With our MSc by Research (Evolutionary Behavioural Science) you will join the research community and undertake independent research.
Why study the MSc by Research (Evolutionary Behavioural Science) at Middlesex?
Discover how evolutionary behavioural science develops testable hypotheses to establish what instances or kinds of behaviour are, and are not, adaptations.
Behaviour gives an organism a flexible, adaptive or even plastic ability to respond to a finite set of changeable variables that they are likely to encounter in their lives. The term behaviour captures an array of phenotypic responses to ecological variables. A good working hypothesis is that behaviour has evolved and has therefore been selected for. This does not mean that all instances of behaviour, or even all kinds of behaviour, are adaptations.
This course will introduce you to core evolutionary theory, from Darwin to behavioural ecology, game theory and beyond. Through workshops and independent research you will learn how to address how to apply this theoretical knowledge in order to produce testable scientific hypotheses.
The MSc by Research (Evolutionary Behavioural Science) is a unique, research-based course, which doesn’t follow the traditional model of lectures and exams.
You will join the research community through an ongoing series of workshops, building to your final thesis. The MSc by research will prepare you for novel application areas with individually tailored learning experiences, enabling you to excel in both the academic sector and the job market.
Assessment will be based on a final dissertation of approximately 30,000 words. Two independent examiners will be appointed who will read and evaluate the dissertation, following which you will be invited to make an oral defence of your work.
What is ecology and how should behavioural scientists study and incorporate it in their work? We will look at the early work of David Lack and others on avian models and discuss the nature of their single variable hypotheses and the emergence and development of life history theory. At the heart of this workshop will be a concern with finding the right level of abstraction, or simplicity, for hypotheses in order to collect meaningful field data.
We will look at the classic work of Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen and others, discussing the models of instinct and evolution at play. The workshop will focus upon the methods invented and deployed throughout the development of this field.
The workshop will explore evolution as a kind of change caused by natural selection and genetic drift. We will look at the development of evolutionary theory from Darwin, through the Modern Synthesis, right up to modern debates around evolutionary developmental biology. Examples will be focused upon the behavioural phenotype, but we will also discuss non-behavioural aspects when appropriate.
Observational Methods 1
Behavioural catalogues, ethograms, sample coverage, and general field practice will be covered. We will generate some simple questions about the behaviour of readily observable animals and then we will generate some basic protocols for collecting data. We will also introduce you to Observer XT software for behavioural analysis.
Observational Methods 2
In this workshop we will design and run a number of short data collection protocols with a focus upon the kind of data collected and the kind of statistical analyses that are most suited. We will then analyse the data and discuss the limitation of the work.
There will be a two-week field trip to Lundy, an island off the north Devon coast. This will be an opportunity to collect data for your thesis as well as an opportunity to put into practice all that you have learnt during the workshops. The trip will consist of fieldwork and evening seminars and discussions arising from each day’s work. There are also on-going projects on the island which you can contribute to.
What are the entry requirements for the MSc by Research (Evolutionary Behavioural Science)?
A second class honours degree in any discipline
Entry is subject to the proposed project being acceptable
Each application will be considered on its individual merits.
UK/EU and international students are eligible to apply for this course.
Academic credit for previous study or experience
If you have relevant qualifications or work experience, academic credit may be awarded towards your Middlesex University programme of study. For further information please visit our Accreditation of Prior Learning page.
International entry requirements
We accept the equivalent of the above qualifications from a recognised overseas qualification. To find out more about the qualifications we accept from your country please visit the relevant Support in your country page.
If you are unsure about the suitability of your qualifications or would like help with your application, please contact your nearest Regional office for support.
Visas and immigration
You will not need a visa to study in the UK if you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. If you are a national of any other country you may need a visa to study in the UK. Please see our Visas and immigration page for further information.
English language requirements for international students
You must have competence in English language to study with us. The most commonly accepted evidence of English language ability is IELTS 6.5 (with minimum 6.0 in all components). We also normally require Grade C GCSE or an equivalent qualification. Visit our English language requirements page for a full list of accepted tests and qualifications.
To apply for the MSc by Research (Psychoanalysis) you will need to:
Contact T.Dickins@mdx.ac.uk to discuss your application. It is important to find someone within the Centre who agrees to supervise your research before you submit your application. You should complete your application in consultation with your supervisor.
Gather the following compulsory supporting documents, in electronic format:
all your academic documentation (including transcripts and certificates);
a copy of your passport;
your sponsorship letter (if you are not paying your own fees);
your IELTS or other equivalent English Language certificates (if your first language is not English).
Email your research proposal, application form and all compulsory supporting documents to: firstname.lastname@example.org.Email your research proposal, application form and all compulsory supporting documents to: email@example.com.
As part of your application, you will need to provide a research proposal, identifying the specific area of research within psychoanalysis that interests you.
Your proposal should be three to four pages of A4 and should include the following:
a working title;
a general outline of your intended research area including a brief mention of work already carried out in the field;
the central research question(s) of your proposal;
a discussion of your proposed research methodologies such as empirical investigation, practical work, interviews, analysis;
an indication of the principal issues, problems, controversies, ethical issues, models and theories raised in your thesis;
a list of sources (or kinds of sources) which you intend to consult;
a brief bibliography.
Research proposals usually identify a gap in the literature, which you intend to fill. In your proposal, you should demonstrate that you have found an issue that needs to be investigated and the reasons why you feel it is important.
You can start your MSc by Research in October. Applications should be received in May. If your application is suitable, you will be invited for interview (in person or by Skype) within two and a half months of your date of application.
Candidates already based in the UK who wish to enrol on this MSc by Research may also apply by the the last day of July using our online application.