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Biological Sciences

MRes Evolution: From the Galapagos to the 21st Century (1 year)

The MRes Evolution: From the Galapagos to the 21st Century brings together academics from 9 different Schools and Departments across the University of Southampton. It is a unique multidisciplinary programme that demonstrates the importance of Evolution across all areas of life in the 21st Century. From Palaeontology and global change, to engineering and the emergence of disease, modelling evolutionary theory to the Philosophy of Science, students can bring their skills and work with academics from Biological Sciences, Archaeology, Computer Sciences, Engineering, Geography, Maths, Medicine, Philosophy, and, Ocean and Earth Sciences to better understand evolutionary processes.

Introducing your course

This is the course page for MRes Evolution: from the Galapagos to the 21st Century at the University of Southampton. Find out everything about MRes Evolution 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 MRes Evolution: from the Galapagos to the 21st Century.

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.

MRes Evolution

The Master of Research in Evolution: From the Galapagos to the 21st Century is a programme that has been designed to allow students, from a range of backgrounds, to explore evolution in a vibrant interdisciplinary setting. 

The programme links foundational topics in evolutionary biology with new methods, current global challenges and cutting-edge research topics including:

  • Evolutionary Medicine incl:
  • Epigenetics/cancer/disease
  • Sustainable Environment
  • EvoDevo
  • Bioengineering
  • Computational Evolution
  • Socioeconomic Systems
  • Philosophy of Science

Distinctive features of this programme include:

  • A field course to the Galapagos, run by Ken Collins and Neil Gostling (the only one of its kind), gives students the opportunity to consider evolutionary biology, experimentally and theoretically, in the place that helped Darwin formulate his ideas about Natural Selection.  
  • World-leading research groups in
    • DoHAD, epigenetics of health and disease (Hanson, Lillycrop)
    • Extensions to Darwinian evolutionary theory (Watson)
    • Evolutionary theory and modelling (Doncaster, Hoyle, Ezard, Watson)
    • Evo-eco ,Evo-devo, Palaeobiology (Chapman, Dearing, Edwards, Ezard, Gostling, Marshall) allowing students access to project work and the most current thinking in evolutionary biology.

The programme allows students to address current research questions and high-impact challenges such as:

  • Predicting responses to climate change (crop security, forestry, ecosystem services)
  • Predicting disease outbreaks in interconnected populations
  • Safe operating spaces for social-ecological systems
  • To what extent does the modern synthesis explain the diversity and complexity of life?
  • How does environment influence health and disease (over multiple generations)?
  • How does epigenetics affect the mechanistic basis of evolution by natural selection?

The programme comprises of two parts: a taught component and an extensive research experience. The larger research component consists of a novel, independent (supported) research project that will be carried out in the state-of-the-art research facilities of the University. The smaller taught component is composed of four modules that will broaden skills in appropriate areas related to the research project. The exact portfolio of courses is selected with the advice of the academic supervisor of the research project. A list of supervisors, their discipline, and areas that students might like to research will be available at the time of application, and through discussion with them, students will be able to have formed ideas about the pathway they wish to explore by the time they arrive in Southampton. This program will provide an education and training suitable for a wide variety of careers and also will prepare students for undertaking a PhD.

View the programme specification for this course for 2019/20 entrants

To Apply

Please apply via the webpage, directly to Biological Sciences, providing a CV and a letter outlining why you wish to undertake the programme.

Entry requirements: 2:1

A 2:2 will be considered with supporting evidence

Programme Structure

Taught component: 60 Credit Points at Level 7 (Masters)

4 modules, including the compulsory Galapagos Field trip and Topics Module

Research Component: 120 Credit Points

Key Facts

MRes Evolution: from Galapagos to the 21st Century is a flexible programme that allows students to study and interrogate evolutionary theory in as wide a field as is possible at the frontier of current knowledge. The taught component is delivered by academics at the forefront of their discipline.

This programme will prepare you for further study/research at PhD level, as well as other numerate and analytical career pathways.

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

Average applications per place: 25

2:1 in first degree (unless exceptional circumstances  provided for 2:2) Submission of CV and application letter


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

Typical course content

The Program is 1 year long.  It is 12 modules 1/3 taught, 2/3 research (4 taught, incl. SOES6052 Tropical Marine Biology (Galapagos Field Course) and the Topics in Evolution from the Galapagos to the 21st Century; and 8 (equivalent) Research Project).

Year 1

The year starts in mid-August, preparing to come away to Galapagos in September.  Other taught modules will be taken through Semester 1, towards the mid/end of which you will begin your research project, which will run throughout the remainder of the year.

Semester One

Semester 1 from mid-August to end of January

Semester 2 from February to May

Semester 3 Jun to end of July

Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

BIOL6*** Topics in Evolution: From the Galapagos to the 21st Century

Biol6*** MRes Extended Evolutionary Biology Research Project


ARCH6*** Ecology of Human Evolution; biological, social and cultural approaches to hominin adaptation

Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

BIOL6*** Evolution and Development

Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

BIOL6*** Independent Investigation Project

Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

L7 Modules offered by BS, OES, ECS, Maths, Engineering, Medicine TBA

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).

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships 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 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

Teaching and Learning Methods

Students will be taught through a combination of lectures, workshops, practical classes, coursework and projects. Students will undertake an individual extended research-based project (equivalent to 8 modules).

Assessment methods

Students will be assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and written examinations at the end of each semester to test knowledge and understanding of the lecture and tutorial material. Continuous assessment is based on performance in tutorials, practicals and projects including dissertations and presentation.

Students can take relevant courses from Biological Sciences; Ocean and Earth Sciences, Computer Sciences; Medicine; Maths; Geography; Archaeology; Engineering and Philosophy.  This will all be explained at interview, and students will be guided through the process, with regular progress checks through out the program

Study locations

Student life

Avenue campus

Only a few minutes walk from Highfield Campus, Avenue provides a purpo...Find out more

The Life Sciences Building

Biological Sciences Building, Highfield Campus

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Highfield Campus

Highfield Campus

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University of Southampton

Highfield Campus

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Highfield Campus: Shackleton Building

Highfield campus

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Waterfront Campus

NOCS (National Oceanography Centre Southampton)

Ocean and Earth Sciences is based at the world-renowed National Oceano...Find out more

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