Master's studies

Limnology - Ecology and Environment of Inland Waters - Master Programme in Biology 2018/2019

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The Master Programme in Biology is a first-class programme that gives you the freedom to create your own profile. We offer a broad range of courses (both in class and individual) making it possible for you to improve your personal competitiveness. The required subject depth and complementary knowledge within your education opens up the job market for you. All teachers for the individual courses in the Master Programme in Biology are active scientists, ensuring that you will get an education that reaches to the absolute forefront of the respective field.

Why this programme?

Limnology is an ecosystem science, striving to understand the interactions between organisms and their environment. Limnology provides a broad, holistic perspective on nature by crossing disciplinary boundaries (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Hydrology, etc.). It is about how inland water ecosystems work, and in which way they are affected by human perturbations.
Human society relies on services provided by inland water ecosystems, such as drinking water, energy, fisheries, and recreation. At the same time, inland waters are threatened by human perturbations such as eutrophication, climate change, or overexploitation. The sustainable use of water resources therefore requires solid knowledge of aquatic ecosystems, to understand how and why ecosystems are affected by changes in biological, chemical or physical conditions.
The MSc Programme specialising in Limnology is the choice if you are aiming either for work at authorities and organisations dealing with nature conservation or aquatic resource management, work at environmental consulting agencies, or aiming at a research career in environmental science, aquatic science, or ecology.


The programme leads to a Master of Science (120 credits) with Biology as the main field of study.

All specialisations of this programme


The Limnology Master programme starts with the course Limnology D, which aims to give you broad understanding of the fundamentals in aquatic ecosystems, ranging from water physics and chemistry to various aquatic organisms and communities, and their interactions. An important component of this course is a one-week field course at the Norr Malma field station (Erken Laboratory), where you conduct own projects to get hands-on experience of working on aquatic ecosystems. If you already have limnology courses with corresponding contents from the Bachelor's degree, you can choose the alternative starting courses Ecology D, Toxicology D or Evolutionary processes.
The second course is Applied Ecosystem Ecology, focusing on catchments (i.e. the land draining to inland waters) as natural units for management and protection of natural resources. You will learn how to identify catchments and get an overview of natural functioning and structure of terrestrial as well as aquatic catchment ecosystems, and on the effects of human perturbations (hydromorphological alterations, pollution, introduction of non-native species and climate change). Field studies, training on GPS equipment and GIS (geographical information systems), and studies of legislation and applied water management at national, European and international level are part of the course.
The next course, Aquatic Ecosystems, deepens your knowledge about ecosystems. The intricate interactions between organisms, food webs, chemical and physical conditions are explored through theory as well as through lab experiments which are designed, conducted and analysed by students. This course also contains scientific approaches, methods and ethics that are relevant for studying and understanding ecosystems.
The last course of the first year is The Baltic Sea – Ecology and Natural Resources. This course provides deeper knowledge on the ecology, biodiversity and natural resources of the Baltic Sea, one of the largest brackish water systems on Earth, and arguably one of the most polluted. Laws and international agreements between countries around the Baltic Sea are presented, and examples of solutions to environmental problems within terrestrial, coastal and marine parts of the catchment are discussed. A field course at the Ar research station on Gotland provides practical experience.
During the second year of MSc education, you are free to select additional elective courses, or do a research internship in one of the research groups in Limnology. But most of all, you will conduct a MSc thesis of 30 or 45 credits under the supervision of professors and researchers within one of our research groups[MOU3] , stretching from the ecology of fish or microbes to climate change effects on aquatic ecosystems. We can also supervise MSc thesis that are conducted with partners outside the university, e.g. at authorities, companies or NGO's.

Learning experience

Biology instruction at Uppsala University is done in close connection to current research. All lecturers and tutors in the Master Programme in Biology are also active researchers in the field.

The courses provide factual knowledge and practical training in the form of laboratory work and field trips, as well as the ability to solve problems, think analytically and work scientifically. Communication training is integrated in the courses of the programme.

The Master Programme in Biology has a strong international character, and all courses are held in English. The Master Programme in Biology is a full-time programme. The duration of the Master Programme in Biology is two years, commencing from 3 September 2018 until 7 June 2020.


Limnology approaches nature broadly, at the ecosystem scale, and hence has strong links to nature conservation and natural resource management. In addition, lakes are frequently used as model ecosystems to provide fundamental knowledge about general ecological patterns and mechanisms in ecosystems.
With a MSc degree specialised in Limnology, you will qualify for jobs both in the public and private sectors. Authorities and organisations dealing with nature conservation or aquatic resource management, as well as environmental consulting agencies, employ limnologists. The MSc specialisation in Limnology also prepares you for an international research career in environmental science, aquatic science, or ecology. Regardless of the professional career you have in mind, the common base is a broad and solid understanding of aquatic ecosystems.


You apply to all specialisations through except for the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Evolutionary Biology (MEME); for this specialisation you apply through

Limnology - Ecology and Environment of Inland Waters

120 credits

Autumn 2018 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2018-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M1124 Application

Language of Instruction: English

Academic requirements
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.
Also required is:

  • 60 weeks of full-time studies (90 credits) in biology; or
  • 40 weeks of full-time studies (60 credits) in biology plus 20 weeks of full-time studies (30 credits) in chemistry or earth sciences.
Language requirements
All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies.
The minimum test scores are:
  • IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
  • TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
  • Cambridge: CAE, CPE
More information about English language requirements

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose (1 page).


If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.

Application Fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 72500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290000

Contact and further resources

Biology Education Centre

EBC, Norbyv 14 / BMC, A8:1

Norbyv 14, 752 36 UPPSALA/Box 592, 751 24 UPPSALA

Fax: 018-471 4687 Fax: 018-471 4689


For programme-specific information, please contact: Brita Svensson

Telephone: +46 18 471 28 79

Questions concerning admission: Fredrik Sundström

Telephone: +46 18 471 48 35

For general information about Master's studies at Uppsala University, please send an email to: