Learn to answer scientific questions and solve practical problems in Biological & Environmental Science using modern research methods and experimental facilities in a unique setting. Possible specialisation in Aquatic Science or Ecology & Evolutionary Biology allows for customizing your study plans.
The aim of the programme is to produce experts in biology and environmental science. The programme contains two specialization areas (majors):
- sustainable management of inland aquatic resources
- ecology and evolutionary biology
Students are assigned to one of these majors based on their application letter and academic background.
The aquatic major focusses on environmental and biological processes that determine the characteristics and ecosystem services of inland waters and ecologically, economically and socially sustainable use of natural resources. The ecology major focusses on fundamental concepts and theories of ecology, genetics, and evolutionary biology and the ability to use these at the individual, population, community and ecosystem level.
Graduates will be able to:
- apply theories and use the primary literature and empirical observations to answer scientific questions.
- use their knowledge to develop solutions to practical questions.
- obtain, evaluate and incorporate the latest knowledge of scientific problems using appropriate scientific practices and following ethical principles.
The language of instruction
All courses are taught in English. The majority of the literature used is in English.
Choosing a main subject or field of specialization
The major of your studies is either Ecology and Evolutionary Biology or Aquatic Sciences. Your earlier studies define the major of your master’s studies.
Tuition is free for citizens of EU/EEA countries and Switzerland. In addition, students who are in possession of a valid residence permit in Finland of the type A, P, P-EU, EU Blue Card, or residence card for a family member of an EU citizen, are exempted from paying tuition for the duration of the validity of the permit.
For other students, the tuition fee in this programme is 12 000 € per academic year. The University of Jyväskylä offers a scholarship programme for students liable to pay tuition fees. This scholarship can be applied for when applying for admission to the programme, using the same online application form. In each Master’s programme, two (2) 100% scholarships and four (4) 50% scholarships are available for applications. The scholarships are awarded based on the admission criteria of the programme.
Non-Finnish students in the English-taught Master’s degree programmes of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science, who are not eligible for Kela’s (The Social Insurance Institution of Finland) student financial aid, can apply for a scholarship for living expenses from the Faculty.
Additional information on tuition fees and scholarships is available on JYU website.
Globally, there is a growing need for experts in the field of biological and environmental science. This global demand is expected to continue or even increase due to global environmental problems caused by human population growth and decrease in natural resources.
Postgraduate study opportunities
The MSc degrees qualify students for advanced studies in bioscience, especially aquatic sciences, ecology and evolutionary biology and other related fields.
The study content within aquatic science covers the management and sustainable use of inland waters, with specialisation possibile in lake and river ecology (including typology, pollution and conservation) or in fish biology and fisheries (including sustainable use of wild fish stocks, aquaculture, aquatic parasitology and fish diseases). The study content within ecology and evolutionary biology ranges from genes and molecular biology to ecosystem functioning. Relevant courses cover basic ecology and evolutionary biology as well as theoretical modelling and practical applications.
Structure of studies
The programme requires completion of 120 ETCS credits within 2 years, with compulsory and optional components. This includes lectures, practicals (in the laboratory, computer class and in the field), book examinations, independent seminar work and individual training in a research group. Specialisation is possible through the selection of the optional courses and choice of topic for the individual thesis. This individual research project with associated courses and seminars, in which independent research skills are developed, is a core part of the programme. Students must also complete 6 ECTS credits of language and communication studies, including at least 2 ECTS in Finnish language studies.
The Master’s degree thesis takes approximately five months to complete, including the planning and execution of a project, and writing up the thesis (altogether 30 ETCS credits). The Master’s thesis includes an introduction to the scientific literature of the subject, experimental/theoretical work and a discussion. Experimental work can vary greatly depending on the subject. In the Master’s thesis you will develop skills to gather information, assess and apply information, and present information together with developing scientific thinking. Often the Master’s thesis work is part of a larger research topic and the majority of the thesis work is done within research groups in the department. This means that the student will be a member of a research group and receive guidance from other group members, in addition to the nominated supervisors.
The department and faculty are both very international. All research groups operate at the international level and the working language in all groups is English.
