Biodiversity Sciences (Master-Studiengang)

Erstmalig zum Wintersemester 2021/2022

Neuer englischsprachiger Masterstudiengang

Version: 03.05.2021

General Information

Programme type Master-Studiengang
Degree Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Credit points 120 CP
Standard period of study 4 semesters
Start of studies Winter semester only
Form of study Classroom teaching, Full-time studies, International study programme
Medium of instruction English
Admission restricted (Uni-NC)
Specific admission requirements yes (Details)
Faculty Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät I - Biowissenschaften
Institute Institut für Biologie
Accreditation not accredited, accreditation in preparation
Alle Studienangebote

Programme objectives

The international master's programme MSc Biodiversity Sciences aims to scientifically convey how the state and changes of biodiversity can be quantified across space and time, what evolutionary and ecological processes underlie them and what consequences arise from biodiversity changes for humans. Biodiversity forms the foundation for all ecosystem functions and human well-being on Earth. While the study programme is based on the fundamentals of the natural sciences, it has a strong interdisciplinary component. In the last decades, we have encountered a dramatic loss in and restructuring of biodiversity. As biodiversity and its change are strongly linked to society, the programme has a strong interdisciplinary component, addressing the options of how biodiversity can be maintained and integrated into the management of our planet’s resources. To achieve these goals, various disciplines are engaged in the master's programme, from organismic to molecular biology, biogeochemistry, landscape ecology, natural resource management and bioinformatics to interfaces with socio-ecological sciences.

The consecutive study programme has a strong research orientation enabling students to work systematically and scientifically and to conduct independent scientific research. Other important study goals are interdisciplinary knowledge as well as communication and teamwork skills. The international character of scientific research is taken into account by conducting the study programme, i.e. the lectures and examinations, entirely in English.

Study in Halle!

The study programme is embedded in numerous research projects carried out at Halle University (MLU). MLU together with partner research centres, such as the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, offer a high number of research platforms that are open for students’ projects. iDiv is a global hotspot in biodiversity science, with about 800 scientists in Central Germany working jointly and across disciplines on the key questions of biodiversity science.

In this context, MSc Biodiversity Sciences promotes cooperation between the various master's programmes in the field of biodiversity sciences at the universities of the Halle-Jena-Leipzig university network. Participation in modules in the corresponding study programmes is encouraged and can be recognised.

Career opportunities

MSc Biodiversity Sciences qualifies for positions in the following areas:

  • Basic research on all aspects of biodiversity
  • Subject-specific teaching tasks
  • International development cooperation on biodiversity conservation
  • Private sector: consulting, management and planning
  • Public sector: biodiversity monitoring and administration
  • Political consultancy

The programme also qualifies for PhD positions. 


The study programme is not yet accredited. The accreditation is in preparation.

Programme structure

The study programme is structured as follows:

  • Compulsory modules (45 CP)
  • Elective modules (45 CP)
  • Master's thesis (30 CP)


A: Compulsory modules ( 75 CP)


CP rec. sem.
Design of Research Studies 5 1
Statistics in Biodiversity Sciences 5 1
Excursions in Botany and Zoology 5 1, 2 or 3
Research Internship 15 2, 3 or 4

Project Study



Master's thesis 30 3 and/or 4

B: Project modules (Elective modules) (45 CP) 

Module CP rec. sem.
B1: project modules offered by the Institute of Biology    
Methods of Systematic Botany 15 1 or 2
General Zoology 15 2 or 4
Molecular Ecology 15 1 or 2
Field Ecology 15 2 or 4
Nature Conservation 15 2 or 4
Spatial Ecology and Modelling 15 1 or 3
Collections and Biodiversity Research 5 1, 2 or 3

B2: project modules offered by the Faculty of Natural Sciences III

(Institute of Computer Science, Institute of Geosciences and Geography, Institute of Agricultural and Nutrition Sciences)

Modelling species distribution and biodiversity patterns 15 1 or 3
Spatial Modelling, Scenario Development and Impact Assessment 15 1 or 2
Soil Biogeochemical analysis 5 1 or 2
Matter and material flow analysis 5 1 or 2
Management of soil organic matter 5 1 or 2
Statistical Data Analysis and Machine Learning in Biodiversity Research 5 2
Computational Transcriptomics 5 2
Computational Molecular Phylogenetics 5 3
Computational Sequence Analysis 5 3

The content, learning objectives, workload, requirements and prerequisites of specific modules are published in the module catalogue and in the study and examination regulations (in German only), respectively.  

