The National Geographic Society defines ecology as “study of organisms and how they interact with the environment around them. An ecologist studies the relationship between living things and their habitats”

( It goes on to say that “In addition to examining how ecosystems function, ecologists study what happens when ecosystems do not function normally”. To The Ecology Society of America, “Ecology is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment; it seeks to understand the vital connections between plants and animals and the world around them. Ecology also provides information about the benefits of ecosystems and how we can use Earth’s resources in ways that leave the environment healthy for future generations” (

There is a wide range of courses centred on ecology as the core but with many diverse combinations. Some universities offer breadth while choose to focus on one or two core areas. However, there is some overlap among these courses. You will see Masters titled thus:  Ecology with Evolution and Conservation, Environment and Ecology, Ecology and Biodiversity, Computational Ecology & Mathematical Ecology, Applied Ecology, Landscape Ecology



Norwegian University of Life Sciences, runs a Master of Science in Ecology, which delivers “understanding of the ecological and evolutionary processes.” ( University of Basel has a Master’s in Ecology which covers modules such as “wide spectrum of plant and animal ecology, ecosystem science and conservation biology giving students the possibility of studying the interactions among organisms, between organisms and their environment, ecosystem processes and human influences on ecosystem integrity and biological diversity.” ( The University of Zurich offers an MSc in Biology, Ecology exposing students to a wide range of organisms and ecosystems “from microbes to tortoises and glacial streams to alpine meadows.” (

University of Copenhagen, Denmark runs an MSc in Biology with a specialisation in Ecology, focusing on “fundamental ecological and evolutionary processes, drivers of spatial and temporal distribution of species, whole – organism biology of bacteria, fungi, protists and multicellular organisms of importance to ecosystem function and organisms typical of specific environments, the function of ecosystems and their interaction with local, regional and global systems, including global change, applied and societal aspects of ecology and evolution”. (

Daad, University of Bremen offers a Master of Science in Ecology with specialization in “Molecular, Behavioural, Population, Vegetation, Field, Cognitive, Marine or Soil Ecology, as well as Conservation Biology, Risk Assessment, or Ecological Modelling”. ( University of York has an MSc in Biodiversity, Ecology and Ecosystems, which combines “cutting – edge theory with practical, applied skills”. (

Western Colorado University offers a Master of Science in Ecology, which “provides contemporary scientific training to address pressing questions in the ecology, conservation and management of the Earth’s biota, landscapes and ecosystems.” The program has two tracks – “Ecology and Conservation and Fisheries and Wildlife Management.” ( Cornell University runs an MS (Ithaca) in Ecology with concentrations in “animal ecology, applied ecology, biogeochemistry, community and ecosystem ecology, limnology, oceanography, physiological ecology, plant ecology, population ecology, theoretical ecology, vertebrate ecology”. ( San Diego State University’s Masters in Ecology program “emphasizes quantitative approaches and the framing of problems within the context of ecological theory”. ( Colorado State University offers an MS in Ecology, which provides education in “Ecological Risk Assessment and Management and Human Environment Interactions”. (

Umea University offers a Master’s Programme in Ecology which gives “a deeper knowledge of how fishing, forestry, river regulations, pollution and climate changes affect biodiversity and ecosystem function in forests, lakes, mountains and sea”. (

Massey University, University of New Zealand runs a Master of Science in Ecology, which gives knowledge in subjects like “Biodiversity and biogeography, Community Ecology, Behavioural Ecology, Lake and River Management, Plant Ecology, Modelling animal populations, Soil Communities and ecosystem function.” (

Ecology with Evolution and Conservation

University of Potsdam’s (Germany) Master of Science in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation covers topics such as “the entire spectrum of climate impact research, evolutionary ecology, evolutionary biology, and aquatic and landscape ecology”. ( Uppasala University, Sweden has a Master’s programme in Ecology and Conservation. ( University of Groningen’s (The Netherlands) Master’s in Ecology and Evolution focuses on “how organisms, populations and communities are affected by changing environmental conditions, and how this knowledge can contribute to successful ecological conservation and restoration programs” (

