Crab spider

Master Evolution, Ecology and Systematics

The Master program Ecology, Evolution and Systematics at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena offers high-level scientific education. It covers the full range from molecules to the biodiversity of communities
Crab spider
Image: Holger Schielzeth

The Master's program Evolution, Ecology and Systematics provides in-depth knowledge of biological systems with a clear focus to current research in organismic and evolutionary biology.

The study is interdisciplinary, so that competencies in ecology, biodiversity (including taxonomic knowledge), evolutionary biology, paleontology, systematics and phylogenetics can be acquired at different organizational levels and for different groups of organisms.

Our mission statement is to provide all students with an individual profiling based on a well-founded basic education. The students complete the five compulsory modules on Basics in Evolutionary Research, Ecology and Diversity, Species Identification, Experimental Design and Analysis of Biological Data, as well as an Excursion. For the required elective modules, we leave a great deal of scope for individual choices from modules of the participating Institutes for Zoology and Evolutionary Research, Ecology and Evolution and Biodiversity.

Our graduates will be able to carry out research-oriented activities at universities, non-university research institutions, museums, public authorities, associations or the private sector.

Imagefilm: The honest professor
Video: University of Jena

Teaching profile

The Master's program Evolution, Ecology and Systematics is aimed at students with a bachelor's degree in biology who are interested in molecular and organismic issues.

The experimentally oriented study is consecutive, research-oriented and leads to the second vocational qualification. The teaching language is English and German, but studying is only possible in English. The beginning of studies takes place in the winter semester.

In addition to lectures, the course program of the Master's program is characterized by a high proportion of independent work in seminars and practical exercises. Various compulsory and elective modules are offered, which enable a broad education in all subjects of organismic and evolutionary biology, but also a focus on a specific topic. Details can be found on the sub-pages to the course program or in the study documents.

In addition to subject-specific scientific skills, our graduates acquire the communicative skills required to present scientific results to the public and can also gain international experience through the possibility of a semester abroad.
In particular, the Master's program qualifies for scientific careers and is the prerequisite for a postgraduate doctoral studies in Zoology, Botany, Systematics, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Microbiology and Functional Biodiversity Research at the FSU Jena as well as in Germany and abroad. The education qualifies for scientific work in all highly topical professional fields of the organismic biology.

  • Axolotl
    Image: Spez. Zoologie
  • Grasshopper
    Image: Ökologie
  • Students in the lab
    Students in the lab
    Image: Nicole van Dam
  • Larva-giving female of a fan-flye
    Larva-giving female of a fan-flye
    Image: Spez. Zoologie
  •  Measurement of microbial activity and metabolism in moorland Schlöppner Brunnen
    Measurement of microbial activity and metabolism in moorland Schlöppner Brunnen
    Image: Aquatische Mikrobilologie
  • X-ray video recordings reconstructed skeleton of a rat
    X-ray video recordings reconstructed skeleton of a rat
    Image: Spez. Zoologie
  • Gelbwürfliger Dickkopffalter mit Schnecke
    Gelbwürfliger Dickkopffalter mit Schnecke
    Image: Holger Schielzeth
  • sampling of volatile components
    sampling of volatile components
    Image: Nicole van Dam
  • Brightened head of a tadpole
    Brightened head of a tadpole
    Image: Spez. Zoologie
  • Plant in the green house
    Plant in the green house
    Image: Nicole van Dam
  • Common vole (Microtus arvalis)
    Common vole (Microtus arvalis)
    Image: Stefan Halle
  •  Orchid meadow
    Orchid meadow
    Image: Spez. Botanik
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The location Jena

Jena, the City of Science 2008, was appropriately described by Goethe as a city “stacked” with knowledge. Nestling in the picturesque Saale valley, the town couldn’t be more convenient in terms of location or size: here, nothing is far.

Jena is a city of diversity: the university offers a wide range of courses and actively promotes contact between students and scientists from different fields. This attention to networking is one of the reasons behind the success of the dynamic and aspiring city over the last 20 years. Business and academia (in the form of the University and the neighbouring Max Planck and Leibnitz Institutes) work hand in hand, and “town and gown” also collaborate successfully to ensure that Jena continues to develop into a student paradise. Free use of public transport, the absence of university fees, attractive recreational facilities, an exemplary social infrastructure - especially for young families, and a cosmopolitan climate attract over 2000 new students to Jena every year.

  • towers in Jena
    towers in Jena
  • City center of Jena
    City center of Jena
    Image: IEE
  • Nightlife in Jena
    Nightlife in Jena
  • Paradies in Jena
    Paradies in Jena
    Image: IEE
  • Wagnergasse Jena
    Wagnergasse Jena
    Image: IEE
  • Part of the town wall in Jena
    Part of the town wall in Jena
    Image: IEE
  • River Saale
    River Saale
    Image: IEE
  • View from the Jenzig
    View from the Jenzig
    Image: Markus Bernhardt-Römermann
  • nspektorenhaus in the botanical garden
    nspektorenhaus in the botanical garden
    Image: IEE
  • Study room of the zoologist Ernst Haeckel
    Study room of the zoologist Ernst Haeckel
  • Greenhouse in the botanical garden
    Greenhouse in the botanical garden
    Image: IEE
  • Phyletic Museum
    Phyletic Museum
  • Institut building Philosphenweg 16
    Institut building Philosphenweg 16
    Image: IEE
  • Jena Experiment
    Jena Experiment
    Image: Ökologie
  • Dornburger Str. 159
    Dornburger Str. 159
    Image: Markus Bernhardt-Römermann

Biology has a long tradition in Jena. The city was the workplace of the zoologist Ernst Haeckel, the botanist Matthias Jakob Schleiden and the geneticist and botanist Otto Renner. The infrastructure available to students and scientists in the field of Evolution, Ecology and Systematics is internationally outstanding and includes:

As mentioned earlier, distances are small in Jena. This applies too to that between research and teaching which are so closely integrated that students are able to grow confidently into their subject and to learn in an atmosphere of openness and cooperation between the institutes and tutors involved. 

We look forward to receiving your application as a student of the MEES in Jena!

Honours Programme

As in the years before, also in 2023 several excellent students of the Master Ecology and Evolutionary Systematics (MEES) were selected to participate in Honours programme at FSU Jena de

The programme intends to give excellent students a deeper insight into research and the scientific community, thus preparing them for a scientific career. Next to personal mentoring, the students can attend extra courses and funds for participating in conferences and networking activities. 

Welcome of the new Honours students in 2023
Welcome of the new Honours students in 2023
Image: Markus Bernhardt-Römermann