1 year full-time
2 to 3 years part-time
Start date: September 2022
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Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018
The course has a particular focus on conservation and agriculture. There is currently a shortage of expertise in this important topic, which is a key element in the effort to ensure global food security and the understanding of biodiversity. By successfully completing this course you will develop a range of abilities that will prepare for an interesting and fulfilling career in an area with considerable opportunities.
Insects and allied invertebrates comprise approximately 78% of the world’s macro-biodiversity, whereas vertebrates, even using the most generous estimates, make up less than 3%. Consequently, insects and their relatives play an important role in all of our ecosystems. They range from beneficial insects such as pollinators and natural enemies to essential parts of the decomposition cycle. Many insects are also important pests of agriculture, horticulture and forestry, compromising food security and causing significant economic losses. A number of insects are also pathogen vectors and pose a serious threat to human health. Although pest species generally receive the most attention, most insects are not pests. Many insects are rare or endangered and need to be managed for conservation. Other insects are used as model organisms for evolutionary and genetic studies.
The course aims to provide students with specialised training in entomology, conservation and pest management. Specifically, the course will:
The course is intended to provide students with a detailed, yet balanced, understanding of both basic and applied entomology and the issues associated insect ecology and conservation as well as pest management. An extensive programme of agri-environment research and long-standing national and international collaborations with research institutes, universities and other research organisations underpin this course.
A distinctive and integral feature of our MSc is the high degree of input from entomologists and ecologists in collaborating governmental and non-governmental organizations. This participation takes a variety of forms, including guest lectures, field visits and specific training courses, but may also include providing research projects in their organizations.
Examples of collaborating organizations include The Natural History Museum London, CEH Wallingford, Butterfly Conservation, Bug Life, Horticultural Development Company, Rothamsted Research, and Forest Research.
The MSc covers a broad range of topics in entomology and conservation and all students receive training in fundamental skills which will enable them to enter an entomological work environment or a research career in ecological entomology or insect conservation. There is, however, considerable flexibility, enabling each student to focus on specialist subjects consistent with their interests and future career intentions.
Having completed the taught part of MSc you will be able to identify insects to at least family level, determine their key characteristics, and critically evaluate the role of insects in managed and natural ecosystems. You will also learn to assess and exploit technology to solve insect-related problems as well as the core principles of sustainable pest management..
The research project for the MSc will allow you to test hypotheses relevant to pure and applied entomological research by designing, carrying out, analysing and interpreting experiments or surveys. You will also learn to evaluate and interpret data and draw relevant conclusions from existing entomological studies.
Both full-time and part-time (two year) courses are eligible for a postgraduate loan.
Modules are delivered in one week (and in a select few modules two week) blocks on campus. You will know in advance which weeks require physical attendance as they’ll be scheduled on the timetable. In addition to this, you will be required to allocate time for self-study to complete the assignments associated with each of the modules. Some modules may also include research and/or exam elements, these are also highlighted on the timetable.
The Biologist, 2009
A UK honours degree (minimum 2:2) or equivalent overseas qualification. Applicants with a good FdSc/HND pass in a relevant subject area plus at least two years' relevant industrial or professional experience may also be considered.
Previous experience, referees' reports and interviews will be used to determine the suitability of candidates for particular programmes.
Students holding an MSc in Entomology have gone on to work for research institutes such as Rothamsted Research, FERA (the Food and Environment Research Agency), the James Hutton Institute, commercial biological control companies, the agrochemical industry and as agronomists and ecological consultants.
They have also gained employment with conservation bodies such as Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage or overseas. Typically 70% of Entomology MSc graduates will go into research careers or onto PhD courses.