MSc by Research Entomology -
How You'll Learn
Programme Director: Dr Graham Holloway(firstname.lastname@example.org)
A partnership between the University of Reading, Watkins and Doncaster (entomological suppliers) and the British Entomological and Natural History Society
Full-time 12 months
The MSc Entomology by Research is a new and exciting venture. We have decades of experience in Biological Sciences at Reading University at running successful MSc programmes. Couple that with several expert in-house entomologists and a natural outcome is to offer an MSc by Research in Entomology. We have worked to ensure that the programme is very flexible giving the opportunity for students to design how they use their time around, and to complement, modular work. We appreciate that students might need to find PT employment to supplement their income during the MSc period and the programme has been designed to facilitate this.
The Masters is 'by research' and our aspiration is that every student will leave finish the course with at least one manuscript submitted, in press or published. We have a very good track record publishing student work and a publication forms a very significant addition to a student's CV. Published work indicates that the student understands and is able to carry out the scientific process; its very important. The MSc is practically orientated hence the partnership between us, Watkins and Doncaster and the British Entomological and Natural History Society to deliver an MSc with a unique approach to learning entomology. Watkins and Doncaster, established in 1874, is the leading supplier of entomological equipment in the UK. On arrival every student will receive a Watkins and Doncaster entomology starter pack valued at £200 containing forceps, pins, cards, boxes etc., in short everything you need to start collecting and studying insects. The British Entomological and Natural History Society was established in 1872. They own the Pelham-Clinton Building at Dinton Pastures just a few miles from the university. The Pelham-Clinton Building houses a magnificent collection of insects, including Joy's original collection from the 1930s, and a library containing entomology texts plus a wide variety of entomological journals. Every student following this MSc programme will also be issued with membership of BENHS providing access to the Pelham-Clinton Building. With all of the expertise and facilities that we have at our disposal, this Masters programme will maximise your chances of developing a career in entomology.
The MSc course at Reading
The course focusses on the skills required to enter employment as an entomologist. Practical work is hugely important as future employment is predicated largely on practical and analytical skills. There are no 'standard' lecture based modules. The taught component is given during the first two terms (October - March) of the academic year. There are 50 taught modules: one 20 credit module and three 10 credit modules. The 20 credit module is Quantitative Methods, an important subject for all students to develop their analytical skills and vital for one or both of the projects. Field trips run during the autumn term but time and money is not wasted on credit hungry residential field courses, rather targeted field work is carried out on a weekly basis. Sites are visited that enable student to collect insect specimens for staging and examining at a later date. Introduction to insect identification deals with the philosophy and skill of using keys for identification. Advanced Entomology is split across the two terms and helps students to develop the practical skills associated with handling, identifying and presenting insects for scientific study. We adopt a flexible approach to this module to allow us to tailor it to specific interests if required.
The entomology project runs across the autumn and spring terms. Students can develop their project in discussion with academics within the school. A wide variety of studies are available both within the school and with external bodies such as CEH Wallingford. The project could be field, laboratory or computer based, analysing an existing data set or data collected over the autumn months. In addition students are required to carry out a research project between the end of March and the beginning of September. Once again, there is great flexibility in the type of project that can be carried out or where the work is done.
Our modules have been designed and are run specifically for masters students; they are not available to undergraduates (or to any students from outside SBS). There are no written examinations. Continuous assessment work and theses are marked by both internal examiners and an external examiner. Successful candidates are awarded an MSc degree.
The Centre for Wildlife Assessment and Conservation
The Centre for Wildlife Assessment and Conservation (CWAC) is a facility that offers students the opportunity to explore the world of wildlife and its conservation. There are various web-based elements to CWAC, web pages, blog etc, but the main portal we use to bring issues to student attention and to access other parts of CWAC is a twitter site:Tweets by @CWACReading
CWAC is about wildlife and this is not the jurisdiction of any one University. Through CWAC we will also showcase examples of conservation research carried out by Reading students. Another role that CWAC plays is to encourage students to learn how to identify species and to submit their records to the national database. The species identification and recording work is carried out in the CWAC laboratory; a lab dedicated to students research work.