Top 10 Ecology Masters Programs in 2024

By | February 13, 2024

Do you want to be an ecologist? Do you want to study the way environment affects human populations? Do you want to learn about the challenges facing our planet? If so, then a ecology masters program is the perfect option for you. A ecology masters program provides unparalleled knowledge and training in environmental studies. It allows students to study both natural and disturbed ecosystems, as well as the effects of climate change on human populations. In addition, ecology masters programs offer a variety of professional opportunities that can lead to careers in environmental research and management.

Top 10 Ecology Masters Programs - Best School News

There are a lot of different things going on in the world, and one of them is the ecology of our planet. One of the most important ways we can contribute to the ecology of our planet is through our own actions. Through college, we can learn about how to be ecological stewards. We can then create a more sustainable future for ourselves and for our planet.


Why A Masters In Ecology?

If you’re interested in environmental science, there are a few colleges that offer the best programs. But if you want to study ecology, there are even more schools that offer the best courses.
Ecology is the study of the environment and its impact on humans and other species. It covers everything from ecosystem restoration to public policy. Ecology is a complex subject, but it’s interesting and engaging enough for students to want to learn more.
Masters degrees in ecology provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue careers in environmental science. They can also use their degrees to research and develop solutions to environmental problems.
The best master’s degrees in ecology are those that focus on conservation biology or environmental studies. These programs allow students to study the environment and how it affects human populations. They also learn about how to protect ecosystems and their resources.

A master’s degree in ecology provides students with advanced training in the ecological sciences through both coursework and independent research.

Upon completion, students can pursue a professional career in the field, or enroll in a Ph. D. program.


If you seek to understand the important connections between plants and animals and the world around them, then, you’re advised to enroll in one of these programs.

To pursue a career in ecology, a bachelor’s degree may not get you the kind of jobs, opportunities, or pay a master’s degree can provide. A master’s degree in ecology however will be an added advantage.

Furthermore, if you wish to attain the height of education – the doctoral level, earning a master’s degree is a step in the right direction. Whether it is an online degree or a campus one, a master’s degree is important because it teaches students to acquire foundational skills, and guarantee employment resources upon graduating.

What Can I Do With A Masters Degree In Ecology?

Sitting in an office for the next 50 years doesn’t have to be the only option for you because the great outdoors for you to explore.

Some ecologists work outside doing field research on land or underwater. Others work in labs or in the community with natural resource managers or government officials who develop policies. Some work in offices where they analyze data and build computer models.

Ecologists also work for educational and other nonprofit organizations, government agencies, research centers, and private companies.

A master’s degree in ecology encourages you to do the thing you love and still do good in the world.

In that regard, these careers can give you that opportunity with your master’s degree:

  • Environmental consultant
  • Research scientists/ research assistant
  • A park naturalist
  • Restoration ecologist
  • Natural resource manager

How Much Will I Earn With A Masters Degree In Ecology?

Us bureau of Labor Statistics classifies ecologists as conservation scientists. The average annual salary for ecologists is $67,040 as of May 2019. Several things can affect the income of an ecologist – experience, location, area of specialty, and level of education.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth of jobs for the wider category of environmental scientists and specialists was expected to be 11% from 2016-2026.

By May 2017, environmental scientists and specialists earned a median annual salary of $69,400.

While the entry-level workers with no degree, earn less than $38,890 per year, the bachelor degree holders earn between $56,000-$69,000 those holding master’s and doctorate level degrees in ecology, earn over $90,080 per year.

What Are The Requirements For A Masters Degree In Ecology Program?

The requirements for a master’s degree in ecology, vary among schools and program mode. A university may not offer an online master and an on-campus master’s program.

Every school that offers an ecology master’s program has its own set of prerequisites. You can contact your accredited institution for more comprehensive information on their policies/admission requirements.

For example, You must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited institution before applying for an MA or MSc ecology program. It should have been earned in ecology or a topic closely related to it. Also, for students from abroad, the equivalent qualification will be expected.

You could be asked to take a test set by the faculty, or present a Test of English as a Foreign Language or an International English Language Testing System certificate, to demonstrate that you meet the university entry requirements. This is particularly for students who do not speak English as a first language, as proof of your language skills.

Most master’s programs whether online or on-campus require a copy of transcripts from previously attended universities, statements of purpose, and two or three letters of recommendation.

How Much Does It Cost To Earn A Masters In Ecology?

Well, the average tuition for a master’s degree in biology will vary depending on the institution, mode of classes, and the particular program.

However, the tuition for all graduate degrees vary between $11,000 per year – $25,000 per year, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics (2015-16 estimates).

What Are The Best Masters Programs In Ecology?

The earth and how it works is still mostly a secret to mankind. As an ecologist, you’re intrigued by these intricacies and eager to find answers to these enigmas.

Enrolling in a master’s degree in ecology, would help answer your questions, step higher in your education, and sharpen your skills in this profession.

Choosing the best schools for the program is the first step in the right direction. In this post on the 10 Best ecology masters programs, I have compiled a list of good schools based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases.  All programs here are fully accredited by the relevant authorities.

