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Selection criteria

The selection criteria for the program are:

  1. Relevant content of your undergraduate studies to the areas of ecology, evolution and conservation (for what counts as relevant, see target audience)
  2. Grade point average of your qualifying degree (typically your BSc degree) 
  3. Answers to a subject-specific task / entry exam question (see below)

During the selection process, your application will be ranked independently by at least two professors according to these criterial on a scale of 0 - 10. Based on the results, you can be either directly admitted, directly rejected, or you can be invited for an interview (which we will conduct via Zoom). For details on the ranking system, see our examination regulations, which are linked here

Before your application: check suitability for the EEC program

Based on the selection criteria above

  • You have good chances to be admitted when you have a good or excellent BSc degree with a focus on organismic biology, field ecology, evolutionary or behavioral biology or BSc programs in nature conservation or environmental studies with a focus on science and organismic biology
  • You have low chances to be admitted when you either have poor marks in your BSc degree or your degree is in a field unrelated to those named above. Fields that are likely not admitted include environmental, forest or civil engineering, landscape architecture, environmental law, environmental planning, environmental politics, plant biotechnology, biochemistry and molecular biology or similar. If you are interested in molecular biology or biotechnology, our general MSc Biology program is more suitable for you. 

If based on this information you are clearly out of the scope of our program, it doesn't make sense to apply or contact us. When you are in doubt about the suitability of your studies, it is recommended that you write an informal email with your transcript of records (list of courses) and ideally the abstract of a written thesis or research project to

We will respond to you via email if an application makes sense.

For applicants that do not come from a European university, this step is recommended even if you think that your studies fall into the categories named above! 

What documents are needed for your application?

For your application, you need:

  • A cover letter (1 page max.), stating at least that you are applying to the EEC program, but ideally also including a very brief summary of your background and your motivation for applying to the program. 
  • Your BSc certificate (or a certificate of an equivalent degree with at least 180 CP) including a transscript of records. If you do not have your degree certificate yet, you can also submit a transcript of records with at least 150 CP. Your degree certificate can then be submitted later if you are accepted to the program.
  • A standard CV summarizing your education and relevant work or internship experience
  • A Certificate of English (at least level B2). For details and how to obtain this see the comments on the application procedure for the MSc Biology
  • Your solution to the entry exam question for the EEC program (details see below)

Applicants from non-German universities additionally need to supply:

  • A full transcript of records with grades for each course including a syllabus / course catalogue which specifies the content of each course. All documents must be in German or English (if the original is not in German or English, you must provide a certified translation).
  • Certificate of German language skills (at least A1). If you do not have this certificate at the time of your application, you can obtain it during your first year of study. If you are a citizen of a German-speaking country or went to school in a German-speaking country (e.g. Austria, Switzerland), we will also consider this as proof of your German language skills.

Additionally to this document, you need to provide an answer to the entry exam question (see next section).

Entry exam question:

To evaluate your background knowledge and thinking in ecology, evolution and conservation, we ask you to write a scientific essay (maximum 3 pages, Arial, 11pt, references do not count towards the page limit) on the following question:

What would happen to the world's ecosystems if (for some reason) all insects disappeared?

In your answer, please address the implications for a) ecology, b) evolution, and c) conservation, using relevant theories/models/concepts from these fields that are commonly discussed in lectures, textbooks or the scientific literature and that you should be familiar with from your undergraduate studies. The intended audience for your essay is researchers in the field of EEC, so this should not be a superficial text that could appear in a newspaper, but a text using the relevant techncial terms and that may refer to ongoing discussions in the scientific literature. The more you can make this text sound like a scientific paper, the better. Therefore, you should also cite textbooks and scientific literature wherever possible, and appropriate references to the scientific literature are considered when evaluating the essays (note that citations do not count to the page limit, so you can cite as many papers as you want).

Plagiarism and AI check: By submitting your essay, you confirm that the text was written by you alone, without the use of any other resources, people, or software. By submitting, you also grant us the right to run the text through software and databases that check for plagiarism or AI writing (e.g. chatGTP). If plagiarism or the use of AI is suspected, the selection committee will discuss the case and may ask you for an additional interview. If the selection committee is convinced that the text was not created by the applicant, your application will be rejected.

Sending off the application

You can apply any time, but the selection will always happen after June 15 (deadline), for starting the studies in the winter term (October). We would therefore recommend that you apply shortly before this date.

Before sending of your application, please check the following items:

  1. When you have doubt about the suitability of your undergraduate studies, or if you are an international student, have you asked via whether an application makes sense at all (see comments above)?
  2. Do you have prepared all documents as specified above?
  3. Have you written the essay on the exam question as specified above?
  4. Do you have all documents (including your essay, records etc.) combined into a single pdf document?

Note that incomplete applications may not be considered further for the selection process. 

When your application is complete, please send it as ONE pdf file attached before June 15th to:

In the text of your email, please make it clear that you want to apply to the EEC program, but any other relevant information that you may bring to the attention of the selection comitee should be in the cover letter!

Frequently asked questions:

  • Can I start the studies in the summer term? No, this is not possible. You have to apply for the winter term and start in the winter term.
  • If I am currently enrolled in the MSc Biology, how can I apply for a change in the MSc EEC? Please just follow the normal application procedure above, noting in your cover letter that you are already in the EEC.