School of Life Sciences

Masters study

Gloved hands with a bottle of liquid in a lab

Passionate about science

Our multi-disciplinary environment enables us to offer a wide range of modular, interdisciplinary taught postgraduate courses which provide targeted training in specialist areas of biological sciences.

In addition to our taught postgraduate courses you can also choose to study for a Masters by Dissertation (MSD) which is a research-based postgraduate degree.

Our academic staff have expertise in biophysics, biochemistry, cell, molecular biology, molecular medicine, environmental microbiology, photosynthesis, plant productivity, ecology and environmental science. 


Explore our Masters courses
Why choose us?
  • Learn in a friendly and supportive atmosphere and benefit from a research-led education, taught by experts in their field.
  • Two-thirds of our research was rated as being of 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' quality in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).
  • We offer scholarships and bursaries to talented postgraduates, ranging from research council studentships and University of Essex scholarships to awards funded by charities and other external organisations.

So, why study with us?

Our postgraduate community

Our courses are demanding and enjoyable, with a multi-disciplinary environment that enables targeted training in specialist areas of biological science. Staff and students work closely with each other, while the open door policy that operates in our laboratory facilities and common room allows you to collaborate and seek advice easily.

Leading research

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), two-thirds of our research was rated as being of 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' quality. We receive funding for research from the UK government, medical charities and the European Union (EU).

Our strong focus on research means you are taught by some of the best academics in your chosen subject. They are passionate about what they do and are driven to help you succeed.

Preparing for your future

We aim to ensure that you are ready to pursue your chosen career when you leave us. Support is available from our Student Development service to help you to develop throughout your educational experience and as you move into the next stage of your life and career. We work to make sure you have the skills employers are looking for, like practical knowledge of working in a laboratory or the ability to collate and analyse data.

Covid-19 and Teaching

Applicants for 2021-2022

Due to the very practical nature of a science degree, our School will aim for the majority of your education to be delivered in person. Many of our modules require practical sessions, which will be taught in person in the STEM Centre Teaching Laboratory or in the field. You will need to attend campus from the outset in order to attend these sessions.

Some of the more theoretical or computational modules can be delivered via a blended learning approach, with a mixture of in person teaching, and online seminars and tutorials. We will deliver these online sessions via Zoom, and all sessions are supported by content on our virtual learning environment Moodle.

There will be opportunities for you to work with other students, which will be facilitated via both in-person group meetings, and online Zoom breakout room sessions. Individual support will be offered in person and via Zoom.

We have tailored our blended approach to meet the learning outcomes of your course, along with the requirements of your professional and regulatory bodies (e.g. Institute of Biomedical Science for Biomedical Sciences students). This approach also reflects how Life Sciences degree programmes are being delivered nationally at this time.

If there are further waves of infection in the UK that result in restrictions being imposed, as we have had in 2020-21, we will do all we can to make sure that your teaching and learning continues uninterrupted over the course of the year. Our approach ensures that if things need to change, we can move to online only teaching at any point.

Joining us on campus

While we expect you to return to campus next year, we do understand that COVID-19 restrictions may affect you. We will continue to offer a level of flexibility for those of you who are unable to arrive at our campuses for the start of term due to problems with international travel. We will let you know the latest date that you will need to arrive by.

Regardless of your location or method of accessing your learning, you will be able to register in the normal way at the start of the academic year through our online system. Our life sciences courses require on-campus presence due to the practical nature of the curriculum, and normal arrangements relating to late registration and arrival will apply.


Read our Covid-19 advice for applicants
Find Out More
Stay with us

We'll give you a loyalty discount of up to 33% on the tuition fee for your first year of postgraduate study at Essex, if you're one of our graduates, studied abroad with us, or have a spouse or partner studying here as a full-time international student paying overseas fees.

Get your Essex loyalty discount