Co-operation with other parties
Established collaborations exist with relevant national state institutes, such as SYKE (Finnish Environment Institute) and LUKE (Natural Resources Institute Finland). Collaboration is mainly in the form of teacher exchange, shared supervision of Master’s theses and internship positions. All research groups have both national and international collaborations with other universities as well as research institutes.
Research within Aquatic Science encompasses the functioning of aquatic ecosystems, especially the effect of anthropogenic environmental impacts on inland aquatic resources, parasites and diseases of aquatic organisms, and sustainable fisheries management. Ecology and biology of aquatic animals is another research interest within aquatic sciences. A strong research area is environmental technology, e.g. methane utilizing purification of sewage waters and improvement of the denitrification process.
Research within Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is diverse, encompassing approaches at different levels: from DNA, through organisms and populations to ecosystems. Particularly strong research areas are sexual and aposematic signal evolution, biodiversity and conservation studies, genetics of adaptation and speciation, evolutionary ecology, and life-history evolution. Researchers working within the sections continue a strong tradition of experimental research, using state of the art techniques, to investigate and integrate disparate biological fields. Our work is facilitated by a pleasant working environment, with, for example, a well-equipped DNA laboratory, and the Konnevesi Research Station.
Master’s Degree Programme of Biological and Environmental Science
The programme requires completion of 120 ETCS credits within 2 years, with compulsory (85 ECTS) and optional (35 ECTS) components.
The compulsory part include transferable skills (20 ECTS: scientific writing, independent seminar work and individual training in a research group, language studies, 20 ECTS), individual thesis work (30 ECTS) and 35 ECTS compulsory subject studies for either Aquatic science or Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. These subject studies include lectures, practicals (in the laboratory, computer class and in the field) and book examinations.
Specialisation is possible through the selection of the optional courses (35 ECTS) and choice of topic for the individual thesis. This individual research project (e.g. thesis work) with associated courses and seminars, in which independent research skills are developed, is a core part of the programme.
Within the transferable skills students must complete at least 2 ECTS in Finnish language studies.
Application period: (08.01.2020 at 08:00 – 22.01.2020 at 15:00)
Student admission to study programme
These admission criteria are valid in student selections made in 2020, 2021 and 2022. However, the Faculty of Mathematics and Science reserves the right to make changes to the admission criteria, if needed, in between admission rounds. The number of study seats available in the programme is decided on yearly, and will be published in the Studyinfo portal before each admission round.
The applicant submits an online application and required electronic attachments in the Studyinfo.fi portal. The applicant submits hard copies of application attachments to the University of Jyväskylä Admission Services, as per instructions. Instructions on submitting attachments will be published on the University’s website before the beginning of the admission round.
All eligible applications are evaluated according to the criteria explained below. Ineligible applications will not be processed further, after they have been found not to meet the eligibility criteria and/or documentary requirements.
|Academic background: field of study, grades, reference letters.
(An interview of the candidate could be requested, if additional information is needed, but is not directly evaluated )
|max. 30 points|
|Other relevant experience||max. 10 points|
|Reason and motivation||max. 10 points|
|Total max||50 points|
Applicants will be ranked according to their admission score, and the highest-scoring applicants, in accordance with the number of study seats in the programme, will be admitted. If there are two or more applicants with the same total score placed in the last place for selection, all of them will be selected.There are no arrangements for clearing i.e., study places for those accepted students who do not wish to enroll will not be reallocated.
All applicants will be informed on the results of the admission round via email by the deadline given on the University’s website. In connection to the results, applicants will be informed on the policy and deadline for appealing against the admission decision.
Application for the tuition fee scholarship
Applicants, who are liable to pay tuition fees, can apply for a tuition fee scholarship from the University of Jyväskylä. The application for the scholarship is integrated in the admissions application. In this Master’s programme, two (2) scholarships, which cover 100% of the tuition fee for two years, and four (4) scholarships, which cover 50% of the tuition fee for two years, are available for applications. The scholarships are awarded based on the admission criteria of the programme. The scholarship-applicants will be ranked according to their admission score. The two highest-scoring applicants will receive the 100% scholarship, and the four next ones will receive the 50% scholarship. If two or more scholarship-recipients have the same admission score, higher weight is given to the points received from the following categories, in the following order: 1. academic background points 2. motivation points 3. letter of reference points.
