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Education Bachelor's degree programmes Biology
Header image Biology


What are the effects of climate change on marine life? What causes a disease like cancer and how can you fight it? What happens in the brain while you are asleep?

Please note: this programme may have a fixed quota (Numerus Fixus) as of September 2022, meaning that the application deadline may move forward to 15 January 2022 for the September 2022 intake, and that a selection procedure will take place. An update will follow here on the website as soon as possible.

The field of Biology is concerned with how plants, animals and humans are made up and how they function. The difference with biology at secondary school is that this degree programme involves more exact science: you will study more mathematics, physics and chemistry. Scientists are expanding their horizons more and more. As a biologist, you will increasingly work together with scientists of other disciplines. This interaction will provide you with useful knowledge.

Choose the Major that suits you best!

Many universities offer degree programmes in Biology. The big advantage of studying in Groningen is that you can choose the exact specialization that suits you best. After the broad-based first semester, which comprises course units that cover virtually all aspects of biology, you will choose a specialization that you are interested in, for example Ecology or Biomedical Life Sciences.

The second year is when you make your definitive choice of Major. You can choose from the following five Majors:

Ecology & Evolution

Molecular Life Sciences

Behaviour and Neurosciences

Biomedical Sciences

Integrative Biology

Facts & Figures
BSc in Biology
Course type
36 months (180 ECTS)
Croho code
Language of instruction
Science and Engineering
Studie in Cijfers
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • The degree programme all offer a wide choice of specializations that you can major in. During the first semester you will follow a broad based programme, after which you can make your definitive choice.
  • The biomedical degree programmes have close ties with the University Medical Center Groningen. If you choose one of these programmes, you will spend a lot of time at the UMCG, for practicals, among things.
  • Groningen also offers a unique master degree programme in Marine Biology.
  • Our faculty is the home of the 2016 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, Ben Feringa, and the Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Frits Zernike.
CoursesCourse Catalog >12
Basic Cell and Molecular Biology (5 EC)
Biostatistics 1 (5 EC)
First year symposium (2 EC)
Genetics, Ecology and Evolution (5 EC)
Lab course (3 EC)
Microbiology (5 EC)
Physiology (5 EC)
Behavioural Neurosciences (5 EC)
Biochemistry and Cell Biology in Ecology and Evolution (5 EC)
Cell Biology and Immunology (5 EC)
Ecophysiology of Plants and Animals (5 EC)
Evolutionary Ecology (5 EC)
Metabolism (5 EC)
Molecules of Life (5 EC)
Research Skills in Ecology and Evolution (10 EC)
Research Skills in Life Sciences (10 EC)


The first, broad-based semester is identical for all students and helps you to familiarize yourself with the various fields within the domain of biology. After this semester, you will choose a Major. During the first three semesters, you will follow many compulsory course units. Afterwards, you will be able to choose from many electives and set out your own route to gaining your degree.

During the first semester of the third year, you will follow a Minor to broaden or deepen your knowledge. Your Bachelor's degree programme will be finished with a Bachelor's project within your chosen Major. The vast majority of your lecturers are involved in research in some way. Their research will help you to become acquainted with the many current developments in the field of life sciences.

Every year consists of 60 ECTS (study credit points). Most courses are good for 5 ECTS.

Programme options
Integrative Biology (major)

This Major is an excellent choice for students who are looking for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives in biology.

You will use these perspectives to unravel the complexity of biology. The Major offers a great deal of options to choose from, so you can compile a personal study programme that is perfectly tailored to your own interests.

Ecology and Evolution (major)

This Major is designed for students who are interested in studying organisms in their natural habitats.

You will learn how different species interact with their environment and their ecological partners, and how this network supports biodiversity, resilience and ecosystems.

Behaviour and Neurosciences (major)

This Major is for students who want to know how the brain works and/or why animals and humans behave the way that they do.

It will help you to understand how all manner of factors affect behaviour, such as nurture conditions, the environment and endogenous

Molecular Life Sciences (major)

This Major is perfect if you are interested in the molecular processes on which all life forms are based.

