Master's Degree Programme in Biological and Environmental Science, Master of Science (2 yrs)

Degree name
Master of Science
Planned duration
2 years
Studies begin
Autumn 2018
Extent of the study programme
120 ECTS credits
Language of instruction
Degree level
Master's degree
Tuition fee per year for non-EU/EEA students
12 000 Euros

Study objectives

The aim of the programme is to produce experts in biology and environmental science. The programme contains two specialization areas (majors):

  • sustainable management of inland aquatic resources
  • ecology and evolutionary biology

Students are assigned to one of these majors based on their application letter and academic background.

The aquatic major focusses on environmental and biological processes that determine the characteristics and ecosystem services of inland waters and ecologically, economically and socially sustainable use of natural resources. The ecology major focusses on fundamental concepts and theories of ecology, genetics, and evolutionary biology and the ability to use these at the individual, population, community and ecosystem level.

Graduates will be able to:

  • apply theories and use the primary literature and empirical observations to answer scientific questions.
  • use their knowledge to develop solutions to practical questions.
  • obtain, evaluate and incorporate the latest knowledge of scientific problems using appropriate scientific practices and following ethical principles.

More about the language of instruction

All courses are taught in English. The majority of the literature used is in English.

Study contents

The study content within aquatic science covers the management and sustainable use of inland waters, with specialisation possibile in lake and river ecology (including typology, pollution and conservation) or in fish biology and fisheries (including sustainable use of wild fish stocks, aquaculture, aquatic parasitology and fish diseases). The study content within ecology and evolutionary biology ranges from genes and molecular biology to ecosystem functioning. Relevant courses cover basic ecology and evolutionary biology as well as theoretical modelling and practical applications.

Tuition fees

In Finnish universities, there are no tuition fees for EU/EEA citizens. Tuition fees concern only non-EU/EEA degree students who start their studies in English-taught Master's degree programmes in August 2017 or after that.

The tuition fee is 12 000 euros / academic year.

The fees will not concern those non-EU/EEA students who

  • have started their studies before autumn 2017
  • are enrolled in Doctoral/PhD level studies and research
  • study in degree programmes taught in Finnish
  • are EU/EEA citizens or their family members (spouse / child)
  • are already residing in Finland or some other EU country on a permanent basis (i.e. are equivalent to EU citizens *)

*) continuous (A) or permanent (P/P-EU) residence permit type

University of Jyväskylä has scholarships available for students who are required to pay tuition fees. Scholarships are applied for when applying for the admission to the programme.

For more information about tuition fees and scholarships visit:

Choosing a main subject or field of specialization

The major of your studies is either Ecology and Evolutionary Biology or Aquatic Sciences. Your earlier studies define the major of your master’s studies.

Structure of studies

The programme requires completion of 120 ETCS credits within 2 years, with compulsory and optional components. This includes lectures, practicals (in the laboratory, computer class and in the field), book examinations, independent seminar work and individual training in a research group. Specialisation is possible through the selection of the optional courses and choice of topic for the individual thesis. This individual research project with associated courses and seminars, in which independent research skills are developed, is a core part of the programme. Students must also complete 6 ECTS credits of language and communication studies, including at least 2 ECTS in Finnish language studies.

Final project

The Master’s degree thesis takes approximately five months to complete, including the planning and execution of a project, and writing up the thesis (altogether 30 ETCS credits). The Master’s thesis includes an introduction to the scientific literature of the subject, experimental/theoretical work and a discussion. Experimental work can vary greatly depending on the subject. In the Master’s thesis you will develop skills to gather information, assess and apply information, and present information together with developing scientific thinking. Often the Master’s thesis work is part of a larger research topic and the majority of the thesis work is done within research groups in the department. This means that the student will be a member of a research group and receive guidance from other group members, in addition to the nominated supervisors.

Career opportunities

Globally, there is a growing need for experts in the field of biological and environmental science. This global demand is expected to continue or even increase due to global environmental problems caused by human population growth and decrease in natural resources.



The department and faculty are both very international. All research groups operate at the international level and the working language in all groups is English.