University of Exeter, (U.K.) runs MSc in Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology in which they emphasize “social mammals, birds, turtles and insects”, “quantitative and molecular genetics” ( Queen Mary University of London (UK) runs MSc in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, which provides concepts           to understand “factors underpinning global ecology and evolutionary change, including modern techniques for environmental process research, invasive species ecology and conservation genetics.  Students also learn techniques important for environmental policy and management”. (

University of Aberdeen has an MSc in Ecology and Conservation which provides “training in plant community ecology, animal population ecology, GIS and experimental design and analysis (which includes use of R)”. ( Imperial College London offers an MSc and MRes in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, which “concentrates on inter-disciplinary approaches and current research tools in these disciplines, and use external visitors from a range of conservation organisations to highlight the issues around applying science to practical conservation.” (–conservation-msc-and-mres/). Queen’s University Belfast runs an MSc in Ecological Management and Conservation Biology, which emphasizes problems such as “unprecedented pressure on the environment due to exploitation, habitat degradation and loss, climate change, invasive species, pollution and emerging diseases”. ( University of Sussex runs an MSci in Ecology, Conservation and Environment, seeks to understand “world’s most serious environmental and ecological challenges”. ( University of East Anglia’s MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation covers topics such as “Geographical Information Systems (GIS), practical conservation and work experience, evolutionary biology, conservation genetics and statistical modelling using R.” (

University of Southampton has a 4-year MSci in Ecology and Conservation dealing with the “impact of human activity on our ecosystems, examining cell biology right up to animal behaviour and biodiversity”. ( Oxford Brooks University runs an MSc in Conservation Ecology, which focuses on “knowledge of international and national wildlife legislation, planning law and environmental policy, IT competencies, including Geographical Information Systems (GIS), an understanding of the ecological requirements of different species and the implications of environmental change, an ability to statistically interpret field data”. (

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich’s Master’s in Evolution, Ecology and Systematics provides a “broad biology background” and teaches “many techniques and approaches that are used in evolution, ecology, and systematics research. These include micro-array techniques, field experiments, the use of natural history collections, mathematical modelling, and modern genetic methods.” ( University of Bern, Switzerland runs a Master’s in Ecology and Evolution. The program offers specializations in “Animal Ecology and Conservation, Behaviour, Evolution, Plant Ecology.” ( University of Tübingen offers an MSc in Evolution and Ecology, which “provides instruction on the origin, the evolution and the conservation of complex biological systems in time (current – historical) and space (local – global) and integrates processes from the genetic level through the organism to the ecological communities. The curriculum covers synthetic fundamental principles as well as applied, environmentally relevant aspects. The focus of the course is on the detailed scientific investigation of the evolution of organisms and the importance of their interactions in their environment” (  Karlstad University’s  Master’s in Ecology and Conservation, focuses on applied ecology and conservation issues. (

Taking a different orientation, TuDelft University, The Netherlands has MSc in Industrial Ecology. “Industrial Ecology is an emergent scientific discipline that promotes a systemic approach to human problems, integrating technical, environmental and social aspects. It is argued that this approach will show the way to sustainable development. For that reason Industrial Ecology is considered to be the ‘toolbox for sustainable development’ and the ‘science of sustainability’. Industrial Ecology is a cooperation between TU Delft En Leiden University.” (

Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia runs an MS in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development (CESD). The program focuses on the problems such as “the rapid depletion of our natural resources and the loss of biodiversity and remnant ‘natural’ areas in the landscape.” ( University of Toronto, (Canada) runs Master of Science and Ph.D. in in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, which provides knowledge in “anatomy/physiology, behaviour, behaviour genetics, bioinformatics, community/population/ecosystem/landscape/evolutionary ecology, conservation biology, developmental biology, genetics/genomics, microbiology, molecular evolution, plant biology, taxonomy/systematics, and theoretical biology.” (

