MSci Palaeontology and Evolution (CF16)

In Bristol

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About MSci Palaeontology and Evolution
This course allows you to develop an understanding of the evolution of life on this planet through the study of geology and biology. Our degrees are interdisciplinary and numerate and provide you with a broad background in palaeobiological science, including state-of-the-art methods and technological advances.
You will learn from a large and vibrant group of experts in the field of palaeobiology, with interests ranging from dinosaurs to plants to the origin of life, and will be immersed in hands-on palaeontology from the start.
One third of the first year is dedicated to biology and two thirds to earth science. After the first year you will take core units from both disciplines, along with a wide choice of optional units. Recent unit options have included Vertebrate Palaeobiology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology, the Cambrian Explosion, Climates and Ecosystems, Tree of Life Ecology, Early Human Origins, and Biomechanics and Functional Morphology.
The course involves fieldwork, including dedicated palaeontology field trips, the cost of which is included in your tuition fee. In your final MSci year you will study advanced topics before working closely with expert palaeobiologists on an individual independent research project.
Our emphasis on quantitative research allows you to develop valuable mathematical and statistical skills. There are also opportunities for volunteer work and internships in our state-of-the-art palaeobiology laboratories.
The Palaeontology and Evolution cohort is small, tight-knit and high-achieving. We always attract great enthusiasts for the subject area.




Bristol (Avon)
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Senate House, Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TH


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What you'll learn on the course

  • Art
  • Ecology
  • Biology
  • Geology

Course programme

Year 1 (2019/20)
  • Geology 1
  • Physics and Chemistry for Earth Scientists
  • Computing for Earth Scientists
  • Introduction to Field Skills in Earth Sciences
  • Biology 1A: Diversity of Life

Year 2 (2019/20)
  • Sedimentology
  • Geobiology
  • Mesozoic stratigraphy and palaeontology fieldwork
  • Introduction to Field Mapping
  • Imaging and Mapping the Earth
  • Numerical Methods and Programming
  • Quantitative Methods in Biology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Structural Geology
  • Environmental Geochemistry
  • Atmospheric Processes
  • Soils and the Critical Zone
  • Ecology
  • Green Planet
  • Computational Methods in Biology
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Insect Biology
  • Marine Ecology and Physiology

Year 3 (2019/20)
  • Evolution of the Biosphere
  • Palaeobiology Analytical Project
  • The Cambrian Explosion - the origin of animal body plans
  • Climates and Ecosystems
  • Tree of Life
  • Oceanography
  • Petroleum Sedimentology
  • Geomicrobiology
  • Plant Evolution, Development and Diversity
  • Sensory Ecology
  • Evolutionary Ecology
  • Oceans

Year 4 (2019/20)
  • Current Controversies in Palaeobiology and Macroevolution
  • Earth Science Research Project
  • Phylogenetic Methods in Palaeobiology
  • Biomechanics and Functional Morphology
  • Vertebrate Palaeobiology and Evolution
  • Tracing and Observing the Earth System (10cps)
  • Micropalaeontology
  • Early Human Origins

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