Goal of the programme
Ecology and evolutionary biology offer a perspective on biology from the level of genes to communities of species.
In the master’s degree program, you can become familiar with a wide variety of topics in three areas: ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation biology. You can choose studies from any of these areas, as well as from other master’s degree programmes. The programme is diverse and multidisciplinary: teaching is done with lectures, laboratory and computer training courses, interactive seminars, study tours and field courses. The field courses range from the northern subarctic region to tropical rainforests.
Our wide expertise extends from molecular ecology to population and community biology. The Centres of Excellence of Metapopulation Biology and Biological Interactions are located in our department.
Our programme offers you a wide range of options: evolutionary biology or genetics for those interested in ecological genetics and genomics, as well as the ability to take advantage of the high-quality molecular ecology and systematics laboratory; conservation biology for those interested in regional or global environmental problems; and ecological modelling skills for those interested in computational biology. Our training also offers Behavioural Ecology.
Ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation biology are not only fascinating topics for basic research, they also have a key role in addressing global environmental challenges.
Upon graduating from the Master’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology programme, you will:
- Have mastered the main theories and methods in ecology and evolutionary biology and be able to apply them to practical problems
- Be able to plan and carry out a scientific research project
- Have read the relevant scientific literature and be able to utilise your expertise in different types of work
- Be able to work as an expert in your field
- Be able to to write good scientific English
- Be able to work in research projects and groups
- Be able to continue on to doctoral studies
Further information about the studies on the Master’s programme website.
Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area and pursue their studies in English, are liable to pay tuition fees.You can check from FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees. Find out more about the Be 1* of the Best Scholarship Programme.
Information on the languages of instruction
The Master’s Programme in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is a genuinely international programme that brings together students from many countries. The language of instruction for compulsory courses and most optional courses is English. You can write all exams, reports and your Master’s thesis in English. If you are fluent in Finnish or Swedish, you can also use these languages.
The Master’s degree program includes studies of ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation biology. The studies are organised in modules. You can affect the content of the studies by planning your personal curriculum. You can study the following themes:
- Ecology studies the abundance and distribution of species (animals, plants, microbes) and the interactions among them and with the environment. The perspective ranges from the molecular to the ecosystem level. In ecology, a central question is: Why are some species able to invade new habitats and displace native species? Which species are able to adapt to environmental change or migrate with the changing climate, and which species will become extinct?
- Evolutionary biology examines the processes which support biodiversity on its various levels (genes – individuals – populations – species – ecosystems). You will learn about the theory of evolution and how to use population genetics and genomics methods in researching evolutionary issues.
- Conservation Biology studies the depletion of biodiversity, its causes and consequences. You will learn to apply ecological theory to the problems of environmental conservation, to assess the effectiveness of methods of conservation, as well as to resolve the problems relating to conservation e.g. by modelling and computational methods. The training emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary education in the area of conservation.
You undertake modules producing a total of 120 credits (ECTS) according to your personal study plan. The degree consists of:
- 60 credits of advanced studies, including a research project (Master’s thesis, 30 credits)
- 60 credits of other studies chosen from the Programme or from other Programmes
Career planning or extracurricular activities can be included in your personal study plan.
If you are studying to qualify as a biology teacher, you will need 60 credits of pedagogical studies in your degree. This applies only to Finnish or Swedish speaking students.
All students undertake a master’s thesis, the extent of which is 30 credits. In your thesis, you will demonstrate your mastery of scientific thinking, your familiarity with the scientific background of your thesis and the relevant research methods, and your ability to report the results. Your thesis can be done individually or as a member of a research project in which you have a clear and independent role. You must, however, write your thesis independently.
In general, you will collect the data in the field or in the laboratory, analyse them, evaluate the results critically in the light of the scientific literature, and present your conclusions in writing.
Your Master’s thesis can be done in one of the the research groups of the department.
A Master’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology gives you the capability to embark on a wide range of careers, such as University teaching and research tasks; expert and administrative tasks at research centres and companies; in the field of public administration (e.g., the United Nations, the European Union, national and provincial administration, cities, municipalities); international and national organisations; and the media. The degree also makes you eligible to continue on to a doctoral education in different areas of biology.
The Master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is a popular option for Finnish and Swedish speaking students wanting to qualify as biology teachers.
Master’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology gives an access to the capability of University teaching and research tasks, for a wide range of expert and administrative tasks of the various research centres, companies, in the field of public administration (e.g., The UNITED NATIONS, the European Union, the State and the provincial administration, cities, municipalities), international and national organizations and the media. The degree also provides the scientific validity for doctoral education in different areas of biology.
The Master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is a well-liked option among students studying towards biology teacher qualification (Finnish and Swedish speaking students).
Upon graduating with a Master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, you can qualify to become a teacher in biology. This requires that you have been accepted to the faculty for teacher’s education. You must have taken the following courses during your studies for your Bachelor’s degree: biology and another discipline from the following: geography, chemistry, physics, mathematics or health education. If you want to qualify as a biology teacher in the Master’s degree programme, you must take pedagogical studies as your optional studies (60 credits).
