Ecology and Conservation - Master's Programme in Biology 2020/2021

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

Why this programme?

In this specialisation within the Master Programme in Biology you can choose among theoretical courses relating to plants, animals and microorganisms and their interactions, and there are also vocational courses that are intended for future work with nature conservation within companies, authorities and other 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 vocational courses intended for future work with nature conservation
  • all teachers are active scientists.
This specialisation is to a large degree interdisciplinary. To understand the distribution and adaptations of species it is essential to understand the principles of evolutionary biology. Modern nature conservation work often includes the preservation of genetic variation, and studies in genetics are crucial for many ecological issues. Both theoretical and applied discussions on biodiversity and species coexistence patterns require skills in species identification, and for some fields of ecology knowledge in earth sciences and chemistry are important. An understanding of biostatistical analyses is a merit and the specialisation includes a module where you learn to work with the statistics programme R.

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 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 D (alternatively Limnology D, Evolutionary Processes or Toxicology D if you have already completed an advanced level ecology course with similar content). 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 with Conservation Biology and Ecological Methods gives an excellent basis for work with 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, combinations with courses with a strong link to current research, e.g., Behavioural Ecology, Evolutionary Genomics, is recommended.

During 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 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 held 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 able to solve applied problems in ecology and conservation. Our focus on presentation techniques (writing reports, giving oral presentations and ample opportunities for discussions with fellow students and peers) is important for your future career.

Our graduates work at, for example, the Swedish Transport Administration, Tierps Kommun and Lund University (as PhD student). Job titles include Ecologist, Environmental Protection Officer and PhD student.

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 topic for your degree project you will leave the Master 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.

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.


Ecology and Conservation

120 credits

Autumn 2020 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2020-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M1128 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).
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: Brita Svensson or Fredrik Sundström

+46 18 471 28 79 (Brita) / +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

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