Taught course

Ecology, Evolution and Development

Oxford Brookes University · Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Entry requirements

You should normally have (or be about to attain) at least a second class undergraduate honours degree in a relevant scientific subject from a recognised institute of higher education.

Months of entry


Course content

The field of Ecology, Evolution and Development describes how the molecular and genetic regulation of development changes in response to evolutionary forces to generate organismal diversity. Understanding development, and its regulation in ecological and evolutionary contexts is critical for developing emerging molecular medical techniques, understanding biodiversity and tracing evolution.

The course is composed of a one week Research Methods module followed by three further integrated taught modules, and finally a research project that is carried out over two semesters.


  • Research Methods (10 credits)
  • Developmental Biology (20 credits)
  • Molecular Ecology and Population Genetics (10 credits)
  • Bioinformatics (20 credits)
  • Research Project (120 credits)

Teaching and learning methods used in the course reflect the wide variety of topics and techniques associated with ecology, evolution and development.


This course is designed to provide you with both the conceptual framework of this interdisciplinary field and develop practical and academic skills as a platform for the research project. An intensive one week Research Methods module will introduce you to key topics and practical approaches. These are then elaborated on during the three other taught modules in Developmental Biology, Bioinformatics, and Molecular Ecology and Population Genetics, before the students embark on the research project. A variety of teaching and learning methods are employed in this course, all underpinned by research.


By providing the framework, essential background and knowledge base for each module, the lectures encourage you to probe more deeply by reading widely. Analysis, synthesis and application of material introduced in lectures are achieved through practical work in the field and laboratories, and in tutorials and seminars with your tutors and fellow students.

Practical work

This offers you training and hands-on experience in important aspects of field and laboratory work, and computational biology. We ensure that teaching is up-to-date by integrating research findings in lectures and practical classes, and staff involved with major international developments in the field bring these advances to your teaching. An important component of the course is that you read and present key papers that emphasise the application of interdisciplinary approaches to their tutor and peers during tutorials.

Guest seminars

During the Research Methods module, guest seminars provide you with the chance to hear about other areas of research in ecology, evolution and development. Emphasis is placed on critical evaluation of existing information and identifying knowledge gaps and areas of controversy, fostering the development of academic and research literacy, and developing your critical self-awareness.

Research project

Standards that are expected in research are also widely taught and practised, developing your research literacy. You are provided with the opportunity to undertake substantial research specific activities in the Research Module, and undertake projects in labs with active research in this field.

Digital literacy

This is enhanced by the use of advanced information retrieval techniques, data handling and the development of professional presentation techniques. Furthermore, you will develop skills in programming which underpin the application of state-of-the-art tools in bioinformatics and biostatistics.

Information for international students

If your first language is not English, then you must satisfy our English language requirement by providing us with evidence of an IELTS score of 6.5 in all elements.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Programme Administrator
01865 483826