Master of science (2 year) Full time
Are you interested in ecology, biological diversity and natural processes? Global environmental challenges such as climate change and species extinction make ecologists and their skills more important than ever.
See "Admission requirements".
Contact study advisors
Do you want to work with biological monitoring, conservation, and ecosystem health? Climate change, habitat loss, and pollution are straining ecosystems worldwide. Ecologists are needed to help understand these issues and come up with solutions.
This program focuses on the following:
- The world's major global ecological challenges, such as biodiversity loss and climate change
- Mitigation of these effects, for example via restoration ecology
- Sustainable ecosystem management
Ecologists play a key role in understanding how humans impact the environment. This knowledge is a prerequisite for combatting important environmental challenges of our time. It is also vital when working to reverse land and water degradation through restoration measures.
NMBU has an extensive course catalogue within ecology and related subjects, which is taught by dedicated teachers and researchers who are experts within their field.
The master's thesis gives you the opportunity to delve into a scientific topic of your choice. We give our students plenty of freedom when it comes to choosing a topic for the thesis. NMBU's ecology students do their fieldwork in many different countries in some of the most spectacular natural landscapes on the planet. Example of previous thesis topics include:
- Carnivore biology and management
- Forest biology and ecology
- Freshwater ecology
- Freshwater fish management
- Insect ecology
- Plant ecology
- Tropical flora and fauna
- Wildlife conservation and management
Ecologists work in all parts of society where environmental issues are of concern. You will be qualified for tasks related to environmental monitoring, biological conservation, research, and education.
Our alumni work for a variety of employers, ranging from public government, NGOs, research institutions, and the university sector. The programme has a strong research emphasis, and can serve as a foundation for PhD studies.
Here are just some examples of the kinds of jobs our graduates have obtained:
- Biological researcher. Many of our alumni continue in this direction, either as PhD candidates or research assistants. Previous research projects include carnivore management, entomology, forest biology, fish biology and much more
- Consultant, working with f.ex impact assessments, habitat restoration and species mapping related to encroachment of nature
- Urban natural resource manager
- Fish and wildlife manager (at various levels of government)
- National park manager
Interviews with finished candidates:
As an ecology student you will study nature and natural processes. You will learn about the factors that regulate the structure and diversity of ecosystems. You will also learn about the interactions between humans and ecosystems, including our impacts and their mitigation.
We focus on the significance of biodiversity for ecosystems and underlying causes for the loss of biological diversity. Our goal is to give you an up-to-date knowledge on global environmental change and how it affects organisms and ecosystems.
As a graduate you will be able to plan and conduct independent scientific field work, as well as evaluate, analyse and synthesize the data afterwards. You will also be able to use ecological principles and knowledge from an applied perspective; such as in nature conservation and the management of natural resources.
The following courses are compulsory for all students:
- Conservation biology
- Ecological research
- Global change ecology
- Interdisciplinary collaboration on sustainability
- Methods in natural sciences
- Restoration ecology
In addition, you must choose a minimum of one of the following courses:
- Behavioural and population ecology
- Ecological entomology
- Ecology and management of natural resources in the tropics
- Ecology and management of rivers and lakes
- Environmental pollutants and ecotoxicology
- Forest Ecology
- Human wildlife interactions
- Landscape ecology
- Tropical rainforest ecology and conservation
To make it easier to choose from NMBU's extensive course catalogue, we have created some suggested example plans within the following topics (click on the course code to see course descriptions):
- Tropical Ecology
- Tropical Ecology and Management of Natural Resources
- Entomology and Forest Ecology
- Population and Landscape Ecology
- Plant Ecophysiology
- Freshwater Ecology and Ecotoxicology
- Environmental Pollution
These specializations will provide you with a number of additional skills and competencies.
Learning by doing: the master's thesis
To facilitate extensive hands-on experience, the entire second year is dedicated the master’s thesis (60 ECTS). This enables you to gain extensive fieldwork and data analysis experience, giving you a competitive edge in the job market after graduation. Our master´s students do their fieldwork in many different countries, spread across four continents.
A Bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, in natural sciences, with solid knowledge of ecology and ecological processes.
Applicants must have obtained a minimum grade point average (GPA) of C (in Norwegian scale) or equivalent from the specialization in their degree.
Applicants must demonstrate English language ability in accordance with the NMBU regulations for programmes taught in English.
Students who have already obtained a master’s degree in Norway will not be prioritised
You can find general information on admission to NMBU here.
I cooperate with my colleagues on varied ecological research projects, which include field work, statistical analysis and writing reports and scientific papers.Rannveig M. Jacobsen, Researcher, Norwegian Institute of Nature Research (NINA)
Snapshots from our research:
Watch your chickens! (about our fox research)
Palm oil: Down from the conservation barricades and out of the rhetorical trenches