University of Southampton

University of Southampton


The Master of Research in Evolution: From the Galapagos to the 21st Century is a programme that has been designed to allow students, from a range of backgrounds, to explore evolution in a vibrant interdisciplinary setting. The programme links foundational topics in evolutionary biology with new methods, current global challenges and cutting-edge research topics including: Evolutionary Medicine including Epigenetics/cancer/disease, Sustainable Environment, EvoDevo, Bioengineering, Computational Evolution, Socioeconomic Systems, Philosophy of Science Distinctive features of this programme include: A field course to the Galapagos, run by Ken Collins and Neil Gostling (the only one of its kind), gives students the opportunity to consider evolutionary biology, experimentally and theoretically, in the place that helped Darwin formulate his ideas about Natural Selection. World-leading research groups in DoHAD, epigenetics of health and disease (Hanson, Lillycrop) Extensions to Darwinian evolutionary theory (Watson) Evolutionary theory and modelling (Doncaster, Hoyle, Ezard, Watson) Evo-eco ,Evo-devo, Palaeobiology (Chapman, Dearing, Edwards, Ezard, Gostling, Marshall) allowing students access to project work and the most current thinking in evolutionary biology. The programme allows students to address current research questions and high-impact challenges such as: Predicting responses to climate change (crop security, forestry, ecosystem services), Predicting disease outbreaks in interconnected populations, Safe operating spaces for social-ecological systems, To what extent does the modern synthesis explain the diversity and complexity of life?, How does environment influence health and disease (over multiple generations)?, How does epigenetics affect the mechanistic basis of evolution by natural selection? The programme comprises of two parts: a taught component and an extensive research experience. The larger research component consists of a novel, independent (supported) research project that will be carried out in the state-of-the-art research facilities of the University. The smaller taught component is composed of four modules that will broaden skills in appropriate areas related to the research project. The exact portfolio of courses is selected with the advice of the academic supervisor of the research project. A list of supervisors, their discipline, and areas that students might like to research will be available at the time of application, and through discussion with them, students will be able to have formed ideas about the pathway they wish to explore by the time they arrive in Southampton. This program will provide an education and training suitable for a wide variety of careers and also will prepare students for undertaking a PhD.

Entry requirements

Masters in Research (MRes): 2:1 in first degree (unless exceptional circumstances provided for 2:2) Submission of CV and application letter. Applicants will be interviewed

Course modules

The Program is 1 year long. It is 12 modules 1/3 taught, 2/3 research (4 taught, incl. SOES6052 Tropical Marine Biology (Galapagos Field Course) and the Topics in Evolution from the Galapagos to the 21st Century; and 8 (equivalent) Research Project). The year starts in mid-August, preparing to come away to Galapagos in September. Other taught modules will be taken through Semester 1, towards the mid/end of which you will begin your research project, which will run throughout the remainder of the year.

Assessment methods

Students will be taught through a combination of lectures, workshops, practical classes, coursework and projects. Students will undertake an individual extended research-based project (equivalent to 8 modules). Students will be assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and written examinations at the end of each semester to test knowledge and understanding of the lecture and tutorial material. Continuous assessment is based on performance in tutorials, practicals and projects including dissertations and presentation.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
Masters in Research (MRes) Full-time September 2019 - 1 Years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Main Site - Highfield Campus SO17 1BJ South East

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Key information

Postgraduate Admissions - Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences
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