Master in Biodiversity Conservation



The Master in Biodiversity Conservation is an interdisciplinary program that responds to the major environmental and societal challenge of understanding the causes and halting the global erosion of biodiversity. Courses are balanced between plant, animal, and ecosystem conservation biology and the human dimensions of conservation such as anthropology, economics, law and psychology. Students will undertake fieldwork, receive hands-on training in scientific methods, and acquire transversal skills at the interface between the science and practice of biodiversity conservation.

  • Presentation


    The crisis caused by the loss of biodiversity is alarming. On a global scale, more than a quarter of all known species are threatened with extinction. Most ecosystems have been heavily modified and degraded, and the services they provide to societies are declining. The causes of this crisis are largely due to human activities: destruction and degradation of habitats, overexploitation of resources, pollution, introduction of invasive alien species and climate change.

    The detailed analysis of threats to biodiversity, as well as the realistic development of conservation strategies, must therefore be based on an approach that takes into account the functioning of large human institutions - companies, administrations, charitable foundations, etc. - as well as that of organisms, species, ecosystems and the biosphere. The biological sciences must imperatively be backed up by knowledge in the human and social sciences in order to assess the problems in their globality and complexity.


    Graduates of the Master in Biodiversity Conservation will be able to understand the diversity of living organisms and the ecological complexes (from ecosystems to the biosphere) of which they are a part, to analyse and problematise the relationships between humans and non-humans (plants, animals, and other groups) in order to grasp the mechanisms driving change in space and time, to analyse existing conservation policies and programmes, and to develop and propose strategies to address specific problems.

    Programme structure

    The master takes place over 3 semesters (for 90 ECTS) and is structured as follows:

    • a 45 ECTS compulsory core curriculum (5 modules/blocks);
    • a 15 ECTS preparatory phase for the master’s thesis;
    • a 30 ECTS master's thesis

    The core curriculum runs for the entire first year (semesters 1 and 2) and includes 45 ECTS of compulsory courses organized in 5 modules/blocks:

    • refresher courses in the form of directed readings (3 ECTS);
    • transversal skills and scientific methods (6 ECTS);
    • an integrative module of conservation sciences in theory and in the field (9 ECTS);
    • human and social dimensions of conservation (anthropology, economics, law, psychology) (12 ECTS);
    • conservation biology (15 ECTS).

    In addition, the programme includes 15 ECTS for the preparatory phase of the master's thesis, composed of internships, bibliographic work and/or elective courses. In this way, students will be able to specialise according to their interests.

    The 30 ECTS master's thesis will focus on the analysis of actual conservation problems, from both research and professional perspectives. The thesis may be directed by any faculty member involved in the Master in Biodiversity Conservation. The choice of thesis director will determine the final title (Master of Science (MSc) or a Master of Art (MA)), depending on the discipline in which it is based. To encourage interdisciplinary supervision, a teacher from a different disciplinary field than the supervisor may follow the thesis project as a referee.

  • Professional perspectives

    The contacts established during their internships and master's thesis will make them directly employable in governmental agencies, NGOs and private companies active in environmental policymaking and project conception and management. In addition, the master’s degree will qualify them for continued studies at the doctoral level if they wish to continue in fundamental and/or applied research.

  • Conditions of admission

    The Master's degree is open to students who have obtained a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in biology, natural systems / environmental sciences or biology-ethnology, or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in the social sciences (anthropology, sociology, social psychology, human geography.

    Students who have followed another course of study must have basic training in biology and the social sciences, as well as a mastery of the basics of quantitative and statistical methods. Students without this preparation can follow a remedial course of study before or during the first year of the master’s programme.

Specific strengths

Offered jointly by the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities, this programme will provide students with the tools to apprehend and analyse the protection of species and ecosystems from an interdisciplinary perspective, in order better to contribute to resolving this major socio-environmental issue.



Degree awarded
Master of Science in Biodiversity Conservation
Master of Arts in Biodiversity Conservation 
90 ECTS, 3 semesters
Teaching language
uk.png English




Informations :
Faculty of Science
Tel. +41 32 718 21 00

Registration :
Bureau des immatriculations
Tel. : +41 32 718 10 00

Master's programme information

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Master in Biodiversity Conservation

Course information

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