International Master of Science in Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution

Study Programme

We offer a wide range of courses:

  • evolutionary and ecological processes generating biodiversity; 
  • biodiversity change, its drivers and consequences;
  • the role of biodiversity for ecosystem functions and services; 
  • conservation and eco-engineering;
  • advanced statistics and modelling.

In the master programme you

  • learn how exciting and relevant biodiversity research is;
  • plan and conduct cutting-edge research; 
  • apply your science to tackle real-world problems; 
  • develop essential soft skills;  
  • prepare for a job in science, conservation, ecological consultancy, biotechnology or the green industry.

Key benefits:

  • study in a vibrant international hotspot of biodiversity science with world-leading institutions (UL/iDiv, UFZ, MPI-EVA) 
  • enjoy small courses led by dedicated lecturers
  • one-to-one mentoring for every student to help you in achieving your potential and your personal career goals
  • learn to conduct independent research through courses preparing you for your thesis project
  • easily integrate internship and study abroad in your programme  
  • use unique research platforms (Ecotron facility, Global Change Experimental Facility, Canopy Crane, large-scale biodiversity experiments, zoological and botanical collections) 
  • profit from course programmes of two partner universities in Jena and Halle
  • live in a vibrant city with a rich cultural scene, affordable housing, and a lot of green spaces

Study Contents

The curriculum is structured in such a way that both the relevant temporal scales (geological, historical, recent), spatial scales (local, regional, global) as well as the levels of the hierarchy of life of the underlying phenomena and processes are covered. Interdisciplinary connections to partner disciplines, such as computer sciences, social sciences, and biotechnology, are also integrated. Methodological competences are taught in quantitative techniques (e.g., advanced biostatistics, experimental design, bioinformatics, modelling), in laboratory techniques (e.g., molecular biology, chemical analysis, single cell analysis), and in field techniques (field experiments, monitoring, sensor-based methods). 

In the first and second semester, differences in knowledge between students from different backgrounds are balanced and essential basics are taught in two mandatory and four elective modules. In the third semester, students complete an external internship in order to establish contacts with potential employers and institutions. A theoreticum and a lab course prepare them for the execution of their master thesis in the fourth semester. In the third semester, it is also possible to study abroad for a neutral period of time.

Job perspectives

Due to the importance of biodiversity for human society, graduates can follow many avenues for employment in academia and in the private sector. The majority of graduates work in nature and environmental protection and in the management of natural resources in public authorities, state offices, non-governmental organisations, consulting firms, engineering offices, and non-university research institutions. Many graduates complete a research doctorate after receiving their MSc, with excellent local opportunities at our institute and other major research centres (including the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research, and others). All these institutions have developed specialised graduate schools.

Leipzig – a hotspot of biodiversity research

Leipzig and its partner universities in Central Germany, Halle, and Jena jointly run the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, with its headquarters in Leipzig. iDiv is a research centre funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The iDiv consortium comprises about 800 scientists, many of them from abroad, creating a hotspot of biodiversity research. Hundreds of scientists from all over the world visit Leipzig every year for workshops and research visits, thus enriching the academic life. The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) with research institutes in Leipzig and Halle is the biggest federal research institute in the field of ecological and environmental research. Another key player in Leipzig is the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology with a strong expertise in molecular evolution and great ape research. Jointly, the iDiv consortium runs world renowned experimental platforms such as the Jena Experiment, the Leipzig Canopy Crane, the Global Change Experimental Facility, and an Ecotron Facility, all home to cutting-edge biodiversity research. Members of the consortium are involved in a wide range of conservation, ecological restoration and rewilding projects, and are active in the science-policy arena (e.g., IPBES, GEO BON, Future Earth). The Institute of Biology at Leipzig University integrates a strong expertise in organismic biology with cutting-edge research approaches and questions.

Admission Requirements

We expect from you

  • enthusiasm for science and the biodiversity on our planet;
  • a BSc degree in Biology or related sciences with a  study profile in biodiversity, ecology or evolution;
  • B2 English language skills.

Admission to the programme is based on i) your BSc grades, ii) the fit of the elective modules in your BSc with the MSc BEE, iii) your letter of motivation for applying, including information about relevant additional qualifications, and iv) your participation in student administration and governance (if available).

How to apply

Students with a degree from a German university apply throughAlmaWeb between 01.05. and 31.05.

Students with foreign degrees apply through uni-assist between 15.04. - 31.05.

You are also required to enclose a letter of motivation (max. two pages) and submit a summary of your BSc thesis.

Contact for administrative questions (enrolment and course of studies):
Study Office (Faculty of Life Sciences, Leipzig University)
Talstraße 33, 04103 Leipzig, Germany

For questions about the scientific content, please contact a researcher with the relevant area of expertise at the institute.

Nach oben

Admission documents and criteria

The Master of Science in Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution degree program uses the following selection criteria:

Places are awarded based on a) the grades in a bachelor's degree program. Additional points can be awarded for b) elective modules in the Bachelor's programme that fit with the specialisation of the MSc programme, c) the letter of motivation, and d) achievements in student governance and administration.

Admission points are calculated as follows: A maximum of 100 and a minimum of 40 admission points are awarded for your BSc grade point average (provide a transcript of records for your BSc), inversely proportional to the grade between 1.0 and 4.0 (points = 120 - grade * 20). If the bachelor's program has not yet been successfully completed at the time of application, a certificate must be submitted stating that the bachelor's degree can be achieved before the start of the master's program.

Up to 10 admission points can be granted for elective modules in taken during your BSc. Please provide a list of your BSc elective modules and state how they fit with the MSc programme. Admission points can be awarded for up to three modules with a clear focus on Ecology, Evolution or Biostatistics (1 point per 5 ECTS points). Modules in which these topics are only side aspects, introductory events, internships, and voluntary excursions are not eligible. 

A further 4 admission points can be awarded for a bachelor thesis in the area of Ecology or Evolution. Please provide a half-page summary your bachelor thesis (submitted or ongoing).

Up to 10 further admission points can be awarded for your letter of motivation for applying to the programme. Please provide a letter of motivation (max. two pages).

Up to 10 further admission points can be awarded for relevant additional qualifications. Examples of relevant additional qualifications are: Long-term engagement in nature conservation associations or scientific societies, special taxonomic knowledge and civic activities in the field of biology, programming skills, completed training in relevant occupations (eg gardener, forest manager, farmer, animal keeper, ranger, lab technician), and voluntary internships in a relevant field (preferably also abroad).

Two additional admission points can be awarded to applicants who have demonstrable involvement in student self-governance or administration.

Applicants are ranked according to the sum of the admission points.

letzte Änderung: 09.04.2020


For questions about the application procedure and other administrative issues:

Study Office, Faculty of Life Sciences
Talstraße 33, 04103 Leipzig

For questions about the scientific content of a module please contact the respective research group.

If you would like to speak to other students from the degree program, the members of the Student Council are happy to help you in all practical matters of studying at the Institute.

Quick Facts:

  • NCU
  • standard study period:

4 semesters

  • study credits:

120 ECTS

  • start:

fall semester

  • eligibility requirements:

aptitude test

  • language requirements:

English: B2