Are you interested in how life on Earth looked millions or even billions of years ago? Do you want to understand how life has evolved and been influenced by the Earth's chemical and physical changes? Curious about how the climate and environment has changed over time? In this specialisation you combine research in geosciences with the biological sciences to recreate and understand the evolutionary changes that have taken place throughout earth history.
Why this programme?
The specialisation in Palaeobiology, within the master's programme in Earth Science, is focused on the evolution of life with courses ranging from palaeobiological principles, through to evolution of organisms to complex vertebrate life forms. This is a mainly research-oriented specialisation, but has applications to careers in geology and the oil industry.
We try to understand how life has evolved over millions of years and how it adapted to constant changes in the environment and climate. We do this by combining traditional fossil studies with modern biological methods. The research includes the evolution of animals in connection with major biological events, especially those of the so-called Cambrian explosion, and how different types of microorganisms have evolved and changed in relation to climate and climate change over a period extending from today until over a billion years ago.
During the programme you can expect to:
understand how life has evolved over millions of years and how it adapted to constant changes in the environment and climate
combine traditional fossil studies with modern biological methods
study of microorganisms to vertebrates
The Department of Earth Sciences at Uppsala University is one of the most comprehensive academic departments of its kind in Europe. Research in Earth Science focuses on subjects that range from the Earth's core to the atmosphere, on scales from sub-microscopic minerals and fossils to the formation of mountains and oceans, and in time from the formation of the Earth to the processes currently reshaping the planet.
Student profile You have a strong foundation in Earth Science and during your bachelor education you gained some experience doing field work as well as analyzing your data in a laboratory. You probably have taken a methodology course or two and have a naturally analytical that allows you to apply your theoretical knowledge to solve problems.
A future PhD education is a possibility you might have thought about and would value an opportunity to get in closer contact with current research by working in a research group while doing your Master's studies.
The programme leads to a Master of Science (120 credits) with Earth Science as the main field of study.
The first semester starts with a choice between courses Dynamics of Earth Systems - Global Change and Applied Geoinformatics. The course Dynamics of Earth Systems - Global Change provides a chance to explore the current research in Earth systems, interactions between Earth systems and how they change with time. The applied GIS course offers case studies relevant to the different areas within Earth Science.
These are followed by a course in presentation and publication that provides training and experience in presentation skills alongside Analytical Methods where you are provided with theoretical background in a wide range of geochemical methods and practical 'hands on' experience of raman spectroscopy and electron microprobe techniques.
The specialisation focuses in the second semester with Principles of Palaeobiology, which looks at basic theoretical concepts such as conservation, phylogeny and evolution with elements of laboratory work and field work. Evolution and development is an advanced course in which biology and palaeontology are combined in a course that includes a lot of laboratory work. Genomic, developmental, morphological and palaeontological data are used to highlight phylogeny and macro-evolutionary issues.
Semester three starts with a course that deals with various key events in the early development of life. The course focuses on microfossil groups. An excursion provides training in field-based, practical palaeobiology. The semester ends with a project-based course focusing on the large vertebrate animals. The origins of important morphological structures and their function are studied to understand macro-revolutionary processes. The programme concludes with a degree project in the form of an independent project.
The teachers in the Master Programme in Earth Science are experts in their respective fields, giving you up-to-date contact with front-line research in an open and creative educational atmosphere. The teaching consists of a balanced mix of theoretical and practical work providing experience in both research and industry oriented applications. Excursions, fieldwork and study visits are included in some courses.
Instruction in the Master’s programme builds on your experience and knowledge from your previous education. You are expected to actively participate and contribute to the learning environment and take responsibility for your own and others learning. The teachers are responsible for creating opportunities for active learning at the individual and group level. Purposeful and respectful dialogue between teachers and students contributes to constant improvement and development of courses.
Examination generally includes written exams, complemented by seminar presentations/discussions, project work, laboratory work and field reports.
The need for Earth scientists in the labour market is increasing, primarily in the areas of environmental and natural resources, which are growing strongly, both nationally and internationally. Alumni from the Palaeobiology specialisation work largely within the scientific academy worldwide.
Our graduates work at, for example, Cyient, Uppsala University and Museum for Natural History, Berlin. Job titles include Research assistant, Analyst and PhD student
The Master Programme in Earth Science, specialising in Palaeobiology, provides good opportunities for a postgraduate education with subsequent research careers, but provides sufficient overall knowledge to meet society's needs of qualified earth scientists.
Career support When you are about to finish your studies and want to start planning for your next step in life, you are welcome to UU Careers for support and guidance. You are also welcome to a variety of career activities and events all through your stay at Uppsala University. Of course, the services are free of charge. Learn more about UU career support.
Requirements: Academic requirements A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. Also required is:
90 credits in earth science; or
90 credits in biology.
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
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.