Columbia University, (New York) runs Master’s in Ecology Evolutionary and Conservation Biology which focuses on “biological sciences and integrates environmental policy and economics concepts.” (  School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), University of Michigan runs an MS in Conservation Ecology in which students may learn about “local, regional, national and international environmental issues ranging from urban settings to wilderness areas” also “the fundamental concepts and techniques necessary for the study of ecosystem and how to apply them to solve complex problems”. ( San Francisco State University’s MS in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology (EECB) is helpful for those students who wish to pursue “systematics, evolution, conservation, population genetics, genomics, behavior of organisms; community, population, reproductive, physiological, and evolutionary ecology; taxonomy, biodiversity, and biogeography.”  (

The University of Melbourne’s (Australia) Master’s in Ecosystem Science students may explore subjects such as “Conservation biology, ecology, environmental psychology, landscape management, forest science, horticulture, hydrology and soil science”. ( The University of Queensland runs a Master of Conservation Biology, which “uses the science of conservation, ecology and biodiversity to develop strategies and policies that aim to find effective solutions in securing the world’s biological diversity.” (

Ben-Gurion University of Negev, Israel Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies runs an MSc in Ecology, Conservation and Management emphasizes on “biodiversity, community dynamics and organism-level processes combined with methodological knowledge, including statistics, mathematics, model developing and assessment procedures specific to nature conservation and management.” (

Environment and Ecology

Newcastle University runs an MSc in Ecology and Wildlife Conservation in which students learn about “wildlife conservation policy and practice, environmental impacts, sustainable development”. ( University of Glasgow has an MRes in Ecology and Environmental Biology, studying “ornithology, fish biology, aquatic ecosystems, epidemiology, modelling and physiological, molecular and evolutionary ecology”. ( Liverpool Hope University runs an MSc in Ecology and Environmental Management, which “aims to develop advanced academic understandings and insight relating to ecology and the environmental management of natural resources. Field based elements are a significant part of the course”. ( Canterbury Christ Church University has an MSc in Applied Ecology and Environmental Management, which “incorporates topics in ecology, environmental sciences and environmental management to explore the relationship between the natural world and society.” (

Linköping University runs Master’s programme in Ecology and the Environment which deals with areas such as “management of ecosystems, ecological communities and populations, based on a thorough knowledge of ecological concepts and theories.” (

Indiana University Bloomington runs a Master of Science in Environmental Science (MSES) with concentration in Ecology and Conservation, which focuses on “explore ecology, climate-change impacts, ecosystem restoration, endangered species, GIS, soil, and the management of fisheries, forests, wildlife, lakes, watersheds, streams, and wetlands.” (  Ecology and Biodiversity

Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain offers Master’s in Terrestrial Ecology and Biodiversity Management. It helps students to focus on “processes involved in the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems and the options for mitigating their future deterioration in a context of global environmental change”. It also gives information on “management and conservation of biological natural resources (flora and fauna)”. This Masters degree is available with two specialisations: “terrestrial Ecology and Management and Diversity of Fauna and Flora (marine and terrestrial).” (

Lund University, Sweden has Master’s programme in Animal Ecology in which students can learn about “how to analyse and understand evolutionary processes at the level of genes, individuals and populations”, “how evolutionary and ecological processes form appearance, physiology and behaviour in animal”, “how evolutionary and ecological processes form appearance, physiology and behaviour in animals”. (

University of Innsbruck, Austria runs Master’s in Ecology and Biodiversity, which emphasizes on “aquatic and terrestrial ecology, from molecular ecology to landscape ecology. The spectrum includes the relationships between organisms, populations, biocenoses and their environment, the structure and function of ecosystems and landscapes, and biodiversity and global change. Students treat research-related and application-oriented issues based on theoretical and experimental laboratory and field approaches. Much of the teaching content is closely linked to the key research areas “ecology of the Alpine region” and “mountain agriculture”. ( Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s (Belgium) Master of Science in Biology in Ecology and Biodiversity “allow students to gain experience in the research methods used to study the ecology and evolution of organisms found in terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystem” ( Lund University offers a Master’s degree in Biology, Animal Ecology, which teaches to 1) “analyse and understand evolutionary processes at the level of genes, individuals and populations”, 2) understand “how evolutionary and ecological processes form appearance, physiology and behaviour in animals 3) analyses “costs and benefits of different traits and how these are optimized to form reproductive and survival strategies”. (