It’s not just about making a difference in the world. It’s also about creating a positive impact on the planet. If you want to make an impact on the environment, learn about ecology. Ecology is the study of the relationship between environment and life. You can find ecology degrees at many universities, but here are ten of the best programs for ecology enthusiasts.

#1. University of Oxford

Master of Science in Environmental Change and Management

Cost : £19,200 home; £25,900 overseas

Qs Ranking – #4
Acceptance rate – 17.5%

Its masters in environmental change and management aim to provide you with a broad appreciation of the major processes of environmental change, and the people and institutions involved in environmental management.

The objective of this program is to produce environmental leaders who are critical in their approach to environmental issues – informed and conscious decision-makers.


  • Applicants should have a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honors in any discipline.
  • For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.7 out of 4.0

Program Website

#2. Wageningen University & Research

European Masters Agroecology

          Qs Ranking – 115
Acceptance Rate – 40.2%

Wageningen University & Research (also known as Wageningen UR; abbreviation: WUR) is a public research university in Wageningen, the Netherlands. It is a region in the Netherlands, known as the Food Valley.

WUR consists of Wageningen University and the former agricultural research institute of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture. Wageningen University produces experts (BSc, MSc, and Ph.D.) in life and social sciences and places emphasis on its research on scientific, social, and commercial difficulties in the field of life sciences and natural resources

What Is A Double Degree?

The double degree agroecology is a European master’s program particularly for students with a strong curiosity in sustainable agriculture and agroecosystem management. This program is part of the organic agriculture masters that equips you to understand the structure and function of complex agroecosystems.

In addition to European Partner Universities, Wageningen University & Research offers you the chance to do your master’s program partly in Wageningen and partly at a partner university. You get to obtain international and intercultural experience. Most importantly, you receive two diplomas when you graduate.


Enrolment in an MSc Programme at Wageningen University requires:

  • A BSc degree (or equivalent) in a field of science relevant to your selected program
  • A Grade Point Average (GPA) for this BSc of at least 70% of the maximum grade
  • Fluency in English, both written and spoken

Tuition fees can vary, depending on for example your nationality and degree.

Program Website

#3. The University Of Montpellier

Master Of Ecology                                     

Cost – $3,239

          Qs Ranking – 430  
Acceptance Rate – 42.1%

Established in 1289 The University of Montpellier (UM) is the 6th largest university in France, with about 50,000 students including 7000 come from abroad to study in Montpellier. One of the most innovative higher education institutions in the world, UM ranks very high in many international rankings.


When applying for admission to the University of Montpellier in France you should prepare all required documents. Request a list of necessary documents directly from a university, as it may vary for different countries. Using our live chat, you can also ask for sample documents.

  • Academic Documents
  • Online Application form
  • Resume/CV (graduate, postgraduate)
  • Motivation Letter
  • Local Language Certificate
  • Supervisor Agreement Form (Ph.D.)
  • Student visa
  • Research proposal outline (MA, Ph.D.)

Program Website

#.4 Stanford University

The Sustainability Science and Practice                  

  Cost  – $18,105

          Qs Ranking – # 2
Acceptance Rate – 4.4%

Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Jane and Leland Stanford, “to promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.”

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford’s faculty and students strive to improve the health and comfort of people around the world through the discovery and application of knowledge.

The Sustainability Science and Practice coterminal master’s program receives and integrates students with varied experiences and opinions. They believe this is important to solving the compound, interdisciplinary sustainability challenges of our time.

Students can pursue either an M.S or an M.A. in Sustainability Science and Practice. The type of degree earned depends on if the student takes a majority of natural science and engineering units or social sciences and humanities units


Prepare the required materials:

  • The online Stanford coterminal application.
  • A statement of purpose, about one page in length.
  • A current resume
  • A current Stanford unofficial transcript.
  • Two letters of recommendation from Stanford faculty who know the applicant well and can speak to their qualifications and fit for the program
  • Course Proposal form reviewed and signed by the SUST Student Services Officer.

Program Website

#5. University of California, Berkeley

Energy & Resources – M.A., M.S.                                              

 Cost – 9,681 EUR/year

          Qs Ranking – # 28
Acceptance Rate – 14.8%

The University of California Berkeley founded in 1868,  now has close research relations with three United States Department of Energy National Laboratories.

Students in the Energy & Resources – M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. pro­grams at ERG are taught a variety of meth­ods and sub­jects to under­stand, advance, and review crit­I­cal issues stem­ming from the inter­ac­tion of humans and the environ­ment.  As a result of that, the require­ments are both wide-ranging and deep, method­olog­I­cal, the­o­ret­I­cal, and prac­ti­cal approaches to challenges in energy, resources, and the environment.


  • Test scores for TOEFL, IELTS, and GRE
  • The Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • The Personal History Statement (PHS)
  • Language Proficiency Test Scores
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  • letters of Recommendation
  • GRE Test Scores
  • Transcripts should be uploaded to your application as pdf files

Program Website

#6. University of California, Davis

Graduate Group in Ecology                        

Cost – $13,980

          Qs Ranking – #112    
Acceptance Rate – 41.1%

Founded in 1905, UC Davis is the most academically comprehensive university on the West Coast. The university works across disciplines to address the world’s most tenacious problems and for its commitment to creative and cultural expression.