If the applicant applies for the scholarship to more than one Master’s programme at the University of Jyväskylä and gets admitted to more than one programme, the applicant can receive the scholarship only to one programme, according to the preference she/he has stated on the application form.
If one of the scholarship-recipients does not accept the scholarship, it can be transferred to the next-best scoring applicant. The scholarship can be transferred from one applicant to another only once.
Admitted applicants will be informed on the result of their scholarship application together with the Letter of Admission.
The scholarship for living expenses
Non-Finnish students in the English-taught Master’s degree programmes of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science, who are not eligible for Kela’s (The Social Insurance Institution of Finland) student financial aid, can apply for a scholarship for living expenses from the Faculty. More information https://www.jyu.fi/en/apply/masters-programmes/tuition-fees-and-scholarships
Eligible applicants to the Master’s degree programme must have a suitable higher education degree and adequate proficiency in the English language demonstrated in one of the ways described below.
1) Higher education degree, which meets the following requirements:
Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral degree, which gives eligibility to Master’s level education in the country in which the degree was issued. Applicants holding a degree, which gives eligibility to Doctoral programmes, should primarily seek admission to Doctoral level. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate subject (e.g. biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, environmental science) from a university with an internationally recognised academic standing, or equivalent qualifications, and proven interest in science.
The Students who have already completed their M.Sc. studies in similar degree programme cannot be admitted to this programme.
The higher education institution awarding the degree has to be a recognised part of the official national education system of the country, i.e. to be listed as a degree-granting higher education institution by the country where it is located or by a relevant international organisation (such as UNESCO).
If the applicant holds a degree, which gives general eligibility to Master’s level studies, but the field of the degree is not wholly compatible with that of the Master’s programme, it is possible for the Faculty to accept the applicant, if she/he can complete the required studies as electives included in the Master’s degree. However, if such complementary studies are required, which would cause the total amount of credits in the degree to exceed 120 ECTS, the applicant cannot be admitted.
The degree used for proving eligibility may be unfinished at the time of application, in which case the applicant can be conditionally selected. In such a case, the degree must be completed and related certificates (degree certificate and/or final official transcript of records) must be received by JYU by the given deadline. The deadline will be published on the University’s website before the beginning of the admission round.
2) English language proficiency demonstrated in one of the following ways:
- Upper secondary education, in which the language of tuition is English, completed in a Nordic country (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland), the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
- A higher education degree, in which the language of tuition is English, completed in an EU/EEA country, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
- An international language proficiency test in English. Approved language tests and required minimum results are as follows:
- TOEFL iBT (Internet Based Test): 92
- IELTS Academic: 6.5
- Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE): A, B, C or C1
- Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE): A, B or C
- PTE Academic: 62
PTE, IELTS and TOEFL results are valid for two years. The result must be valid until the end date of the application period. The University of Jyväskylä accepts only the results of Cambridge tests completed in 2005 and thereafter.
- The Finnish National Certificate of Language Proficiency (YKI), which must be passed at least with intermediate level 4 in all skill components: speaking, writing, listening and reading comprehension. The University of Jyväskylä accepts only the results of the National Certificate of Language Proficiency tests completed in 2002 and thereafter.
- The applicant has completed or is completing a higher education degree in Finnish in a higher education institution in Finland, and the degree fills the requirements of proficiency in English as a foreign language as stipulated by Government decrees (Valtioneuvoston asetus yliopistojen tutkinnoista 794/2004 and Valtioneuvoston asetus ammattikorkeakouluista 1129/2014). ). In case the degree is uncompleted at the time of application,
- it must be the same degree, which the applicant uses for proving eligibility to the programme, and
- the applicant must have completed the studies required in the Government decrees for obtaining the required English proficiency in such a schedule, that he/she is able to submit a document proving these studies by the supplementation deadline for attachments.
