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The 4 semester ESB Master's curriculum comprises 120 ECTS credits. It is composed of 9 modules (MES1-9), a master thesis and a defensio.

The table below shows the recommended path of the ESB master's study.

Link to curriculum in German and English

Module information

MES1 (Population Genetics)

The module combines a lecture and a practical modelling / exercise course.


  • Gain a fundamental understanding of the evolutionary processes within populations and species.
  • Recognize selection, mutation, recombination, migration, and genetic drift as the forces to drive this process.
  • Describe the evolutionary consequences of these forces in a quantitative model.
  • Capture and interpret the genotypic and phenotypic patterns created by evolution on the population level.


MES2 (EvoDevo and Molecular Evolution)

The module combines a lecture and a seminar on current literature.


  • Analyze, compare, and interpret evolutionary patterns on the molecular, developmental, and morphological level.
  • Gain a solid overview of organismal diversity and phylogeny.
  • Assess the evolution of key traits using molecular, genetic, genomic, and morphometric methods.


MES3 (Quantitative Biology and Systems Biology)

The module combines a lecture and a practical exercise course.


  • Explain typical approaches in quantitative biology and systems biology and design experiments using these methods.
  • Connect data from quantitative biology and systems biology with heterogeneous biological data sources.
  • Understand basic methods for mathematical modelling, apply these to typical problems in evolutionary systems biology and interpret their results.


MES4 (Methodological basics)

The module contains courses on basic mathematical tools and a on statistics/bioinformatics.


  • Gain a thorough knowledge and understand mathematical basics as well as quantitative and statistical methods to address questions of Evolutionary Systems Biology.


MES5 (Supplemental module)

Choice from a large selection of specialized courses.


  • Acquire a deeper knowledge in special topics of Evolutionary Systems Biology and of relevant related disciplines.
  • Interpret and discuss research projects and reports.


MES6 (Applied Data Analysis)

Major practical course on quantitative skills.


  • Familiarity with principles and techniques of simple software tools to analyze biological data.
  • Write programs in at least one common programming language.
  • Gain practical experience with the implementation of data, text processing and parsing.
  • Exchange information with external software tools and biological databases using a programming language.
  • Plan and successfully complete computational projects.


MES7 (Lab rotation I) and MES8 (Lab rotation II)

Small research projects in two groups and preparation for the Master thesis.


  • Familiarity with the general research concepts of Evolutionary Systems Biology.
  • Acquire skills to conduct a research project in the frame of a Master thesis.
  • Contribute to ongoing scientific research projects in the chosen research groups.
  • Summarize research results in form of a scientific report and deliver an oral presentation in the chosen research group in the presence of the principle investigator.


MES9 (Proposal writing)

Training course for supplementary scientific skills.


  • Write a scientific proposal based on results obtained in MES7 or MES8.
  • Present and defend proposal in an oral presentation.

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
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