Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Education Bachelor's degree programmes Biology
Header image Biology

Biology

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 & Ecology 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
  • Molecular Life Sciences
  • Behaviour and Neurosciences
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Integrative Biology

Important: this programme has a fixed quota (numerus fixus), meaning that the application deadline is on 15 January and a selection procedure will take place. More information about numerus fixus .

Facts & Figures
Degree
BSc in Biology
Course type
Bachelor
Duration
36 months (180 ECTS)
Croho code
56860
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Science and Engineering
Studie in Cijfers
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • The degree programme offers 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 science 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 other things.
  • Groningen also offers a unique Master's 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.
Programme
Periods
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)

Curriculum

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. How much electives you can choose depends on your major of choice.

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 kinds of factors affect behaviour, such as nurture conditions, the environment and endogenous aspects.

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. You will also learn about 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 until observable complaints occur. Their aim is to develop better diagnostic and therapeutic programmes.

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

  • VWO Natuur & Techniek

    Biology

  • VWO Natuur & Gezondheid

    Physics

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

Language proficiency certificate for English (except for applicants with a Dutch vwo-diploma as well as the exemptions listed on the language exemptions webpage). More info: https://www.rug.nl/fse/programme/admissions/bsc/language

other admission requirements

Before you apply!

When you cannot fulfil the vwo requirement, due to deficient profile or if you want to be admitted on the basis of a successfully passed first year of HBO or colloquium doctum, you need to submit an additional admission request via the Admission Board Bachelor programmes. Please go to this website for more information.

Please note! The admissions procedure is independent of the numerus fixus procedure. Information about the selection procedure can be found here

Numerus Fixus

This programme has a numerus fixus with a maximum of 250 attendees a year.

Prospective students must apply before 15 January 2023. More information about numerus fixus can be found here: http://www.rug.nl/fse/numerusfixus

Selection procedure

This means that prospective students will have to successfully complete a selection procedure before they can be admitted. Candidates are selected based on their suitability and motivation for our programme: the 250 highest ranked candidates will be admitted.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students15 January 202301 September 2023
EU/EEA students15 January 202301 September 2023
non-EU/EEA students15 January 202301 September 2023

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

Language proficiency certificate for English (except for applicants with a Dutch vwo-diploma as well as the exemptions listed on the language exemptions webpage): https://www.rug.nl/fse/programme/admissions/bsc/language

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: https://www.rug.nl/education/bachelor/international-students/admission-and-application/application-admission-procedure/entry-requirements/vwo-equivalent-qualifications

other admission requirements

Before you apply! In addition to the general end level requirements, the Bachelor's programme applies subject-specific requirements. The Admissions Board also needs to determine whether a student possesses the required background knowledge in subjects relevant to the Bachelor's programme.

More information.

Please note! The admissions procedure is independent of the numerus fixus procedure. Information about the selection procedure can be found here .

Numerus Fixus

This programme has a numerus fixus with a maximum of 250 attendees a year.

Prospective students must apply before 15 January 2023. More information about numerus fixus can be found here: http://www.rug.nl/fse/numerusfixus

Selection procedure

This means that prospective students will have to successfully complete a selection procedure before they can be admitted. Candidates are selected based on their suitability and motivation for our programme: the 250 highest ranked candidates will be admitted.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students15 January 202301 September 2023
EU/EEA students15 January 202301 September 2023
non-EU/EEA students15 January 202301 September 2023
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2022-2023€ 2209full-time
non-EU/EEA2022-2023€ 15080full-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
Research

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

GELIFES

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


Apply nowBrochureEventsContact
Bachelor's Open DayBroerstraat 5More information
Numerus Fixus Webinar WeekMore information

Contact

  • Ask Our Students! (Like to talk about the programme and student life with someone currently studying Biology?)
    Email: biostudents rug.nl
  • studyscience@rug.nl Studyscience (For general questions for all prospective students)
    Email: studyscience rug.nl
  • Academic Advisors FSE
  • Watch this videoClose
  • 
						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.

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of Thomas Westerhuis

    Being a student can mean so much more than just studying

    – Thomas Westerhuis
    Read more

    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.

    Close

Study associations

GLV Idun

GLV Idun is the study association for the bachelor and the master students studying in the Life Sciences at the University of Groningen.
As a study association we have a big and vibrant student society which organizes activities for students by students. If you are interested in joining social, educational or career activities you are at the right place with us. Because we organize over 175 activities in a year. To just name a few in our wide range of activities: the first year introduction camp, our monthly parties, weekly drinks on campus, exam support sessions, symposia, trips abroad and company visits. But if you want to do more than just join these activities, you can also become part of one of our 20 committees and organize these events together with a group of committee members. As an association we are constantly searching for new members that feel passionate about taking up the responsibility of organizing activities and join a committee. If you become part of a committee you will not only gain a new group of friends, you will also gain unique organizational experiences and become part of the active group of people within our beautiful association. If you want to know more, you can always find more info on our website: https://www.idun.nl/ or shoot an email to board@idun.nl
https://www.idun.nl/home
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.

Related master's programmes