Applicants should register for a language test well in advance of the application deadline, so that the test can be completed and the result received in time to meet the deadline. Receiving the test results may take up to two months.
If the result of the language test is below the required minimum, the application will not be considered for admission.
No other means for proving language proficiency than the ones listed above will be accepted. No waivers to the language proficiency requirements are given.
Some of the attachments can be submitted as electronic attachments to the online application form, whereas others need to be submitted as hard copies by postal mail. The specific requirements concerning hard copies will be published on the University’s website before each admission round. The applicant is responsible for reading the instructions and submitting the required documentation accordingly. The applicant must make sure that she/he complies with the requirements for the correct admission round.
Documents received by the University, which are not listed below, or which do not meet the University’s document requirements, or which are received by the University after the given deadline, will not be considered in the evaluation process of applications.
If an applicant has several higher education degrees, or separate studies in higher education that are not part of a degree, all of these can be considered for defining the applicant’s eligibility and calculating the admission score, provided that attachments proving these studies meet the University’s document requirements. If the applicant submits documentation of more than one degree, the admission score will be calculated using the degree and separate studies, which give the highest admission score to the applicant. Only studies from a higher education institution, which is a recognised part of the official national education system of the country in which the institution is located, will be considered.
Required attachments include:
1. A) Official transcript of records of a higher education degree
A transcript of records is a document issued by a higher education institution containing information on courses taken and grades and credits obtained by a student. If the awarding institution issues transcripts or their translations in English, Finnish or Swedish, a transcript of records in one of these languages is sufficient, and the translation mentioned in part 1. B) is not needed.
1. B) Official translation of the transcript into English, Finnish or Swedish, if needed
If the official transcript of records is in a language other than English, Finnish or Swedish, an official translation into one of these languages is required in addition to the official transcript in original language.
2. A) Copy of degree certificate of higher education degree
A degree certificate is a document issued by an institution to a student who has successfully completed all studies included in the degree and has graduated. If the degree certificate is in English, Finnish or Swedish, the translation mentioned in part 2. B) is not needed. A copy of degree certificate is not required in the application phase from applicants, whose degree used for proving eligibility is unfinished at the time of application.
2. B) Official translation of the degree certificate into English, Finnish or Swedish, if needed
If the degree certificate is in a language other than English, Finnish or Swedish, an official translation into one of these languages is required in addition to the copy of the degree certificate.
3. Certificate of English language proficiency
A certificate for proving English language proficiency can be:
⦁ An electronic copy of a language test certificate submitted as an attachment to the online application form (these will be verified from the test organization)
⦁ A copy of an official educational document
The accepted means for proving language proficiency are stated in the eligibility criteria of the programme. Instructions for submitting different kinds of certificates for proving language proficiency will be published on the University’s website before each admission round.
4. Copy of a valid passport
A copy of the identification pages of a valid passport with the applicant’s name, date of birth, nationality, and expiry date of the passport, submitted as an electronic attachment to the online application form. In case the applicant does not hold a valid passport, another official identification document (i.e. personal identity card, driving license) stating the same information is accepted. A copy of passport is not required from citizens of Finland, because their nationality can be confirmed from a national database.
5. Copy of residence permit card, if needed
A copy of both sides of the residence permit card, submitted as an electronic attachment to the online application form. Required only from applicants holding a valid residence permit in Finland of the type A, P, P-EU, EU Blue Card, or residence card for a family member of an EU citizen.
6. Curriculum Vitae (CV)
An electronic attachment to the online application form. Curriculum vitae is a document, which provides information on the applicant’s educational and work history, skills and competencies.
7. Motivation letter
An electronic attachment to the online application form. In the motivation letter, articulate clearly your reasons for applying. Consider your activities, experiences and commitment related to the field of the Master’s programme. Relate your plans after graduation, in case you are admitted to the programme. The maximum length of the motivation letter is 4000 characters in Latin alphabet, including breaks and punctuation.
8. Letter of reference
One verifiable (=contact information included) academic references in closed (and sealed by signature) envelopes.
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