Ecology & Environmental Biology MRes

student deep sea diving

The Master of Research (MRes) programme in Ecology and Environmental Biology provides research training for students wishing to enter a PhD programme or seeking a career in ecological science.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • The MRes Ecology and Evnvironmental Biology degree programme draws on the research interests of a large number of University staff in the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine and allows you the chance to obtain experience in a wide range of modern research techniques.
  • There is considerable expertise in this area of biology available at Glasgow, especially in ornithology, fish biology, aquatic ecosystems, epidemiology, modelling and physiological, molecular and evolutionary ecology.

Programme structure

This programme consists of a taught component, and a laboratory or field based research project. The taught component consists of core research skills and specialist options in analytical and sampling techniques. The main part of the degree is devoted to experience of research techniques. You will carry out an extended research project chosen to reflect your interests and the skills you wish to acquire. 

Core and optional courses

Core Courses

Key Research Skills (40 credits)

The aim of this course is to provide you with advanced and evidence-based training in the key skills essential for any modern ecology/evolution-based research career and for courses you will take later in the programme.  The course includes Principles of Scientific Writing and Effective Communication in English, Introduction to the Programming Environment R, Advanced Statistics, and Experimental Design and Power Analysis.

Research Project (120 credits)

The aim is to undertake a quantitatively orientated independent research project, in which you will use the knowledge gained in the Key Research Skills course to design a feasible experiment, undertake data collection, statistically analyse data, and present your findings in written reports, oral presentation and conference poster.

Optional Courses (20 credits)

You will choose two 10 credit courses from the following range of courses:

Biodiversity informatics

Freshwater sampling techniques

GIS for ecologists

Infectious disease ecology & the dynamics of emerging disease

Introduction to bayesian statistics

Invertebrate identification

Molecular analyses for biodiversity and conservation

Molecular epidemiology and phylodynamics

Programming in R

Single-species population models

Spatial and network processes in ecology & epidemiology

Vertebrate identification


What our students say

Completing my MRes at the University of Glasgow was a wonderful experience and I recommend the program to students who wish to further their knowledge and research skills.  Numerous learning opportunities were provided across a broad range of subjects and support and guidance from supervisors was invaluable. The experience gained throughout my MRes studies contributed to my success in obtaining a PhD scholarship and publishing my results in a peer-reviewed journal.

Lindsay Mickelson (Canada)

My year studying the MRes at the University of Glasgow was a great year in which I learnt so much and had an amazing time. The course, which has a strong focus on statistics and programming and the opportunity to conduct an 8-month research project, accelerates your career in ecological research. The lecturers and researchers are all so welcoming and supportive should you ever need any extra help or advice. I was also incredibly lucky to live at our field station SCENE on the bursary scheme where I made great friends with the staff and other students working and living there. I was able to study and work surrounded by an outstanding natural area on the shores of Loch Lomond.

Eleanor Dickinson (UK)‌ 

Studying the MRes at the University of Glasgow has been a wonderful and invaluable experience. The MRes programme was full of challenging courses that improved my research skills to conduct my master project and to continue a career as a life sciences researcher. The 8-month project gave me the opportunity to work for several months with top professionals within a research group in a field of my interest. This group was very supportive during the whole programme and nowadays we are working to publish the results in a peer-reviewed journal. As an international student, I am thankful for all the support received from the IBAHCM staff and University of Glasgow itself to feel at home. Furthermore, I was positively impressed by the organisation of the master programme and the excellent work environment in the IBACHM.

Micaela De la Puente L. (Peru) 


Academic staff

Adams, Prof Colin (Professor of Freshwater Ecology; ecological speciation; conservation biology of fishes)

Bailey, Dr David (Senior Lecturer; marine ecosystem conservation and physiology of marine fishes)

Biek, Dr Roman (Lecturer; virus phylodynamics; spatial genetics of hosts and pathogens; ecology and genetics of vector borne diseases in wildlife; conservation genetics)

Cleaveland, Prof Sarah (Professor of Comparative Epidemiology; wildlife disease ecology; one health approaches to understanding zoonotic diseases; role of human social interactions in disease transmission and control)

Elmer, Dr Kathryn (Lecturer; ecological speciation and adaptive radiations in fishes and amphibians; genomics of adaptation)

