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BSc in Molecular Ecosystem Sciences

Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, Büsgenweg 5, 37077 Göttingen, Germany

+49 (0)551 39-334 02

+49 (0)551 39-96 29

E-mail address

Type of course
Full-time degree course

Language of tuition

Length of course
3 years

Date of commencement
Winter semester

Class size
25 students

Student profile
72% EU students
28% non-EU students

Admission requirements
Certified fluent spoken and written English
(TOEFL: 173 - computer based, 500 - paper based, 61 - internet based / IELTS: 5 or equivalent (German students: Abitur grade ≥ 11)

Georg-August-University of Göttingen
Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology

BSc in Molecular Ecosystem Sciences

From molecules... to ecosystems!

The Background

Ecology is a fascinating science. The complex nature of ecosystems is a main challenge for researchers worldwide, promoting thinking in broad contexts, research networks and interdisciplinary subject areas. On the other hand, a better understanding of ecosystems is urgently needed to cope with human induced global change. If we want to understand what ecosystems are and how they operate, we have to dig deep, and if we dig very deep, we will find molecules with particular functions. These molecules interact with each other, and they are eventually responsible for the reactions of a cell, a tissue, an organism or even an ecosystem ultimately leading to environmental change.

A functional understanding of ecosystem processes requires a detailed view of their molecular basis. This adds further complexity to ecosystem sciences – and makes it even more fascinating. We believe that the unique combination of molecular and ecosystem studies allows young students to gain urgently needed knowledge to keep ecosystems, their functions and their services intact. Students of molecular ecosystem sciences will gain diverse and advanced knowledge in natural sciences and related disciplines, and a new generation of graduates will find innovative solutions to cope with global change.

The Programme

The goals of this new B.Sc. course are ambitious: Young students will learn modern methods, both in ecology and in molecular (bio-) sciences. They will be exposed to the most recent developments in both fields in a very early phase of their studies, and they will become involved in research activities of leading research teams in their respective fields. Lectures provide necessary background knowledge, but we expect an understanding of natural sciences, in particular biology, from school or the willingness to independently refresh this knowledge. Most teaching modules comprise practical work, field and laboratory courses or seminars – students will receive practical training and they will frequently interact with lecturers and other students.

The three years B.Sc. programme comprises 18 technical modules, each with 6 ECTS credits and 4 hours of weekly training. Most modules explain the use of molecular tools to address ecological issues in different disciplines, but some are clearly focused on molecular biosciences whereas others mainly focus on ecosystem research and its applications. The technical modules are complemented by a key competence module on cross-cutting issues in each semester. A full semester is reserved for elective modules and students are encouraged to spend this semester at partner universities abroad to further strengthen their international profile. The programme ends with a Bachelor project and the B.Sc. thesis.

The programme is fully in English, and we aim for a very international group of students including students from Germany, other European countries and abroad. We plan to attract the most qualified and motivated students and we offer a very international atmosphere.

The Courses

Winter semester 1:

Molecular Plant and Stress Physiology
Chemical Ecology
Ecological Genetics
Biotic and abiotic interactions
Laboratory techniques

Summer semester 1:

Microbiology and Molecular Biology
Ecological Modeling
Computer Science and Mathematics
Plant Ecology and Diversity
Scientific writing

Winter semester 2:

Terrestrial Biogeochemistry
Environmentally friendly production of wood
Methods in Systems Biology
Biodiversity of pro- and eukaryotic soil microbial communities
Scientific methods and project design

Summer semester 2 (Elective modules):

Special Topics in Plant Methods and Ecological Applications
Semiochemical diversity
Protection of renewable resources
Conservation of biodiversity
Intra-specific diversity of plants

Winter semester 3:

Conservation and Ecosystem Management
Resource assessment in ecosystems
Isotopes in Ecosystem Science
The Science-Policy Interface: Society and Research Structures

Summer semester 3:

Global Change
Molecular Soil Ecology
BSc. Project
BSc. Thesis

The Lecturers

The expertise of the lecturers teaching Molecular Ecosystem Sciences covers a broad field in natural sciences. Courses are designed and conducted by experienced professors and senior lecturers with the idea to base teaching on their own research experience.

The programme is organized by the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology at Göttingen University. Accordingly, this is the home faculty of most lecturers, but significant inputs are also provided by professors from the faculty of biology. Students can expect numerous case studies from forest ecosystems, but the wide expertise of lecturers will cover other systems as well with a clear focus on terrestrial ecology.


Graduates of this research-based study programme will have gained a solid basis to work in the fields of environmental ecology and conservation. The pace of global change leaves little doubt that their knowledge will be urgently needed. Graduates will be used to working in international teams to find innovative solutions to complex problems. These abilities are in high demand by many employers, not only in environmental-oriented businesses. However, our vision is to stimulate young students to develop independent thinking and to immerse themselves in ecological research. Thus, many students might continue their studies as postgraduates, and eventually become life-long members of the growing community of scientists working in molecular ecology.


Non EU-citizens:


About Georg-August-University of Göttingen

Founded in 1737, the University of Göttingen is a research university of international renown with strong focuses in research-led teaching.

Göttingen, located in the center of Germany, has many advantages as an environment for university studies which the Georg-August-Universität is enhancing by its significant tradition (44 Nobel laureates’ names are associated with the city) and by developing innovative degree programmes, introducing Bachelor’s and Master’s degree structures, carrying out a systematic internationalization of its study programmes and implementing quality-assurance measures. The long and significant tradition Approximately 24,000 young people currently study here, some twelve per cent of whom are from abroad – a clear demonstration of the pull that the University has long exerted internationally.

The range of degree courses on offer stands out both for the outstandingly good study facilities in the natural and life sciences and for the breadth of subject diversity in the humanities and social sciences, a choice found at only a small number of universities in Germany. Such a spectrum of subjects enables overarching issues to be tackled with an interdisciplinary perspective, even at undergraduate level. With 80 subjects to choose from, some 1,000 combinations are possible on the way to graduation with a Bachelor’s degree.

In its constantly expanding range of Master’s and Ph.D. programmes the University cultivates excellence and offers the proximity to research. Study programmes run in English, bi-national degrees and compulsory periods spent abroad prepare and qualify graduates for the international job market or for a successful academic career.