MAOK Master in Applied Ecology

Master in Applied Ecology

    • Number of credits
    • Part-time/full-time
    • Start semester
      2024 Autumn
    • Language of instruction
    • Campus

The Master’s programme in Applied Ecology is a full-time campus-based study over two years, consisting of 120 ECTS credits according to §3 in “Regulations concerning requirements for master’s degrees” determined by the Ministry of Education 01.12.2005 (“Forskrift om krav til mastergrad” fastsatt av Kunnskapsdepartementet 01.12.2005). Successful completion of the programme of study gives the title Master’s degree in Applied Ecology. The programme is taught in English, but student assignments can be submitted in English or Norwegian.

Programme structure and content

Structure and content of the programme of study

The study programme is a two-year full-time study (120 ECTS credits), comprising 60 credits of compulsory courses and a 60-credit master’s thesis. The courses are taught on campus Evenstad in semester 1, 2, and 3. The compulsory courses provide the students with

  • ecological theory (e.g., Concepts in ecology),
  • research and monitoring methods (e.g., Biostatistics, GIS, Wildlife monitoring),
  • an understanding of the pervasive impacts of humans on wildlife health and populations and of the complexities of human-wildlife interactions, including human-wildlife conflicts (e.g., Wildlife in the Anthropocene), and
  • a critical understanding of the research process and an ability to assess the quality of a scientific study (e.g., Research process and topics).

The master’s thesis is an independent scientific research project on a chosen topic within the broad concept of applied ecology, supervised by a member of the department’s scientific staff. The students choose their thesis topic at the end of the first semester, submit and present a project plan in the second semester, and submit, present, and defend their final thesis at the end of the fourth semester.

The master’s programme also offers three elective courses. The course Applied wildlife ecology is funded by NORPART and will run for as long as funding is available. During a three-month stay in Nepal the course covers many of the same methods as the compulsory course Wildlife monitoring. Applied wildlife ecology can therefore replace Wildlife Monitoring. The elective courses Biostatistics II and Chemical and physical capture of Scandinavian mammals are additional to the compulsory 120 credits. Biostatistics II is a one-week intensive course. It builds on the compulsory course Biostatistics and gives students an opportunity to deepen their knowledge on statistical modelling. Chemical and physical capture of Scandinavian mammals is recommended for students who will participate in capture or handling of wild animals for their master’s thesis work.

Students who want to do an exchange semester are recommended to do so in their second or third semester. Exchange for the Double Degree with Zurich University of Applied Sciences (see under Internationalisation) happens in the second semester. Courses taken during an exchange semester will have to be pre-approved in an individual study plan in order to replace compulsory courses.


Course Models
Master in applied ecology - Compulsory courses
  • T - Teaching subject
  • E - Elective course
  • M - Mandatory course
  • P - Professional training
CourseType2024 A2025 S2025 A2026 S
Master in applied ecology - Elective courses
  • T - Teaching subject
  • E - Elective course
  • M - Mandatory course
  • P - Professional training
CourseType2024 A2025 S2025 A2026 S
About the study

Applied Ecology is a field within ecology which puts the science of ecology into practical use to address contemporary challenges. This includes the application of ecological concepts to environmental problem solving, policy, and management including the sustainable use and management of biological resources and services such as wildlife, fish, and forest. 

The management of our ecosystems to halt the loss of biodiversity and mitigate climate change while maintaining human welfare is a major task regionally, nationally, and internationally. The present program focuses on the biological processes, wildlife management and monitoring methods, and the complex relationships between wildlife populations and people on an increasingly human-dominated planet. The students are given the scientific tools needed to understand ecosystems and how they can be managed in a sustainable manner. The programme helps students develop the necessary capacity to engage with further education, conduct research, and engage with practical ecosystem management. 

Why a Master’s degree in Applied Ecology?

Humans are dependent upon ecosystems for their health and wellbeing. Population increase, technological development, and changing policies affect the human pressure on ecosystems. The Green Transition is increasing societal demands on ecosystems for products and other ecosystem services such as food and fibre supply, energy, carbon storage, water management, biodiversity conservation, culture, and recreation (like ecotourism and hunting). All these demands cannot be met at the same time. Hence, sustainable development requires understanding the interactions between these different competing objectives, and a sound ecological and management knowledge basis. In the master’s programme in applied ecology theory and practice follow each other continuously during the study. It is taught entirely in English and attracts students of various nationalities. We educate students to be able to plan, conduct, analyse and present results from scientific studies within the field of applied ecology.