Ferguson, Dr Heather (Lecturer in Vector Biology; ecology of insect vectors involved in human and animal diseases; community and population ecology)

 Hampson, Dr Katie (Wellcome Trust Advanced Research Fellow; rabies transmission dynamics and control in human and animal populations; surveillance systems for monitoring rabies spread)

Haydon, Prof Daniel (Director of Institute; stability and complexity theory; community ecology; wildlife epidemiology; animal movement)

Helm, Dr Barbara (Lecturer; chronobiology of birds; environmental influences on circadian adaptation) 

Hopcraft, Dr Grant (LKAS Research Fellow; theoretical and empirical studies of animal movement and migration; ecophysiology of ungulates)

Johnson, Dr Paul (Research Fellow; population genetics; statistical genetics; pathogen genomics)

Killen, Dr Shaun (NERC Advanced Research Fellow; physiology and behavioural ecology of marine and freshwater fishes; ecological relevance of life-history tradeoffs)

Lindström, Dr Jan (Senior Lecturer; behavioural ecology; theoretical ecology; games theory)

Mable, Dr Barbara (Reader; evolutionary genetics of plants and animals; evolutionary dynamics of complex gene families; evolution of polyploidy; mating system evolution; conservation genetics)

Macleod, Dr Ross (Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Fellow; population dynamics and life history of birds in changing environments)

Matthiopoulos, Prof Jason (Professor of Spatial and Population Ecology; analysis of animal movement; marine population dynamics; mathematical modelling of population distributions, habitat choice and complex interactions)

McCafferty, Dr Dominic (Senior Lecturer; thermal biology)

Mckeegan, Dr Dorothy (Senior Lecturer; applied animal welfare)

Metcalfe, Prof Neil (Professor of Behavioural Ecology; life history strategies in birds and fishes;  ecophysiology; role of oxidative stress in mediating life history strategies; recipient of an ERC Advanced Grant in 2013)

Monaghan, Prof Pat (Appointed Regius Chair of Zoology in 2012; life history strategies in birds; longevity and adaptation in birds in changing environments; received ERC advanced research grant in 2011)

Nager, Dr Ruedi (Senior Lecturer; ecology and life history strategies of birds; reproductive biology of birds)

Page, Prof Roderic (Professor of Taxonomy; host-parasite co-evolution; systematics; phyloinformatics)

Parsons, Dr Kevin (Lecturer in Marine and Freshwater Biology; evolution and development; ecological speciation in fishes; ecological genomics)

Reeve, Dr Richard (Research Fellow; mathematical modelling; novel mathematical approaches to measuring biodiversity and assessing vaccination strategies in viruses)

Robinson, Dr Jane (Reader; reproductive physiology; endocrinology)

Selman, Prof Colin (Professor of Biogerontology; chronobiology of mammals; mechanisms underlying ageing in mammals)

Honorary Bean, Dr Colin (Honorary Researcher, SNH; conservation ecology)

Downie, Prof Roger (Retired Professor; amphibian conservation and ecology)

Hancock, Mr Geoff (Insect Curator, Hunterian Museum; insect taxonomy and systematics)

Putman, Prof Rory (Visiting Honorary Professor; Independent Deer Consultancy; ecological dynamics of ungulates)

Yeomans, Dr William (Honorary Lecturer; Clyde River Foundation; river ecosystem ecology and conservation)


Some examples of research projects undertaken by MRes students.

  • Aquatic macrophytes as indicators of the ecological status of Scottish lochs
  • Co-evolution of albatrosses and their feather lice
  • Cross-species utility of microsatellite markers in parasitic nematodes
  • Ecology of basking sharks in the Clyde
  • Great skua diets in Orkney and Shetland
  • Habitat use by Red Sea reef fish
  • Homing behaviour of groupers in Nabq Protected Area, Egypt
  • Immunisation of fish in aquaculture against infectious disease
  • Impacts of oil pollution around a single-point mooring in Oman
  • Interactions between yellow-legged gulls and roseate terns in the Azores
  • Long-line bycatch mitigation in the Alaskan halibut fishery
  • Male phenotype, antioxidants and fertility in the zebra finch
  • Mercury dynamics in Mediterranean marine food-webs
  • Modelling capercaillie distribution in Scotland
  • Morphological plasticity in the red mangrove in Grand Cayman
  • Porcupine feeding preferences in eastern Canada
  • Racial distinctiveness of the subspecies of Starling in the Azores
  • Retreat of fox rabies in Western Europe after oral vaccination programmes
  • Shark distribution and abundance in the Red Sea 
  • Signal crayfish in the upper Clyde Catchment
  • Spring growth of diatoms under the ice in Svalbard
  • Stable isotopes, contaminants and antioxidants in sequentially laid eggs
  • Tree-frog ecology in Trinidad

Career prospects

The programme will provide an excellent training for those who wish to apply for a PhD programme or enter ecological consultancy or conservation sectors. It also serves as an excellent introduction to research in the UK for overseas students.

