Research Master Programmes
The Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences participates in six Research Master programmes. Each of these programmes offers training in both general biology and more specific research fields. The educational programmes strongly link to the research areas studied within the institute. A master programme consists of 120 ECTS; one year of study typicaly consists of 60 ECTS.
Within the research programmes, students follow a number of specialization courses. In addition to coursework, students are expected to actively participate in the meetings and discussions within the institute as well as present a colloquium, write an essay on a subject of their choice and complete two research projects. Below you find brief outlines of the four training programmes. For more detailed information on admission procedures and requirements, please check the education pages indicated under each programme outline.
MSc Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences
The Research Master BCN is is an interdisciplinary programme that offers three specialization tracks:
Animal and Human Behaviour (B-track)
The Behaviour track is designed for students who are familiar with the basic theoretical foundations of behavioral research. They follow the "four why's" of the evolution, function, causation and development of behavior.
Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Modelling (C-track)
The Cognition track focuses on cognitive processing from psychological, neurological and modelling perspectives.
Molecular and Clinical Neuroscience (N-track)
The Neuroscience track is designed for students interested in molecular mechanisms of brain function and of the neuropathology of disease.
The specialization Animal and Human Behaviour is coordinated by the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences. Thorough evolutionary insight is necessary for guiding the causal analysis of behaviour, just as we can not understand its evolution without physiological knowledge. Hence we link the functional and physiological analysis of behaviour. This holds also for human behaviour where particular emphasis is placed on evolutionary psychology. Development of behaviour is a further key to understand the complex regulation of behaviour in adulthood, the origins of individuality and the constraints and plasticity in behavioural adaptation.
Details and programme requirements for the Research Master Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences.
The master programme Biology is for students who have a broad interest in biology and also those who have a specific interest in science at the interface of different biology domains, such as ecology, marine biology, biomedical sciences and molecular biology. Within this master programme there is a specialization in behavioural and neurosciences. Students can focus on fundamental or applied research, or a combination of both. In consultation with a mentor, students design their own study programme tailored to their interests. Each individual programme must be approved by the board of examiners. Courses may be selected from those offered by the three research institutions participating in biology education.
The institute offers the following courses:
- Molecular Methods in Ecology and Evolution
- Advanced Self-organisation of Social Systems
- The Function of Marine Biodiversity
- Programming C++ for Biologists
- Advanced Statistics
- Mathematical Models in Ecology and Evolution
- Groningen Lectures in Theoretical Biology
- GELIFES Seminars
- Current Themes Seminar Series
Details and programme requirements for the Research Master Biology.
MSc Biomedical Sciences
The Biomedical Sciences programme is strongly oriented towards the scientific background of health and disease and preclinical research. Students will study life processes and their abnormalities within the intact organism. At least 60% of the master's programme consist of independent research projects in the following areas of expertise:
- The mechanisms of inflammation and immunity, allergies and tumours
- The transplantation applications of embryonic stem cells
- Diseases of the brain and nervous system
- The biological aspects of emotional and affective disorders such as depression, anorexia nervosa and obesity
- The molecular cellular biology underlying age-related pathologies
Within the programme Biomedical Sciences students can follow the specialisation Biology of Ageing which provides training as a researcher mainly in the field of ageing and age-related pathologies.
Details and programme requirements for the Research Master Biomedical Sciences.
MSc Ecology and Evolution
Within the master Ecology and Evolution there are four main fields of interest:
Evolutionary Ecology & Genetics
A central issue in evolutionary biology concerns the importance of genetic variation: how do genetic variation and natural selection result in reproductive systems, adaptation of organisms to their environment and the emergence of new species? We will try to answer this question by means of an experimental, molecular approach (genomics) and via model-based studies.
Behavioural Ecology & Ecophysiology
Both the morphology and physiology of an organism and its behaviour are formed by selection. Behaviour – for example the timing of reproduction, partner choice and time and route of bird migration – and physiology – for example the degree of plasticity to regulate energy use and temperature – are products of evolution. Theoretical models are paired with experimental ones to study these issues, both in the field and in the laboratory.
Small populations are threatened with extinction because their habitat is fragmented. Whether these populations will indeed die out depends on their genetic structure, demography, dynamics of distribution, etc. This type of research is important, for example, for the restoration of nature reserves or the development of sustainable fishery. Examples of research projects include the effects of genetic erosion in fruit flies and the seed dispersal of plants in the Wadden area.
Species and individuals living in the same area interact with each other and with their environment. Processes of physiological adaptations and restrictions, competition, grazing, predation and succession can change a group of individuals into a community. Combining field observations, laboratory experiments and theoretical models can give us a better understanding of the mechanisms that are active in nature.
Details and programme requirements for the Research Master Ecology and Evolution.
MSc Marine Biology
Marine Biology is an international and highly interdisciplinary field. Students have the opportunity to custom design their study programme, which is strongly research oriented. During the master programme students have the opportunity to conduct research under the supervision of experienced scientists. Research may be conducted in the field, onboard research vessels and/or in the laboratory. Some examples of laboratory work include studying the influence of ultraviolet radiation on plankton, analysis of dispersal and genetic population structure of seaweeds, seagrasses, fish and invertebrates; or the molecular identification of invasive species. Field work might include studying species interactions across trophic levels in the Wadden Sea or the population dynamics of krill in the Antarctic. Whether you are interested in biological oceanography or coastal marine ecology, there are plenty of opportunities.
Details and programme requirements for the Research Master Marine Biology.
MSc Top Programme Evolutionary Biology
The Top Programme Evolutionary Biology is an internationally oriented multidisciplinary program that focuses on research questions concerning fundamental ecological and evolutionary processes. The programme offers training, both nationally and internationally, at a high level by means of specially designed courses taught by leading experts in the field. Students are selected for the programme based on their rankings and motivation to participate. It is accessible to Dutch and international students. In addition to the requirements of the standard programmes, students will follow three compulsory courses:
Details and programme requirements for the Top Programme Evolutionary Biology.
The Top Programme Evolutionary Biology is also offered as Erasmus Mundus programme. Please visit the special MEME website for more information.
Questions regarding admission and associated matters should be addressed to the Education Support Centre. Questions regarding the content of the programmes should be addressed to the contact persons indicated on the websites, to your study advisor or to the supervisor you intend to work with.
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