1 year full-time
2 to 3 years part-time
Start date: September 2020
Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018
Harper Adams is the only UK institution to teach general and applied entomology at postgraduate level. 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 per cent of the world’s macro-biodiversity, whereas vertebrates, even using the most generous estimates, make up less than three per cent. Insects and their relatives play an important role in all of our ecosystems. They range from beneficial insects such as pollinators and natural control agents to essential parts of the decomposition cycle such as dung and carrion insects. Many are also important pests of agriculture, horticulture and forestry, in addition to those that cause human health problems.
Many insects are also rare and endangered and need to be managed for conservation. Other insects are used as model organisms for evolutionary and genetic studies.
The aim of the course is to provide students with specialized training in entomology and conservation.
The course will:
The course is intended to provide a detailed understanding of basic and applied entomology and the issues associated with, on the one hand, their ecology and conservation and, on the other, the control of harmful species worldwide. The course is underpinned by an extensive programme of agri-environment research at Harper Adams and longstanding collaborations with research institutes and other organisations in the UK and overseas.
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.
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.
The course will focus on producing integrated management solutions that pay due regard to agronomic, social and environmental requirements. Students also learn how to disseminate issues and ideas relating to insect control and conservation to a range of audiences using various methods of communication.
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.
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.
The full-time and two year part-time courses are eligible for a postgraduate loan.
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. A number of graduates have worked as forensic entomologists. Typically 70 per cent of Entomology MSc graduates will go into research careers or onto PhD courses.