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Education Bachelor's degree programmes Biology
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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 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
  • Molecular Life Sciences
  • Behaviour and Neurosciences
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Integrative Biology


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
Semesters
CoursesCourse Catalog >1a1b
Basic Cell and Molecular Biology
Biostatistics 1
First year symposium
Genetics, Ecology and Evolution
Lab course
Microbiology
Physiology
Behavioural Neurosciences
Biochemistry and Cell Biology in Ecology and Evolution
Cell Biology and Immunology
Ecophysiology of Plants and Animals
Evolutionary Ecology
Metabolism
Molecules of Life
Research Skills in Ecology and Evolution 1,2 & 3
Research Skills in Life Sciences 1,2 & 3

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.

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.

More information about this option

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.

More information about this option

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.

More information about this option

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.

More information about this option

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.

More information about this option

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

    Biologie

  • VWO Natuur & Gezondheid

    Natuurkunde

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
additional subject

All other profiles and their equivalents must be supplemented by Mathematics A or B, Physics, Chemistry and Biology

language test

Language proficiency certificate for English (except for applicants with a Dutch pre-university education (VWO) 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.

Choice of degree programme check

The degree programme will organize a choice of degree programme check. Attendance is optional. The advice is not binding.

Explanatory notes

Matching is a way for first year students of a Bachelor's degree programme without a selection procedure to find out whether their chosen degree programme matches with what they want.

If you want to register as a first year student for a Bachelor's degree programme without a selection procedure, you must do so no later than 1 May. That is a statutory requirement. When you have applied via Studielink on time, you are entitled to participate in a matching activity. Through matching you can find out whether your chosen Bachelor's degree programme matches with what you want. Every Bachelor's degree programme has a different matching procedure. After you have registered for a degree programme via Studielink, you will automatically receive a message explaining the procedure for the degree programme of your choice.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202501 September 2025
EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025

Choice of degree programme check

If you intend to start with a bachelor degree programme at the University of Groningen in September, make sure to apply before May 1 in Studielink. The degree programme will give you the option to participate in a matching activity to see if you and the degree programme are a match. Which matchings activity they provide depends on the faculty and programme.

Any questions about matching? Check www.rug.nl/matching

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education

Secondary education equivalent to Dutch pre-university education (vwo) is required.

A list of qualifications that are considered equivalent to pre-university education in the Netherlands can be found here: https://www.rug.nl/education/application-enrolment-tuition-fees/admission/procedures/application-informatie/with-non-dutch-diploma/entry-requirements/bachelor-entry-requirements/vwo-equivalent-qualifications

If you have any questions concerning admission to the programme, please contact our Admissions Office: https://www.rug.nl/education/application-enrolment-tuition-fees/contact/

additional subject

Sufficient background knowledge in Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics is required.

The Admissions Board will determine whether your background knowledge in these subjects is sufficient to start the Bachelor's degree programme of your choice.

language test

You will need to submit proof of English proficiency in accordance with the requirements of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. Please find our English language requirements (exemptions, IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge and more) on this page: https://www.rug.nl/fse/programme/admissions/bsc/language

other admission requirements

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

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202501 September 2025
EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2024-2025€ 2530full-time
non-EU/EEA2024-2025€ 19300full-time

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

Each student has the opportunity to conduct research to broaden their academic development

Our academic educational programme in Biology is strongly linked to our research programme. We consider it important that our students are exposed to the latest research developments throughout the course of their studies.

In the Biology Bachelor’s degree programme, each student has the opportunity to conduct research to broaden their academic development. In lectures, lab courses and your own research project, you will be instructed by, and closely work together with, the scientific staff of our research institutes. These researchers are true specialists, and belong to the global experts in their respective fields.

In Groningen, research in the biology field is organized in two research institutes: the Groningen Institute of Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES) and the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB). If you choose the major in Biomedical Sciences you will also work closely together with biomedical researchers in/from the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG).

GELIFES fills a special niche in the field of life sciences that not only encompasses neuroscience, evolutionary and ecological approaches, but also focuses on the integration of these fields.

GBB is a center for top-notch research and teaching in biomolecular sciences, hosting the subdisciplines of biochemistry, bioinformatics, biophysical chemistry, cell biology, chemical biology, enzymology, genetics, microbiology and systems biology. The focus is on curiosity-driven science, with application outlets into (industrial) biotechnology and biomedicine.

Interested in reading more about GELIFES, GBB and biomedical research in the UMCG? You can find more information about our research at:

Gelifes
Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB)
UMCG Research Institutes

Apply nowBrochureEventsContact
Campus TourMore 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 Study Science (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
  • 
						Testimonial of Marloes Eerelman

    I look forward to applying what I have learned thus far in a new environment.

    – Marloes Eerelman
    Read more

    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.

    Close

Study associations

GLV Idun

Groninger LevenswetenschappenVereniging Idun is the study association for Biology, Life Science & Technology, Biomedical Engineering, and their connecting master programs.
The association organises various activities, from social activities, like our weekly drinks, or even traveling abroad. In addition, Idun also organizes career/education-related activities like company visits and lunch lectures. GLV Idun contributes to a fun student time by bringing students together, and preparing her members for their career ahead!
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.

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