What are the effects of climate change on marine life? What causes a disease like cancer and how can you prevent or cure it? What happens in the brain while you are asleep?
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 and Evolution or Biomedical Sciences.
The second year is when you make your definitive choice of Major. You can choose from the following five Majors:
Ecology and Evolution is really fascinating
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.
Being a student can mean so much more than just studying
Hello! My name is Thomas Westerhuis, I am a 22-year-old student and I have been living in Groningen for four and a half years. I started studying at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, where I did the Bachelor's programme in Biology and Medical Laboratory Research.
During those years, I developed a love for the complexity that life has to offer. The unlimited processes that need to work together flawlessly to keep the biological cell functioning have always inspired my awe and wonder. Based on these interests, it was only natural to start the Life Science and Technology programme at the University of Groningen.
Besides studying, Groningen has a lot of different aspects to offer to give you a full student life. During your studies, you can embark on various social, sport, or other activities which allow you to meet a lot of different people. As for me, I became enthused by GLV Idun, the study association for the Biology, Biomedical Engineering, and Life Science and Technology programmes. This year I became part of the board as chair of the association. As chairman, it is my job to manage the association and the board. My main occupation is making sure that the day-to-day tasks are fulfilled, but I also ensure that we reach the goals set in our policy, and make sure that we keep track of our long-term vision.
I would recommend that you become active during your time at the University, as being a student can mean so much more than just studying. Whether you join a committee, a board, or a student assistantship at the University. Judging from my own experience, such positions can greatly benefit your personal, social, and organizational skills. Above all, I want to emphasize that it is also a lot of fun to take these kinds of responsibilities.
I look forward to applying what I have learned thus far in a new environment.
During high school, I developed an interest in the antibiotic crisis and became increasingly curious about the underlying biological mechanisms of this problem. Biology with the major biomedical sciences or medicine seemed like a good next step for me. I ended up studying neither. The biology programme in Groningen has a broad first year with mandatory course units before you pick a major. During this time I took some courses in molecular biology that convinced me to take the Molecular Life Sciences (MLS) major instead. This track has given me a good understanding of cell biology and the underlying mechanisms of life we find across the phylogenetic tree.
Most of the time, my coursework was divided into full-time 3 week courses. I have experienced the pros and cons of this model. On the one hand, it allowed me to focus on one subject at a time. On the other hand, there is little time for relaxation during the course and you must start studying on day 1 if you want to succeed. There is less lab work in the programme than I anticipated. Most of my days involve a 2-hour lecture and 4-6 hours of independent study, with the occasional lab or tutorial. I enjoy spending those hours in the University library, in one of Groningen’s cozy cafes or on campus.
Next semester I am going on an international exchange programme through the international office of our faculty. I look forward to applying what I have learned thus far in a new environment.