You can either apply to single or multiple graduate programs during a single admissions period. However, you must file a complete application for each of the programs, including a new online application and application fee.

Like most ecology and evolution master’s programs, the GGE requires that applicants have a major professor ready to accept them. As this is a necessary step in your application, you should contact faculty that interests you in the early summer or fall of the year. You will be communicating with them constantly throughout the application process.


  • English Language Exam Scores
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Diversity
  • Personal History & Diversity Statement

Program Website

#7. University of Exeter

MSc Conservation and Biodiversity                           

 Cost – £24,300 full-time

          Qs Ranking –   #163   
Acceptance Rate – 17.01%

It has its roots in the Exeter School of Art and Exeter School of Science, founded in 1855 and 1863 respectively. The schools fused as the Royal Albert Memorial College, then the University College of the South West of England, and finally in 1955 the University of Exeter. This was when it received its Royal Charter.

The University of Exeter is a public research university based in Exeter, South West England. A member of the Russell Group of UK universities, that combines excellence in teaching and research.


  • Usually, a minimum of 2:1 Honors degree or equivalent in Biology or a relevant science subject is required, although with a 2:2 in a relevant experience will be considered.
  • Applicants with non-science backgrounds will be considered, as long as your first degree contained an empirical component. In addition to that you should have had work experience in the field of conservation/wildlife management.
  • IELTS Overall score of 6.5. No less than 6.0 in any section.
  • TOEFL overall score of 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading, and 23 for speaking.

Program Website

#8. University of Minnesota

Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Graduate Program

Cost – 23,026 EUR

          Qs Ranking –  #156
Acceptance Rate – 51.9%

The Twin Cities campus is the oldest and largest in the University of Minnesota system and has the sixth-largest main campus student body in the United States, with 51,327 students in 2019-20.

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus / Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior is located in St. Paul, MN, in an urban setting.


  • Entrance Exam GRE General Test
  • Comp Exam Required
  • Thesis or projects required
  • International Students TOEFL Paper score of at least  550
  • TOEFL IBT score of at least 79

Program Website

#9. Imperial College London

MSc Ecology, Evolution and Conservation             

Cost – £25,200

          Qs Ranking –   #9   
Acceptance Rate – 14.3%

Imperial College London is a unique institution in the UK, focusing solely on science, engineering, medicine, and business.

Imperial is based in South Kensington in London, in an area known as ‘Albertopolis’, Prince Albert, and Sir Henry Cole’s 19th-century vision for a platform where science and the arts would be merged.

This course delivers a broad research training in ecology, evolution, and conservation, focusing on vital concepts and theory, and their application to conservation and biodiversity science.

This interdisciplinary course provides broad research training in ecology, evolution, and conservation, focusing on fundamental concepts and theory, and their application to conservation and biodiversity science.


  • Our minimum requirement of a 2.1 degree in a science subject.
  • All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.
  • For admission to this course, you must fulfill the standard College requirement
  • You can submit one application form per year of entry. You can usually choose up to two courses

Program Website

#10. ETH ZURICH, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

Master of Science ETH in Environmental Science               

 COST – CHF 22,000

          Qs Ranking –   #6 
Acceptance Rate – 27%

Established in 1855 as the Federal Polytechnic School, a century and a half later ETH Zurich is now considered among some of the world’s most respected universities in science and technology.

The institute has produced over 20 Nobel Prize Laureates – the father of modern physics and the inventor of the general theory of relativity Albert Einstein, one of them.

The Master’s degree program in Environmental Sciences at ETH Zurich forms the foundation for scientific work at a high academic level, trains students to handle complex difficulties, and teaches them skills that are relevant to a wide range of careers.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent first degree from an internationally recognized university in the qualifying disciplines for the Master’s degree program
  • Accepted knowledge and competence in each subject area – which must in content, scope, and quality, be equivalent to those covered in an ETH Bachelor’s degree program
  • The required language skills (German and/or English)

Program Website

How long Does It Take To Earn A Masters In Ecology?

Typically, a master’s degree program can be completed in 2 years. However, some accelerated programs can be completed in less than 2 years, some may take more than 2 years to complete – depending on several factors. The average master’s program involves 8-10 courses and 32 to 36 credit hours.

However, the factors we are looking at are likely to be the length is the subject of the degree or the program format.


Ever wondered how the most trivial things help maintain a balance in the ecosystem (life cycle)?

From the herbivore(rabbit) feeding on an acorn, to a predator(coyote) feeding on said herbivore, to man feeding on the predator, then dying, decomposing, only to end up as manure to help grow the acorn again.

Or about mutualism?

Where (practical example) a bird feeds on the bugs on the back of a crocodile. This eases the crocodile of the discomfort – whilst feeding itself, in return, the crocodile provides the bird with protection against other predators.

The fascination of these interactions, the knowledge that there’s a lot, unexplored out there, drove you to your first degree in ecology(or something related).

But why stop there?

You can enroll in masters programs and avail yourself of the opportunities to do the things you love best. I have listed the 10 best masters programs in ecology for you.


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