UCL Graduate degrees


Biodiversity and Global Change MSc

The MSc Biodiversity and Global Change provides a grounding in the science that is essential for tackling the biodiversity crisis, training the next generation of conservation professionals. It is run in collaboration with the Institute of Zoology, the Natural History Museum, and a network of collaborators. Together, this partnership brings together some of the leading researchers of global biodiversity changes from across many different disciplines.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 31 May 2021

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£16,000 (FT)
£28,500 (FT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in a relevant subject such as biology, environmental science, or other science subject that has a strong quantitative element.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

About this degree

The programme is delivered through a combination of seminars, presentations, assigned papers, as well as data analysis and interpretation. Seminars at UCL, the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Zoology (Zoological Society of London) are a mandatory part of the course. Assessment is through essays, project reports, presentations and practicals. The research project is assessed by dissertation, and oral presentation.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits comprising compulsory modules of 135 credits and optional modules of 45 credits.

The programme consists of 3 compulsory taught modules (45 credits), optional modules to a total of 45 credits, and a research project (90 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Biodiversity and Global Change.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

Taught modules focus on the concepts and skills needed to apply the latest research in global biodiversity changes, covering topics including  biodiversity generation and maintenance, species conservation, behavioural ecology in the Anthropocene, computational methods for biodiversity research, ecology and evolution, and science communication.

  • Computational Methods in Biodiversity Research (15 credits) (delivered collaboratively by UCL, ZSL and NHM)
  • Biodiversity Generation and Maintenance (15 credits) (delivered collaboratively by UCL, ZSL and NHM)
  • Applied Biodiversity Conservation (15 credits) (delivered collaboratively by UCL, ZSL and NHM)
  • MSc Biodiversity and Conservation Research Project (90 credits) (delivered collaboratively by UCL, ZSL and NHM)

Optional modules

  • Science Communication for Biologists
  • Species Conservation and Biodiversity
  • Behavioural Ecology for the Anthropocene
  • Plant Evolution and Ecology
  • Other modules offered by the Division of Biosciences or UCL East


All students undertake a 24-week research project on applied biodiversity research at UCL or with one of the partner institutions. This will culminate in a 5,000-word report and a 15-minute oral presentation.


Students undertake a field trip to Blakeney Point, Norfolk. Taking place towards the beginning of term 1, students are introduced to field techniques and experimental design

Teaching and learning

You will learn through a mixture of lectures, seminars, discussion classes, and group work, as well as undertaking personal reading and research for your dissertation under the supervision of at least one expert in the field. 

Additional costs

Students should have access to a laptop which can run R.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


This programme offers students a strong foundation with which to pursue careers in environmental policy and management, applied conservation or scientific journalism.


This is a new MSc course. Alumni of the associated MRes Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation programme have progressed to careers in academic research, applied conservation, wildlife filmmaking, and many other roles.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This programme is a collaboration between three globally renowned organisations with world-leading expertise in applied biodiversity research: UCL’s Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, including the Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research, the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Zoology at the Zoological Society of London.

Collectively, the partners lead international research into global biodiversity declines (including leading the Living Planet Report and contributing to the Intergovernmental Panels on Climate Change and Biodiversity/Ecosystem Services), understanding the ecological basis of zoonotic disease, wildlife health, field-based conservation programmes in both terrestrial and marine environments, molecular and autonomous approaches to biodiversity monitoring, harnessing the vast collections at the Natural History Museum, and securing a secure and sustainable supply of food for humans, among a vast array of other research areas.

By having access to the enormous range of world-leading research topics and methodologies, students will get a unique insight into the many ways that biodiversity research is applied to topics of critical importance for achieving a sustainable future.

Department: Division of Biosciences

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Application deadlines

All applicants
31 May 2021

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Biodiversity and Global Change at graduate level
  • why you want to study Biodiversity and Global Change at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 28 August 2021