Biological Sciences

You are viewing this course for September start 2024

The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth University is an internationally recognised centre of research and teaching excellence.

Providing a unique base for research in response to global challenges such as food security, bioenergy and sustainability, and the impacts of climate change, IBERS' scientists conduct research on genes and molecules, whole organisms and the environment. Approximately 300 research, teaching and support staff  provide high level research and skills training. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment, IBERS was placed in the top 10 universities in the UK for research intensity.

There is formal collaboration with the College of Natural Sciences in Bangor University which links the processes and results of our scientific investigations to the work of social scientists in both locations. This enables us to inform policy on the rural economy and on rural communities.

The Institute offers numerous research opportunities in many areas of biological, environmental and rural sciences.

Typical Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements 2:1 Bachelors (Honours) degree in a relevant subject area or equivalent. Subject to agreement with project supervisor.

English Language Requirements IELTS 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component, or equivalent

Other Requirements Applicants should submit a full research proposal at the point of application

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Fees and Finance

Topics for Research Degrees

Topics for research degrees can be selected from any of the areas of research within the Institute, of which a small selection is shown below.

  • Animal Science and Production (with special emphasis on sheep, beef and dairy cattle)
  • Equine Science (with special emphasis on behaviour, nutrition and reproduction)
  • Crop, Science and Production (including arable, grassland and forage crops)
  • Ecology
  • Rural Business Management and Economics
  • Rural, Environmental and Agricultural Policy (relevant to developed or developing countries)
  • Regional and Rural Economics
  • Environmental Economics and Valuation
  • Rural Resource and Countryside Management
  • Rural Tourism and Recreation
  • Organic Agriculture
  • Landscape Systems and Policy
  • Crop Genetics, Genomics and Breeding
  • Bio-renewables and Environmental Change
  • Evolution, Co-evolution and Adaptation
  • Animal and Microbial Sciences

Major Funders & Links with Industry

Please visit our School's Research & Enterprise page for information regarding our staff, areas of interest, facilities and other information.

Course Overview

Postgraduate students are assigned a supervisory team that have overall responsibility for their day-to-day welfare and provide guidance for research activities. In particular, the supervisory team includes a dedicated Assessor who provides additional support and has a role in providing an objective opinion on research progress to the Faculty and the Board of Postgraduate Studies as required by the University-wide integrated Postgraduate Monitoring Scheme. Although successful postgraduate research depends on the effort and application of the individual student, the researcher also needs a wide range of skills and access to specialist techniques and databases. Research is a collaborative exercise and postgraduate students typically interact with other academic staff and postgraduates in other fields. Indeed, students are encouraged to take an interest in the full breadth of research at the Institute, to join scientific societies relevant to their research interests and to participate in national and international meetings.


Formal training is given to all postgraduates in Aberystwyth. In addition, modules are made available within IBERS that are designed to maximise research experience and to develop transferable, professional and interpersonal skills. These modules help students improve competence in written, oral and visual communication skills, as well as help develop a broader understanding of the spectrum of skills required to be truly effective as a researcher, including experimental design and data analysis. These modules are designed to meet the training requirements of the UK Research Councils and other funding bodies.

Where specialist skills are required, or where there is a need for additional formal studies in a particular area, further training may involve attending selected undergraduate or postgraduate courses within the Institute or training courses at other institutions. In addition, the Institute runs an extensive seminar programme in which students are expected to participate.

Formal induction in research methodology includes: information usage and retrieval, personal computers for presentation skills, careers awareness, conduct of meetings, interviewing techniques and oral presentations. This module is taught through lectures, videos, seminars and group exercises.