Study plan for MAMN-BIODI Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology, fall 2019

Name of qualification

Master of Science in Biology - Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology

ECTS Credits

Two years of full-time study, where the normal workload for a full-time student is 60 credits for one academic year.



Language of Instruction




Objectives and content

The study programme will give you a broad introduction to ecology, evolution or systematic research. The programme covers themes that range from the biology of single organisms to biogeographical patterns, and you can immerse yourself in both theoretical and applied research. Through choosing your own subjects and working independently, you will acquire scientific competence. By working on the masters project you will learn to work in a scientific manner. After completing the study you will have a working knowledge of scientific methods and have developed the ability for critical thinking based upon knowledge of the subjects. Thesis topics can be drawn from fields such as behavioral ecology, biodiversity, biogeography, evolutionary biology, quantitative ecology, landscape ecology, paleoecology, parasitology, population biology, population genetics, taxonomy and systematics, vegetation history, and pollen analysis.

Required Learning Outcomes

Having completed the Master's programme in Biology, with specialisation in Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology, the student will:


  • Know fundamental patterns and processes in biodiversity, ecology and evolution.
  • Be well acquainted with, and understand, evolutionary and ecological theory for interspecific variation in adaptation to the biotic and abiotic environment.
  • Understand how human activities effect other populations, species, and ecosystems.


  • Be able to use evolutionary theory to explain biological patterns.
  • Contribute to understanding the issues that are important in natural resource management and provide relevant knowledge in conservation and management issues.
  • Be familiar with relevant research questions in biodiversity, evolution and ecology, and be able to set up experiments or field studies which can aid in answering such questions.
  • Be able to access in the biological scientific literature and understand relevant methodology.
  • Be able to retrieve, analyze and apply new knowledge within the field
  • Be able to analyze, interpret and discuss their own data in an academic and critical manner, in light of data and theories in the field.
  • Be able to manage and present quantitative data, discuss the precision and accuracy and to use the basic statistical principles

General competences

  • Be able to work in accord with scientific principles, and understand and respect openness, precision, accountability and the significance of distinguishing between knowledge and opinion.
  • Be able to present, orally and in writing, research results put into context of existing knowledge, also to non-specialists.
  • Be able to analyze the biological scientific issues and participate in the discussion of approaches and ways of solving the issue.
  • Be able to work independently and as part of a team with comprehensive and demanding assignments, and to meet deadlines.
  • Be able to discuss the student's research field in public discussions.

Admission Requirements

In order to qualify for admission to the Master's Programme in Biology, you must fulfill the following criteria:

1) hold a Bachelor's degree in Biology or related field

2) document university courses covering the following:

  • 80 ECTS in Biology, which must cover the following fields: Zoology, Botany, Microbiology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Physiology, Evolution and Ecology
  • 20 ECTS in Chemistry, whereof 10 ECTS must include lab work
  • 10 ECTS in Mathematics (excluded in GPA calculation)
  • 10 ECTS in Statistics

3) have obtained a minimum average grade equivalent to ECTS grade C / US grade B for the above-mentioned courses (excluded:10 ECTS in Mathematics)

Use this GPA calculator to check if your average grade compares to a US grade B.

4) document proficiency in the English language, read how here

The main intake is in the autumn. A supplementary intake in the spring is available (only for Nordic citizens and applicants residing in Norway) if not all spots have been filled.

Number of international applicants (EU/EEA/EFTA and non-EU/EEA/EFTA) residing abroad admitted to each specialisation, per intake: max. 2 students.

Follow the guidelines on how to apply depending on which applicant group you belong to:

Recommended previous knowledge

Specialized courses in ecology and evolution, such as Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Behavioral Ecology, Paleoecology, Systematic Botany/Zoology, etc.

Compulsory units

The master's programme in biology consists of an individual research project (master's thesis) of 60 ECTS, and courses or special topics of 60 ECTS.

Some of the courses are compulsory such as BIO300A Academic Writing (5 ECTS), BIO300B Biostatistics (5 ECTS) and BIO301 Current Topics in Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology (10 ECTS). BIO210 Evolutionary Biology is compulsory if you do not have this or an equivalent course in your Bachelor's degree. You will choose the additional elective courses in agreement with your academic supervisor.

Recommended electives

Elective courses should be biology courses within the topics of ecology, evolution, biodiversity and/or systematics. Relevant courses are e.g.: BIO210, BIO232, BIO241, BIO311, BIO302, BIO303, BIO332, BIO341, BIO343.

Sequential Requirements, courses

The recommended sequence of the courses in the programme can be found under the heading Compulsory units.

Teaching methods

The Master's thesis is an independently scientific work, under supervision of an academic supervisor. A combination of teaching methods is used in the various courses, mainly lectures, laboratory exercises, field trips, and workshops. You can find more information in the course description.

Assessment methods

The final step in the programme is an oral examination. The examination is held when the master's thesis has been submitted, evaluated and approved. The most common assessment methods in courses are written and oral exams, individual and group presentations, and various forms of term projects. The assessment methods for each course are described in its course description.

Grading scale

At UiB the grades are given in one of two possible grading scales: passed/failed and A to F.

The master's thesis will be graded A to F.

The grading scale for each course is given in the course description.

Diploma and Diploma supplement

The Diploma, in Norwegian, and the Diploma Supplement, in English, will be issued when the degree is completed.

Access to further studies

To be eligible for admission to the Doctoral education (PhD) the candidate must have completed a master's degree.

To qualify for the Doctoral education (PhD) at UiB the average grade for the master's thesis, the Master's degree and the bachelor's degree should be at least C.

In order to get enrolled you have to be granted a fellowship for doctoral training.


The program will qualify you well for relevant work in public administration, the business world, the school system, and for PhD study.


The programme will be evaluated according to the quality assurance system of the University of Bergen.

Programme committee

The programme committee is responsible for the academic content, the structure and the quality of the program.

Administrative responsibility

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences by the Department of Biological Sciences, holds the administrative responsibility for the programme.

Contact information

For more information please contact a study advisor: studie@bio.uib.no. Phone: + 47 55 58 44 00.