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Study program of biodiversity


Understanding and importance of biodiversity

Biodiversity is one of the most complex and fascinating attributes of our planet. At the same time, this diversity is threatened by human activities. The Biodiversity program uses current concepts in ecology, evolutionary biology, behavioural biology and environmental sciences to provide a comprehensive scientific understanding of the patterns, processes and functions of biodiversity.
With a solid knowledge in the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and chemistry, you will be able to place the meaning and concepts of biodiversity in the context of scientific knowledge and societal debates. In addition, you will learn inter- and transdisciplinary approaches and techniques throughout your studies.

Target audience

The Bachelor's and Master's degree programs «Biodiversity» are aimed at students with a strong interest in the natural sciences, with a focus on ecological, evolutionary and behavioural processes, and on socio-economic and transdisciplinary topics.
The main language in the Bachelor program is German. The main language in the Master program is English. Applicants must prove that they have a sufficient command of German and English respectively (proof of proficiency at the C1 or a higher level). For more information go to the official website UZH Language Requirements.

Structure of the Bachelor's and Master program «Biodiversity»

You can study «Biodiversity» at UZH as a mono subject (180 ECTS), as a major (150 or 120 ECTS) combined with any minor at UZH, or as a minor (60 or 30 ECTS). The completed Bachelor's degree with mono or major «Biodiversity» entitles you to apply for the consecutive Master's program «Biodiversity».

The Bachelor's programme «Biodiversity» (6 semesters) focuses on biodiversity sciences (ecology, evolutionary biology, behavioural biology), biological systems and the process-oriented understanding of organisms (microbes, plants, animals) and their habitats. In addition, there is a strong emphasis on topics related to sustainability as well as ecological and evolutionary principles.
During the basic studies (1st-4th semester), basic scientific and mathematical knowledge is acquired and students receive an overview of organismic biodiversity. The advanced studies (5th and 6th semester) consist of a wide range of block courses, field courses and special lectures, as well as a bachelor thesis and a professional internship.

The Bachelor's degree is followed by the Master's degree program «Biodiversity» (3 semesters), which includes a one-year Master's thesis in an individually chosen subject area, as well as advanced theoretical and practical modules. Further information can be found here: Master «Biodiversity»


Study and learning objectives

Graduates of the Bachelor's program «Biodiversity» receive a broad science-based education in the subject areas of biodiversity sciences, ecology, evolutionary biology and environmental sciences. The emphasis is on a process-oriented understanding of organisms and their habitats. The education in this subject area is inter- and trans-disciplinary (e.g., on topics from environmental chemistry, environmental ethics, environmental economics). In doing so, students can create an individual profile of basic and in-depth competences in diverse scientific fields that are of particular value for the field of environmental sciences/sustainability, for example, in combination with economics, law or communication sciences.


Career prospects

The degree program prepares you for professional work in both scientific and a social environments. Interacting with politics, society and business, you will think analytically, know the key points and argue scientifically, mediate and accompany processes and actions. Possible fields of activity include

  • Scientific activities, e.g., doctoral studies, research and teaching at universities or other research institutions (e.g. Eawag, WSL, Agroscope).
  • Work in administration (e.g., FOEN, FOAG, cantonal offices), in nature conservation organisations, environmental consultancy offices, zoos and museums or foundations such as Grün Stadt Zürich and in the private sector in national and international companies. Work in public relations and communication, project management and coordination, consulting and environmental education.
  • Training for a higher teaching qualification in biology at secondary and vocational schools.