Applied Mathematical Sciences with Biological and Ecological Modelling MSc/Diploma

  • Delivery: Full Time, Part Time
  • Programme type: Taught Programme
  • Study location: Edinburgh
  • Entry date: September

MACS postgraduate scholarships

3 scholarships of £3,000 will be awarded to outstanding overseas applicants to any of our Mathematics MSc programmes. 1 scholarship of £1,000 will be awarded to an outstanding Home/EU applicant to any of our Mathematics MSc programmes. Find out more.


The contribution of mathematical and computational modelling to the understanding of biological systems has rapidly grown in recent years. This discipline encompasses a wide range of life science areas, including ecology (e.g. population dynamics), epidemiology (e.g. spread of diseases), medicine (e.g. modelling cancer growth and treatment) and developmental biology.

This programme aims to equip students with the necessary technical skills to develop, analyse and interpret models applied to biological systems. The coursework is supported by an extended and supervised project in life science modelling and we offer an exciting range of projects in subjects such as Population Cycles of Forest Insects, Modelling Invasive Tumour Growth, Wiring of Nervous Systems, Vegetation Patterns in Semi-Arid Environments and other cutting-edge topics.

Programme duration


One year




9 months

Also available part-time over 2 to 3 years

Programme content

Students will take a total of 8 courses, 4 in each of the 1st and 2nd Semesters followed by a 3-month Project in the summer.  A typical distribution for this programme is as follows: 

Core courses:

  • Modelling and Tools;
  • Mathematical Ecology;
  • Dynamical Systems;
  • Mathematical Biology and Medicine. 

Optional Courses: 

  • Optimization;
  • Numerical Analysis of ODEs;
  • Applied Mathematics;
  • Statistical Methods;
  • Stochastic Simulation;
  • Partial Differential Equations;
  • Numerical Analysis;
  • Geometry;
  • Climate Change: Causes and Impacts;
  • Biologically Inspired Computation;
  • Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation Measures.

Typical project subjects:

  • Population Cycles of Forest Insects;
  • Modelling Invasive Tumour Growth;
  • The replacement of Red Squirrels by Grey Squirrels in the UK;
  • Wiring of Nervous System;
  • Vegetation Patterning in Semi-arid Environments;
  • Daisyworld: A Simple Land Surface Climate Model.

More detailed information is available here



Entry requirements

Entry is aimed at graduates with strong mathematical knowledge and skills.  A good honours degree in mathematics, statistics or a related subject with a substantial mathematical content is desired.  Motivation and a willingness to work hard are also important pre-requisites.  

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we’ll need to see evidence of your English language ability. The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:

  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5);
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills);
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading & writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking & listening)

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for 2016 entry (by residency status)
Scotland / Non-UK EU£5100
England/Northern Ireland/Wales£5100

* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.

Scholarships & bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate taught scholarships and postgraduate research scholarships.