Co-operation with other parties

Established collaborations exist with relevant national state institutes, such as SYKE (Finnish Environment Institute) and LUKE (Natural Resources Institute Finland). Collaboration is mainly in the form of teacher exchange, shared supervision of Master’s theses and internship positions. All research groups have both national and international collaborations with other universities as well as research institutes.

Research focus

Research within Aquatic Science encompasses the functioning of aquatic ecosystems, especially the effect of anthropogenic environmental impacts on inland aquatic resources, parasites and diseases of aquatic organisms, and sustainable fisheries management. Ecology and biology of aquatic animals is another research interest within aquatic sciences. A strong research area is environmental technology, e.g. methane utilizing purification of sewage waters and improvement of the denitrification process.

Research within Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is diverse, encompassing approaches at different levels: from DNA, through organisms and populations to ecosystems. Particularly strong research areas are sexual and aposematic signal evolution, biodiversity and conservation studies, genetics of adaptation and speciation, evolutionary ecology, and life-history evolution. Researchers working within the sections continue a strong tradition of experimental research, using state of the art techniques, to investigate and integrate disparate biological fields. Our work is facilitated by a pleasant working environment, with, for example, a well-equipped DNA laboratory, and the Konnevesi Research Station.

Postgraduate study opportunities

The MSc degrees qualify students for advanced studies in bioscience, especially aquatic sciences, ecology and evolutionary biology and other related fields.

Application period: Master's Degree Programmes (University of Jyväskylä) (15.11.2017 at 08:00 - 10.01.2018 at 15:00)

Student admission to study programme

The selection process comprises of two parts:

1) Reviewing of the application documents
2) Possible personal/telephone interview

Phase I: You will receive an e-mail notification when the documents have been pre-processed and, if necessary a request to supplement the application.

The student selection committee at JYU will assess the content of the applications – ineligible applications will be disregarded. The selection committee will rate the applicants on the basis of their academic background, letter of motivation and supporting letters of reference.

The different aspects of the application will have the following weights:

Selection criteria


Academic background (field of study, grades, reference letters)     

max. 30 points

Other relevant experience

max. 10 points

Reason and motivation

max. 10 points

Total max.

50 points



Phase II: Interviews and final student selection

Either all of the highest scoring applicants from the Phase I or none of them are interviewed. In both cases the applicants will be informed.

The highest scoring applicants from the pre-selection phase can be invited for an interview, with the interview carrying a value of 15 points. The structured interview will take 15-20 minutes per candidate. Applicants need to receive at least 5 points in the interview to be considered for admission in the programme.

The final ranking will be made on the total points scored in phase I and II, from a maximum of 65 points.

If more than one person has equal points in the final ranking, the order will then be decided by the points the applicant got from the academic background. If this does not make a difference between applicants, the order will then be decided by the points the applicants got from the interview. If this does not make a difference between applicants, the order will then be decided by the points the applicants got from the motivation letter. If there is still no difference, the order will be raffled.


Required degree

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in an appropriate subject (e.g. biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, environmental science) from a university with an internationally recognised academic standing, or equivalent qualifications, and proven interest in science.

Admission of an applicant graduating after the application deadline is conditional till s/he submits the degree certificate, the deadline being 17 July 2018.

English language profiency

English language proficiency demonstrated in only one of the following ways:

1)      Upper secondary school degree, English being the medium of instruction, from the following countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Great Britain, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand.

2)      A higher education degree, English being the medium of instruction, from the following countries: EU/EEA country, the United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. The degree must be fully completed in English and the thesis must be written in English. The language of instruction must be clearly marked in the degree certificate or transcript of records, or other official document provided by the higher education institution in question.

3)      TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 580 (paper-based) or 92 (internet-based)

4)      an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of  6.5

5)      a Cambridge ESOL’s Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or Cambridge ESOL’s Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) grade C or above

6)      PTE (Pearson Test of English) 59

7)      National Certificate of Language Proficiency (YKI) for English taken in 2012 or after, with skill level 4 or higher (in every section; reading comprehension, listening comprehension, speaking, and writing)

8)      The applicant has completed or is completing a higher education degree in Finland and the degree includes studies of academic English for at least 6 ECTS credits (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, levels B2–C1 and field-specific content). Applicants who wish to prove their English proficiency in this way are required to submit the form available at: However, applicants who have completed a minimum of 6 ECTS of studies in academic English at the University of Jyväskylä are not required to submit the form.

