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Studium Biologie Masterstudium

Systematics and Evolution

  • Marchantia polymorpha copyright

    Marchantia polymorpha (copyright Svitlyk)

  • Farn trees copyright

    Fern tree in the tropical rainforest (copyright D. Burlakov)

  • Yellow dung flies copyright

    Yellow dung flies (copyright corlaffra)

  • Bee on flower copyright

    Bee on flower (copyright V. Loki)

  • Leucaena leucocephala copyright

    Leucaena Leucocephala (copyright B. Blur)

  • Ceratophyllum demersum copyright

    Ceratophyllum demersum (copyright I. Lahmanov)

MSc Coordinator of the Master in Systematics and Evolution

Prof. Dr. Tobias Züst (tobias.zuest *

Study Coordinator

Dr. Karin Isler (studienkoordination *


The specialization in Systematics and Evolution will only be offered until the spring semester of 2024 (students already enrolled can still complete it). Starting from the fall semester of 2024, it will be replaced by the MSc Biodiversity program.



Evolutionary biologists investigate questions about patterns and processes responsible for evolution and diversity, and the loss thereof (extinction). At population level, these include mutation, natural and sexual selection, gene flow, genetic drift, adaptation and speciation, under the umbrella of microevolution. At and above species level, macroevolution is concerned with phylogenetics, trait evolution, and the drivers of evolutionary diversification in relation to geography, climate and other environmental factors. There are close links here to biogeography and paleontology. Systematic biology, encompassing species and taxon delimitation, taxonomy, phylogenetics and classification, underpins all these topics, and indeed biology in general.



Students can choose from a wide range of courses including Principles of Evolution Theory & Practice, Human Behavioural Ecology and Cultural Evolution, Paleobiology and Evolution, Evolutionary Medicine, Evolutionary genetics and genomics, Biogeography & Biodiversity, and Bioinformatics for comparative and evolutionary genomics, as well as courses devoted to aspects of analysis and computation. Appropriate courses should be discussed and chosen in consultation with supervisors. The module BIO 338 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 (BIO 511).



Potential Master’s Thesis research projects span a wide range topics in micro- and macroevolution and systematic biology, and an equally wide range of organismal groups, as well as more theoretical topics. The links below provide information about the interests of the relevant UZH research groups. Detailed information about possible Master’s thesis projects is available by contacting the individual professors.



Students wishing to take this Master’s program should discuss their choice of course and lecture modules 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.

Master’s thesis in Systematics and Evolution: Module BIO 511.



Dr. Aeschbacher Simon
Prof. Dr. Blanckenhorn Wolf U.
Prof. Dr. Bucher Hugo
Prof. Dr. Conti Elena
Dr. Grossen Christine
Prof. Dr. Keller Lukas
Prof. Dr. Kokko Hanna
Prof. Dr. Lindholm Krützen Anna
Prof. Dr. Lüpold Stefan
Prof. Dr. Nyffeler Reto
Prof. Dr. Pimiento Catalina
Prof. Dr.

Sánchez Marcelo

Prof. Dr. Schiestl Florian
Prof. Dr. Shimizu Kentaro
Prof. Dr. Szövenyi Peter
Prof. Dr. Wagner Andreas
Prof. Dr. Züst Tobias


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.