In this English-language master’s degree programme, you will learn about biodiversity research, ecology and evolutionary research. In four semesters, you will become acquainted with the latest research questions using experiments, field observations and virtual experiments. In addition to acquiring an application-ready range of laboratory, field and computer methods, you will learn to interpret your results critically and present them accordingly.

At a glance

  • Field of study

    natural and earth science
  • Degree type

  • Degree

    Master of Science
  • Language of instruction

  • Full/part-time

    full-time, part-time
  • Course start

    winter semester
  • Admission restriction

    national admission restriction, aptitude test
  • Standard period of study

    4 semesters

  • ECTS credits



  • Bachelor’s degree in biology or a related subject (for example, geoecology, landscape ecology, agricultural science, forestry, environmental sciences, bioinformatics) with biological specialisation
  • Knowledge of English at B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Further information can be found on the Institute's website.

An aptitude test is required for this degree programme. More information can be found on the institute’s page. The faculty will check whether the above requirements have been met and then issue an official notification. This serves as proof that the candidate meets the relevant admission requirements.



The English-language master’s degree programme Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution offers a unique combination of specialist modules for scientific consolidation and application in the field of modern biodiversity research, which is deeply embedded in organismic and molecular ecology and evolution of plants and animals.

The combination of compulsory and elective modules guarantees that you are taught important basics and also have the opportunity to specialise.

  • The compulsory internship module, which is preferably carried out abroad or at an institution outside of the university, contributes to broadening your scientific horizons.
  • The laboratory course and theoretical work modules encourage scientific and organisational independence.

The direct involvement of major research institutions, such as the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), in the curriculum of the degree programme offers very good opportunities to work with outstanding scientists in the field of biodiversity and environmental research.

Conceptual orientation and basics of the modules and courses::

  • Evolutionary and ecological processes that directly and indirectly influence biodiversity
  • Causes and consequences of the biodiversity crisis
  • The role of biodiversity in how ecosystems and resulting ecosystem services work
  • Conservation and environmental protection
  • Ecological engineering
  • Applied statistics and modelling

The objectives of the master’s programme:

  • Gain first-hand knowledge of the field of biodiversity research and understand its impacts on our lives and society.
  • Plan and carry out challenging research projects
  • Apply and implement knowledge acquired to real problems
  • Further development of soft skills
  • Preparation for a career in science, applied conservation and environmental protection, biotechnology or green industry
  • Study at an international hotspot in biodiversity research with links to globally recognised research institutions such as the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology (MPI EVA), and Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
  • Intensive supervision thanks to the selective programme’s small number of students
  • Mentoring and advisory services to support you in achieving personal goals during the course of studies
  • Module structure encourages independent work and enables optimal preparation for the master’s thesis
  • Stay abroad opportunities to expand your personal and professional horizons
  • Use of established and successful international research platforms, such as Ecotron, Global Change Experiment, “Crane Project” in the Leipzig Auwald, zoological museums and botanical collections
  • Benefit from course programmes at two partner universities in Jena and Halle (“Unibund)
  • Live in one of Germany’s coolest young cities – Leipzig, the “new Berlin”

Due to the importance of biodiversity for human society, you can pursue a number of careers in science and the private sector. Career prospects include the fields of conservation and environmental protection in dealing with natural resources

  • Public authorities and government agencies
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Consultancy companies
  • Engineering offices and
  • research institutions outside of university

You will also have the opportunity to do a doctorate after completing your master’s degree, with excellent local options at our institute and other major research centres (including the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research). All of these institutions have developed specialised graduate schools.

The master’s course includes a laboratory course outside of the university.

A stay abroad is generally recommended. It must be organised by the students themselves (with the help of the respective responsible institution).


  • Course start: winter semester
  • Admission restriction (NCU): yes
  • Application period: 2 May – 31 May
  • Application portal: AlmaWeb

Please make sure you note our further information on the pages “Online application” and “Applying for a master's programme”.

International students can find information about application periods and how to apply on the “International” page.

  • Options in the winter semester: 3rd Semester (NCU)
  • Options in the summer semester: 2nd semester and 4th semester – each NCU
  • Application period: 2 May – 15 July for the winter semester; 1 December –15 January for the summer semester
  • Application portal: AlmaWeb
  • Special enrolment requirements: credits form (Anrechnungsbescheid)

Further information can be found on our page “Applying for a higher semester of study”.

International students can find information about application periods and how to apply on the “International” page.

An aptitude test is required for the first semester of this degree programme. Please use the institute’s website to find more information on the registration procedure for the aptitude test and the separate deadlines that apply! The degree programme must be applied for independently of the registration for the aptitude test.