Evolutionary Systems Biology (Master)

The Programme in 90 Seconds

All over the world, research laboratories and biotech companies are looking for people who can tackle biological and medical issues with modern "omics" methods and are able to analyse the resulting complex datasets with bioinformatic and quantitative methods. To fulfil this demand, the new Evolutionary Systems Biology (ESB) master's programme provides the training necessary for this new type of scientist.

Specifically, ESB master's students will:

  • learn to transfer interesting biological questions into experimental designs;
  • gain basic statistical and computational skills to analyse and model datasets;
  • combine experimental "wet-lab" technologies with quantitative "dry-lab" methods;
  • apply these skills to questions arising from evolutionary biology, development, comparative genomics, and systems biology.

Vienna offers a unique scientific environment for the ESB master's programme, which will benefit from the expertise of research groups in population genetics, evo-devo, systems biology, and biomathematics at the University of Vienna and the Vetmeduni Vienna. Master's students will be able to draw upon the resources of two universities, and on established connections to world-class research institutes such as the Gregor Mendel Institute, IST Austria, the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics, and the evolVienna network.

Master of Science

Degree Programme Code: 066 220

4 semesters / 120 ECTS credits

Language: English

Entrance exam procedure


Evolutionary Systems Biology Website

Facts & Figures

  • Students: n.a.
  • Graduates in the last academic year: n.a.
  • Number of semesters needed for graduation (median): n.a.

Data updated on: 28.12.2022

*Click here for further information on statistical data in the field of teaching and learning. (in German)

Study Programme

During the first two semesters, the group of compulsory modules (Core Modules) imparts basic knowledge of research on evolutionary biology and systems biology and the methods commonly applied. This stage comprises the modules Population Genetics, EvoDevo and Molecular Evolution, and Quantitative Biology and Systems Biology. Additional compulsory modules and additional qualification modules (students’ choice) in the area of biology, mathematics and natural sciences complement the core modules and are a valuable addition to the master’s programme in Evolutionary Systems Biology. To complete the master’s programme, students have to write a master’s thesis and pass a master’s examination.

Five Concepts

which you will deal with during your studies:

  • Population genetics
  • Systems biology
  • Molecular evolution
  • Applied data analysis
  • Bioinformatics

... and many more.

Student's Opinion ...

Photo of the student Julia H.

"The ESB program has helped me acquire a basic skill set for handling big data from various sources while also allowing me to pursue my scientific interest in evolution in a very broad sense. I am glad to have chosen this program as I feel it provides a solid foundation as well as opportunities to explore a range of fields, with the flexibility to choose what area you want to focus on."

Julia H.

Photo of the student Sanjey N.

"The ESB program offers a myriad of topics that are at the forefront of biological research, while allowing students an element of flexibility to chart their own course. The carefully structured modules are supported by great faculty, ensuring that student training and guidance is ample! All in all, a must do program for those who want to enter the world of big data in biology."

Sanjay N.

Photo of the student Lukas W.

"The ESB Master's provides an ideal hotbed for modern computational biology. With its unique combination of bioinformatics, its modern take on evolutionary biology and enough leeway to develop my own interests, it was a door opener to many exciting opportunities."

Lukas W.

 Overview of the programme structure & topics

Here you find the current offer of courses for this programme to gain better insight into the topics and structure. For more information please click on the respective level.

Teachers' Opinion

Graphic on the subject of

"The ESB master’s programme is embedded in a top-notch research environment. A special feature is the offered training in quantitative skills by focusing on topics centred around evolutionary biology. The programme covers the entire spectrum from the analysis of populations to between species differences. For me, it is a pleasure to train the next generation of biologists. They will be familiar with quantitative data analysis and gain a thorough education in a high-profile biological sub-discipline.

My research focus is on adaptation of evolving populations to a novel environment and functional innovations. Both topics are central to the training provided in the master’s programme and students will be given the opportunity to participate in cutting edge studies on these research topics."

Prof. Dr. Christian Schlötterer

"I am working on construction and analysis of quantitative models to understand key phenomena in evolution, such as conditions for adaptation and speciation. Modelling is a central topic of the ESB master’s programme right from the start. In lecture courses, students will learn about the key models of population genetics and systems biology. In practical courses, they will learn how to play with these models and analyse them using analytical and computational tools."

Prof. Dr. Joachim Hermisson

"Due to the development of second generation sequencing technologies, EvoDevo has converged with Comparative Genomics and Molecular Evolution. We follow this integrative approach, which promises deep insights into the evolution of animal body plans and cellular differentiation. New technologies allow to tackle the evolution of genomic features, including chromatin marks, DNA methylation, cis-regulatory elements, regulatory non-coding RNA, alternative splicing, transposable elements and gene duplications in non-model organisms. This new ESB master will fill a gap and train a new generation of scientists who know to ask the relevant biological questions but also know how to analyse big data from the genomic and systems biological approaches. Researchers with this profile and expertise are highly searched for in many related modern fields of biology."

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Technau

After Graduation

An ESB master's degree provides graduates with an excellent foundation which enables them to pursue a doctorate, such as a PhD in quantitative biological research and opens up a wide variety of career opportunities in research-oriented biomedical/biotechnological companies.

Graduates can pursue a career in the following areas:

  • research at universities and in the non-university sector
  • basic and applied research (e.g. in medicine, biotechnology, pharmaceutical research, agricultural sciences and environmental sciences)
  • research communication
  • planning and implementation of research projects
  • research administration and research management
  • subject-related teaching activities at post-secondary educational institutions
  • computer-based analysis of big data sets

Graduates' Perspective on the Degree Programme

Graduate Survey

The University asks graduates to provide their opinion about the degree programme immediately after graduating. The survey results show how graduates evaluate the degree programme they completed from a subject-specific and organisational perspective.


The graduate survey is an important feedback tool for continuously improving the quality of studies.

Graduates ...

  • say that this degree programme receives the grade: 2.6 (satisfactory)
  • rate the level of difficulty as: 3.4 (appropriate)

→ These results are based on feedback from 5 graduates.

*Detailed information about the implementation, analysis and use of the survey as well as further data can be found in the master's programme in Evolutionary Systems Biology graduation survey (in German).

Career Tracking of Graduates

The tracking of graduates provides information about the career paths of the University of Vienna graduates and aims at providing guidance for career entry after graduation (e.g. questions about the duration of job search until first employment after graduation, salary development and sectors that graduates are active in).

3 years after graduation ...

  • 72% of graduates residing in Austria are gainfully employed.
  • graduates earn approx. € 2,831 gross/month.
  • 15% of graduates work in the tertiary/post-secondary education sector.

*You can find precise information on implementation, evaluation and use as well as further data for this degree programme in the graduate tracking "MA Biology".