Master's in Ecology and Evolution

The Master's programme in Ecology and Evolution leads to the degree of a Master of Science (M Sc) in Ecology and Evolution. The programme is run jointly by the Institute of Ecology and Evolution and the Institute of Plant Sciences of the Science Faculty. The Master's programme in Ecology and Evolution is regulated in the Master's curriculum (Studienplan) in Ecology and Evolution (MSc EE) and is fully taught in English.

The Master's programme has a workload of 90 ECTS points. 1 ECTS point corresponds to 25-30 hours of work. The programme can be completed by full-time students in 3 semesters. It consists of 60 ECTS in form of a Master's thesis and 30 ECTS in formal learning units.

During this curriculum, and in particular by preparing the Master's thesis, the students deepen and specialise their knowledge and skills in Ecology and Evolution. A particular emphasis of the programme is to involve the student actively in ongoing research projects. The degree of «Master of Science» (M Sc) in Ecology and Evolution can lead to an employment in governmental and research settings, private companies (environmental consultants, etc.), or to a further education, e.g. to PhD studies. In general, students with a Bachelor of Science degree (B Sc) in biology or related subjects are entitled to apply for the programme (see Admission).

The programme offers specialisations in:
  • Animal Ecology and Conservation
  • Behaviour
  • Evolution
  • Plant Ecology

MEE flyer (PDF, 972KB)
Basic information

Master of Science in Ecology and Evolution, Universität Bern, with special qualification in:

  • Animal Ecology and Conservation
  • Behaviour
  • Evolution
  • Plant Ecology
Number of cedits:  90 ECTS credits
Degree programs:
  • Mono 90 ECTS credits with special qualification in:
    • Animal Ecology and Conservation
    • Behaviour
    • Evolution
    • Plant Ecology

Offer for other degree programs:

  • Minor 30 ECTS credits with no special qualification
Duration:  3 semesters
Language:  English 
Beginning studies:  Fall or spring semester


Four fields of specialisation are available:

  • Animal Ecology and Conservation
  • Behaviour
  • Evolution
  • Plant Ecology

The students enrolling in these various specialisations perform their Master research in one of the research groups at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution or at the Institute of Plant Sciences:


Students interested in a given specialisation direction have first to contact the respective head of the research group.

The Master's student and his/her supervisor agree upon a programme which has to be finalised latest during the last week before the teaching period of a semester starts. The Tracking form for candidates of the Master's programme in Ecology and Evolution (pdf) must be filled out, signed by the student and the supervisor, and forwarded to the Director of studies. If the form fulfills all requirements, it will be signed by the Director of studies and an electronic copy will be returned to the student to his/her records. The Tracking form proves the successful planning of the Master studies prior to its start but can be modified while studying without notifying the Director of Studies.

Practicals, lectures, seminars and excursions

General recommendations for composing the teaching part of your Master studies

Discuss your wishes with your supervisor and fill out your Tracking form. The complete teaching offer is in the online course database KSL. There are more possibilities at our University or at the close-by Universities of Fribourg and Neuchâtel (BeNeFri). Most courses are offered annually and planning the whole Master period is easy. Your supervisor will be happy to advise you.

All lectures, seminars and practicals for Master students in Ecology and Evolution are taught in English. You may also attend teaching for BSc 3rd year or teaching from other institutes but some may be in German.

1) Are there grants or similar financial support for my Master's studies?

There are some possibilities to apply for a grant. Some general information can be found here.

  • The University of Bern offers a few highly competitive Master's grants.
  • For German students, Auslands-Bafög may provide a very attractive funding possibility.

2) When must the Tracking form be submitted?

The Tracking form is an important administrative tool and must be submitted - with signatures of both student and supervisor - to the office of the Director of Studies prior to the first week of the teaching periode of the first semester of the student's master studies.

3) When do I have to ask for a prolongation of my regular Master's study time?

The Studienplan mentions in Art. 7.1 that the regular duration is 3 semesters and the faculty regulation (RSL 2008) says that Master's studies may not last more than 5 semesters. This means that finalising the Master's studies during the fourth and fifth semesters is possible. A prolongation is only necessary after the fifth semesters. However, all reasons to need more than 3 semesters must be accepted by your supervisor.

4) How many ECTS can I transfer (in KSL) from my clipboard into my Master Studies account in Ecology and Evolution?

Before you start your Master studies in Ecology and Evolution, you discuss your personal study programme (30 ECTS) with your supervisor and agree upon its content thus establishing the Tracking form. Transfer any surplus ECTS which were gained during your Bachelor studies in Biology to the clipboard before applying for the Bachelor diploma. Depending on subject and nature of these surplus courses and depending on the terms of your Master supervisor some or all of these ECTS can later be transfered to your Master study account in KSL. Such credits have to be listed in your Tracking form.

