The aim of the Master programme Ecology is to provide you with the knowledge, skills and insight required to operate as an independent professional and to be a suitable candidate for a subsequent course of study leading to a career in Ecological research. After having completed the programme, you will have developed a critical scientific approach and an awareness of the ethical and societal aspects of Ecology.

The programme has two specialisations: ‘Ecology and Evolution’ and ‘Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology’. These specialisations are organised in close cooperation with the University of Amsterdam (UvA). This implies that some (course) components will take place at the Science Park of UvA and others at the VU campus. In all courses teachers of both universities will be participating.


Level Master
Language English
Duration 2 years
Type Fulltime
Credits 120 EC
Faculty Faculty of Science
Ecology specialisation Ecology and Evolution
This specialization is organized by both the Department of Ecological
Science (DES) of the Vrije Universiteit (VU) and the Institute of
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) of the University of
Amsterdam (UvA). When you are registered at VU and have successfully
completed the Ecology and Evolution programme you will obtain an MSc
diploma in Ecology (with a specialization).

The programme has four components:
1) Compulsory courses (18 EC), including experimental design,
statistical analysis, training in scientific writing and masterclasses.
2) Elective courses (12 - 18 EC), to be chosen from the courses on offer
within the specialization (with the option to also select some from
other specializations or universities).
3) Two research projects (72 - 78 EC), during which students get to
carry out two research projects of their own choice. The first, and
generally shorter project should be 30 EC at least and has to take place
at the VU or UvA. The second project may also be carried out at another
university or research institute. Both projects need to have an Ecology
and/or Evolution focus and need to be approved by the research project
coordinator in advance. Approval will take place on the basis of a
project proposal written by the student.
4) Literature thesis (12 EC), for which students are required to carry
out a literature research that can focus on a fundamental question in
Ecology and Evolution, but can also take a more applied or societal
approach. The subject of the thesis has to be approved by the research
project coordinator on the basis of a proposal written by the student.
For details you can also consult
Ecology specialisations CSE
Ecology CSE specialisation Science in Society