University of Reading: Species Identification and Survey Skills

InstitutionUniversity of Reading
Department School of Biological Sciences
Telephone 0118 378 5289
Study type Taught


Gain industry-relevant knowledge and practical skills with our hands-on MSc Species Identification and Survey Skills degree.

This course will provide all you need to work in the competitive consultancy and conservation sectors. To achieve this, the School of Biological Sciences has teamed up with ecological consultants at RSK Group Ltd since 2011, and more recently with Aspect Ecology, to deliver a course that provides the skills and knowledge demanded by these industries.

You’ll participate in hands-on and field-based training and, in addition to the taught component of your degree, you’ll have the opportunity to embark on a six-month work placement with a leading ecological consultancy. A bursary for this period is provided by the employer.

A new feature of this programme is our module on molecular species identification and surveying. On this module, you’ll learn about the molecular methods used to survey and identify species, and you’ll also get practical experience in designing, collecting, processing and analysing environmental samples.

More than half of all credits on this programme are overseen by consultants when you choose to take a placement, making this course unique in the UK, and the current course employment rate in the ecology and ecological consultancy sectors is 100% (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey, 2016/17).

Careers All our master’s programmes emphasise the practical skills that employers need, whether that is the ability to identify plants, carry out environmental assessments or use the latest cutting-edge molecular techniques. As a University of Reading MSc graduate, you will be well equipped to work in the field or the lab, and in the private or public sector. 100% of our graduates are in work or study 15 months after the end of their course; of those in full-time employment, 92% were in graduate-level roles [1]. Many of our graduates go on to study for a PhD and pursue a career in research, either in industry or in universities.

Typical roles of graduates from our ecology and wildlife-based MSc programmes include conservation officers, project managers, field ecologists and environmental consultants. Graduates from our biomedical MSc programme typically go on to pursue PhD studies or work in the pharmaceutical industry.

[1] Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18; Postgraduate (Taught) responders from Biological Sciences.


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