Please note:

  • As there are often some delays in the language proficiency processing, please ensure that you register for the language test well in advance of the application deadline so that the test can be completed and the result received in time to meet the deadline. It usually takes approximately a month for the test results to arrive at the institution.
  • If the results of the language test are below the required minimum, the application will not be processed.
  • Pearson Test of English, IELTS and TOEFL language proficiency tests are valid for two years and the test result must be valid during the application period.

Entrance examination and aptitude test


Phase I: Assessment of eligible applicants based on the application documents (and interview) by mid-march 2018

Phase II: Final student selection by 28 March 2018

Required attachments

Required attachments

1) Officially certified transcript of records from the student’s institute of higher education both in the original language and in English (translated by an authorised translator). In cases where the original language is English, one certified copy is sufficient. Note that the transcript is a document containing information on courses taken and grades and credits obtained. A certificate of registration or a diploma is not sufficient. All educational documents must be officially certified by the awarding institution, or legalised. Officially certified copies issued by a Finnish notary public will also be accepted. Additional information: NB: If you are completing or have completed your degree in a Finnish university or university of applied sciences, your degree was completed on 1 January 2003 or later, and you have a Finnish personal identification code, you do not need to submit officially certified copies of your educational documents.  

2) Officially certified copies of degree certificates both in the original language and in English (translated by an authorised translator). In cases where the original language is Finnish or English, one certified copy is sufficient. All educational documents must be officially certified by the awarding institution, or legalised. Officially certified copies issued by a Finnish notary public will also be accepted. Additional information: NB: If you are completing or have completed your degree in a Finnish university or university of applied sciences, your degree was completed on 1 January 2003 or later, and you have a Finnish personal identification code, you do not need to submit officially certified copies of your educational documents.  

3) Copy of a valid passport (the identification pages with name, date, place and expiry date) or other identification document (i.e. personal identity card, driving license)

4) Certificate of English language proficiency

5) Curriculum Vitae (CV)

6) Letter of motivation

7) Letter of reference

8) Copy of a residence permit that exempts its holder from paying tuition. Required only from applicants who are liable to pay tuition based on their nationality, but are in possession of a residence permit that exempts them from paying tuition. Such residence permits include: EU Blue Card, type A or P residence permit card in Finland, P-EU residence permit card, or an EU Family Member’s Residence Card in Finland.

Attachment Delivery address Deadline
Required attachments
University Admissions Finland
Unioninkatu 40 C
10.01.2018 15:00

Additional information on applying

Admission timetable

  • Application deadline: 10 January 2018
  • Notification of admission status: 28 March 2018
  • Request for rectification deadline: 11 April 2018
  • Confirmation deadline: 20 April 2018
  • Studies begin: 1 August 2018

Right to appeal

According to the Finnish legislation, the rejected applicants must be informed about their right to an appeal:

Should you find that a mistake has been made in the selection process concerning your application for the Master’s Degree Programme in Biological and Environmental Science, you may send a written appeal addressed to the Appeal Committee of the University. In the appeal you should clearly state, where the mistake has taken place and identify the matters your appeal is based on.

The appeal should be done in writing and within 14 days after the result has been made public.

You should send your appeal to:

Appeal Committee of the University
P.O. Box 35
FI-40014 University of Jyväskylä

It is worthwhile to keep in mind that the decisions on admissions are very seldom changed - unless a technical error or such has taken place - since they are based on a very careful consideration and a studious inspection of the applications.

For more information:

Contact information of the programme:


Admissions services

Admission Services

Visiting address:
ADMISSION SERVICES, Seminaarinkatu 15 (T-building), 2nd floor

Postal address:
ADMISSION SERVICES P.O.Box 35, 40014 University of Jyväskylä

Telephone: +358 40 805 3018

University of Jyväskylä, Faculty of Mathematics and Science

Faculty of Mathematics and Science has four departments (Department of Biological and Environmental Science, Department of Chemistry, Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Department of Physics). Department of Mathematics and Statistics is located at Mattilanniemi and the rest three in the Ylistönrinne campus. Experimental research facilities include accelerator laboratory of department of Physics, Konnevesi Research station of biological and environmental research as well as  Nanoscience centre, which is a cross disciplinary research centre shared by researchers of chemistry, physics and cell and molecular biology. Roughly 2300 students are enrolled in the faculty yearly. The number of staff is about 560.

The objectives of the faculty are to produce high level internationally recognized research and train experts to serve science, industry and society. In the faculty of Mathematics and science you can study the following disciplines:

  • Aquatic science
  • Biology: ecology and evolutionary biology, cell and molecular biology
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental Science
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Physics




Academic calendar

The academic year of the University of Jyväskylä consists of the autumn semester and the spring semester which are both divided into two teaching periods.

Check the dates from the University's Academic calendar

Autumn Semester  from 1 September to 31 December

I  period  1 September — around 20 October 
II period  around 20 October — around 16-20 December

Classes and exams end by before Christmas

Spring semester from 1 January to 31 May 2017

III period  beginning of January — aroud mid-March
IV period  mid March — endof  May 2017

  • Easter Break: week before Easter

Student benefits

Information on living expenses

In Finland, the general cost of living is relatively high. You must be able to cover your everyday living expenses independently so you should have at least 700-900 euros per month at your disposal. When applying for student residence permit, you (unless you are EU/EEA student) will need to show, that you have at least 560 € per month (6720€ per year) at your disposal. This is the absolute minimum required by the immigration authorities. EU citizens who come to Finland to study do not need to apply for a student residence permit, however they should also be able to cover their living costs independently.

Please look also at the information concerning the tuition fees charged (from non-EU/EEA students).

The average monthly living expenses for a student in Finland are approximately 700-900€. This may vary a bit, depending on your study location in Finland – for example, accommodation and other living costs are not necessarily so high in Jyväskylä than other larger cities.

As a student you can get discounts in student restaurants and cafeterias, public transport, etc. Student housing with shared facilities is usually a low-cost accommodation option.

You can’t be guaranteed to find employment during your studies so it is not possible to cover part of your living expenses doing work.

Financing your studies

The University of Jyväskylä offers high-quality, research-based Master’s degree programmes in English.

In compliance with Section 10 of the Universities Act (558/2009), a university must charge a fee of at least EUR 1,500 per an academic year from a student admitted to education other than bachelor’s or master’s degree studies in Finnish. Fees are not charged to a citizen of a state belonging to the European Economic Area or to a person who is equivalent to a European Union citizen under a treaty concluded by the European Union and its Member States with another contracting party, or to a family member of the individual. Nor is a fee charged to a person with the European Union Blue Card, a permanent residence permit or a long-term resident’s EU residence permit issued to a third-country national referred to the Finnish Aliens Act, or to a family member of the individual. The Aliens Act is applied in the definition of persons regarded as family members. Furthermore, no fee is charged to a student participating in commissioned education in compliance with Section 9 of the Universities Act.

A university must have a scholarship system to support the studies of students participating in fee-charging degree education.

For further information, please see: tuition fees and scholarships.

The cost of course literature is not very high, since most of the course books can be borrowed from the University Library.

International students cannot apply for student loans and grants in Finland, unless you have lived in Finland for the past two years in some other capacity than that of a student and can be considered permanent residents in Finland. Further information:

Health care services

The Finnish Student Health Service (generally referred to as YTHS) provides health and medical care for Bachelor's and Master's level students who have joined the Student Union. Doctoral students are not entitled to the services of YTHS. For further information, please see: healthcare.

Information about accommodations

Student housing in Jyväskylä is provided by KOAS (The Central Finland Housing Foundation) and Kortepohja Student Village. The student apartments are located about 2.5 - 4 kilomentres from the University main campus and the city centre. Degree students should apply for accommodation as soon as they have been admitted to the University of Jyväskylä. 


All students studying at the University of Jyväskylä are responsible for obtaining their own insurance. You should therefore acquire your own health, accident and travel insurance before coming to Finland. For further information, please see: insurance.

Contact details

The institution's own web pages
Telephone: +358 40 805 3136

Visiting address:
Matemaattis-luonnontieteellinen tiedekunta, Survontie 9 C (Nanoscience center, 3. kerros)

Postal address:
PL 35 (YN)