You will learn about the functioning of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells in their environment, as well as the tools that you need to study these processes, such as computational tools to analyse the increasingly large and complex datasets that are generated in modern biological research.

Biomedical Sciences (major)

This Major focuses on human beings as a biological creature.

Medical biologists want to understand the biological basis of diseases in humans and how these diseases develop to become observable complaints. Their aim is to develop better diagnostic and therapeutic programmes together with other scientists.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
  • Maximum of 30 EC

Students have the possibility to study abroad during their minor programme (30 ECTS) in the first semester of the third year of the Bachelor's degree programme.

Entry requirements

Admissible Dutch diploma profiles

  • Natuur & Techniek


  • Natuur & Gezondheid


Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

Een voldoende voor je vwo-Engels is aan te bevelen omdat de opleiding Engelstalig is.

other admission requirements


Make sure to visit 'BSc Application Procedure' at: for all the necessary information about the procedure and admission requirements.

If you apply, you participate in the mandatory matching process of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. More information:

Choice of degree programme check

The degree programme will organize a matching procedure. Attendance is compulsory. The advice is not binding.

Explanatory notes

More information about matching:

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202201 September 2022
EU/EEA students01 May 202201 September 2022
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202201 September 2022

Choice of degree programme check

More information about matching:

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
additional subject

Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics

This is merely an indication of required background knowledge. The admissions board determines whether the specific contents of this/these course(s) meet the admission requirements of the bachelor programme for which you applied.

language test

Proficiency in English is an admission requirement for all English-taught degree programmes. Please find our English language requirements (IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge and more) on this page:

previous education

Secondary education equivalent to Dutch pre-university education is required.

This is merely an indication of the required general level of applicants' previous education.

FOR MORE INFORMATION please visit the 'BSc Application Procedure' pages at:

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
IELTS overall band6.5
TOEFL internet based90

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202201 September 2022
EU/EEA students01 May 202201 September 2022
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202201 September 2022
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2021-2022€ 1084full-time
non-EU/EEA2021-2022€ 13716full-time

The Dutch government is halving tuition fees for first-year students in higher education.

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

When you study Biology, you develop a scientific way of thinking that will help you to solve biology-related questions and problems. This analytical perspective is useful in all kinds of jobs, so you will have plenty of career options after graduating.

Many options

A biology degree gives you a wealth of excellent options. Some biologists become policy advisors in an organization or company, or find a job as a press officer, teacher, educational consultant or scientific journalist. A small number of biologists work in the corporate sector, for example as clinical research associates. In short, you will be eligible for a wide range of positions in all kinds of companies and organizations.

Want to become a researcher?

A lot of biologists work as researchers, either for a short while or as a long-term career. The type of research will depend on the discipline in which you specialize and the themes that play a role in your working environment. There are various types of research. For example, you could study the brain at the University Medical Center Groningen, or help to unravel the structure of genes in a laboratory. You could study the effects of gas drilling on the marine environment for the NAM, or coordinate research on the influence of large grazers on vulnerable ecosystems for a conservation organization. Or you could gather information about forgotten crops that could thrive with little or no pesticides in our changing climate. These are all examples of research. What you achieve with this research will depend on yourself and the world around you. It’s up to you!

Job examples

  • Researcher
  • Environmental advisor
  • Health advisor
  • Ecologist
  • Microbiologist
  • Policy advisor
  • Science communication or journalism
  • Teacher/lecturer

Our Bachelor's degree programme in biology is connected to the following research institutes of the University of Groningen.


The Groningen Institute of Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES) fills a special niche in the field of life sciences that not only covers mechanistic, evolutionary and ecological approaches, but also specifically aims at the integration of these fields that are traditionally studied in isolation.

GELIFES is part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering and embraces fourteen research groups:

  • Animal Ecology
  • Behavioural Biology
  • Behavioural Physiology
  • Behavioural Ecology and Self-organization (BESO)
  • Chronobiology
  • Community and Conservation Ecology (Cocon)
  • Evolutionary Genetics
  • Marine Benthic Ecology & Evolution (MarBEE)
  • Marine Evolution and Conservation (MarECon)
  • Microbial Ecology
  • Molecular Neurobiology
  • Neuroendocrinology
  • Plant Ecophysiology
  • Theoretical Biology

GBB - Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute

GBB has the ambition to perform research of the highest standard in the field of biomolecular sciences, with a focus on proteins. We aim to understand the structure and dynamics of proteins in relation to their function and activity; to unravel the functional role of proteins in living cells; and to obtain insights in the fundamental properties of proteins that are relevant for application in health and the future bio-based economy.

Research groups: Bioinformatics , Biotransformation and Biocatalysis , Cell Biochemistry , Electron Microscopy , Membrane Enzymology , Microbial Physiology , Molecular Cell Biology , Molecular Genetics , Molecular Microbiology , Molecular Dynamics , Molecular Systems Biology, NMR, Protein Crystallography

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  • Ask Our Students! (Like to talk about the programme and student life with someone currently studying Biology?)
    Email: biostudents
  • (For international students who are interested in a Campus Tour or have other practical questions)
    Email: sciencebachelors
  • Academic Advisors FSE
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						Testimonial of Ella Rees-Baylis

    Ecology and Evolution is really fascinating

    – Ella Rees-Baylis
    Read more

    Studying Biology in Groningen attracted me because you get lots of choice in relation to which areas of biology you''d like to study. This flexibility was important for me as I did not know what aspect of biology I wanted to major in. But from trying all the various courses in the first semester, I decided to major into Ecology and Evolution, which is really fascinating, as you get to study ecology on the molecular levels but also in terms of large ecosystems over lifetimes.

    Also, Groningen is an amazing city, plus I feel particularly welcomed as an international student. I now live in a nice house in a village just outside the city, and really enjoy cycling to the Zernike Campus or to the city centre each day.

						Testimonial of Sami Balahsioui

    An opportunity to develop myself

    – Sami Balahsioui
    Read more

    As a student in Groningen, there are lots of opportunities to become active in your student life by joining one of the many committees that exist for all types of associations or within the University. I became active within GLV Idun, the study association for Biology, Biomedical Engineering and Life Science and Technology.

    Over the years, I have been a member of several committees, where I organized fun activities for the association and learnt a lot about teamwork and planning. I am currently the chair of the association’s board. I not only became a board member to have a fun year, but I considered it an opportunity to develop myself and learn more about the structural organization of study associations and the University. I am able to work closely with my fellow board members and learn more about leadership, teamwork and communicative skills.

    I can definitely recommend students doing something beside their studies. During your student life, you will have enough freedom to do whatever you want. It is not only a great way of meeting new people; you are also able to learn one or two things that can be quite useful in your future career. Whether you become active at a study association, student association or a student sports association, it will be a great experience.

    After wrapping up my board year, I would like to start my Master’s degree programme in Biomedical Sciences in Groningen. Being able to conduct research and finding different answers for how the human body reacts attracted me to Biomedical Sciences as a major. The fact that the programme collaborates closely with the University Medical Center Groningen, where ground-breaking research is being performed, makes me very excited and it is something I wish to be involved in. I am looking forward to further developing my scientific skills and working in a medical-oriented environment.


Study associations

GLV Idun

GLV Idun (Groninger levenswetenschappenvereniging Idun) is the study association for bachelor and master students in the Life Sciences at the University of Groningen.
The association has 20 committees and organizes over 175 activities. The association has multiple purposes for its members; support in education, organizing social events, providing insights in future career paths, etc. Activities include parties and drinks, as wellThe members of a study association are characterized by their study program, contrary to a student association of which the members' study program is not relevant. Joining a study association gives an extra dimension to your student life in Groningen!
Read more
(Binding) study advice
  • A minimum of 45 EC in the first 12 months (binding)

You will be offered study advice after first year of study. You can expect a positive result if you have earned more than 45 ECTS credit points (out of a total of 60 ECTS). If you have earned fewer than 45 ECTS and are issued a negative result, you will not be allowed to continue with your degree programme.

You will receive preliminary study advice in December to make sure that you know where you stand. Please contact your study advisor as soon as possible if you have any questions about the BSA system.

N.B. Some degree programmes use a tutoring system; please check with your study advisor.

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