Master Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health

Frankfurt am Main, in the centre of Europe with its numerous institutions dealing with biodiversity (link to BioFrankfurt e.V.), provides the perfect environment to study the master´s prgramme "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health (BEH)". It is an international programme taught in English and  can be completet within two years.

In this programme, basic and up-to-date scientific knowledge as well as skills for practical laboratory- and fieldwork are acquired, on biodiversity, ecology and evolution of animals, plants, and fungi under the influence of global change. The curriculum includes teaching on genetic diversity, species diversity, diversity of interactions, biocenoses and ecosystems. Consequently, an understanding of biological diversity and ecosystem dynamics as results of evolutionary processes shaped by abiotic, biotic, and anthropogenic factors is established and refined.

The programme starts with a module on the basics of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health that is mandatory for all participants in the first year. Thereafter, the equivalent of two semester terms is spent studying elective modules that are selected from a broad spectrum of topics made available by the Goethe University in collaboration with the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum (link) as well as further cooperating partners. Thus, the opportunity to focus on a favourite field of interest that can later be specified on the master certificate is furnished. Possible areas of specialization are:

  • Ecology
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Organismic Diversity
  • Mycology

After completing this programme, the theoretical and methodological knowledge of biodiversity and ecology in times of global change will enable the master's graduate to occupy a position in research or in practical fields of biodiversity, nature conservation and sustainable development. The acquired knowledge on the effects of global change on biodiversity, ecosystem functions and evolutionary processes allows the master's graduate to understand and evaluate current developments, act responsibly and assume role model functions in science and society.         

    !!! Important Information !!!!

The curriculum of the master's degree programme, "Ökologie und Evolution", which was previously a German-language course, will be changed to an English-language master's degree programme, "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health", as part of the current reaccreditation.

Important changes associated with the aforementioned: 

  •  The title of the master's degree program "Ökologie und Evolution" will be changed to "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health"
  • International applicants no longer need to show that they have passed the "Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH) " exam i.e., the German language test for university admission
  • New students will only be admitted to this master's degree programme in the winter semester. The possibility to start the course in the summer semester will be dispensed with.
  • At the beginning of their studies, in the first half of the winter semester, all students shall take a basic module with lectures and tutorials titled "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health". Thereby the acquisition of advanced language skills is supported by various offers.
  • In the compulsory elective area, all modules shall be taught in English, with few exceptions.

The large compulsory elective area, which was set up for the master's degree programme in "Ökologie und Evolution", as well as the "Freie Modul" (new name: "Optional Module") will be retained.

The changes will be implemented from the beginning of the winter semester 2023/24 provided that the amended curriculum regulations and the associated module handbook are approved by the responsible committees.       

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For queries, please contact: 
Prof. Dr. Meike Piepenbring - academic programme director and head of the examination board,, F+49 69 798-42222
Dr. Sabrina Schiwy - coordinator of the master programme,, T +49 69 798-42173

The study requirement is a Bachelor´s degree from a university or universtity of applied science in biological sciende or related subject or comparable achievements, wherby the completed courese of study must have a standard study period of at least six semesters. Pre-study internships, professional training or work experience, are not required for admission to the master´s programme "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health".

Structur and content of the study programme

1. Semester: Basic module  and 1 elective course
2. Semester: 2 elective courses or one elective course and one optinal module
3. Semester: 1 elective module or one Optional Module and  the Research Project (6 weeks full day in the working group)
4. Semester: Master thesis (6 month full day in the working group)
In the 3rd semester, there is the possibility to study abroad (e.g. with ERASMUS).

An overview of the modules and further information on the modules can be found here and in the module manual or in the study regulations (english version).

Students who commenced their studies in 2022 or earlier in the Master's programme "Ökologie und Evolution" are governed by the previous study regulations (in german).