Learning outcome

The Nordic master’s in biodiversity and systematics curriculum emphasizes four key components:

  • Scientific knowledge
  • Practical skills
  • Independent academic thinking and ability to convey knowledge
  • Ethics and sustainability in a global perspective

Upon completion of the programme students will have a broad overview of living organisms and the relationship between them, have specific identification skills in one of more organism groups allowing for inventory of species and natural habitats, be familiar with nomenclatural rules, be able to describe evolutionary mechanisms leading to speciation and account for the species concepts, in practice be able to produce and assess molecular systematic information, understand the role of biodiversity in a global perspective and the ethical and economical aspects of conservation, and have practice in conveying scientific information to academic groups as well as to the public.

Upon completion, after having received a minimum grade of Pass for all the courses and the degree project, a student will become a Master of Science in Biology.

The Nordic master’s setup

The MSc in Biology with specialization in biodiversity and systematics is designed to tailor individual student’s interests and goals. Our elective portfolio offers a wide range of subjects, and courses are continually updated to reflect developments in all areas of biodiversity and systematics research. The thesis is a substantial element of work that focuses learning on an area of particular interest to the student.

The Nordic master’s in biodiversity and systematics provides an intellectually challenging learning environment with roots in a research group and a wide range of courses, distributed across Scandinavia, combining theoretical studies with practical elements. The courses will be taught as a combination of assisted e-learning and intensive field or lab sessions where students and teachers meet for a short period of time at the host university or at a field station.

The programme offers a wide range of thesis projects and a total of 18 courses that can be divided into four categories. See further information here.

Thesis work

The length of the thesis is optional and amounts to 30, 45 or 60 ECTS. Thesis work may extend over several semesters, and be interspersed with courses giving practical or theoretical training.

Students are admitted to the university at which their thesis work is supervised. At the time of admittance, each student, together with the tutor, establish an individual curriculum designating the courses to be included in the master’s degree. Each course in the programme is offered by only one of the cooperating universities. Students apply for admission to courses listed in their curriculum at the particular universities hosting them.

Admission requirements

Bachelor of Science in Biology (180 credits), or equivalent degrees that are based on courses in Biology amounting to at least 90 credits. All credits in the Degree need to be from an accredited university. The applicant’s university education must also include a thesis, term paper or equivalent proof of proficiency in academic writing.

English Proficiency Requirements

I. English level B at the Swedish upper secondary level.


II. Language tests

TOEFL IBT (internet based) test result of at least 90 points, with score of at least 20 in written test

TOEFL (paper based) test result of at least 575 points, with score of at least 4.5 in written test

IELTS test result of at least 6.5 with no individual score below 5.5.

The test result must not be older than 2 years on the last date for application.


III. Exemptions

Some students may be exempt from submitting formal test evidence for Course B. Please consult www.universityadmissions.se to see the list of exemptions.