Learning Outcome

A candidate with a completed Master’s degree in Applied Ecology will have the following learning outcome defined in knowledge, skills, and general competence:

Learning outcome - Knowledge

The candidate

  • Has thorough knowledge of the complexity of central topics in ecological theory.
  • Has a broad knowledge of concepts and key terminology in conservation biology, natural resource management, wildlife health, and relevant social science disciplines.
  • Has thorough knowledge of the pervasive impacts of humans on wildlife health and populations.
  • Understands how individual, social, cultural, institutional, and political processes interact to influence the relationships between humans and wildlife.
  • Has thorough and critical knowledge of data generation processes, study design, and basic methods to monitor and study wildlife populations and individuals in time and space.
  • Has thorough knowledge of the process of planning and conducting wildlife research for management and conservation, from study design to data collection, analyses and reporting.
  • Understands the research process so as to be able to critically assess the quality of a scientific study within disciplines relevant to applied ecology.
  • Has extensive knowledge on the most updated scientific literature within a specific topic in applied ecology.
Learning outcome - Skills

The candidate

  • Can conceive, plan, and carry to completion a piece of applied ecological research under the supervision of a professional in the field, and in accordance with applicable norms for research ethics.
  • Can read, present key relevant messages, and critically evaluate and discuss scientific literature from multiple disciplines related to the study and management of wildlife.
  • Can find and analyse various sources of information, and use them critically to structure and formulate arguments, and to place their own study into a larger context.
  • Can conduct basic field tasks to collect data on wild animals at both individual and populations levels.
  • Can acquire open-source data and be critical of the sources of data.
  • Can choose relevant analytical methods within GIS and statistical modelling to solve scientific or management problems.
  • Can apply statistical models in ecology, interpret model outcomes and predictions, and communicate findings to the general public and to the scientific community.
  • Can suggest management interventions based on conclusions drawn from statistical inference.
  • Can communicate effectively with media and the public about often controversial wildlife management issues and apply principles of risk communication when writing for a general audience.
Learning outcome - General competence

The candidate

  • Can communicate and discuss applied ecological research and its implications through national or international publishing channels, and to researchers, policy makers, stakeholders, and the general public.
  • Can reflect on the complexity of wildlife management in the modern world, and on the science-policy interface.
  • Can participate in discussions on current controversial issues in ecology and the application of the science.
  • Can reflect over personal biases and values and how these may influence their scientific objectivity and the way they apply science to policy-related issues.
  • Can evaluate, design and implement various methodological approaches to applied ecological research.
  • Can reflect and think critically regarding data quality, and the use and limitations of various analytical methods in ecology.
  • Can analyse relevant academic, professional, and ethical challenges.
  • Has an in-depth understanding of the measures to evaluate scientific quality of an ecological study.




Teaching and working methods

In order for the students to achieve the learning outcomes, a number of different teaching and learning methods are used, such as lectures, seminars, group work, class discussions, field exercises, written exercises, and writing of the master’s thesis. In many of the courses, introductory lectures are followed by hand-in assignments. The different learning methods used in each course are described in the individual course descriptions.
A full-time study involves a work effort of 37.5 - 45 hours per week.

Target group

We target students who have a dedicated interest in ecology, wildlife, and the interaction between humans and the environment. Herein we target students within wildlife and nature management who want to extend their competence in the field of ecology above the level of a bachelor’s degree.

Many of our students have taken a bachelor’s degree in ecology, biology, evolution, natural resources management, forestry, environmental sciences, or related topics. However, we encourage applicants with other bachelor’s degrees, or who can show an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree, as long as they fulfil the admission requirements.

Admission requirements

Bachelor's degree or equivalent completed education with a specialization of at least 80 credits

To enter the programme, students are required to confirm the achievement of either:

  • A Norwegian bachelor’s degree or an education recognized as being equivalent to a Norwegian bachelor’s degree with an average weighted (ECTS credits) mark of at least grade C.
  • An education recognized as three years of higher education in Norway.
  • Education approved as equivalent to the above-mentioned degrees according to university law §3-4.

