MSc ISATEC International Studies in Aquatic Tropical Ecology

General information

The international M.Sc. study programme ISATEC is conducted jointly by the University of Bremen and the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT). ISATEC prepares young professionals for research and practical work related to the management and conservation of tropical aquatic ecosystems and their resources. The courses are taught in English and follow the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). The programme has been evaluated thrice (in 2002, 2007 and 2015) and was thereby qualified as “unique and very well-focused”

The first two terms consist of thematic teaching modules, each of which is composed of weekly block courses. The more fundamental courses are offered primarily to ensure that students from different backgrounds receive the necessary training before proceeding with the more advanced courses. Each module is assessed by a written examination at the end of the module. In addition, the participants in the first academic year must present an oral presentation (winter term) and a scientific essay (summer term) that will be graded and contribute to the final MSc grade. Field experimental and laboratory work is carried out during a two-week excursion in the first term.

During the third term, participants are required to study at one of the partner institutions of the ZMT/University of Bremen. During this period, students must carry out their fieldwork and data collection for their MSc thesis. Alternatively, participants may bring data/material for elaboration from their home institutions or may further analyse existing samples from ongoing projects of the ZMT and the University of Bremen. Prior to leaving for the field work abroad, participants must create a written MSc thesis proposal, to be read and  agreed upon by his/her thesis supervisors. Once abroad at the partner institution, participants must hold an oral presentation explaining the purpose and work plan of their field work. Before their return to Bremen they need to present their preliminary research findings to the partner institution

The thesis shall be carried out during the fourth semester under the guidance of an ISATEC professor and a professor based at the partner institution of the participant. Material or data for the thesis should be collected during the time spent abroad.

The programme starts at the beginning of each winter term in October. Classes in the winter term begin in October and end in February, the summer term period lasts from April to July. In the winter term, the lecture period is interrupted by the Christmas vacation. The programme is completely taught in English. It is comprised of two years (four terms) and includes the submission of a written thesis. The third term is spent at a tropical partner institution of the ZMT/University of Bremen.

It is advisable for foreign students to have some basic knowledge of the German language. This makes the arrival to Germany and the adjustment to life outside the campus much easier. German language courses run parallel to the main programme and are available to all students.

Learning outcome:

Graduates of ISATEC are experts in the field of tropical aquatic ecosystem research and its application to the conflicting areas of utilisation and conservation of aquatic ecosystems in the tropics. They are equipped to join or conduct multidisciplinary teams working in the investigation and management of tropical coastal zones or freshwater systems as well as to continue university studies (PhD) in the areas of aquatic ecology or integrated coastal zone management. Employment may be found with national and international organisations involved in research and nature conservation projects, governmental institutions dedicated to coastal systems and resource management, consulting agencies involved in environmental approval work, universities and with organisations dedicated to developmental aid (GIZ, DAAD, DED, CIM etc.)

  • To understand the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems in the tropics.
  • To learn about theoretical concepts and methods for resource assessment and evaluation.
  • To learn approaches for coastal planning and management.
Contact Person: Dr. Oliver Janssen-Weets (


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0311 - Maritime economy", "0312 - Policy and governance", "0421 - Marine and maritime law", "0521 - Ecology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management", "0532 - Marine Geology", "0831 - Fisheries


Venue: University of Bremen
Bremen, Germany

1st - 2nd terms: University of Bremen
3rd term: tropical Partner Institute
4rth term: University of Bremen/ Partner Institute


Open from
16 Jan 2019 to 30 Apr 2019


Besides the costs of living (accomodation, food, etc), the University of Bremen charges no tuition fees for the ISATEC master programme. Most study materials are provided free of charge. In some cases where the course is of a special nature (like excursions), the costs have to be partially met by the participants.

A student semester contribution of about 280 EUR per term is obligatory. This contribution includes free public traffic (semester ticket) within a wide part of Northern Germany, the availability of inexpensive meals at the mensa and an administration fee.



Students wishing to participate in the ISATEC programme must have completed their undergraduate studies and need to hold a Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) in biological/environmental sciences. In the event that the first degree has not been awarded before the closing date for applications, you may still submit your application. In this case, evidence has to be provided that a minimum of 135 ECTS (or equivalent) have already been obtained.

Applicants also need to state their motives for participation in a letter of motivation to be submitted with the application.

Non-native speakers need to proof their English language proficiency by taking a recognised English proficiency test (e.g. TOEFL / iBT 90; IELTS: band 6.5).

Application Procedure:

Applications must be submitted online, prior to the closing date and together with all necessary admission requirements.

Required documents for your online application

  • Letter of motivation, explaining the interest for enrolment in the ISATEC study programme

  • Detailed curriculum vitae

  • Certificate of English proficiency according to level C1 of the European reference scheme for language skills for non-native speakers (TOEFL: iBT 90 ; IELTS: band 6.5 or equivalent documents)

  • Certificate of BSc degree, including graduation scheme University transcripts, including a list of courses completed at the home university with the duration, final grades and graduation scheme

Once your application has been submitted online, it is not necessary to submit any paper documents to the University of Bremen. You will only be requested to submit paper documents if your application is successful.

In this case you will be sent

  • a Confirmation of Enrollment

  • together with a request to submit (either by surface mail or by hand) any further paper documents that may be necessary.

Copies of original certificates must be validated.

Certificates in other languages than German or English must be translated into German or English.

Original documents will not be accepted, please do not send any!


Grant Opportunities:

ISATEC is a member of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship programme “Development-Related Postgraduate Courses”. When applying for the ISATEC programme you may combine your application with a scholarship provided by the DAAD (if you are a citizen of a developing country). 

Applying for a DAAD scholarship

When applying for the ISATEC programme you may combine your application with an application for a scholarship provided by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). ISATEC is member of the DAAD Scholarship Programme “Development-Related Postgraduate Courses” which offers scholarships to highly qualified students.

Applications (for ISATEC as well as for the DAAD scholarships) must be submitted via the Online Application Portal and contain the DAAD application form. Please upload the form in the additional documents section. Incomplete applications will not be considered.


Academic level: Master

  • Written Examination
  • Oral presentation
  • Written Essay
  • Written Master Thesis
  • Presentation and oral defense of the Master Thesis

Qualification: Master of Science

Occupations (not validated):
Spotted a mistake in this page? Click here to request a change.