MSc PalaeobiologyFind a programme
|Faculty||Faculty of Science|
One year full-time;
two years part-time
|Location of programme||Clifton campus|
|Part-time study available||
Part-time study requires daytime weekday attendance during the taught elements of the course.
|Start date||September 2020|
This interdisciplinary MSc programme is for students who are passionate about early life, mass extinctions, macroevolution and fossil preservation. It bridges the biology-geology divide. You will learn the latest techniques in phylogenetics, biomechanics and macroevolution training, providing you with a strong foundation for independent research to PhD level or for a career in museum curation, science education, management or the media.
You will join Bristol's established palaeobiology research group and engage in current debates in evolutionary biology, systematics and palaeobiology. You will learn how to analyse problems quantitatively and design experimental approaches to resolving questions in macroevolution and the study of ancient organisms.
A key aspect of the programme is preparing your research project for publication, and many of our previous students’ projects have been published in leading international journals. Recent research project topics include the origin of cellular life, the preservation of colours in dinosaurs and the evolution of culture in humans.
This programme gives you the opportunity to develop a wide range of professional skills, including research planning, problem-solving and communication. You will learn to present palaeontological data through talks, visual displays and formal written reports. You will also develop computing skills in data handling, phylogenetics, macroevolution, function and 3D digital modelling.
Find out more about the programme and hear from current and former students on our Palaeobiology MSc blog.
Fees for 2020/21
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:
- UK/EU: full-time
- UK/EU: part-time (two years)
- Overseas: full-time
- Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time
- Bench fee
Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.
University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.
Funding for 2020/21
Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.
The first part of the programme consists of lectures, practical classes, tutorials and visiting speakers, designed to provide a firm foundation in the theory and methodology of the subject.
The taught element of the programme comprises core units which all students take, and a number of optional units from which students may choose. We recommend that students with a background in biology take some of the more geologically orientated optional units, and those with a background in geology take some of the biological optional units. Advice is given when choosing optional units.
The final part of the programme consists of a research project leading to a written thesis. For further information on research projects, please see the School of Earth Sciences website.
Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our MSc in Palaeobiology.
An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in geology, biological sciences, environmental sciences, archaeology, anthropology or a related discipline.
See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.
Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.
The degree is research-based, and about half of our graduates go on to academic careers, usually starting with a PhD. The MSc is focused on methods and you will learn the latest techniques in phylogenetics, biomechanics and macroevolution training, which are highly sought after by PhD supervisors across the world.
The training in professional skills, including writing scientific papers, is also highly regarded. Some students have used the MSc as a means to go on to careers in museums, the media and education and now hold senior positions as curators and collection managers in national and regional museums. Graduates also work in making scientific documentaries, or are involved in science education at all levels.
Finally, some graduates have gone into commercial work in marketing, the oil industry and computing, where their practical skills in palaeobiology and communication have proved invaluable.
We welcome applications at any time of year. Early application recommended.
Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.
REF 2014 results
- Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences:
- 36% of research is world-leading (4*)
- 62% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
- 2% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.