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University of Glasgow: Quantitative Methods in Biodiversity, Conservation and Epidemiology

Institution University of Glasgow View institution profile
Department School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Study type Taught


Quantitative skills are more in demand that ever, forming an essential basis for successful careers in ecology, conservation, and animal and human health. This Masters programme provides specific training in data collection, modelling and statistical analyses as well as generic research skills. It is offered by the School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine, a grouping of top researchers who focus on combining field data with computational and genetic approaches to solve applied problems in epidemiology and conservation.

  • Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology for the purpose of meeting, in part, the academic and experience requirement for the Membership and Chartered Biologist (CBiol).
  • Encompasses key skills in monitoring and assessing biodiversity critical for understanding the impacts of environmental change.
  • Covers quantitative analyses of ecological and epidemiological data critical for animal health and conservation.
  • Opportunity to gain core skills and knowledge across a wide range of subjects, which will enhance future career opportunities, including entrance into competitive PhD programmes.
  • Combines advanced statistics and modelling with opportunities to gain practical field skills, expertise in molecular techniques or bioinformatics tools for assessing biodiversity.
  • Understand disease ecology, in the context of wildlife, animal health and implications for human public health.
  • Base your independent research project at either the University Field Station on Loch Lomond (for freshwater or terrestrial-based projects); Millport field station on the Isle of Cumbrae (for marine projects); or Cochno Farm and Research Centre in Glasgow (for research based on farm animals).
  • Taught by research-active staff using the latest approaches in quantitative methods, sequence analysis, and practical approaches to assessing biodiversity, and you will have opportunities to actively participate in internationally recognised research.
  • A unique strength is strong ties between veterinarians and ecologists, which has now been formalised in the formation of the IBAHCM. This direct linking is rare but offers unique opportunities to provide training that spans both fundamental and applied research.

Main Campus Location

This programme is undertaken at the Gilmorehill Campus, in the West End of Glasgow. Research projects are undertaken at the above mentioned research centres at Loch Lomond, Isle of Cumbrae or Cochno Farm, Glasgow. Easy to travel to by bus, subway, train or car.

This programme is part of the IPhD programme. Find out more.

The programme provides a strong grounding in scientific writing and communication, statistical analysis, and experimental design. It is designed for flexibility, to enable you to customise a portfolio of courses suited to your particular interests.

You can choose from a range of specialised options that encompass key skills in

  • monitoring and assessing biodiversity – critical for understanding the impacts of environmental change
  • quantitative analyses of ecological and epidemiological data – critical for animal health and conservation

Additional options are available from the other Masters programmes offered by our Insitute, providing access to courses on a wide range of topics from animal ethics and legislative policy to African conservation and antimicrobial resistance. A total of 180 credits are required, with 60 flexible credits in the second term. See the accompanying detailed course descriptions found in the IBAHCM Programme Overview

Term 1 core courses:

  • [[[BIOL5126]]] (40 credits)
  • [[[BIOL5344]]] (20 credits)

Term 2 Optional courses:

Students must select at least 4 courses from list 1 and can choose the remaining 2 courses from either list 1 or list 2.

List 1:

  • [[[BIOL5132]]]
  • [[[BIOL5130]]]
  • [[[BIOL5325]]]
  • [[[BIOL5123]]]
  • [[[BIOL5124]]]
  • [[[BIOL5119]]]
  • [[[BIOL5131]]]
  • [[[BIOL5135]]]
  • [[[BIOL5129]]]

List 2:

  • [[[BIOL5114]]]
  • [[[BIOL5127]]]
  • [[[BIOL5116]]]
  • [[[BIOL5117]]]
  • [[[BIOL5333]]]
  • [[[VETSCI5024]]]
  • [[[BIOL5250]]]
  • [[[BIOL5292]]]
  • [[[BIOL5125]]]
  • [[[BIOL5293]]]
  • [[[BIOL5294]]]
  • [[[VETSCI5022]]]
  • [[[BIOL5137]]]

Term 3: Core MSc Component

  • [[[BIOL5134P]]]

Some examples of recent publications lead by students in the programme:

  • Blackburn, S., Hopcraft, J. G. C., Ogutu, J. O., Matthiopoulos, J. and Frank, L. (2016), Human-wildlife conflict, benefit sharing and the survival of lions in pastoralist community-based conservancies. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12632.
  • Rysava, K., McGill, R. A. R., Matthiopoulos, J., and Hopcraft, J. G. C. (2016) Re-constructing nutritional history of Serengeti wildebeest from stable isotopes in tail hair: seasonal starvation patterns in an obligate grazer. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom., 30:1461-1468. doi: 10.1002/rcm.7572.
  • Ferguson, E.A., Hampson, K., Cleaveland, S., Consunji, R., Deray, R., Friar, J., Haydon, D. T., Jimenez, J., Pancipane, M. and Townsend, S.E., 2015. Heterogeneity in the spread and control of infectious disease; consequences for the elimination of canine rabies. Scientific Reports, 5, p. 18232. doi: 10.1038/srep18232.
  • Capilla-Lasheras, P., Dominoni, D.M., Babayan, S.A., O'Shaughnessy, P.J., Mladenova, M., Woodford, L., Pollock, C.J., Barr, T., Baldini, F. and Helm, B. (2017) Elevated immune gene expression is associated with poor reproductive success of urban blue tits. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 5, p.64.

Want to combine Masters teaching and a PhD? Find out more about our Integrated PhD programme.

You will gain core skills and knowledge across a wide range of subjects that will enhance your selection chances for competitive PhD programmes.

Graduate jobs can be found in the UK, Europe, Central America and Africa in national government, health institutes, NGOs and academia.

In addition to academic options, career opportunities include roles in:

  • Zoos
  • Environmental consultancies
  • Government agencies
  • Ecotourism
  • Conservation biology
  • Veterinary or public health epidemiology.

Job titles include:

  • projects co-ordinator
  • scientific officer
  • GIS technician
  • lab technician
  • consultant
  • statistician
  • data analyst
  • university researcher

Some graduates went on to study for PhDs in field such as ecology and conservation, environmental research, biological sciences and statistics.


University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow is one of the UK’s most prestigious seats of learning, and the fourth oldest university in the English speaking world. Established in 1451 and recognised for its world-changing research and teaching, the University has inspired thinkers from eminent scientist Lord Kelvin and the father of economics Adam Smith, to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. 


The University:

  • is ranked 73rd in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2022
  • is in the top 100 in the world: Times Higher World University Rankings 2022
  • 95.9% of students in employment or further study 6 …
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