Evolutionary Systems Biology (Master)

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All over the world, research laboratories and biotech companies are looking for people who can tackle biological and medical issues with modern "omics" methods and are able to analyze the resulting complex datasets with bioinformatic and quantitative methods. To fulfill this demand, the new Evolutionary Systems Biology (ESB) master's programme provides the training necessary for this new type of scientist.

Specifically, ESB master's students will:

  • learn to transfer interesting biological questions into experimental designs;
  • gain basic statistical and computational skills to analyse and model datasets;
  • combine experimental "wet-lab" technologies with quantitative "dry-lab" methods;
  • apply these skills to questions arising from evolutionary biology, development, comparative genomics, and systems biology.

Vienna offers a unique scientific environment for the ESB master's programme, which will benefit from the expertise of research groups in population genetics, evo-devo, systems biology, and biomathematics at the University of Vienna and the Vetmeduni Vienna. Master's students will be able to draw upon the resources of two universities, and on established connections to world-class research institutes such as the Gregor Mendel Institute, IST Austria, the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics, and the evolVienna network.

Master of Science

Degree Programme Code: 066 220

4 semesters / 120 ECTS credits

Language: English

Special Admission Requirements


Study Programme

During the first two semesters, the group of compulsory modules (Core Modules) imparts basic knowledge of research on evolutionary biology and systems biology and the methods commonly applied. This stage comprises the modules Population Genetics, EvoDevo and Molecular Evolution, and Quantitative Biology and Systems Biology. Additional compulsory modules and additional qualification modules (students’ choice) in the area of biology, mathematics and natural sciences complement the core modules and are a valuable addition to the master’s programme in Evolutionary Systems Biology. To complete the master’s programme, students have to write a master’s thesis and pass a master’s examination.

Five Concepts

which you will deal with during your studies (examples):

  • Population genetics
  • Systems biology
  • Molecular evolution
  • Applied data analysis
  • Bioinformatics
  • and many more...

 Overview of the programme structure & topics

Here you find the current offer of courses for this programme to gain better insight into the topics and structure. For more information please click on the respective level.

Teachers' Opinion

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"The ESB master’s programme is embedded in a top-notch research environment. A special feature is the offered training in quantitative skills by focusing on topics centred around evolutionary biology. The programme covers the entire spectrum from the analysis of populations to between species differences. For me, it is a pleasure to train the next generation of biologists. They will be familiar with quantitative data analysis and gain a thorough education in a high-profile biological sub-discipline.

My research focus is on adaptation of evolving populations to a novel environment and functional innovations. Both topics are central to the training provided in the master’s programme and students will be given the opportunity to participate in cutting edge studies on these research topics."

Prof. Dr. Christian Schlötterer

"I am working on construction and analysis of quantitative models to understand key phenomena in evolution, such as conditions for adaptation and speciation. Modelling is a central topic of the ESB master’s programme right from the start. In lecture courses, students will learn about the key models of population genetics and systems biology. In practical courses, they will learn how to play with these models and analyse them using analytical and computational tools."

Prof. Dr. Joachim Hermisson

"Due to the development of second generation sequencing technologies, EvoDevo has converged with Comparative Genomics and Molecular Evolution. We follow this integrative approach, which promises deep insights into the evolution of animal body plans and cellular differentiation. New technologies allow to tackle the evolution of genomic features, including chromatin marks, DNA methylation, cis-regulatory elements, regulatory non-coding RNA, alternative splicing, transposable elements and gene duplications in non-model organisms. This new ESB master will fill a gap and train a new generation of scientists who know to ask the relevant biological questions but also know how to analyse big data from the genomic and systems biological approaches. Researchers with this profile and expertise are highly searched for in many related modern fields of biology."

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Technau

After Graduation

Graduates can pursue a career in the following areas:

  • research at universities and in the non-university sector
  • basic and applied research (e.g. in medicine, biotechnology, pharmaceutical research, agricultural sciences and environmental sciences)
  • research communication
  • planning and implementation of research projects
  • research administration and research management
  • subject-related teaching activities at post-secondary educational institutions
  • computer-based analysis of big data sets

Graduates' Perspective on the Degree Programme

Graduate Survey

The University of Vienna regularly surveys graduates after the completion of their degree programmes about their experience with their degree programme and the university itself. The survey gives you insight into graduates perspectives of their studies from a subject and organizational related point of view.

Information about the Graduate Survey

Career Tracking of Graduates

The alumni tracking provides information on the career progression of the graduates of the University of Vienna and provides orientation for entry into the profession after graduation (e.g. search duration of first job, salary development and sectors in which graduates are active).

Information about the Career Tracking of Graduates