Admission requirements

Applicants for the MSc Biodiversity Sciences must

  • hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent degree in one of the following fields of studies: biology, ecology, biogeochemistry, landscape ecology, natural resource management or bioinformatics. Furthermore, graduates of a comparable study programme can be admitted.

  • prove good knowledge of written and spoken English.

Applicants must prove their English language proficiency by submitting either TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Certificate, Unicert II, German Abitur or an equivalent internationally recognised language certificate attesting level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). However, proof of language proficiency is not required if the first degree was obtained in a study programme taught in English.

Comprehensive knowledge in organismic biology and species identification as well as experimental skills or experience in observational studies is essential. Basic knowledge in ecology, landscape ecology, biogeochemistry, natural resource management, bioinformatics, mathematics and statistics as well as socio-ecological sciences are additionally required.

Decisions on compliance with the subject-specific requirements and, if applicable, the admission requirements are taken by the selection committee in accordance with the selection regulations.

This chapter consists of excerpts roughly translated into English. Only the study and examination regulations are legally binding.


The admission to the MSc Biodiversity Sciences is currently restricted (Uni-NC).

  • Applicants with a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) obtained in Germany must apply via by 31 July 2021.

  • Applicants with a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from abroad must apply via by 15 June 2021.

Halle University reconsiders its admission policy every winter semester and determines whether admission to a study programme is restricted (Uni-NC) or free (no NC). From May each year, the current decision is published here (see also General Information).

Required documents

The following documents must be submitted with the application for admission:

  1. An official certified hard copy of your bachelor's degree or equivalent  (i.e., graduation certificate and transcripts) and certified translations unless the originals are in English or in German. Important note: Applicants via uni-assist may apply online with scanned documents (both in original language and certified translations, if necessary). However, official certified hard copies of the translated graduation and language certificates must be submitted for enrolment.

  2. Halle University does accept provisional graduation certificates, if your degree is scheduled after the application deadline. Please submit your transcripts indicating minimum 2/3 of your total credits to be passed / your senior student stage, accordingly. The final graduation certificate shall be submitted with enrolment, respectively by no later than 31 January in the year following admission. Note: Extended submission deadlines - see Corona FAQ.

  3. Proof of English language proficiency (see admission requirements)

  4. A summary of the bachelor's thesis (as submitted or, if not yet submitted, the current version)

  5. Proof of other qualifications, i.e. long-term engagement in nature conservation associations or scientific societies, special taxonomic knowledge and civic activities in the field of biodiversity, programming skills, completed training in relevant occupations (e.g. gardener, forest manager, farmer, animal keeper, ranger, lab technician), and voluntary internships in a relevant field (preferably also abroad).

  6. Relevant knowledge acquired with former studies in the following areas (Please provide additional proof if it is not reflected in your graduation certificate and/or course and grade overview of the undergraduate degree programme): biology, ecology, biogeochemistry, landscape ecology, natural resource management and bioinformatics

Relevant knowledge will be considered and awarded with ranking points as part of the admission procedure.

For detailed information on the selection procedure, please see

Fulfilment of the admission requirements does not constitute a claim to a study place for this programme.

If the study programme is subject to admission restrictions and the number of applications exceeds the number of available study places, the available study places are allocated according to the Study Place Allocation Regulations of the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt (Studienplatzvergabeverordnung Sachsen-Anhalt) and the regulations governing the selection procedure for the master's degree programme Biodiversity Sciences (selection regulations, i.e. Auswahlordnung) in the currently valid version. In this process, 50% of all study places are awarded to international applicants who do not have the same status as German applicants.

This chapter consists of excerpts roughly translated into English. Only the study and examination regulations are legally binding.

Information for international applicants

For any questions regarding application and admission - except eligibility - please see website or contact Kati Gaudig (Student Registration Office - International Students Section).

Programme advisor

For detailed information concerning the contents, objectives and structure of the programme, please contact the programme advisor.

Prof. Dr. Helge Bruelheide

Institut für Biologie

Am Kirchtor 1
06108 Halle (Saale)

Phone: 0345 55-26222

PD Dr. Ulrich Arnold

Institut für Biologie

Weinbergweg 10
Room: 131
06120 Halle (Saale)

Phone: 0345 55-26448

Consultation hours

Monday: 8–12
Tuesday: 8–12 | 13–15
Thursday: 8–12
Friday: 8–12