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Forest and Ecosystem Sciences (M.Sc.)


Looking at the forest and forest ecosystem from various perspectives: ecosystem analysis and modelling, ecosystems sciences and tropical forestry – you can specialise in one of these three foci as your individually chosen forestry topic. In addition to the compulsory modules, you can extend your course of studies thanks to a large set of options, internships and international visits.

This degree programme qualifies the student for an international career in forest and ecosystems management as well as in the areas of environmental protection and conservation.

Forest and Ecosystem Sciences
Master of Science
Teaching language:
Standard period of studies:
4 semesters
Start of studies:
Winter semester
(Application to the faculty)
Orientation events:
Orientation events are offered


Study contents provide hands-on approaches to tackle burning current issues such as global change, climate warming, land use change, species loss and biodiversity treats. The studies cover ecosystems analysis and modelling with in-dept training in advanced programming, data analysis as well as theoretical ecology and practical conservation management. Research-based training on terrestrial ecosystems function from molecules to landscape level and laboratory methods in ecosystems sciences and sustainable management of tropical and international forests where students together prepare an interdisciplinary management plan on-site. Throughout their studies, students will take part in cutting- edge research activities on these topics in an interdisciplinary and international environment.

In the Master Programme the students specialise in a field of choice. There are three specialization fields (programmes) the students can choose from:

  • Ecosystem Analysis and Modelling
  • Ecosystem Sciences
  • Tropical and International Forestry

The specialisations convey scientific contents and methods as well as professional skills for subsequent occupational activity. These skills comprise competences in problem solving, capacity for teamwork, know how with project management and interdisciplinary thinking and working.

Study contents are quite different, depending on the specialization field. In addition to the programme-specific compulsory courses a number of optional courses, covering 30 credit points, can be selected from course offerings by the Faculty of Forestry, by other faculties of the University of Göttingen and from international partner universities.

Specialization: “Ecosystem Analysis and Modelling”

  • By understanding methods of ecosystem analysis and modelling, students will be able to analyze complex systems, e.g., regarding the consequences of climate change and of new ecosystem regulation and management practices. This includes competence in problem solving by simulation and statistical modelling, as well as in presenting results using latest media formats. These quantitative skills are applied to analyze ecosystems with a focus on forest ecosystems.
  • The topics in the compulsory courses include: Introduction to ecological modelling; ecosystem theory, including analysis of structures and processes; biodiversity; macro-ecology and biogeography; soil sciences and bioclimatology, conservation; methods from computer science; individual- and agent-based modelling; advanced statistical data analysis with R; functional-structural simulation modelling; spatial modelling.

Specialization: “Ecosystem Sciences”

  • Terrestrial ecosystems provide essential functions and services to society. Understanding and maintaining these complex functions in the light of global change are some of the greatest challenges humanity is facing. Students of the M.Sc. focus Ecosystem Sciences will gain critical thinking skills, learn modern concepts as well as latest field and laboratory methods and get a strong quantitative training in theory, measurement and application.
  • The interdisciplinary program is part of the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, however students have the unique possibility to specialize in many subjects that cross traditional disciplines. The compulsory courses cover topics such as biodiversity and community ecology, ecosystem analytics, molecular ecology and genetics, applied ecology, soil sciences and climatology, data handling and analysis in the software R.

Specialization: “Tropical and International Forestry”

  • This course focus on options for ecologically sound management of different tropical forest types. By understanding the most important ecological and economic processes, the broader context of forest utilization and the key policies related to forestry, students will be able to analyze and monitor the ecological consequences of the utilization of the forest and to design well-adapted silvicultural systems taking their economic and long-term consequences into consideration.
  • The topics in the compulsory courses include: Introduction to tropical forest ecology and silviculture; international forest policy and economics; monitoring of forest resources; forest utilization and wood processing; soil science; bioclimatology; analysis and monitoring of resources and different silvicultural systems; biometrical research methods; project planning and evaluation and project work to in a multidisciplinary group to develop a forest region.
  • In the third semester, the TIF students collaborate on the Students' Project. After an intercultural and technical preparation in Göttingen we travel to the host country for field research. The students deepen their knowledge in a specific field and create an interdisciplinary management plan together. The research regions of recent years have been Uganda, Laos and Myanmar.

Consecutive/graduate and related Programmes

Study tracks

You will be completing a total of 120 C, 90 C by taking courses and 30 C by writing the Master’s thesis.

You have three study tracks to choose from: Ecosystem Analysis and Modelling, Ecosystem Sciences or Tropical and International Forestry.

Programme structure

Regulations and module directory



Non-EU citizens: February 1st to March 15th

EU citizens: Mai 1st to June 15th

Previous education

  • Bachelor's Degree in Forestry or related subject with a total of at least 180 ECTS credits
  • at least 150 ECTS at the time of application
  • Eligibility:
    • Verification required of academic performance in Forestry or Environmental Sciences, Resource or Ecosystem Management, Life Sciences and Applied Computer Science in the scope of at least 60 ECTS

Language requirements

  • If English is not your first language, you must provide proof of proficiency in English at a level of at least B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).


Academic Advising

Christian Beuter

Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology
Büsgenweg 5
37077 Göttingen

Phone: + 49 (0)551 39 21488