Radboud University

Communities and Ecosystems, M.Sc.

  • Application Deadline
  • 12 months
  • English
In the Master's in Communities and Ecosystems, you will learn to unravel ecosystem dynamics in order to contribute to species protection and nature recovery. With strong ties to a well-established research group and personal teaching, you'll gain an extensive background in academic research, with a focus on the interplay between different components and cycles in an ecosystem.


An ecosystem is a complex equilibrium consisting of numerous plants, animals and micro-organisms, influenced by soil and water characteristics, weather conditions and human intervention. In the Master’s specialisation in Communities and Ecosystems you’ll get insight in the relations between different communities and how they react to environmental stress, in a well-developed research environment. You will gain the skills to research and apply this fundamental knowledge in nature protection and restoration or in nature-based industrial processes.

Water, wetlands, and more

In this specialisation, you’ll get a thorough background in nature restoration and species protection. Researchers at the leading Institute for Water and Wetland Research (IWWR) have extensive expertise in protecting peat moor, fish, water fowl, reptiles and water ecosystems, such as sea grass beds. There’s also strong research into other systems like wild bees in agricultural landscapes and grasslands in Eastern Europe, or the effects of pesticides on bird populations. The common ground is the interplay between different components and cycles in an ecosystem.

Together, the specialisations within the Master’s in Biology cover the whole range from organism to ecosystem and environment, which means you can define your exact study path along the way

Extensive experience

With two internships, there’s a strong focus on research. Some students choose to perform research at the IWWR, while others rather work at a company, water authority or NGO. 

You'll learn to design, perform and evaluate your own experiments. Apart from academic research in the labs of Radboud University, you’ll also get acquainted with other types of research in field courses, excursions to external institutes and company visits. So upon graduation, you’ll already know about your career options and you’ll have an extensive network both inside and outside academia.

How do you want to make your contribution to nature? We’ll help you find a topic and internship organisation in your field of interest.

Research track record

This specialisation is closely connected to the Institute for Water and Wetland Research(IWWR), a leading institute in wet ecosystem and stress biology research.

For more than 20 years, researchers from the Institute for Water and Wetland Research (IWWR) have studied the fundamentals of recovery processes and connections within an ecosystem with modelling, animal and plant monitoring, genetic research and method improvement. You will benefit from a long history, ample funding and a large research network. 

Two specialised areas of study are Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, and Experimental Plant Ecology, and students can choose to focus on these for their internships.

Make connections

Radboud University has close connections with water boards, counties, nature recovery spin-off companies and other related organisations, such as Natuurplaza. It also plays an important role in local environmental ecosystem management. 

The courses and excursions in this Master’s specialisation take place in small groups, which creates an open and informal atmosphere. During the internships, you’ll get the chance to perform your own research and communicate as a colleague scientist.

Plus you’ll get the chance to perform a six-month internship abroad in for example Portugal, Spain or South-America.

Programme Structure

The Master’s specialisation in Communities and Ecosystems is taught at the Faculty of Science. It has a course load of 120 EC* (two years). The first year of this specialisation contains five compulsory courses in the first quartile. You can compose the rest of the programme with specialisation and free electives, internships, literature theses and optionally a field course in Switzerland or Ireland.

  • Compulsory courses (15EC): Orientation in biology and Environmental Sciences, Quantitative Conservation Biology, Management of Ecosystems, Microbiology of Wetland Ecosystems or Biodiversity and Ecological Assessment, Environmental and Ecological Modelling.
  • Specialisation elective (3EC): e.g., Estuarine Ecology, Ecological and environmental concepts, Population ecology.
  • Philosophy elective (3 EC)
  • Science electives (9 EC)
  • Free electives (6 EC)
  • Two internships (2 x 36 EC)
  • Literature thesis 1 (6 EC)
  • Literature thesis 2 / field course (6 EC)

Detailed Programme Facts

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English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS
  • Minimum required score (Grade A):


    The CAE test – or the Cambridge Advanced English – is an exam for applicants who wish to get a Certificate in Advanced English. To receive the Advanced certificate, test-takers must score between 142 and 210 on the Cambridge English: Advanced test.

    Note: degree programmes and applications may require a more specific minimum score for admission.

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test OF English as a Foreign Language – offers a paper-based test (PBT). The final, overall PBT score ranges between 310 and 677, and is based on an average taken from the three test components (listening, structure, and reading). The writing part of this test is scored separately on a scale of 0-6. Read more about TOEFL (PBT).

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

1. A completed Bachelor's degree in Biology, Environmental Sciences or a related field of science.2. A proficiency in EnglishIn order to take part in this programme, you need to have fluency in both written and spoken English. Non-native speakers of English* without a Dutch Bachelor's degree or VWO diploma need one of the following:
  • A TOEFL score of >575 (paper based) or >90 (internet based)
  • An IELTS score of >=6.5
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) with a mark of C or higher
* Applicants are considered to be a native speaker of English if they are from Australia, Canada (with exception of Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, UK, USA or South Africa.

Tuition Fee

  • International Applies to you

    10856 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 10856 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.
  • EU/EEA Applies to you

    2060 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 2060 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Nijmegen

  • 880 - 1400 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Check the programme website for information about funding options.

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