Citizen Science MSc

London, Stratford (UCL East)

This new MSc programme is the first of its kind, and will meet the need for recognised professional skills and development in this exciting area. It will provide students with unique skills in an area of ever-increasing importance that can be applied across a number of different industries.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£19,400
£9,700
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£32,100
£16,050
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 18 Oct 2021 – 31 Mar 2022

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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

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.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Participation of the general public in scientific projects has experienced rapid growth over the past decade, covering a huge range of disciplinary areas including astronomy, history, arts, cell biology, engineering, climate science, epidemiology, and public health (see https://www.zooniverse.org for a wide range of examples).

For ecology in particular, citizen science is a long-established and vital tool for assessing the status of wildlife populations across the world, providing critical evidence for the health status of ecosystems (e.g. data from public-powered monitoring programmes made up the majority of the evidence for the UK’s State of Nature Report in 2019). From policy makers and funders, to city councils and governments, interest and investment in citizen science projects are global.

But how are such projects are designed, implemented, and managed to be successful? What are the best methods to collect and evaluate the data? Which privacy and data sharing agreements need to be considered?

Working collaboratively with industry partners is a key theme of the programme, and over the course of two terms you will learn-by-doing, experiencing first-hand the day-to-day management of a live citizen science project operated by a programme partner.

Furthermore, this experience will provide you with the opportunity to apply your skills and knowledge to inform the development and progression of the project. It may also be possible to collaborate on and design your final research project based on your experience with our industry partners.

Who this course is for

An interest in qualitative and quantitative methods, an ability and interest to work with people in new and innovative ways, familiarity with digital tools and a willingness to learn how to use new tools.
People from any academic background (natural sciences, social sciences, humanities) with experience or interest in public engagement in science and research.

What this course will give you

Citizen science is being adopted as a methodology in environmental management, within natural history and science museums, and as part of research projects across the world. Graduates of this programme will have the interdisciplinary knowledge to lead on such projects.

The foundation of your career

Employability

The MSc in Citizen Science will enable a new generation of socially engaged scholars and practitioners to meet the needs of industry, government and public sectors which are seeing a rapid growth of the interest and participation of the general public in collecting and processing data to answer critical environmental questions.

Upon completion of the programme you will possess the theoretical and practical skills to successfully plan, deliver, evaluate, and manage citizen science projects, and apply contextually appropriate data management practices to support open and accessible science. You will also leave with the necessary insight to plan and undertake independent research, and the ability to report its findings to a variety of audiences.

Teaching and learning

You will be assessed through a variety of both formative and summative approaches including literature review, oral presentation, reflective review, case-study portfolio, discussion board and forum, peer feedback, policy brief, social media portfolio, and a final research project developed in collaboration with UCL academics and/or a programme partner.

Approximately 250 contact hours plus approximately 1200 hours of self-directed learning.

Modules

Full-time

In term one you will take modules that cover the historic, theoretical, and practical underpinnings of contemporary citizen science; experimental design, data collection, management, and analysis; and explore the context and mechanics of a live citizen science project, including working with and managing volunteers. If you are currently working or involved in an external (i.e. to UCL and partners) citizen science project, you may be able to use the organisation managing the project as the host through which you can complete this experiential module (titled ‘The Practice of Citizen Science’).

In term two, you will continue your hands-on live project experience with a focus on data management and understanding the backend function of the project. You will also study and develop your familiarity with the organisational, policy formation and implementation, and ethical considerations of citizen science activities. You will develop your interdisciplinary skills further by choosing one optional module (BIOS0031: Technology for Nature, or BIOS0032: AI for the Environment). Alternatively, it may be possible to select other new UCL East-based modules, a Bloomsbury-based module in Biosciences (BIOL0032: Species Conservation and Biodiversity or BIOL0042: Plant Evolution and Ecology) or Geography, but availability will be subject to agreement and timetabling.

Term three is dedicated to your research project. With academic support from citizen science practitioners you will develop an original research question in collaboration with UCL and/or industry partners which, in order to answer, you will draw upon your learning and experience from terms one and two.

Depending on the project, it may be possible to develop your research question directly from the work you complete on the module ‘The Practice of Citizen Science’. Weekly tutor-facilitated, student-led workshops will provide the platform for you to discuss the central themes in conducting research across citizen science topics, and explore and resolve challenges faced in your own research-project work in collaboration with your peers.

If your research project is fully or jointly supervised by a partner you will be expected to spend research time at partner premises (e.g. NHM = South Kensington, ZSL = Regent’s Park). Similarly, if your research project is supervised by a member of academic staff based at Bloomsbury, you will need to spend time at this campus.

Part-time

Year One:
In term one you will take two core modules. The first (BIOS0035: Foundations of Citizen Science) covers the historic, theoretical, and practical underpinnings of contemporary citizen science. The second (BIOS0037: The Practice of Citizen Science) will see you exploring the context and mechanics of a live citizen science project, including working with and managing volunteers. If you are currently working or involved in an external (i.e. to UCL and partners) citizen science project, you may be able to use the organisation managing the project as the host through which you can complete this experiential module.

In term two, you will continue your hands-on live project experience in BIOS0037: The Practice of Citizen Science with a focus on data management and understanding the backend function of the project. You will also study and develop your familiarity with the organisational, political and ethical considerations of citizen science activities in the core module, BIOS0039: Designing and Managing Citizen Science.

Term three is dedicated to your research project. With academic support from citizen science practitioners you will develop an original research question in collaboration with UCL and/or industry partners, which in order to answer, you will draw upon your learning and experience from terms one and two. Depending on the project, it may be possible to develop your research question directly from the work you undertake on the module BIOS0037: The Practice of Citizen Science, in term 1. A selection of tutor-facilitated, student-led workshops will provide the platform for you to discuss the central themes in conducting research across citizen science topics, and explore and resolve challenges faced in your own research-project work in collaboration with your peers.

Year two:
In term one you will take one core module BIOS0002: Computational Methods in Biodiversity Research, that will introduce you to experimental design, field techniques, data collection, visualisation, management, and analysis, with a key focus on the different data types common to citizen science research.

In term two, you will be able to develop your interdisciplinary skills further by choosing one optional module (BIOS0031: Technology for Nature, or BIOS0032: AI for the Environment). Alternatively, it may be possible to select other new UCL East-based modules, a Bloomsbury-based module in Biosciences (BIOL0032: Species Conservation and Biodiversity or BIOL0042: Plant Evolution and Ecology) or Geography, but availability will be subject to agreement and timetabling.

Term three is again dedicated to your research project. With academic support from citizen science practitioners, you will further explore your original question with UCL academics and/or in collaboration with industry partners, drawing upon your learning and experience from year’s one and two. A further selection of tutor-facilitated, student-led workshops will provide the platform for you to discuss, explore and resolve challenges faced in your own research-project work in collaboration with your peers.

For both years one and two, if your research project is fully or jointly supervised by a partner you will be expected to spend research time at partner premises (e.g. NHM = South Kensington, ZSL = Regent’s Park). Similarly, if your research project is supervised by a member of academic staff based at Bloomsbury, you will need to spend time at this campus.

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.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Citizen Science.

Accessibility

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.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £19,400 £9,700
Tuition fees (2022/23) £32,100 £16,050

Additional costs

There are no programme-specific additional costs to students.

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

Funding your studies

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

Next steps

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Citizen Science at graduate level
  • why you want to study Citizen Science at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic, professional and personal 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.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. The programme may remain open if places are still available after 31 March 2022 and will be closed as soon as it is full or by 30 June 2022.

Got questions? Get in touch

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

This page was last updated 28 Sep 2021