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Your learning experience

Our master’s courses are very hands-on, with learning mostly taking place out in the field and in the lab.

You’ll be taught in small groups by our experts in the Cole Museum of Zoology and Herbarium.

Students carrying out fieldwork by Whiteknights lake

How you'll learn on the MSc by Research Entomology course

The MSc by Research Entomology course is wholly practical, with learning only in the field or laboratory. No modules are shared with other courses and there are no written exams.

On arrival, you will receive a Watkins and Doncaster entomology starter pack valued at £300 containing forceps, pins, cards and boxes – everything you need to start collecting and studying insects.

Everything we do focuses on entomology, with career development in entomology a priority. Practical work is hugely important as future employment is based on practical and analytical skills.

Small-group teaching by experts

The MSc Entomology by Research is a relatively new and exciting venture. We have decades of experience in Biological Sciences at Reading and several expert in-house entomologists.

We deliver learning in small groups and only to entomologists, to facilitate rewarding discussions.

Access to entomology collections

The British Entomological and Natural History Society own the Pelham-Clinton Building near the University. The building houses a magnificent collection of insects, a library containing entomology texts and a wide variety of entomological journals. You can access these collections by appointment.

Our nationally accredited Cole Museum of Zoology houses several significant, donated insect collections. In addition, the module leaders have large private collections that are used to facilitate study.

Techniques and Identification module

There is just one taught module on the course. Field trips go to interesting habitats to search for insects, and to museums to study important collections.

You will learn GIS and spatial analysis, relevant statistical analysis using R, and some specialist tools like MaxEnt to study geographical distributions.

The module is assessed via practical spots tests, an assessment of your quantitative skills, and the construction of an insect collection.

Publishing research

The master's is by research and our aspiration is that every student will finish the course with at least one manuscript submitted, in press or published. We have a very good track record publishing student work.

How you'll learn on the MSc Ecological Survey Skills with Placement course (formally MSc Species Identification and Survey Skills)

You will have the opportunity to learn through both hands-on practical work and lectures. You will learn to identify plants and animals in the field and laboratory. Field trips are supplemented by work on the award-winning green Whiteknights campus. The variety of learning methods ensure an engaging course providing employability.

Hands-on learning

Students do not gain the required skills by sitting in a classroom being lectured to. Almost all the work is hands-on, in the field, in a laboratory and on a computer, and involves actively working with peers and employers.

You will work on professional ecological surveys and write industry-standard reports.

Taught modules

Modules include: Botanical Field Skills, Animal Survey and Assessment, Molecular Methods, Ecological Consultancy Skills and Environmental Consultancy.

These modules develop practical identification skills and techniques, provide you with relevant practical experience and introduce the ecological consultancy industry.

Paid ecological placement

In this module, you’ll work with a professional ecological consultancy for six months across the second semester. Day-to-day activities will likely include carrying out surveys, tendering for projects and writing reports.

You'll need a current UK driving licence to undertake this module. If you foresee any issues with this, please contact the course coordinator before submitting your application.

Research project

This optional module provides you with the opportunity to carry out original research into some aspect of ecology and conservation, supervised by a member of academic staff.

Our courses

Take your expertise to a higher level and stand out to employers in the field. Explore Master’s programmes; MSc by Research Entomology and MSc Ecological Survey Skills with Placement (formerly MSc Species Identification and Survey Skills)



Why study with us?

Learn from our expert entomologists, zoologists, botanists and ecologists, access collections and samples on our biodiverse campus, benefit from our close links with industry and enhance your career.
Three students carrying out field work in a meadow

Life in the Department

Join a vibrant and welcoming department situated on an award-winning campus. 
Athena SWAN Silver Award