[Taxacom] Msc in the Biodiversity and taxonomy of plants

Louis Ronse de Craene L.RonsedeCraene at rbge.ac.uk
Thu Feb 10 08:35:19 CST 2011

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 world’s 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 UK’s 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 and involves lectures, practicals, workshops and essay writing, with examinations at the end of the first and second semesters. The course starts in September of each year and the application deadline is normally 31 March.
 Topics covered include:
            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 a tropical country 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 student’s 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 applicant’s first language.

The University of Edinburgh provides a limited number of studentships.  Other international funding bodies have supported overseas students in the past. More information can be obtained in the course handbook.

Further Information
For further details on the programme, including a course handbook please visit the RBGE website:
http://www.rbge.org.uk/msctaxonomy <http://www.rbge.org.uk/msctaxonomy>

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 King’s 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, please go to:
http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/finder/details.php?id=1 <http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/finder/details.php?id=1>
and click on the link to apply for this degree.

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

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