Freshwater Ecology

Tilhører studiet:
Photo: Audun Rikardsen
Photo: Audun Rikardsen

Freshwater Ecology

Tilhører studiet:
Application deadline
Nordic applicants: 20 April International applicants: 1 December
How to apply?

In a world perspective, Norway is unique with its immense number of lakes and rivers of great economic and recreational values. These abundant freshwater habitats also constitute excellent model systems both for exploring basic ecological research topics as well as for developing good management strategies. The research profile of the Freshwater Ecology Group (FEG) has always been in the intersection between these two important areas, and as such is well renowned with many collaborators both nationally and internationally. With a master’s degree from FEG, students will be ready to take on jobs within nature management, higher education and consultancy, or continue with research within freshwater ecology and related subjects.


Questions about the study

Master’s projects are usually related to topical activities within freshwater ecology, which include research in lakes, rivers and coastal areas related to landlocked and anadromous populations of fish (in particular salmonids) as well as invertebrates. Research activities comprise basic aspects of ecology and more applied topics related to nature and resource management. Important keywords are population and community ecology, predation, competition, parasitism, trophic ecology, ecological speciation, invasion biology, anadromy, life history and migration.

For more information about the research group see: Freshwater ecology research group.

Recommended elective courses

Recommended elective courses (autumn) which timeplans are coordinated with the compulsory courses BIO-3505 and BIO-3521 are the following:

  • BIO-3519 Parasittologi og epidemiologi - 10 ECTS (given in norwegian)
  • BIO-3111 Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Earth Observation - 10 ECTS
  • BIO-3013 Northern food web ecology - 10 ECTS

Recommended elective courses (spring) which timeplans are coordinated with the compulsory course BIO-3518 are the following:

  • BIO-3028 Evolutionary and ecological interactions - 10 ECTS (every other year)
  • BIO-3003 Fish migration: Theory and technology - 10 ECTS
  • BIO-3004 Ecosystem-based management - 10 ECTS
  • BIO-3805/3810/3815/3820 Individual Special Curriculum - 5/10/15/20 ECTS

Candidates that have completed a master’s degree in biology in the discipline Freshwater ecology will have advanced knowledge in ecological and evolutionary theory, management-related knowledge and key methodologies for research in freshwater habitats and fish ecology. Furthermore, the students will have an overview over physical and chemical factors and processes in freshwater environments as an important foundation for understanding the significant seasonal changes in ecological patterns.

Students will be able to critically evaluate information from a variety of sources and to transpose acquired knowledge and competency to issues relevant for society, like e.g., freshwater and fish resource management and conservation.

The Master’s degree in Biology will allow you to qualify for different career paths and prepare you to step into a professional role or to apply for a PhD.

A Master of Science degree in Biology will prepare you for a wide range of jobs, in both public and private sectors, including research, resource and nature management, administration, consulting and the teaching profession.

The master thesis can play an important role to establish your domain of expertise and to showcase acquired technical and soft skills. Also, it can be very important in building scientific and professional network, that will be a support in your future job search.

Term 10 ects 10 ects 10 ects
Compulsory safety courses at semester start (no ECTS)
First semester (autumn)
Elective course (10 ECTS)
Second semester (spring)****
Animal exp. (5/6 ECTS)***
Elective course
Intensive teaching in class (January – March)
Third semester (autumn)*****
Fourth semester (spring)
* BIO-3529 is 5 ECTS spread over the two first semesters and conducted partly digitally to accommodate students going to UNIS.
** BIO-3503 Aquatic Animal Welfare (only for projects that require use of live aquatic organisms) or HEL-6320 Animal Experimentation for Researchers (only for projects that require use of live birds or mammals). Please note that there is an own application deadline for HEL-6320.
*** Possibilities to take single (intensive) courses at UNIS from mid-March.
**** Possibilities to take single (intensive) courses at UNIS.

Admission to the master’s program in Biology requires a bachelor’s degree (180 ECTS) or equivalent qualification, including a specialization in biological topics [i.e., biodiversity (zoology/botany), ecology, cell- and molecular biology, microbiology, physiology (animal/plant), biochemistry and bioinformatics] corresponding to a minimum of 80 ECTS.

Applicants with a degree in Agricultural, Fisheries and Aquaculture studies, Biomedical laboratory sciences ("Bioingeniør"), or Bachelor of Pharmacy, Medicine or Dentistry do not fulfil the admission requirements.

Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in Europe, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand: An average grade of C is the minimum requirement (see the link for information on the grading system).

Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in countries other than the above-mentioned region/countries: An average grade of B is the minimum requirement.

The average grade is calculated for the entire bachelor's degree.

More information on admission requirements:

General admission requirements-Master

Applicants from Norway or Nordic countries:

Application deadline: April 15th for admission to the autumn semester and November 1st for admission to the spring semester.

Online application is via Søknadsweb, study code 6021

International appplicants/Applicants from outside the Nordic countries:

Application deadline: December 1st for admission to the autumn semester. 

Online application, study code: 2077

How to apply for admission to UiT? Read more here

Several teaching and assessment methods are employed, including lectures, seminars, laboratory work, computer lab and field courses. These will vary from course to course.
Course examinations may be oral or written examinations, assessments of project work/ lab reports/field reports, often in combination.
Supervision of the project work that leads to the writing of the Master`s thesis will be given by faculty staff, sometimes in co-operation with an external supervisor.

The language of instruction and all syllabus material is English.

On successful completion of the degree programme, students may be qualified for admission to to a PhD-programme in Biology at the UiT or elsewhere.

Students can undertake periods of studying at The University Centre at Svalbard (UNIS), especially during their third and fourth semester. Each discipline highlights relevant courses at UNIS.

International exchange during an entire semester is not possible in the first year of studies to obligatory courses in all discipline.

Stays abroad can take place as part of a master project in the third and fourth semester. Please consult the program study adviser for more information.

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