Admission to the Master's Degree - FAQ


How can I be admitted for the Master's degree?

By applying to our admission examination, which is coordinated by a committee of faculty members. Applicants are selected by their rank in this examination, up to the number of available vacancies (see below). 


Who is eligible?

Any person that has an undergraduate degree and undergraduate students who are attending the last semester of their courses.


What is the admission examination?

  • A written test to assess your general knowledge in ecology

  • A certificate of English proficiency for non-native English speakers


Which documents do I have to provide to apply?

  • Online application form;

  • Your Curriculum Vitae or a copy of your curriculum at the Lattes database;

  • A certificate of proficiency in English if you are not a native English speaker;
  • Copies of:

    • Official document issued by your undergraduate course with your grades

    • Certificate of undergraduate degree

    • Passport


Do I need a prospective supervisor to apply?

No, but  if you pass the examination you can only be admitted once you have a supervisor. Therefore we encourage applicants to contact at least one of our accredited supervisors as soon as possible. In doing so you can identify prospective supervisors in the research areas that interest you, and get in touch with them beforehand to check which ones are available for supervising and if he/she agrees to be your supervisor. Acceptance is at the discretion of each supervisor, but usually involves assessing the adherence of your research interests to their line of research, and your academic profile.


Which are the research lines and advisors?

Here you can find a list of accredited supervisors, their research lines and contact info.


What is the English proficiency certification?

To present a certificate of proficiency in English with a minimum grade. Eligible certificates and minimum grades are listed in the official notification of each admission examination. We took certificates as valid even after their expiration dates.


What if my native language is English?

If your native language is English or if you have been literate in the English language at childhood you can apply to the Coordination of the Program at the application to waive the presentation of a Certificate of Proficiency in English.


What is the Portuguese proficiency certification?

Foreign applicants must demonstrate proficiency in Portuguese language until the 14th month after their admission. The eligible certificates are  Portuguese Proficiency for Foreigners (Celpe-Bras), intermediate level or higher; or Portuguese Proficiency Examination applied by the Interdepartmental Language Center at University of São Paulo, with a minimum grade equal to seven. We took certificates as valid even after their expiration dates.


What is the written test?

It is a written test designed to assess the candidate's basic knowledge of ecology by addressing the ideas and concepts listed in following item. Past written tests are available here.


What are the subjects of the written test?

  1. Ecological science - history, basic concepts, levels and scales of organization.

  2. Resources and conditions - their effects and ecological and evolutionary consequences.

  3. Biomes: definition, global patterns, main terrestrial and aquatic biomes of the world

  4. Ecosystem ecology - energy flux, nutrient cycles, trophic structure of ecosystems.

  5. Evolutionary ecology - genetic variation, evolution by natural selection, speciation, coevolution.

  6. Population ecology - demography, inter-specific competition, population dynamics.

  7. Ecology and evolution of the interactions among species - parasitism, mutualism, competition, predation, herbivory.

  8. Behavior ecology - evolution and ecology of animal behavior.

  9. Community ecology - patterns of diversity and their causes, food webs, succession..

  10. Applied ecology - sustainable development, pollution, conservation biology.


Which bibliography do you recommend for the written test?

  • Begon, M., Townsend, C. R., Harper, J. L., 2005, Ecology - from individuals to ecosystems. Wiley. (4th or subsequent edition).


How the written test is corrected?

The written test is prepared and graded by a faculty committee. To avoid biases grading is anonymized and redundant:

  • Anonymized correction: before doing the test you will receive a numeric code, which is not available for the committee. You must not disclose this code to others and you must use only this code to identify yourself when required. The identification of applicants are disclosed only after grading.
  • Redundant correction: each question is independently corrected by at least two committee members. Each disagreement is then checked and reevaluated until the committee reach a consensus.


What is the research proposal for Master's students?

If you pass the examination, you must present a research proposal to be admitted. The proposal must be agreed with the advisor and must contain: title, theoretical background, goals, expected results, as well as an initial proposal of the sampling / experimental design and a plan of activities. The proposal must have up to 2000 words.


What are the requirements to pass the admission examinations?

To demonstrate proficiency in English language and to achieve at least a grade five out of ten in the written test.


It is enough to pass the examinations to be admitted?

Not necessarily, because this depends on the number of vacancies available. Applicants that have passed are called to fill vacancies according to their rank in the written test, up to the number of available vacancies. 


When is the admission examination?

We have admission examinations for the Master's degree yearly, usually between August and October. You can find more information about the next admission here.


Are there scholarships for students?

Yes we have a limited quota of scholarships from the Brazilian Government, but we cannot assure that they will be enough to grant all students admitted. We therefore grant our scholarships to the applicants that ranked best in our written test. To be granted with a scholarship you must also sign an agreement by which you accept the the terms and conditions of the funding agencies. The two most important terms are that (i) the scholarship ceases at the 24th month after your admission and that (ii) you can not have a job while you have the scholarship.

Other scholarships may also be requested by the supervisor directly from other agencies, such as São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP).



Are there tuition fees?

No. So far public universities in Brazil do not have tuition fees for their Master's or Doctoral Degrees.