NABiS - Nordic Master in Biodiversity and Systematics - Master's Programme in Biology 2020/2021

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The multitude of organisms living on our planet and the evolutionary relationships among them are in focus for the students in the Nordic Master in Biodiversity and Systematics (NABiS), a specialisation within the Master's Programme in Biology. With molecular tools and morphological observations, new species are continuously identified and their relationship to other organisms is inferred. With this we can ask fundamental questions about evolution, biogeography and origins of diversity.

Why this programme?

NABiS 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, but also in theoretical and analytical aspects. Combining courses, largely web-based but combined with intense field sessions, 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 case 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 action against the loss 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 web site 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 doing.

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, where the arrangement is such 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; these courses are usually given in the form of online or mixed education. The latter means that in addition to online teaching, it also includes elements that are usually at a field station with one or two weeks focussing on skills, such as species identification or laboratory work. See overview of the courses given at the participating universities.

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 gives you theory and skills in how to study and analyse species' shared evolutionary history. We use this knowledge to study character evolution and biogeography, and for classification.

After that, you can choose courses fairly freely depending on your goals and interests. 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, where Biodiversity - Identification is 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 and, finally, Tools provide 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, such as Conservation Biology.

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 held in English.


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

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

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.


NABiS - Nordic Master in Biodiversity and Systematics

120 credits

Autumn 2020 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2020-01-15

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 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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