Entry requirements

A second class Honours degree or equivalent (e.g. GPA of 3.0 or above) in a relevant scientific subject. Professional experience may be taken into account.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification:

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 90; no sub-test less than:
    • Reading: 20
    • Listening: 19
    • Speaking: 19
    • Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):  176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's English for Academic Study Unit offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2017-18


Home and EU
Full time fee£7250
Full time fee£19500


Home and EU
Full time fee£4833
Full time fee£13000

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only


International applicants (from beyond the EU) are requested to pay a deposit of £1000 when an offer is made.

Deposits terms & conditions

The University requires a deposit to be paid by International (beyond the EU) applicants in receipt of an offer to this programmes and who require a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University in order that they can apply for a student visa. This is required where the programme is competitive and the deposit is required in order to demonstrate your commitment to attend the programme should you meet all the conditions of your offer.

If you are made an offer for this programme the University will write to you and request a deposit with information on how to pay your deposit and the deadline for making the deposit payment. Please note that if you are unable to pay a deposit because you are planning to fund your studies through an official financial sponsor then you should upload a copy of your scholarship application or award letter to your application by the deadline date.

The following guidelines will apply in determining whether or not a deposit will be refunded. Where the deposit is refunded, a 10% handling fee will be deducted.

Deposits WILL be refunded to applicants under the following circumstances:

  1. Where the University is unable to offer you a place.
  2. Where the applicant has personal circumstances such as illness, bereavement or other family situations that has prevented them coming to the UK. Medical or other proof may be requested.
  3. Applicant can prove that they have applied for a visa to attend the University of Glasgow, but the VISA has been refused. The applicant must have shown ‘real intent' to study at the University of Glasgow but has been unable to obtain their visa.
  4. Applicant does not meet his / her conditions of offer: this may be academic or language test requirements. Satisfactory evidence must be uploaded to the student’s online application to prove that they have not met the conditions of their offer (note that applicants who do not meet the language condition of their offer must show reasonable attempt to meet this, i.e. they must provide a language test which was taken after the date that the deposit was paid).

Deposits WILL NOT be refunded to applicants under the following circumstances:

  1. Applicant decides to go to another institution.
  2. Applicant cannot be released from work to study at the University of Glasgow.
  3. Applicant does not send completed documentation as requested in the condition of the offer: this may be required in order to prove that the offer has not been met for academic or language test conditions - failure to respond to requests for this information will result in no refund.
  4. Applicant has not secured funding to attend the University of Glasgow: this may be as a result of not being successful in applications for scholarships, OR simply not having sufficient funds in bank at time of visa application. This condition will apply unless it can be proven that there are clear mitigating circumstances which have significantly changed the applicant’s position since the time of application.
  5. Applicant has decided to defer – in this situation the University will retain the deposit and credit it against the applicant’s account for securing their place for the following year of entry. 

Refund requests must be made within 60 days of the programme start date stated on your offer letter: requests made after this date will be subject to discretion.

Additional fees

  • Fee for submission by a research student: £460
  • Fee for re-assessment of a dissertation (PGT programme): £300
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work: £1,000
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed: £200
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship: £680
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period): £260
  • Registration/exam only fee: £110
  • General Council fee: £50

Alumni discount

A 10% discount is available to University of Glasgow alumni applying to the MRes. This includes graduates and those who have completed a Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School at the University of Glasgow. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

Funding opportunities

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)
  • A personal statement (maximum 2 A4 pages) highlighting:
    • How your academic career to-date makes this programme a suitable next step
    • Why you want to study this programme
    • How you think this programme will help you in your future career development

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU): 21 July 2017 
  • UK and EU applications: 25 August 2017

Classes start September 2017 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now