Master's Programme in Biology – Evolutionary Biology

120 credits

All life forms are linked back in time and share a common history. How they have evolved and what processes have influenced the emergence of the diversity of life is the focus of this specialization. Specialising in evolutionary biology in the Master's Programme in Biology is the choice for those who want to do research in evolutionary biology. Evolutionary biology refers to all forms of biology where evolution is important for the understanding of different phenomena - everything from evolutionary ecology to genome evolution.

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

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

The specialisation in Evolutionary Biology, within the Master's Programme in Biology, is characterised by the integration of field studies, laboratory and theoretical studies. We do this by bringing together underlying disciplines that have traditionally been separated, such as molecular genetics and ecology. Students may also turn towards biodiversity and systematics.

Uppsala University has been a major centre of biological research since the time of Linnaeus. This strong research tradition is manifested in the Evolutionary Biology Centre (EBC), where world-leading research ranges from ecology and biodiversity to evolutionary genomics and macroevolution.

During the programme you can expect to:

  • integrate fieldwork, laboratory and theoretical studies,
  • study at a major centre of biological research,
  • focus on advanced level research.

All forms of life are linked back in time and have a common history. How they have developed, their relationships and the processes involved that have affected and still affect the appearance of biological diversity are at the core of this specialisation.

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 studies, 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 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).

Year 1

In the first semester, you will take the courses Evolutionary Processes and Evolutionary Patterns.

Evolutionary Processes focuses on processes such as genetic drift, migration, and natural selection, as well as ecological factors such as population growth and regulation. Upon completing the course, you will be familiar with the latest research in border ecology - evolutionary genetics.

In Evolutionary Patterns you will explore how evolutionary processes shape observable patterns at different levels, including communities, populations, genomes, and genes. Upon completing the course, you will understand how these patterns are connected across different levels, from entire communities of organisms down to individual bases in the DNA molecule.

During the second semester, you will choose among our recommended courses, such as Population Genomics. The specialisation is designed for those planning to pursue doctoral studies, and as such, all courses are taught by world-renowned researchers.

Year 2

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

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.

The Master's Programme in Biology, specialising in Evolutionary Biology, is an entry port 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 with a solid theoretical knowledge of evolutionary processes and the methods you need for further studies, including methods in 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.