[Taxacom] MSc in The Biodiversity and taxonomy of plants

Louis Ronse de Craene L.RonsedeCraene at rbge.ac.uk
Tue Jan 27 05:03:31 CST 2009

MSc Degree/Postgraduate Diploma in the Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants
Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh/ University of Edinburgh
Programme Philosophy

The MSc in Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants was established by the
University of Edinburgh and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) to
address the growing worldwide demand for trained plant taxonomists and
whole-plant scientists.
A detailed knowledge of plants and habitats is fundamental to their
effective conservation. To communicate such knowledge accurately and
effectively, training is required in plant taxonomy ­ the discipline devoted
to plant diversity and evolution, relationships, and nomenclature.
The MSc is perfect for those wishing to develop a career in many areas of
plant science:
*          Survey and conservation work in threatened ecosystems
*          Assessment of plant resources and genetic diversity
*          Taxonomic research
*          Management of institutes and curation of collections
*          A stepping stone to PhD research and academic careers
Edinburgh is a unique place to study plant taxonomy and diversity.  The
programme and students benefit widely from a close partnership between RBGE
and the University of Edinburgh (UoE). RBGE has one of the world¹s best
living collections (15,000 species across our four specialist gardens ­ 5%
of world species), an herbarium of three million specimens and one of the
UK¹s most comprehensive botanical libraries. The School of Biological
Sciences at UoE is a centre of excellence for research in Plant Sciences and
Evolutionary Biology. Recognised experts from RBGE, UoE, and from different
institutions in the UK deliver lectures across the whole spectrum of plant
diversity. Most course work is based at RBGE, close to major collections of
plants, but students have full access to the extensive learning facilities
of the university.
Aims and Scope
The MSc provides biologists, conservationists, horticulturists and
ecologists with a wide knowledge of plant biodiversity, as well as a
thorough understanding of traditional and modern approaches to pure and
applied taxonomy. Apart from learning about the latest research techniques
for classification, students should acquire a broad knowledge of plant
structure, ecology, and identification.
Programme Structure
This is an intensive twelve-month programme starting on September 15th 2009,
and involves lectures, practicals, workshops and essay writing, with
examinations at the end of the first and second semesters. Topics covered
*            Functions and philosophy of taxonomy
*            Evolution and biodiversity of the major plant  groups, fungi
and lichens
*            Plant geography
*            Ecology of plants and ecosystems
*            Conservation and sustainability
*            Production and use of floras and monographs
*            Biodiversity databases
*            Phylogenetic analysis
*            Population and conservation genetics
*            Tropical field course, plant collecting and ecology
*            Curation of living collections, herbaria and libraries
*            Plant morphology, anatomy and development
*            Molecular systematics
Fieldwork and visits to other institutes are an integral
part of the course.  There is a two-week field course to Belize in which
students are taught field collection and identification of tropical plants
ecological survey techniques.
The summer is devoted to four months of a major scientific research project
of the student¹s choice or a topic proposed by a supervisor. These research
projects link in directly with active research programmes at RBGE.
Entry Requirements
Applicants should ideally hold a university degree, or its equivalent, in a
biological, horticultural, or environmental science, and above all have a
genuine interest in plants.  Relevant work experience is desirable but not
required.  Evidence of proficiency in English must be provided if this is
not an applicant¹s first language.
The course is currently supported by eight Natural Environment Research
Council studentships that are open to EU students only (see
http://www.nerc.ac.uk/funding/). Other international funding bodies have
supported overseas students in the past. Further information can be found on
our website.
Further Information
For further details on the programme, including a course handbook please
visit the RBGE website:

You can also contact the Course director or Education Department at RBGE, or
the Postgraduate Secretary of the University of Edinburgh:
MSc course Director, Dr Louis Ronse De Craene
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Tel +44 (0)131 248 2804
Email: l.ronsedecraene at rbge.ac.uk <mailto:l.ronsedecraene at rbge.ac.uk>
Postgraduate Secretary, The University of Edinburgh
School of Biological Sciences, Darwin Building
The King¹s Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)131 650 7366
Email: icmbpg at ed.ac.uk <mailto:icmbpg at ed.ac.uk>
To apply online (preferably before 31 March), please go to:


and click on the link to apply for this degree.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a Charity registered in Scotland (No SC007983)

More information about the Taxacom mailing list