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Biodiversity & Taxonomy of Plants MSc, PgDip

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MSc Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants - 1 Year (Full-time)
PgDip Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants - 9 Months (Full-time)

Fees & costs information

Where available, individual programme fees are linked above. For details information on fee status, policies and payment see:

Additional programme costs include research project bench fees of £1,000 and compulsory field course costs of £1,000.

On acceptance of our unconditional offer, in order to guarantee your place on the programme, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of £300 within one month. This is not an additional cost; it will be refunded to you after you have paid your fees in full. Payment details will be sent to you.

Contact information
Programme Administrator
Phone: +44 (0)131 651 7052
Programme Director
Phone: +44 (0)131 650 8651
Address: Biology Teaching Organisation
School of Biological Sciences
James Clerk Maxwell Building
The King's Buildings Campus

The understanding of plant diversity and resources has never been more important. As we face the unprecedented challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, effective environmental surveillance and conservation depend upon detailed knowledge of plants and their habitats.

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement for applicants is a UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent, in biological or environmental science. Relevant work experience is desirable.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)

If you completed a CAE or CPE before January 2015 please contact the Admissions Office for the accepted grades.

Find out more about our language requirements:

How to apply

You must submit a reference with your application.

The application deadline for the next intake is:

Programme start date Application deadline
14 September 2015 31 July 2015

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. We may consider late applications if we have places available.

Demand for places on this programme is extremely high and places are allocated to suitably qualified applicants on a first-come first-served basis.

If you are applying for funding we encourage you to submit your programme application as early as possible because, in most cases, you will need a programme offer before you can make your funding application. Most funding deadlines are no later than June.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Programme description

This programme is run jointly by the University and the world-renowned Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).

This programme is run jointly by the University and the world-renowned Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). The RBGE is home to one of the world’s best living collections of plants (15,000 species across four sites, amounting to five per cent of known world species), a herbarium of three million preserved specimens and one of the UK’s most comprehensive botanical libraries.

RBGE offers collections-based biodiversity research opportunities across a wide spectrum of organisms and geographical regions. This diversity, coupled with the RBGE’s world-leading research in different continents, provides an unrivalled masters programme in plant biodiversity.

Programme structure

This programme is full time and consists of two semesters of lectures, practicals, workshops and investigations, followed by a four-month research project. The programme includes a two-week field course in a tropical country (recently Belize).

The programme is delivered mainly at RBGE but also at the University’s King’s Buildings campus.

There are no option elements to the programme – all courses are compulsory.


  • Conservation and Sustainability
  • Taxonomy and Plant Collections
  • Biodiversity of Angiosperms
  • Evolution of Cryptogams and Fungi
  • Evolution of Angiosperms
  • Plant Geography
  • Phylogenetics and Population Genetics
  • Biodiversity of Cryptogams and Fungi


Your research project will be chosen in consultation with your supervisor, and will link directly with active research programmes at RBGE or other research institutions.

The field trip, together with training and a short practical exam, qualifies you for the RBGE Certificate in Practical Field Botany.

Career opportunities

The programme is good preparation for roles in taxonomy, while many graduates have also continued to PhD studies. Past students have entered a wide variety of jobs at research institutions, conservation agencies and elsewhere.

Further information

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