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Palaeobiology

This interdisciplinary programme is for students who are passionate about early life, mass extinctions, macroevolution and fossil preservation. It bridges the biology-geology divide and will provide you with a strong foundation for independent research to PhD level or for a career in museum curation or science education.

You will join one of the world's leading palaeobiology research groups and engage in current debates in evolutionary biology, systematics and palaeobiology. You will learn how to analyse problems quantitatively and design experimental approaches to resolving questions in macroevolution and the study of ancient organisms.

A key aspect of the programme is preparing your research project for publication, and many of our previous students' projects have been published in leading international journals. Recent research project topics include the origin of cellular life, the preservation of colours in dinosaurs and the evolution of culture in humans.

This programme gives you the opportunity to develop a wide range of professional skills, including research planning, problem-solving and communication. You will learn to present palaeontological data through talks, visual displays and formal written reports. You also develop computing skills in data handling, phylogenetics, macroevolution, function, and 3D digital modelling.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in geology, biological sciences, environmental sciences, archaeology, anthropology, or a related discipline. Previous professional experience or qualifications can also be put forward for consideration as equivalent to the academic entry requirements given above. These will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Course modules

The first part of the programme consists of lectures, practical classes, tutorials and visiting speakers, designed to provide a firm foundation in the theory and methodology of the subject.

The taught element of the programme comprises five core units which all students take, and a number of optional units of which students choose four. We recommend that biologists take some of the more geologically orientated optional units, and that geologists take some of the biological optional units. Advice is given when choosing optional units.

The final part of the programme consists of a research project leading to a written thesis. For further information on research projects, please see the School of Earth Sciences website.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our MSc in Palaeobiology. (http://www.bris.ac.uk/unit-programme-catalogue/RouteStructure.jsa?byCoho...)

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