A good honours degree (2.1 or above) in anthropology, botany, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, geography or similar.
Months of entry
Ethnobotany is essentially interdisciplinary, involving knowledge of plants and their ecology in the context of their cultural, social and economic significance.
Ethnobotany is the study of the interrelationship between people and plants, particularly the way in which plants impact on human culture and practices, how humans have used and modified plants, and how they represent them in their systems of knowledge.
This programme combines anthropological studies of human-environment interaction and sociocultural knowledge of plants in different parts of the world with ecology, conservation science, environmental law and biodiversity management. It also covers plant conservation and sustainable management practices, taxonomy, and economic botany.
The programme is taught collaboratively with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (a World Heritage Site).
The MSc is an intensive 12-month programme. You take six coursework modules over the first six months and then undertake a project and write a dissertation in the second six months.
Additionally, it is also possible to take modules from the list available for our MA programmes in Anthropology and from our MSc in Conservation Biology as un-assessed options. The modules available may include foundations of natural science for conservation, social science perspectives on conservation, population and evolutionary biology, nature tourism, principles and practice of ecotourism, integrated species conservation and management, trade, economics, regulation and the environment, conservation and community development, and managing protected areas.
The course will be supplemented with practical work, field visits to local sites of ethnobotanical interest (Blean woodland, national fruit collection at Brogdale, Canterbury Cathedral Library, phytomedical suppliers and practitioners), and through guest speakers involved in research in various parts of the world.
Dissertation and fieldwork
Students undertake intensive coursework between September and the end of March each academic year. Towards the end of this period, they develop a concept for a project and write a proposal, as part of their assessed work. The second six months of the programme consists entirely of project and dissertation work under the direction of an appropriate supervisor. The supervisor can be from either Kent or Kew and you are encouraged to work on subjects where staff have particular expertise, while pursuing a research theme in a geographical area in which you have a particular interest.
Students may select projects that are library, museum or lab-based, but many wish to undertake fieldwork (usually of six weeks duration) and we try to facilitate this. Some students come to the programme with developed ideas about their projects, others may chose topics that relate to current work at Kew or Kent. For example, in recent years we have been able to provide modest financial support for projects related to our Leverhulme-funded British Homegardens Project, a linguistic diversity erosion project in Cameroon and through the Global Diversity Foundation. Examples of MSc Dissertation titles.
Kew are central partners to this programme. Find out full details of Kew's involvement and the plant resources module they teach on this programme.
Teaching and assessment
Assessment is by written reports, oral presentations and the dissertation.
Information for international students
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways
Fees and funding
Please visit our funding web pages for the most current opportunities
Qualification and course duration
Course contact details
- School of Anthropology and Conservation
- +44 (0)1227 823148