MSc in Marine Biology

General

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Program Description

University of Groningen

How does increasing temperatures affect whales and seals? How does overfishing influence marine food-webs? How do we restore and protect the Wadden Sea?

The two-year selective Master's degree program in Marine Biology focuses on life in our planet's seas and oceans. Whether you are interested in biological oceanography, conservation of marine mammals, or coastal marine ecology, we offer plenty of opportunities to receive solid academic training in marine biological research. Together with your mentor (who will be a professor in marine biology) you can design your own study program to fit your personal preferences.

Our flexible Master's degree program is open for all students with a Bachelor's degree in Biology. We offer a number of mandatory master courses which are jointly taught by several research groups in Marine Biology at the University of Groningen and in close co-operation with the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (Texel, Yerseke). In addition, you can select a number of facultative courses which may be discipline-oriented, geographically oriented, or (research) skills-oriented.

The program is strongly research-oriented. You will conduct two research projects under the supervision of experienced researchers. The first project will be executed at the University of Groningen or NIOZ, the second project can be done anywhere in the world as long as it meets our academic standards. For example, our students have performed projects on the Great Barrier Reef, in the Wadden Sea, the Baltic, Mediterranean, up to the Antarctic.

The selective Master's program is designed for students who are able to keep up with the study pace of the cohort that starts in September. Students who would like to start during the academic year and / or aim for a career that focuses on the business and policy side of science are referred to our Master’s program Biology.

Why study this program in Groningen?

  • The Wadden Sea nearby: unique in the world (on UNESCO World Heritage list);
  • Focus on Biology! Research projects on the level of cells, organisms, populations, and communities in seas and oceans;
  • In cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ);
  • Throughout the year opportunities to start your individual program;
  • Our faculty is the home of the 2016 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, Ben Feringa, and the Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Frits Zernike.

Program

Curriculum

2-year program; credits per year: 60 ECTS.

We offer students a series of introductory and specialized courses in Marine Sciences (20-30 ECTS).

The courses will facilitate students from various backgrounds to successfully obtain a degree in Marine Biology. These courses will cover a large range of topics including chemical, physical and biological oceanography, marine conservation, marine community ecology, applied marine biology and marine evolution. Courses will be taught by lecturers from various research institutes, as well as external experts (mainly NIOZ). After a series of compulsory and facultative courses, the students will start their first research project.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is recommended
  • For an average of 20 weeks
  • Maximum of 60 EC

Exchange: All our science and engineering programs offer study abroad possibilities at a number of partner institutions, often as a second research project. Our partners include top-100 universities in Europe (for example in Germany, the UK, and Sweden) and in the USA, China, South-East Asia, and South America.

Admission requirements

Dutch diploma

Specific requirements More information
Knowledge minimum

English proficiency on VWO level is required.

Previous education

Please note: this Master's degree program has a selection procedure!

An academic Bachelor's degree in any field of Biological Sciences including a major in any of the following domains: biology, ecology, evolution, theoretical biology, behavior, marine biology, molecular biology, genetics. Holders of a Dutch HBO Bachelor's degree have to apply for a pre-master program Biology and may be selected for Marine Biology after completion of the pre-master program.

Other admission requirements

The Marine Biology research master is selective. Selection will be based on academic performance and motivation to determine if you will be selected for the master's program. After you have registered, your application will be requested to pass on to the Admissions Board of the program.

International diploma

Specific requirements More information
Additional subject

The Admissions Office will advise the Admissions Board on your application, after which the board will decide if you meet the admission requirements in terms of the general level of previous education and specific background knowledge.

Previous education

This Master's degree program has a selection procedure; read the information below.

An academic Bachelor in any field of Biological Sciences including a major in any of the following domains: biology, ecology, evolution, theoretical biology, behavior, marine biology, molecular biology, genetics. This is merely an indication of the required background knowledge. The admissions board determines whether the specific contents of this/these course(s) meet the admission requirements of the master program for which you applied.

Registration procedure

The Admissions Board will decide whether you can be admitted to the Master's degree program. Applications are evaluated on a continuous basis. You do not have to wait until the application deadline to apply.

Please fill out the application form (for Dutch students or for international students) to explain why you choose to apply for this Master's degree program (questions to be addressed are outlined on the form).

Use the application form to describe your education in:

  • Biology
  • Research Methodology
  • Major (in any of the following domains: biology, ecology, evolution, theoretical biology, behavior, marine biology, molecular biology, genetics)

Provide two reference letters (non-EU applicants) or provide the names of those we may contact for reference (EU applicants) using the application form,

Provide a bachelor thesis or another individually written report of an academic assignment. If such a report is not available an assignment will be given by the Admission Board.

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
Dutch students

01 May 2020

01 September 2020

EU/EEA students

01 May 2020

01 September 2020

non-EU/EEA students

01 May 2020

01 September 2020

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Program form
EU/EEA 2019-2020 € 2083 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2019-2020 € 15500 full-time
EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 2143 full-time

Job prospects

About one-third of the graduates continue in academic research with the pursuit of their Ph.D. degree in The Netherlands or abroad.

About one-third of the graduates continue in various kinds of research and management related to fisheries and coastal zone management.

About one-third of the graduates work in the public sector, for example in journalism, teaching or communication.

Because all our programs are EQUIS and AACSB accredited, a standard that only one percent of universities reach worldwide, your degree will be highly valued on the labor market.

Job examples

  • Ph.D. research position
  • Research and Management related to marine biology
  • Work in the public sector

Research

Get engaged in the Research of Dutch National Research Institutes on Marine Life

You have the opportunity to conduct research under the supervision of experienced marine scientists. Your first research project (40 ECTs) needs to be executed at UG or NIOZ. There is a very high variety of research topics to choose from. At Ocean, Ecosystems research is focused on biodiversity and productivity of marine (mainly polar) phytoplankton whereas marine applications and marine biomimetics are also strongly developed.

This group is specialized in experimental work but also performs field campaigns in both Antarctic and Arctic. The group of Eriksson is highly field-oriented and executes (benthic) community ecology projects in the Wadden Sea and the Baltic. Other groups involve the Palsboll and Fontaine labs. These groups have a strong focus on marine mammals. For example, research focuses on whale dispersal, population structure and conservation issues related to climate change. Both labs apply state of the art molecular approaches and bioinformatics. Finally, the internationally renowned Institute NIOZ on Texel and Yerseke offers a wealth of research possibilities both in the field and in the lab.

Examples of research conducted in the field, on-board research vessels:

  • Studying species interactions across trophic levels in the Wadden Sea;
  • Population dynamics of krill in the Antarctic;
  • The evolution and dispersal of marine organisms.

Examples of research conducted in the laboratory:

  • The influence of ultraviolet radiation on plankton;
  • Marine biomimetics;
  • Analysis of dispersal and genetic population structure of seaweeds, seagrasses, fish, and invertebrates;
  • Molecular identification of invasive species;
  • Conservation genetics of marine mammals.
Last updated October 2019

About the School

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astr ... Read More

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. Geographically, the University is rooted in the Northern part of the Netherlands, a region very close to its heart. Read less
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