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Linköping University MSc In Ecology and Sustainable Development
Linköping University

MSc In Ecology and Sustainable Development

Linköping, Sweden

4 Semesters


Full time

Request application deadline

Aug 2024

SEK 252,000 / per year *


* only to students from outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland


In a world facing complex environmental problems, ecological understanding and a systems perspective are fundamental to finding sustainable solutions. If you are interested in nature and want to address global challenges, this program is the right choice.

By applying ecological theories and quantitative methods, you will learn how to identify crop management strategies for biological control, evaluate the preservation status of nature reserves, and analyze regional ecosystem services and how they interplay with social and economic systems.

Collaborative research

Ecology courses at LiU have a research perspective and are based on cases where you work closely with fellow students, teachers, and researchers in a collaborative atmosphere. As a student, you take part in outstanding research in, for example, conservation ecology and sustainable development. You will sharpen your skills in experimental design, theoretical thinking, modeling, systems analysis, and scientific communication.

Internship and one-year thesis

During a six-week internship and in your one-year thesis project, you will have the opportunity to go deeper into areas of your interest and to establish a professional network for your future working life. Possible thesis subjects include biodiversity, species interaction in food webs, and nutrient cycling.



The Master’s program in Ecology and Sustainable Development aims to provide the students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for a professional in the field or for further postgraduate studies. The program meets both national and international needs from universities, industry, and society in general. The education intends to provide in-depth knowledge in ecology and its applications in nature conservation and environmental management.

Students graduating from the Master's program in Ecology and Sustainable Development shall:

  • be well prepared for advanced scientific communication with different target groups.
  • be able to contribute to the sustainable development of society.
  • be well prepared for further postgraduate studies, but also for advanced positions in the national or international labor market.


Disciplinary knowledge and reasoning

Graduates from the Master's program in Ecology and Sustainable Development demonstrate theoretical knowledge and understanding of ecology, including a broad knowledge of the area and considerable in-depth knowledge in certain parts of the area. The graduates are also acquainted with current research in the field.

The program builds upon a Bachelor's education in Biology, where fundamental knowledge in the area has been acquired. Entry requirements include at least 5 ECTS credits in Ecology.

Graduates from the Master's program in Ecology and Sustainable Development have acquired advanced knowledge in ecological theory and analysis. Also, the graduated student knows how this theory can be applied within e. g. nature conservation, biological pest control, and wetland design for water purification. The program covers current theories in population, society, and systems ecology in a broad sense, but also gives in-depth knowledge in certain areas. A graduate from the Master's programme in Ecology and Sustainable Development has gained:

  • knowledge in current issues in the field of environment and natural resource management
  • ability to identify how ecological skills can be used to contribute to the development of a sustainable society, including how to prioritize between different areas of development
  • awareness of current ecological theories
  • ability to plan and implement ecological studies in the field and in the laboratory
  • ability to evaluate and interpret data from environmental monitoring software and experiments
  • ability to carry out ecological risk assessments
  • ability to use mathematical and statistical tools and models for structuring and analyzing complex ecological problems, and familiarity with current software for this purpose.

The Master's programme in Ecology and Sustainable Development is conducted in close collaboration with strong research environments, which gives the students insight into current research and development within the areas of ecological networks and species extinction, the spread of infection, food safety, and recirculation of nutrients in the socioecological context, biodiversity, nature conservation, and landscape ecology. During the Master's thesis work, the student can work for a full year with a research group, a company, or a public authority, getting very well acquainted with research findings within one of the areas. The graduated student is also able to design a scientific study and is skilled in critically reading relevant research literature.

Personal and professional skills and attributes

Students who graduated from the Master's programme in Ecology and Sustainable Development have achieved the individual and professional skills and attitudes required to be able to critically and systematically integrate knowledge and to analyze and evaluate complex issues even with limited information. The graduates can also take responsibility at work or during post-graduate studies concerning work ethics, reliability, and respect for the expertise of other professionals. Students from the program can make relevant judgments regarding scientific, social, and ethical aspects.

Interpersonal skills: Teamwork and communication

Students having graduated from the Master's programme in Ecology and Sustainable Development can collaborate with other people. This requires the ability to actively participate in a project with designated roles, tasks, and responsibilities. The graduates can also initiate, plan, lead and evaluate larger projects. Students who graduated from the programme are skilled in written and oral communication. The students can present information, problems, and solutions in a structured way with relevant techniques, in English or in their native language, to different target groups.

Planning, execution, and presentation of research or development projects with respect to scientific and societal needs and requirements

Students who graduated from the Master's programme in Ecology and Sustainable Development shall have knowledge about the natural scientist and the role of natural science in society. The graduates also understand the social and economic conditions in the field and in the related research area. They can initiate, conduct and present advanced development projects with established methods.

Teaching and working methods

The program comprises four semesters of full-time studies and leads to a Master of Science (120 credits) in Biology. The teaching language is English. The included courses are found in the curriculum. Courses are mainly organized around case studies that are solved individually or in groups. This often involves independent planning of a more or less extensive task that is to be reported orally or in writing. This achievement is supplemented with compulsory laboratory work, seminars, and field studies.

The Master thesis work is mainly performed during the second year and comprises 30, 45, or 60 högskolepoäng (equivalent to ECTS credits). This means that the student may choose a less extensive master thesis and combine this with further course studies in other related areas, or more in-depth courses in the same field.

In the curriculum, it is specified which courses are mandatory (m), elective (e), or voluntary (v). Also, the notation m/e could be found, which means that one of a group of courses should be selected. Courses not included in the curriculum must be approved by the program board after consultation with the study counselor. The courses should be relevant to the program.


Sustainable nutrient and energy management

Natural resources are the building blocks of any ecosystem. Understanding where these resources are, how they flow on our landscapes, and why we see these use patterns are key questions to inform more sustainable management.

Conservation Ecology Group

The management of species-rich grassland and deciduous forests has changed drastically over the last 80 years. Many species have become rare and endangered as the resources and habitat decrease. We study what is needed to preserve diversity.

Ecological networks and community ecology

We use ecological networks and other modeling approaches to address a variety of community ecology questions.

Theoretical Biology

The research in the division of Theoretical Biology is based on mathematical modeling. Using this approach we study the structure and dynamics of different kinds of large-scale biological systems, such as ecological and epidemiological systems.


Scholarships and Funding


Program Tuition Fee

Career Opportunities

About the School