NABiS - Nordic Master in Biodiversity and Systematics - Master's Programme in Biology 2021/2022

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The diversity of organisms on our planet and their evolutionary relationships are in focus for the students in the Nordic Academy of Biodiversity and Systematics (NABiS), a specialisation within the Master's Programme in Biology. With morphological and molecular tools, our knowledge about the biodiversity in broad sense is growing, enabling us to ask fundamental questions about evolution and biogeography, as well as assess, e.g., effects of climate change and conservation needs.

Why this programme?

NABiS (Nordic Academy of Biodiversity and Systematic Studies) is a cooperative programme hosted by six universities in Sweden and Norway. Each university offers courses where it has specialist competence, both regarding organismal groups, and also in theoretical and analytical aspects. Combining courses at different universities leads to a top-quality Master's in systematics and taxonomy.

Far from all organisms have been discovered and described, and among the organisms we know, evolutionary relationships are in many cases still in need of studies. In this specialisation, students are trained to gain the systematic, taxonomic and analytical expertise, as well as the bioinformatics tools needed in our society to be able to understand and take actions against the lost of biodiversity.

You will also have an extensive professional network, consisting of fellow students and professors at the collaborating universities in the Scandinavian countries, after completing the programme.

Visit the NABiS website for more information.

Collaborating universities
University of Gothenburg (Sweden), Stockholm University (Sweden), Uppsala University (Sweden), Lund University (Sweden), University of Oslo (Norway), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway).

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

Ideally, during your Bachelor's degree, you had the opportunity to work in a laboratory and 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 of.

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


This specialisation is given jointly by several Swedish and Norwegian universities. The arrangement is that you have a home university where you have your physical residence and usually do your degree work. You can take courses at the other participating universities. However, these courses are usually given in the form of online or mixed education. The latter means that in addition to online learning, it also includes elements that are usually at a field station for one or two weeks, focusing on skills, such as species identification or laboratory work.

You start your studies with two core courses: Alphataxonomical Principles (5 credits) given by the University of Gothenburg, and Fundamental and Molecular Systematics (10 credits) at Uppsala University. The former gives you the basics of, for example, how to describe and name species and other taxa, while the second course gives you the theory and skills in how to study and analyse the shared evolutionary history of species. We use this knowledge to study character evolution and biogeography, and for classification.

After that, you can choose courses fairly freely depending on your interest and career plan. Two tracks are envisaged in the programme, one leading to an academic career and the other to more practical work with, for example, inventories.

The courses are divided into four categories. Biodiversity - Identification includes practical courses for learning to use literature to identify organisms. Biodiversity - Classification deals with organism groups from a slightly more theoretical aspect. Systematic Theory deals with analytical techniques to study evolutionary history. Tools provides you with practical skills to handle, for example, data and collections. You can also supplement with other courses in the Master's Programme in Biology, with specialisation in such as Conservation Biology.

See the details of the courses given at each participating university.

Finally, you do a thesis of 30, 45 or 60 credits where you will be able to apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired.

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 to 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 in all courses of the programme.

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


NABiS - Nordic Academy of Biodiversity and Systematic Studies has two career options. One is directed for you who are interested in a career as a nature conservation manager or officer at a governmental agency or non-governmental organisation (such as World Wildlife Foundation, Nature Conservation Organisations), manager of biodiversity infrastructures, or working with inventory of wildlife. The other track is for you who want to pursue an academic career as researcher or museum curator.

Our previous graduates work at, for example, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, the County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland in Sweden, and Natural History Museum of Oslo, etc. Job titles include land manager, technician, PhD student, etc.

Career support
During your whole time as a student UU Careers offers you support and guidance. You have the opportunity to partake in a variety of career activities and events, as well as receive individual career counselling. This service is free of charge for all students at Uppsala University. Read more about UU Careers.


Below you will find the details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and tuition fee. For information on how to apply and what documents you need to submit, check the application guide. For this programme, besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit one programme-specific document: a statement of purpose.

NABiS - Nordic Master in Biodiversity and Systematics

120 credits

Autumn 2021 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2021-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M1131 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
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).
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 72500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290000

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 48 35 (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

Student portal

Student portal

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