Northern Populations and Ecosystems

Tilhører studiet:
Photo: John-André Henden
Photo: John-André Henden

Northern Populations and Ecosystems

Tilhører studiet:
Application deadline
Nordic applicants: 15 April/1 November
International applicants: 1 December
How to apply?

We offer master projects integrating field work, theory and statistics for students to achieve research training as well as skills transferable to other disciplines such as nature management and education. We offer projects that reflect current challenges and enhance our knowledge basis in basic ecology and evolution, applied ecology and cross-disciplinary studies between ecology and social sciences. You can choose a project involving topics such as ecological effects of climate change, ecological interactions, ecological modelling, ecosystem monitoring, ecosystem-based management, socio-ecological systems, behavioural ecology and biology didactics, primarily in terrestrial, northern ecosystems. Projects are often conducted as part of larger research projects and in team work. We collaborate extensively with partners within the Fram Centre ( such as the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) and the Norwegian Polar Institute.

Questions about the study

Camilla Andreassen

Student advisor

Students enrolled in the Master`s discipline Northern populations and ecosystems will acquire initial training in basic and/or applied research that could be continued in PhD projects. Basic scholarly competence in the MS project topic chosen will be acquired primarily through the courses provided by the group. However, candidates are advised to take contact with the group in order to decide on their MS project topic on the start of the Master programme as deviations from the recommended courses may be relevant for some of the topics. More specialized scholarly competence relevant to the specific Master project will be acquired through the reading of scientific literature as advised by the supervisor(s).

Students in the Master`s discipline Northern populations and ecosystems will be trained in

  • Theoretical and conceptual frameworks relevant to their topic
  • Making study designs reflecting the hypotheses or questions of their research project
  • Up-to-date methods for acquiring and analyzing data
  • Writing a research paper
  • Holding a research project presentation

The first year students take courses relevant for their MSc projects, which are decided upon together with their main supervisor and, if not part of the course portfolio offered by our group, accepted by the study program board. Students could choose to take the more general courses as suggested in the study plan (below), or replace courses to acquire more in-depth knowledge in a specific subject area. The specialization also encourages international exchange with our partner universities. The Master`s Thesis is conducted the second year. For more information about the choice of topics and the research group see: Northern populations and ecosystems.

Compulsory courses are depended on the Master`s topic, and the students are encouraged to discuss with supervisors what would be the optimal set of courses (list below). Minimum 20 ECTS of the following courses is nevertheless compulsory:

  • BIO-3013 Northern food web ecology (autumn) - 10 ECTS
  • BIO-3111 GIS (autumn) - 10 ECTS
  • BIO-3004 Ecosystem-based management (spring) - 10 ECTS

Other elective courses for the master's discipline:

  • BIO-3505 Ecological interaction (autumn) - 10 ECTS
  • BIO-3519 Parasittologi (autumn) Norwegian course- 10 ECTS
  • BIO-3525 Evolution and Ecologically driven speciation (spring, every 2 year) - 10 ECTS
  • BIO-3027 Scientific Programming with Python in the Life Sciences (Spring) 10 ECTS
  • BIO-3805/3810/3815/3820 Individual Special Curriculum (autumn/spring) - 5/10/15/20 ECTS
  • BIO-2103 "Evolusjon og adferd" is a potential elective course for students reading Norwegian.

Courses at The University Centre at Svalbard (UNIS):

  • AB-326 Arctic Plant Ecology (summer/autumn) - 10 ECTS
  • AB-327 Arctic Microbiology (summer) - 10 ECTS
  • AB-329 Arctic Winter Ecology (spring) - 10 ECTS

A Master's candidate is expected to have advanced and comprehensive knowledge of biological methodology, theories, concepts and scientific approaches. The candidates who complete the programme are expected to have achieved the following learning outcomes, defined by general proficincy, knowledge and skills:

Students will have advanced knowledge in biology and in the following discipline:

  • Northern populations and ecosystem

Students will have the ability to:

  • Formulate relevant research questions in an independent manner, and apply theories, concepts and methods pursuant to the scientific and ethical standards in the field.
  • To search for and evaluate recent biological research in a critical manner, and to make assessments using scientific knowledge in the field.
  • To present biological knowledge and ideas in an instructive manner to researchers, policy makers and the general public.

General proficiency

  • Have acquired specialized expertise in one of the disciplines offered
  • Have the competence to analyze biological problems that require skills at a high level.
  • Apply their knowledge and skills in biological theory and methods in new areas relevant to society
  • Have sufficient competence to participate in and to evaluate research projects or to advance to doctoral studies

A Master`s of Science degree in Biology will prepare students for a wide range of jobs, in both public and private sectors, including; research, administration, consulting and the teaching profession.
Many Master`s students in Biology are connected to common projects involving Department of Arctic and Marine Biology (AMB) and other institutes in Tromsø that carry out biological research and consultation work, e.g. Norwegian Polar Institute, Institute of Marine Research, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Bioforsk, Akvaplan-niva and Nofima.

Term 10 ects 10 ects 10 ects
First semester (autumn)
*Elective course
Second semester (spring)
Elective course
Compulsory for all Master`s students in biology
Third semester (autumn)
Fourth semester (spring)
*minimum 20 ECTS of the following courses are compulsory

Bachelor`s degree (180 ECTS) or equivalent qualification.  An additional requirement is specialization in biological topics (i.e. biodiversity (zoology/botany), ecology, cell-and molecular biology, microbiology, physiology (animal/plant), biochemistry and bioinformatics) worth a minimum of 80 ECTS.

Applicants with a degree in Agricultural studies, Biomedical laboratory sciences ("Bioingeniør"), Bachelor of Pharmacy, Medicine or Dentistry does 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 C (3.0) as a minimum requirement.

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

The average grade is calculated from 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 6001.

International appplicants/Applicants from outside the Nordic countries:

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

Online application, study code 2004.

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.


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

Students can apply for exchange studies or field work abroad according to the available cooperation agreements within scholarship programmes such as Erasmus, Nordplus, Barentsplus or North2North. Please consult the programme study adviser for more information.

Students can also undertake periods of studying at The University Centre at Svalbard

Currently not available
Application deadline
Nordic applicants: 15 April/1 November
International applicants: 1 December
How to apply?