University of Florida (UF) runs an MSc in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation which focuses on “wildlife biology, ecology, and management; landscape ecology and restoration; human dimensions; tropical and international conservation; and conservation education”. (

Applied Ecology

Christian Albrechts Universität Zu Kiel runs a Master of Science in Applied Ecology, which gives knowledge in “understanding of human-related or natural disturbances and being able to carry out ecological  diagnostics; Understanding the dynamics and functions in temperate continental and aquatic ecosystems; Understanding the consequences of global change on the equilibrium of ecosystems; Understanding the risks in population dynamics, biodiversity impoverishment and interspecific relationships.” ( University of Gloucestershire, (England) has MSc in Applied Ecology which looks at a range of topics such as “Applied Conservation, Practical Ecological Methods, Field Ecology, Ecological Interactions, Citizen Science and Public Engagement, Geographic Information Systems, Environmental Pollution and Remediation, Environmental Governance and Decision Making”. (

The University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway Norwegian, Norway runs Masters in Marine Ecology and Resource Biology, which is “a study of marine ecology, biodiversity, fisheries ecology, fish biology and aquaculture.”  ( University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland runs MA in Ecology and Contemporary Performance (MAECP). “MAECP investigates and develops the methodologies, practices and theoretical bases of contemporary performance while developing new forms of collaboration, interaction and knowledge production in between the art, the research and the sciences and within a posthumanist framework.” (

University of Alberta, Canada runs an MSc in Family Ecology and Practice which aims “to enhance the well-being of children, youth and families – with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable.” (

Computational Ecology & Mathematical Ecology

Imperial College London also runs an MSc in Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution, teaching “quantitative methods and biological concepts together, through application of the methods to cutting-edge biological research problems” and focusing on “current topics in modern quantitative biology, such as interactions between ecological and evolutionary dynamics, and the effects of climate change on ecological communities.”  ( Newcastle University runs an MSc in Computational Ecology, which focuses on “on mathematical and statistical theory necessary for data interpretation and analysis.” (

Heriot Watt University (UK) runs MSc in Mathematical Biology, Ecology and Medicine. This course “provide a comprehensive training in mathematical modelling of problems in the life sciences, in mathematical techniques to study these models, and in the use of data to both inform and test the models.” ( University of Exeter, (U.K.) offers MSci in Mathematical Sciences (Ecology and Evolution) with duration of four years. This programme provides programme offers you an opportunity to explore mathematics and statistics, and the development of underpinning theory relevant to applications in ecology and to understanding the evolution of life itself.  (

Landscape Ecology

University of Hohenheim offers a Master’s in Landscape Ecology, which studies climate, soils, land use, and other environmental aspects vary throughout space and time; how organisms react to these variations in the environment; how interactions of organisms in changing environments influence the dynamics of species communities, and how these dynamics in turn determine ecosystem processes.( Stockholm University runs a Master’s Programme in Landscape Ecology which helps students to understand the link between “ecological processes, landscape patterns and human interactions” and focuses on “topics such as habitat monitoring, conservation and restoration of biodiversity, ecosystem services and management of landscapes, seascapes and their associated resources.” (

Karlstad University’s Master’s in Landscape Ecology teaches “how changes in the landscape affect ecosystems and species distribution, how the composition, structure and function of the landscape change and how humans manage landscapes. Landscape ecology with its focus on spatial patterns is important for various conservation issues, as the course highlights.” ( University of Greifswald offers Master’s in Landscape Ecology, which is supplemented by “contents from the fields of landscape economics and environmental ethics”. ( University of Hohenheim, Germany runs Master’s in Landscape Ecology, which studies “studies how organisms react to such changes in the environment, how interactions of organisms in changing environments influence the dynamics of biological communities, and how these dynamics in turn determine ecosystem processes.”  (