MSc in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health

Online studying

The programme is delivered using the virtual learning environment Learn 9. Each course combines independent study, online peer discussion, reflective learning, written assignments and critical reviews to develop an understanding of the important concepts and principles of Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health.

How do I access the programme?

All courses are taught by distance learning, using the virtual learning environment Learn 9.

Students access courses in Learn 9 using the MyEd student portal – the gateway to web based services for students including access to the library, email and your online course in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health. Course materials are protected by your EASE username and password access.

Getting started with Learn

Read in detail about Learn

What are the computer requirements?

The following guidelines are for students using Learn as their virtual learning environment. To engage with our programme, your computer should have these specifications:

Computer types

For Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8:

  • Java SE 6U13 or higher
  • Java SE 7 or
  • Java Access Bridge 2.0.2

For Mac OS X:

  • Apple Java 1.6.0_07 +(J2SE6-64 bit) or
  • Oracle Java 1.7

For Linux:

  • Java SE 6U13 or higher and
  • Java SE 7 (64 bit JVM's with 64 bit Operating Systems)

Additional Requirements

Make sure you also have the following installed:

  • 256 MB RAM
  • 20 MB free disk space
  • Internet Access - 28.8 kbps speed or above. Broadband connection is highly recommended. Remember, the better the network link, the better the experience.
  • Soundcard with microphone and headphones (A headset with microphone/headphones is highly recommended)
  • Webcam


Depending on file formats used in sessions video codecs may be required:

  • Quicktime (.MOV)
  • Windows Media Video (.WMV)
  • MPEG-4 (.MP4)
  • Flash Video (. SWF or .FLV)
  • RealMedia (.RM)

These are generally available from vendor websites, e.g. Apple, Microsoft etc.

What is it like being a distance learning student?

The programme is designed in such a way that, with access to the internet, you will be able to study at the times and in the places that suit you best. The programme will involve mixed teaching approaches, including independent study and reflection, as well as online discussion and group project work.

As a postgraduate student at the University of Edinburgh, you will have access to excellent resources and be able to take advantage of the University’s academic tradition which values and promotes individuality and independence of thought within research.

During term time, you should be prepared to spend an average of 20 hours a week engaged in course materials, be that reviewing lecture notes and case studies, interacting with fellow students and the programme team on the discussion board, researching areas of interest or preparing assignments.

Although the programme involves independent study, you will also have the opportunity to become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from all over the world. Indeed one of the most important aspects to successful online study is the ongoing peer-support and participation in interactive discussions with input from expert tutors.

Application procedure