Master's Programme in Biology – Ecology and Conservation

120 credits

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 between 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.

Autumn 2023 Autumn 2023, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

Autumn 2024 Autumn 2024, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

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 programme 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 highly 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 a more narrowly focused interest in a specific sub-area. You take responsibility for your own educational experience and are eager to explore the wide range of biology courses offered at Uppsala University.

You possess strong critical thinking skills and an analytical mindset, as well as comfort in analysing data using statistical methods and expressing your thoughts in both writing and speaking. The program offers the possibility of pursuing a PhD and provides contact with current research and prominent researchers in the field, making it an excellent foundation for future academic pursuits.


The programme leads to the degree of Master of Science (120 credits) with Biology as the main field of study. After one year of study, it is possible to obtain a degree of Master of Science (60 credits).

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

Courses within the programme are listed on the Department webpage or found in the programme outline.

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 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.

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.