support. He or she is accessible throughout your time in Southampton.

Research

Our research is relevant to your undergraduate course because you will be taught by people who are experts in the subjects that they teach. This is especially important for science subjects, where knowledge is advancing rapidly. This is particularly relevant for your final year.

In your third year, you have the opportunity to do an individual research project in one of our laboratories, in which you will make new discoveries alongside other researchers. You will use up-to-date equipment and gain important experimental skills .

Administration

On this ecology degree we have our own team of administrators who act as a point of contact for day-to-day advice and information for undergraduate students. They are also responsible for collecting assignments and issuing the documents and forms which are required during your period of study.

Programme leader: Dr Lex Kraaijeveld

Study Locations

The Life Sciences Building

Biological Sciences Building, Highfield Campus

The Life Sciences building is a £50 million state-of-the-art laborator...Find out more

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