Inter-university cooperation between UCL and FUNDP, where complementary research in ecology is carried out, means that the range of available courses is much wider than at each individual university. We have built a programme with joint training of 16 credits and four option courses of 22 credits each. These option courses are mainly focused on subjects which cut across the boundaries between the plant and animal and the terrestrial and aquatic worlds. The structure of the programme enables students to diversify and individualize their studies with 18 credits for optional activities. The dissertation begins in the second semester of the first year and is defended at the end of the first semester of the second year: this is convenient for doing field research during the spring and summer. The placement (25 credits) in the second semester of the second year widens experience of scientific research for those doing the research focus and introduces students doing the professional focus to a professional environment. All students must return for the last five credits in advanced training; there is also a debriefing and an opportunity to exchange experiences with the other students.