5) What is the cost of living in Switzerland for a Master student?

Living costs depend on your personal life style, thus any answer is only a very rough estimate. To study in Bern, a monthly amount of 1'500 to 2'000 CHF is required. The following figures indicate only a possible range of the amount which you should calculate: Accommodation (1 room) in a student house 400-700 CHF, free market 500-800 CHF per month, public transport in Bern 50-100 CHF per month, health insurance 150-250 CHF per month, tuition fees for national and international students at our university are 784 CHF per semester.

6) What is the latest submission date for my MSc thesis at the dean’s office?

You can always deliver your thesis at the dean’s office. However, if you do not want to pay tuition fees for the next semester, you must deliver your thesis until the end of week 7 (spring term) or week 37 (autumn term). By this date, the review of your supervisor must also have arrived in the dean’s office and the mark must be in KSL.

7) Am I allowed to work for a living?

According to the corresponding Swiss ordinance (Verordnung über Zulassung, Aufenthalt und Erwerbstätigkeit 2007), international students can exert an additional job

  • six month after study begin
  • for no more than 15 h per week
  • and if this does not prolong the study duration

Individual academic requirements

The following academic qualifications are required for admission to the master's degree program in Ecology and Evolution (mono):

a) Bachelor's degree from the University of Bern in Biology with special qualification in Ecology and Evolution
b) Bachelor's degree from the University of Bern in Biology with special qualification in Plant Sciences, provided the required (as listed in annex 1 to the plan of studies) units of credit associated with Plant Ecology have been completed as part of the bachelor's degree program.
c) Bachelor of Science from the University of Bern with another special qualification. Depending on the focus of the bachelor's degree and the special qualification in which the person is interested, successful completion of the master's degree program may depend upon evidence of additional knowledge and expertise or the achievement of additional attainments of up to 60 ECTS credits. The ECTS credits will be listed separately in the diploma supplement as extracurricular attainments.
d) Bachelor of Science, in the branch of studies Biology, from another Swiss university. Depending on the focus of the bachelor's degree and the special qualification in which the person is interested, additional attainments of up to 60 ECTS credits may be required. The ECTS credits will be listed separately in the diploma supplement as extracurricular attainments.
e) Bachelor's degree from a recognized university, provided at least 60 ECTS credits were earned in Biology and the master's degree program can be successfully completed with a maximum additional 60 ECTS credits (admission requirements which must be fulfilled in order to complete the master's degree program). The ECTS credits will be listed separately in the diploma supplement as extracurricular attainments.

Please consult the admission requirements for the minor as presented in the plan of studies.

The degree submitted at the time of assessment may not be more than ten years old.

For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.

Current UniBE students

Apply for a change to the M Sc in Ecology and Evolution, Universität Bern by self-service as part of the re-registration for the next semester.
Renewal of semester registration → Self-service
Recognition of academic achievements
Procedure and timing of the renewal of semester registration

Application with a Swiss degree

Online application
Steps from application to registration

Application with an international degree

Online application
CHECKLIST - Documents for your application / Important information
Steps from application to registration

For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.

How to finish your MSc studies

Regulations for finalising the Master's studies and for handing in the Master's thesis are given by the Dean’s office here


The MSc thesis can always be submitted to the Dean’s office but the deadline for a given semester is the last week of autumn or spring semester (calendar week 7 or 37, respectively).

MEE specific prerequisites for graduation

  • Your supervisor has to submit one personnel review (Beurteilung) to the Dean’s office.
  • Your supervisor (usually via his/her secretary) is also in charge of submitting the final mark of your thesis to KSL. Please clarify with your supervisor that both happened in time.
  • As soon as the mark is confirmed in KSL send an email to the study administration requesting "Change status to Fachanforderung erfüllt"
  • Send your MSc thesis as pdf file to the study administration.

Criteria for the passing of the Master diploma

  • Regular learning units
    The average of all marks has to be 4.0 or better, with no more than 7.5 ECTS of learning units insufficient.
  • Additional learning units
    Average of all marks 4.0 or better
  • Master's thesis
    Grade has to be 4.0 or better
  • Compound grade
    The grade of the Master's diploma is the average of the marks given for regular learning units and the Master's thesis, weighted according to their ECTS points. The marks of the additional learning units do not count for the compound grade but will be listed as such in the diploma supplement.


Once you have met the specific requirements for the degree, you can apply for your degree to the Dean's Office.