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Evolutionary Systems Biology

A joint Master's program at the
University of Vienna & Vetmeduni Vienna

With the proliferation of huge data sets (DNA/RNA sequences, 4D imaging and geometric morphometrics), modern biology is rapidly becoming a quantitative science. Research laboratories and biotech companies around the world are looking for people who can use these data to solve biological and medical problems. To fulfill this demand, the new Evolutionary Systems Biology (ESB) Master's program provides the training necessary for this new type of scientist.

Specifically, ESB Master's students will:

  • Learn how to understand and handle modern “- omics” data sets.
  • Develop key computational skills and delve into biological modelling.
  • 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 program, 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.

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What our students say


"The ESB program has helped me acquire a basic skill set for handling big data from various sources while also allowing me to pursue my scientific interest in evolution in a very broad sense. I am glad to have chosen this program as I feel it provides a solid foundation as well as opportunities to explore a range of fields, with the flexibility to choose what area you want to focus on." - Julia H.



"The ESB program offers a myriad of topics that are at the forefront of biological research, while allowing students an element of flexibility to chart their own course. The carefully structured modules are supported by great faculty, ensuring that student training and guidance is ample! All in all, a must do program for those who want to enter the world of big data in biology." - Sanjay N.

"The ESB Master's provides an ideal hotbed for modern computational biology. With its unique combination of bioinformatics, its modern take on evolutionary biology and enough leeway to develop my own interests, it was a door opener to many exciting opportunities." - Lukas W.

Program Highlights

The ESB Master's emphasizes hands-on education, with practical skills courses designed to complement all lectures in the core curriculum. The program also has a strong research component, with two lab rotations and a research-based Master's thesis project providing training in cutting-edge research methods. The ESB Master's program particularly features:

  • Courses covering population genetics, comparative genomics, molecular evolution, EvoDevo and systems biology.
  • Practical courses introducing modelling, programming, and statistical data analysis to biologists.
  • An extensive research component, including rotations in multiple research groups, one-on-one training, and individual research projects.
  • Special skill courses on giving scientific talks and writing successful grant proposals.

An ESB Master's degree will thus provide excellent preparation for either a PhD in quantitative biological research or for research-oriented biomedical / biotechnological companies.

Prerequisites for the Program

The ESB Master's program is targeted to students with an interest in biological research and quantitative methods. Admission requires a completed Bachelor's deree in Biology or a related field (such as biotechnology, biomedicine, or bioinformatics). Advanced quantitative skills are not a prerequisite. Applicants with a BSc in other natural sciences (e.g. Physics) or mathematics and statistics can also be admitted to the ESB Master's program, conditional on completion of additional courses in basic biology. Proof of English language skills is required for non-native speakers. See Admission for further details and application deadlines.

Master's Program Evolutionary Systems Biology
Faculty of Life Sciences

University of Vienna
Althanstrasse 14
1090 Wien

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Joachim Hermisson
joachim.hermisson 'at' univie.ac.at

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ulrich Technau
ulrich.technau 'at' univie.ac.at

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Schlötterer, Vetmeduni
christian.schloetterer 'at' vetmeduni.ac.at
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0