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Studium Biologie Masterstudium

  • paleontology copyright

    Fossils (copyright A. Basler)

MSc Coordinator of the Master in Paleontology

Prof. Dr. Torsten Scheyer (tscheyer *

Study Coordinator

Dr. Karin Isler (studienkoordination *



Paleontological research focuses on the history of the biosphere, the development of life and the biology of fossil species. Topics of particular interest are the distribution of biodiversity in space and time, the patterns and processes involved in mass extinction events and the recovery phases that follow, the origin of new bauplans, functional and constructional morphology, the phylogeny and patterns of evolution in relation to biotic and abiotic factors, the integration of paleontological and embryological data, the resolution of homology issues, paleoecology and dating of evolutionary processes. The current discussion of human impact on the extinction of species and on climate change has boosted the significance of research into biodiversity crises and the climate in prehistoric times.



The degree course is centered on the block courses and special lectures on paleobiology and the evolution of living organisms. Students acquire the necessary knowledge for working on present-day paleontology issues through the modules offered on evolution, morphology, systematics, taxonomy, biogeography, biochronology, stratigraphy and biodiversity. They put what they have learned into practice in fieldwork. Students can supplement their studies with additional modules chosen from the full range of biology modules and a number of the geology modules.

Further information



In this Master's program, students have to take one block course in paleontology (compulsory module) and the required module BIO338 Introduction to Scientific Writing (0 ECTS, one day in September or February). BIO338 should be taken before writing the Master's Thesis. The remaining modules are chosen together with the supervisor of the Master's thesis. The Master's coordinator is to be informed about the final compilation of modules.

BIO 262 06 ECTS Evolutionary Morphology of Vertebrates – Issues and Methods
BIO 263 06 ECTS Marine Megafauna in Deep Time
BIO 264 06 ECTS Paleobiology and Evolution of Invertebrates
BIO 265 02 ECTS Evolution and Paleobiology of Plants
BIO 266 02 ECTS Field Work in Swiss Palaeontology and Natural History Museums
BIO 267 06 ECTS Paleobiology and Evolution of Vertebrates
BIO 268 06 ECTS Paleontological Field Work
BIO 270 01 ECTS Dinosaur Palaeobiology
BIO 271 01 ECTS Illustrations in Natural History
BIO 272 01 ECTS Paleobiology and Phylogeny of Amphibians and Reptiles
BIO 273 01 ECTS Evolution and Biology of Cephalopods
BIO 274 01 ECTS Mass Extinctions, Macroevolution and Macroecology through the Phanerozoic
BIO 279 01 ECTS Paleontological Excursions (on weekends)
BIO 280 02 ECTS

Animal Domestication

Recommended elective modules in the basic studies:
BIO 148, ESS 111, ESS 121, BIO 236, MAT 141, STA 120, PHY 127, CHE 154, CHE 155

Master’s thesis in Paleontology: Module BIO 512.

Topics for Mather thesis projects


Weiterführende Informationen

UZH Course Catalogue


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.