The degree from higher education has to include the equivalent of at least 80 ECTS-credits of the following subjects:

  • Minimum 4 ECTS-credit equivalents in statistics or similar topics.
  • Minimum 76 ECTS-credit equivalents in subjects related to applied ecology, e.g., ecology, biology, zoology, botany, evolution, wildlife biology, additional statistics or other relevant topics.

In cases where all or parts of the programme were approved with the use of the marks Pass / Fail, the applicants are admitted after individual assessment.

The study may be limited to a certain number of students decided yearly. In this case, the applicants are ranked according to «Regulations for Admission, Programmes of Study and Examinations at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences» (“Forskrift om opptak, studier og eksamen ved Høgskolen i Innlandet”) § 2-2.

English language requirements

All non-native English speakers must provide documentation of English language proficiency at a high level.

Alternatively, students can meet the language requirements by meeting the language requirements for English-taught master’s programs at INN.

Motivation letter

Applicants from outside the EU/EEA must attach a motivation letter (maximum 300 words). It should include an explanation of their interest in this master’s programme and specifically how they will use the Master’s degree in Applied Ecology in their current or future career plans.

Guidelines for application

Admission ranking
Applicants to the study are ranked according to the Regulations on Admission, Programmes of study and Examinations at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
Career prospects and further studies

The master’s degree in applied ecology qualifies the student to:

  • Work in decision-making in private and public wildlife management.
  • Work at educational institutions. Additional pedagogic background may be needed dependent on institutional requirements.
  • Work as a researcher or research technician, for instance with environmental impact assessments or wildlife and habitat monitoring.
  • Enter a PhD-program in ecology or related fields for a further career in research

The master’s programme in Applied Ecology is taught in English. This to allow for international applicants and to create an international student environment that will improve the quality of the study, not least through discussions of different traditions in ecology and diverse social-ecological settings. We encourage and make allowances for students who wish to study abroad for part of their degree. Such an international stay is recommended to take place during the second and/or third semester of the study depending on the courses the student will take abroad. In addition, the master’s thesis can be done abroad with an external supervisor as well as and an internal supervisor from INN.

Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences has several international agreements of collaboration. Specific to the Master’s programme in Applied Ecology, there is an active Double Degree programme with Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), where students can take 30 ECTS credits during an exchange semester at the ZHAW campus in Wädenswil. The objective is to provide students with two independent master’s degrees (Master’s degree in Applied Ecology, INN, and Master of Science in Environment and Natural Resources, ZHAW) through the transfer of appropriate ECTS credits between the two parties. The double degree programme is designed to provide students with a unique opportunity to study from an international perspective.

Specific to the Faculty of Applied Ecology, Agricultural Sciences and Biotechnology, there are active student exchange programs with many partners in Nordic and Baltic countries through the network Nordnatur (, in most European countries through Erasmus agreements, and in North America, Africa, and Asia through bilateral agreements.

Information- and source competence

Students will develop skills in analysing and relating critically to different sources of information and apply these to structure and formulate academic reasoning. Therefore, in collaboration with the academic communities, the University Library offers advanced instruction in searching for subject-specific information, referencing technique, source criticism, and problems associated with plagiarism. It is expected that all students have a critical attitude towards sources of information and use these sources appropriately in all academic work throughout their entire course of study. Breaches of the rules regarding the use of sources are regulated in the Regulations relating to admission, studies, and examinations at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences.

Research based teaching

The Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management has a strong research environment within applied ecology, including wildlife ecology, wildlife monitoring, human-wildlife interactions, community ecology, ecophysiology, wildlife health, evolutionary biology, remote sensing, and forestry. Much of our teaching is based on scientific experience and past and ongoing research. As well as constantly adapting our courses to include the latest scientific findings we also actively engage students in ongoing research projects. The research groups at the department have extensive collaboration with national and international research collaborators and with management. The master students are invited to conduct their thesis with our research groups and within ongoing research projects.

Assessment methods

Written and oral exams, individual written assignments, and oral presentations. The different forms of assessment used in each course are described in the individual course descriptions.

Faculty of Applied Ecology, Agricultural Sciences and Biotechnology
Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management