MSci Palaeontology and Evolution (CF16)

2016 entry

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UCAS code CF16
Application method UCAS/Common Application
Course duration 4 year(s) full-time
Part-time study Part-time study is not available for this course
Number of applications for 2014/15 70
Number of places for 2016/17 89

About MSci Palaeontology and Evolution

Palaeontology is the study of the life of the past. This course studies the evolution of life through the combined study of geology and biology.

One third of the first year is spent studying geology and two thirds are dedicated to biology. After the first year, you take core units from both disciplines that are particularly relevant to your area of study but have a much wider choice of options, both geological and biological, to choose from. The final year, taught entirely in the School of Earth Sciences, involves a mandatory major research project.

The Palaeontology and Evolution cohort is small and high-achieving and always attracts great enthusiasts for the subject area. You will be part of a tight-knit and competitive yet friendly group.

An MSci degree is a valuable qualification to have if you wish to progress to PhD study.

More about Geology

Find out more about studying Geology at Bristol including career prospects and how the course is taught and assessed.

Course structure

First year

  • Geology 1
  • Diversity of Life
  • Life Processes

Second year

  • Sedimentology
  • Introduction to Field Mapping
  • Geobiology
  • Quantitative Methods in Biology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Mesozoic stratigraphy and palaeontology fieldwork
  • Choice from:
    • Cell and Developmental Biology
    • Neurobiology: from nerve cells to behaviour
    • Acquisition of Behaviour
    • Behavioural Ecology
    • Parasite Biology
    • Insect Biology
    • Conservation Biology
    • Marine Ecology and Physiology
    • Structural Geology
    • Soils and Environmental Analysis
    • Atmospheric Processes
    • Imaging and Mapping the Earth
    • Green Planet

Third year

  • Palaeobiology Analytical Project
  • Evolution of the Biosphere
  • Fieldcourse or Laboratory Workshop Report
  • The Cambrian Explosion: the origin of animal body plans
  • Choice from:
    • Mammalian Ecology and Sociobiology
    • Neuroethology: neural mechanisms underlying behaviour
    • Flowering Plants
    • Sensory Ecology
    • Behaviour and Ecology of Social Insects
    • Optimisation, Behaviour and Life Histories
    • Evolutionary Ecology
    • Oceanography
    • Petroleum Sedimentology
    • Geomicrobiology

Fourth year

  • Current Controversies in Palaeobiology and Macroevolution
  • Phylogenetic Methods in Palaeobiology
  • Earth Science Research Project
  • Choice from:
    • Vertebrate Palaeobiology and Evolution
    • Biomechanics and Functional Morphology
    • Micropalaeontology
    • Tracing and Observing the Earth System.
Further details about the course structure for Palaeontology
Further details about the course structure for Evolution

Typical offer for MSci Palaeontology and Evolution

(including international A-levels)
AAA including two science subjects (one of which must be Biology)*; or AAB including three hard sciences (one of which must be Biology)*
(including international A-levels)
(contextual offer)
AAB including two science subjects (one of which must be Biology)*; or ABB including three hard sciences (one of which must be Biology)*
IB Diploma 36 overall to include 18 points at Higher Level including two science subjects (one of which must be Biology)*; or 34 overall to include 17 points at Higher Level including three hard sciences (one of which must be Biology)
IB Diploma
(contextual offer)
34 overall to include 17 points at Higher Level including two science subjects (one of which must be Biology)*; or 32 overall to include 16 points at Higher Level including three hard sciences (one of which must be Biology)
Cambridge Pre-URequirements are as for A-levels, where Grade A* is D2, A is D3, B is M2, and C is M3
AccessPass Access to HE Diploma (Science) with at least 30 credits at Distinction and 15 at Merit, including 12 credits at Distinction in two of the following science subjects: Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics.
BTEC DDD in Science or Engineering, plus A-level grade B in Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
SQA SH: AAABB and AH: AA in Biology plus another science/mathematics subject*
Welsh BaccRequirements are as for A-levels where you can substitute the same non-subject specific grade for the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Level Core grade
EB85% overall with 8.5 in Biology and another science subject*
International qualificationsQualifications, scholarships and local information sources for your country
English language requirements Profile C
Further information about English language requirements
Subjects required at GCSE or equivalent:Grade B or above in English Language or Literature and Mathematics
Academic qualifications*Science subjects should include one or more from the following group: Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics. Other science subjects include Environmental Science, Geography, Geology and Psychology. Hard science subjects include: Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics.

More entry information

Get in touch

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Phone: +44 (0)117 394 1639

Fees and funding

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International students

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Key information about this course

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  • 12 Bristol graduates and members of staff have been awarded Nobel prizes.


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