Animal Behaviour


Contact: Prof. Marta Manser


The behavioral sciences set out to analyze both animal and human behavior from the biological angle, employing biological methods. Students on this Master’s program acquire an understanding of the diversity, regulation and function of behavior. They conduct empirical field and laboratory studies, with the focus on evolutionary-biological and mechanistic issues. Students analyze hypotheses employing methods taken from the behavioral, ecological, physiological, molecular-genetic, immunological and biochemical fields. Findings relative to threatened species are of practical relevance, since these can be used to compile guidelines for the protection of these species.


Students first acquire basic knowledge of the causes, functions and mechanisms of behavior in the Behavioral Sciences block course. Afterwards they can pursue their individual specialization in greater depth by choosing modules from the whole range of available biology modules, including those offered in combination with other areas, such as psychology and medicine. Particularly recommended are modules from the fields of behavioral sciences, taxonomy and systematics, ecology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, molecular genetics, experimental psychology, population biology, theoretical biology, physiology (e.g. endocrinology and neurobiology) and nature conservation.


Specifications for planning the program:
Students wishing to take this Master’s program should discuss their choice of course and lecture modules, amounting to 12 credit points in all, with the supervisor of their Master’s thesis and submit their proposed learning agreement, in writing, to the Master’s coordinator for approval, enclosing a declaration of consent from their supervisor.

The module BIO338 Introduction to Scientific Writing (0 ECTS, one day in September or February) is mandatory for all Biology Master’s students. The module should be taken before writing the Master’s Thesis.


Master’s thesis in Behavioral Sciences: Module BIO 509.