Master of Science (MSc) in Animal Biology at the University of Basel

Course description: Within the Basel life science program, the Department of Environmental Sciences (Departement Umweltwissenschaften) and its associates offer a comprehensive 1.5 year (3 semester) Master course for graduates with a background in biology (Bachelor of Science or equivalent). The course builds on the strengths and the leadership of our zoological research, particularly in population biology, evolutionary genetics and evolutionary ecology.

The core of the program is the MSc thesis, in which you actively participate in our research units with your own individual research project. You will combine this fascinating experience with courses that are designed to broaden your expertise in life sciences. With an MSc degree in Animal Biology, you will acquire cutting-edge knowledge in biological research. This will enable you to enter a PhD program in all areas of biology, to obtain job opportunities in the agro-, pharma- and biotech-industries, as well as in the public and the private sector, in nature conservation, and at universities.

The MSc degree in Animal Biology is awarded for a total of 90 credit points: 50 for the MSc thesis project, 30 for courses, and 10 for the final exam. Courses can be chosen individually according to the student's own preferences, and may include lectures, seminars, practical work, and essays. Credit points can be obtained at any time before the final exam. We encourage students to also attend courses outside of Basel (for instance with our colleagues at the University of Zurich or the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, but also at other Swiss and international universities).

The MSc thesis may center on laboratory or field work, or it may comprise theory or bioinformatics. A mix of different approaches is also possible. The following researchers offer MSc theses projects in animal biology:

  • Prof. Dieter Ebert
  • Prof. Walter Salzburger
  • Prof. Patrick Tschopp
  • Prof. Valentin Amrhein
  • PD Dr. Lukas Schärer
  • PD Dr. Daniel Berner

It also is possible to include other thesis supervisors if the project requires additonal expertise.

The MSc thesis will be written in English. Toward the end of course, the results of the MSc projet have to be presented in a seminar at the Zoological Institute in Basel.

Some key aspects of the MSc in Animal Biology:

  • We offer a broad spectrum of course modules from which you can choose your preferred topics.
  • We offer attractive workshops and field courses, both in Switzerland and abroad.
  • We employ modern laboratory methods, including state-of-the-art molecular techniques. In our field work, we integrate population biology across scales.
  • Our teaching focuses on interactive courses, which encourage independent thinking and the development of conceptual strength in topics ranging from molecular evolution to population biology and metapopulation ecology.
  • MSc students will perform an independent research project under expert guidance within one of the groups associated with the MSc program. Current research topics include the evolution of host-parasite interactions, epidemiology, comparative developmental biology (Evo-devo), adaptation genomics, conservation biology, sexual selection, evolution of reproductive systems, speciation, and the evolution of the immune system.
  • Most MSc theses will lead to publications in international peer-reviewed journals.

For more details on possible MSc thesis projects in evolutionary biology, contact the above mentioned leaders of the research groups in Zoology or visit the Research webpage.

Duration: usually 1.5 years (3 semesters). About 1 semester for course work and 1 year for the master thesis project.

ECTS: 90 credit point minimum requirement

Language(s): The entire Master program is in English.

Admission requirement: Bachelor of Science in Biology (though in certain cases it may be necessary to obtain additional credit points, if the BSc degree does not fullfill all the requirements of the University of Basel). Knowledge of German language is NOT required for admission to this MSc program.

Contact and further information:

Link to the admission page here.

Contact Student Administration: for questions about application and administration

Contact for course program: Prof. Dr. Dieter Ebert, Email: