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Nordic Master's Programme in Biodiversity and Systematics

120 credits

The Nordic Master’s Programme in Biodiversity and Systematics (NABIS) is an international programme given in English, in collaboration between leading universities in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Students are admitted to the university where they are undertaking their thesis project, and through the programme they have access to a rich selection of specialised courses provided by the participating universities.

As a NABIS student you are trained to gain the systematic and taxonomic expertise needed in our society to be able to take action against loss of biodiversity. Upon completion of the programme you will have a broad overview of living organisms and specialization in one or more organism groups. You will learn the theoretic background of speciation and evolutionary processes. You will have a good knowledge of traditional systematic methods as well as modern phylogenetic and molecular tools, allowing you to make scientific descriptions of new species, generate DNA data such as barcodes and use computerized biodiversity databases.

The programme is designed to tailor your individual interests and goals. Our selection of 22 courses offers a wide range of subjects, divided into four major categories; identification, classification, systematic theory and scientific tools/skills. Two courses are compulsory, and the curriculum should include at least one course from each category. The courses engage the foremost teachers and specialists from the participating universities. NABIS students will be able to visit different learning and research environments within the Nordic countries and establish a contact net of active scientists during the course of their studies.

The courses are taught as assisted e-learning in combination with hands-on field or lab sessions where students and teachers meet for an intensive period of time at the campus or, more commonly, at a field station belonging to the host of the course.

As a NABIS student you are admitted to the university at which your thesis work is supervised. At the time of admittance you will, together with the tutor, establish an individual curriculum designating the courses to be included in your master’s degree. The subject for the thesis is determined and the project is linked to a research group. The length of the thesis is optional and amounts to 30, 45 or 60 ECTS. Thesis work may extend over several semesters, and be interspersed with courses giving practical or theoretical training.


To meet the global threat of biodiversity loss there is a strong need for specialists who are familiar with modern molecular tools as well as traditional morphological taxonomical concepts. These skills are essential in scientific institutions such as zoological museums, botanical gardens, biodiversity centres and universities, but also in public nature conservation organisations at different levels, among non-governmental organizations and in private sector biodiversity consultants. The programme provides you a solid foundation for PhD studies.

More information at NABIS website

Admission requirements NABIS

Bachelor of Science in Biology (180 hec), or equivalent degrees that are based on courses in Biology amounting to at least 90 hec. All credits in the Degree need to be from an accredited university. The applicant’s university education must also include a thesis, term paper or equivalent proof of proficiency in academic writing.

English Proficiency Requirements

I. English level B at the Swedish upper secondary level.


II. Language tests 
TOEFL IBT (internet based) test result of at least 90 points, with score of at least 20 in written test
TOEFL (paper based) test result of at least 575 points, with score of at least 4.5 in written test
IELTS test result of at least 6.5 with no individual score below 5.5.

The test result must not be older than 2 years on the last date for application.


III. Exemptions
Some students may be exempt from submitting formal test evidence for Course B. Please to see the list of exemptions.

Recommended course of study

Together with the local programme coordinator you will establish an individual curriculum including selected courses in the NABIS programme. Your are recommended to participate the two compulsory courses during the first year of study.

See NABIS web for a time schedule of the eligible and compulsory courses

Page Manager:

Study coordinator

Lotta Persmark
Study advisor
Education office

Telehone: +46 46-222 37 28
E-mail: Lotta.Persmark [at]

Programme coordinator

Nils Cronberg
Associate Professor

Telephone: +46 46-222 89 74
E-mail: Nils.Cronberg [at]