Ecology and Conservation - Master's Programme in Biology

Academic year 2023/2024

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Do you want to work with nature conservation, or do research in ecology or conservation? The Master's Programme in Biology, specialising in Ecology and Conservation is a perfect choice for you. Ecology deals with interactions among organisms and the environment. It is a meeting point for many biological fields. Conservation is about the understanding of our natural and cultural heritage, as well as how to manage the Earth's biodiversity in the best possible way.

Why this programme?

Uppsala University is internationally renowned and the Master's Programme in Biology gives you a degree with a good reputation worldwide. We strive for all kinds of biology to exist at the university. Each student in the Master's Programme in Biology has their personal study plan and you can choose freely from a large number of courses according to your interest. We also give you suggestions for a well-thought-out course of study.

In this specialisation within the Master's Programme in Biology, you can choose among courses related to plants, animals, microorganisms, and their interactions. There is also practical training that is intended for future work within the field of nature conservation at companies, authorities or organisations. This means you can become a sought-after practitioner with a stable theoretical base.

During the programme you can expect:

  • a highly interdisciplinary curriculum
  • to choose among theoretical courses or practical courses intended for future work within nature conservation
  • to meet teachers who are active scientists.

This specialisation is, to a large degree, interdisciplinary. It is essential to understand the principles of evolutionary biology if you want to understand the distribution and adaptations of species. Modern nature conservation work often includes the preservation of genetic variation, and studies in genetics are crucial for many ecological issues.

Student profile

You have a broad interest in biology or more narrowly focused interest in a specific sub-area. Either way, you are willing to take a lot of responsibility to form your own educational experience from the very wide range of biology courses offered at Uppsala University.

Ideally, during your Bachelor's degree, you had the opportunity to work in a laboratory or to do some field work as well as use statistics to analyse data from your work. Writing lab reports and shorter essays is something you already have experience doing.

You have a naturally analytical attitude and are able and willing to express your thoughts in both writing and speaking. English is no problem for you and you expect to contribute as much to the educational experience of others as you expect to learn from their previous experiences and knowledge.

A PhD education is a distinct possibility in your future so you would value coming in close contact with current research and prominent researchers in this international field.


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

All specialisations of this programme


The first course in the Master Programme in Biology, specialising in Ecology and Conservation, is Ecology (level D). If you have already completed a course in ecology on an advanced level with similar content, you may choose between Limnology (level D), Evolutionary Processes, or Toxicology (level D) instead. You then choose among our recommended courses when building your individual study plan.

In the second course, Population and Community Ecology, you will plunge deep into ecological patterns and processes, topics that you have encountered earlier. Various themes are introduced in lectures and discussed in seminars, but most importantly you will work through these themes in projects. You will learn the analytical tools used to explore dynamics in populations and communities, with examples drawn from both plants and animals.

After the two opening courses, you select further courses depending on what career you aim at. A combination of Conservation Biology and Ecological Methods gives an excellent basis for work within nature conservation, and you will be well acquainted with modern programmes for environmental monitoring. You will be prepared to work at county administrative boards, governmental bodies, as well as non-governmental organisations and corporations. The ambition is that students with this background should have a firm theoretical background that can be used to solve applied conservation problems.

For those aiming at a research career, it is recommended to combine with courses that have a strong link to current research, such as Behavioural Ecology, and Evolutionary Genomics.

In the second year, you can study one or two regular courses, or combine a research training course with a degree project of 30, 45, or 60 credits. This allows you to prepare well for an academic career as well as a career outside academia.

Courses within the programme

See the outline for courses within the programme.

Learning experience

Biology instruction at Uppsala University is done in close connection to current research. All teachers for the individual courses in the Master's Programme in Biology are active scientists, ensuring that you will get an education that reaches the absolute forefront of the respective 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 into all courses of the programme.

The Master's Programme in Biology has a strong international character, and all courses are taught in English.


With the combination of suitable courses and choice of thesis work, you will get a good basis for a future professional life within nature conservation. The place of work could be authorities at the local, regional, or national level, as well as non-governmental organisations and private consultancies (a large part of conservation work is done by such agencies).

International work, for example within conservation organisations, is also an option. Your achieved solid theoretical knowledge will make you being able to solve problems in ecology and conservation. Our focus on presentation skills (such as writing reports, and giving oral presentations, as well as ample opportunities for discussions with fellow students and peers) will also be valuable for your future career.

Our graduates work at, for example, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Municipality in Tierp, Lund University, etc. Job titles include Ecologist, Environmental Protection Officer, PhD student, etc.

The Master's degree provides a solid basis for PhD training in Sweden as well as abroad. Your most important merit in that respect is your degree project. With a careful choice of the courses and topics for your degree project, you will graduate from the Master's Programme in Biology, specialising in Ecology and Conservation, with a solid theoretical knowledge in ecology, evolution and conservation biology as well as practical knowledge of the methods you need to study them, including statistics.

As a biologist, you can also work as a teacher or science journalist.

The average salary in Sweden for biologists was SEK 42 100 in 2019, according to the trade union the Swedish Association of Professional Scientists (in Swedish).

Career support

During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.


Below you will find details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria and tuition fees. For information on how to apply and what general documents you need to submit, check the application guide. Besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit one programme-specific document: an Application Summary Sheet (including your statement of purpose).

Ecology and Conservation

120 credits

Autumn 2023, 100%, Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application deadline: 16 January 2023

Application code: UU-M1761 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 and/or earth sciences.

Language requirements

Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • an overall appraisal of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose.

Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.


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 72,500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290,000

Contact and further resources

Is this programme right for you?


For programme-specific information, please contact: Richard Svanbäck or Fredrik Sundström

+46 18 471 29 38 (Richard) / +46 18 471 41 38 (Fredrik)

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:

Biology Education Centre

EBC, Norbyvägen 14 / BMC A8:1

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

Last modified: 2022-10-27