If you are admitted into the programme in 2019, you will not be able to apply for a study right in pedagogical studies during your Master’s degree. However, you can apply for a study right after you have completed the Master’s degree.
You may apply if you meet the following three requirements:
- You have completed or will complete by 31 July 2019 a first-cycle degree (e.g., bachelor’s degree) or second-cycle degree (e.g., master’s degree) or a postgraduate degree in Finland or abroad.
- You have completed or will complete studies required for the master’s programme by 11 January 2019. Below are more details concerning applicable studies.
- You are able to demonstrate your proficiency in English. For further instructions on demonstrating your proficiency in English, see the section “Required enclosures”.
If you are currently or have previously been a student at the University of Helsinki, please note the following rules.
If you have refugee status or are in a refugee-like situation, please read the applicable instructions.
You may be admitted if
- You prove your eligibility (see above) by the deadline
- You submit the application and the required attachments within the specified deadline. The application form is open from 3 December 2018 (8:00h Finnish time) to 11 January 2019 (15:00h Finnish time). Read more about what will happen after the application period.
- You have completed at least a first-cycle degree (e.g., bachelor’s degree) in a field applicable to the Master’s programme. Please note: even if the degree serving as grounds for application is not completed during the application round, you must have a sufficient number of applicable studies completed by 11 January 2019.
Admissions to the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) programme are based on the following criteria, each of which will be scored on a scale of 0–10:
- Applicability of previous studies to the EEB programme
- Academic performance (grades, study progress) in completed applicable studies required for the EEB programme
- Motivation letter
The required minimum score for each criterion is 6.
Applicants must have completed at least a first-cycle degree in a field applicable to the Master’s programme. In order for the studies completed for the degree serving as the grounds for application (or any studies completed to supplement this degree) to provide sufficient qualifications and knowledge for the completion of Master’s studies, their content and level must be applicable and appropriate for the Master’s programme and its disciplines. The applicability and sufficiency of these studies will be assessed during the admissions procedure. The University of Helsinki does not provide any preliminary evaluation on the suitability of the applicant’s previous studies.
In the event the programme quota cannot accommodate all applicants who have completed studies applicable to the degree programme, a comparison between the applicants will be made. Only the best applicants will be accepted. There is no requirement for the programme to fill its admission quota.
If two or more applicants are tied after the evaluation, they will be ranked firstly on the basis of applicable studies, secondly on the basis of academic performance and thirdly on the basis of the motivation letter.
The assessment is based on the studies applicants have completed by the end of the application period.
Applicants with a second-cycle degree in the same or related field will only be taken into consideration for compelling reasons and if the targeted degree is sufficiently different from their previously completed degree. As a rule, second-cycle degrees are used as grounds for applying for a right to complete a postgraduate degree.
If in this round of admissions you are applying for more than one master’s programme at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, you must rank them in order of preference on your application form. If you could be admitted to more than one programme, you can only be admitted to the one you have ranked the highest.
Applicants will be informed of the results of the student selection by 12 April 2019 at the latest. Please note the one study place per term provision if you are applying for more than one study programmes in the spring 2019.
Study right to be awarded
If you are admitted, you have been granted the right to pursue the degree of Master of Science in the multilingual Master’s Programme in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
In the multilingual Master’s Programme in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, you can choose the language of your degree to be Finnish, Swedish or English. You will have to choose the language of your degree (English, Finnish or Swedish) on the application form. This means that even though most of the teaching will be offered in English, you can answer examination questions and write course assignments and your Master’s thesis in the language that you select as the language of the degree. Please note that you can apply to this Master’s programme through only one language option and that the selected option defines the language of your degree (English, Finnish or Swedish). Your choice of language is binding, and you must demonstrate your language skills accordingly. The Master’s programme admits no more than 20 students regardless of their selected language of degree and application option.
Statistics on applicants can be found on the university’s web page.
The application must be accompanied by the following documents, and the documents must be submitted as instructed below:
- Official photocopy of the degree certificate/diploma
- Official transcript
- Diploma supplement (if available)
- Certificate of language proficiency
- Authorised translations into English, Finnish or Swedish
- A photocopy of your passport, your official identity card or your Finnish residence permit card
- Motivation letter to be included in the application form
- Certificates of employment or statements made by supervisors on research related to the field of the programme. The certificate must clearly indicate the quality and quantity of the work experience. Please note that this attachment is not compulsory, if you don’t have relevant work or research experience.
1) Read carefully the instructions on application enclosures and their submission.
2) You must demonstrate your proficiency in English, Finnish or Swedish (Updated 18/12/2018: Finnish and Swedish added). Read the instructions on proving your language skills.
3) If the degree serving as grounds for application to the programme is still incomplete, you need not submit a degree certificate/diploma with the application documents. If you are admitted, the admission decision will be conditional, and you will receive instructions with your letter of admission for submitting the official degree certificate/diploma. NB! The final degree certificate/diploma must be presented by 14 August 2019 at the latest.
|Due date||11.1.2019, 15:00|
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