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Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation MSc

Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation MSc

Different course options

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MSc - Master of Science

Subject areas

Equal Opportunities Natural History Environmental Conservation / Policies

Course type


Course Summary

Skilled scientists in plant and fungal taxonomy are in short supply – and only a small percentage of the planet’s biodiversity has been formally described by science. Study MSc Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation at Queen Mary and you’ll join a new generation of scientists ready to describe, understand and conserve biodiversity for years to come.

  • Focus on plant and fungal identification skills, in combination with molecular systematics, evolutionary biology, and conservation policy, theory and practice
  • Study at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and access its extensive specimen collections, databases, and scientific research
  • Take a fieldwork module in Kew's Conservation Centre in Madagascar
  • Learn in-demand skills that underpin work in bioscience, nature conservation, plant breeding and environmental policy development


At Queen Mary you will have access to a number of advanced facilities, some of which are designated exclusively to postgraduate students.

  • Advanced analytical research facilities at the Freshwater Biological Association’s River Laboratory on the River Frome in Dorset, via our River Communities Group
  • Mesocosm and temperature controlled facilities at Queen Mary
  • We will use our network of partner NGOs, research labs and industries to create further opportunities

Career paths

This course gives you the knowledge and skills to undertake research in the fields of taxonomy, molecular systematics, ecology and evolution, or to engage in more applied conservation work. It’s ideal preparation for a PhD or a career in industry, academia, environmental consultancy or government agencies.

Graduates of this course go on to roles such as:

  • PHD Candidate at The James Hutton Institute
  • Botanical Horticulturalist at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew,
  • Plant Science Content Editor at Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International
  • PHSI Plant Health Import Inspector at Animal and Plant Health Agency

You'll have access to our Careers and Enterprise service who'll be there to help you find the right opportunity for your next step.


The module focusses on developing field skills in topics related to biodiversity and conservation. Students will be trained for one of three field trip venues, depending on their MSc degree choices. For those choosing to specialise in Ecological and Evolutionary Biology, the students will travel to Borneo, a biodiversity hotspot in a tropical forest, where students are particularly exposed to a wealth of animals. Topics will encompass aspects of taxonomy, ecology, biogeography, conservation and evolution. Specific areas of content will include ecological processes in tropical rainforests (decomposition, pollination and seed dispersal); rainforest structure and defining characteristics (including the importance of rainforests as centres of biodiversity) and anthropogenic factors affecting rainforests (including disturbance, forest fragmentation and agriculture). There will be strong emphasis on practical training, in particular, students will be trained in a range of survey methods covering diverse terrestrial and aquatic taxonomic groups. The module will also provide training in data collection, analysis and presentation For those choosing to specialise in Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation, the students will travel to a biodiversity hotspot in Madagascar, where students are particularly exposed to a wealth of plant and fungal groups. This Madagascar Field Course Module will provide an introduction to practical field work, including botanical surveys and flowering plant identification and how they can be applied to solving practical problems of conservation management as well as biodiversity research. It will be taught by botanists from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre (KMCC) in Antananarivo. Several site visits to conservation projects and some taught case studies will give an over-view of conservation in Madagascar.

Tuition fees

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Entry requirements

Students need to have a 2:1 or above at undergraduate level in Biology or a relevant natural sciences subject. Applicants with a good 2:2 degree may be considered on an individual basis.

University information

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is an internationally regarded public research institution based in London. It has a long history, dating back over 230 years, and is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of universities. QMUL has five campuses in the city of London and an international network of satellite campuses in China, Malta and Paris. There is a population of around 16,000 students at the London campuses and more than 32,000...more

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