Our Computational Ecology MSc gives you knowledge and skills to work with ecological ‘big data’. It focuses on mathematical and statistical theory necessary for data interpretation and analysis.
About this course
This course addresses the severe shortage of scientists trained to a high standard in both data modelling and ecology. Ecological and environmental scientists now generate large amounts of observational data. The data could be from:
- camera traps
- GPS records
- eDNA samples
Due to the unique combination of ecology and big data, the course is suitable for:
- ecologists involved in scientific research
- graduates in mathematics or computing
As an interdisciplinary course, some modules are unique whilst others are shared with other courses. This ensures that you will gain:
- detailed technical skills needed by future employers
- understanding of the broader ecological context of data collection
What you'll learnWhat you'll learn
You will gain hands-on experience of using modern computing and modelling methods. This will develop your essential technical skills, which are in demand by employers. Through taught modules and a research project, you will also enhance broader abilities such as:
- a critical review of scientific literature
- advance planning
Statistical methods, modelling and technical skills are developed in the taught component. Modules subject areas include:
- statistical methods
- ecological modelling for wildlife and conservation
- meta-analysis and decision support
- human impacts on natural systems
- visualisation of ecological data
- geographic information systems and remote sensing
Project workProject work
A wide range of project areas are available, for example:
- purely theoretical
- computer-programming or modelling
- those involving the collection of a small amount of field data before more complex analysis
We will suggest project titles, but you can suggest your own too. Possible projects may include:
- modelling disease epidemiology in wildlife
- machine-learning for species identification
- integrated hydrological and vegetation modelling
- remote-sensed data and monitoring of forest fragmentation
- phylogenetics of aquatic invertebrates
Some research projects may be in collaboration with external agencies, if relevant.
Our staffOur staff
All teaching staff are active researchers, with projects in the UK and internationally. The roles these staff contribute to this course include being advisers to international panels on:
- invasive species
- ecosystem services
- forest fragmentation
- coral reef ecology
The Degree Programme Director, Dr Roy Sanderson, is an active research ecologist. His research focuses on:
- modelling complex ecological systems
- using multivariate statistical models
- Monte-Carlo techniques.
The course is based on the Newcastle campus and delivered by the School of Natural and Environmental Science. The taught component includes:
- laboratory work
Assessment is by written examination and submitted in-course assignments. To enhance your communication skills, some modules include:
- oral presentation
- creation of posters
You will complete your research project in the second half of the course. You will have regular meetings with your project supervisor, who will help you to develop the specialist skills needed to complete your research project. Your project is assessment is a dissertation.
The School of Natural and Environmental Sciences is spread across several buildings. We have an outstanding range of facilities to support your learning and research:
- fully equipped laboratories
- a new field station with facilities for teaching and research
- Cockle Park farm
- Nafferton Farm
- Dove Marine Laboratory
- a dedicated postgraduate cluster room
Find out more about our facilities.
Contact usContact us
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You will study modules on this course. A module is a unit of a course with its own approved aims and outcomes and assessment methods.
Modules for 2018 entry
Compulsory modulesCompulsory modules
- BIO8046 Applied Bioinformatics
- BIO8054 Management of Wildlife Disease and Epidemiology
- BIO8063 Invasive Species
- BIO8068 Management and Visualisation of Data in Ecology and Conservation
- BIO8069 Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing
- BIO8070 Meta-analysis and Decision Support for Ecology and Conservation
- BIO8071 Molecular Evolution and Phylogenetics
- BIO8072 Dynamics of Coupled Human-Natural Systems
- NES8002 Research Dissertation Project
- NES8007 Academic and Professional Skills for MSc
Optional modulesOptional modules
You take optional modules to the value of 10 credits from the following list:
- NES8006 Data Prep, analysis, interpretation and presentation
- NES8008 Data Analysis and Modelling
- NES8009 Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology
Modules change annually to take account of:
- changing staff expertise
- developments in the discipline
- the requirements of external bodies and partners
- student feedback.
Most module information for 2019 entry will be available from mid-May 2019.
Curious about what our graduates have gone on to do? Find out about opportunities they’ve pursued, and how we can help you develop your career.
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Fees & Funding
The fees displayed here are per course.
Full time: £10,200
Full time: £10,200
Full time: £21,600
Find out more about our tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts.
EU students starting at Newcastle in 2018 and 2019 will pay the UK (Home) tuition fee for the full duration of their course.
A 2:2 BSc or BEng honours degree, or international equivalent, in a relevant subject such as:
- environmental engineering
- biological sciences
- environmental science
- marine biology
We will also consider applicants with non-standard qualifications and relevant experience.
Find out the equivalent qualifications for your country.
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English Language Requirements
Select an English language test from the list to view our English language entry requirements.
Please email us at email@example.com for further information.
Pre-sessional English Course RequirementsPre-sessional English Course Requirements
- 6 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 6.0 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)
- 10 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 5.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.0 in all sub-skills)
You can study our Pre-sessional English course at the INTO Newcastle Centre.
How to Apply
The course starts in September. There is no application closing date for this course.
We suggest international students apply at least two months before the course starts. This is so that you have enough time to make the necessary arrangements.
If you live outside the UK/EU you must:
- pay a deposit of £1,500
- or submit an official letter of sponsorship
The deposit is payable after you receive an offer to study at Newcastle University. The deposit is non-refundable, but is deducted from your tuition fees when you register.