Do you want to become an all-round biologist, or explore connections between different domains in biology to develop an interdisciplinary profile? If so, Biology in Groningen is the master's degree programme for you.
With five pre-designed research profiles in Integrative Biology focused on interdisciplinary areas such as Evolutionary Medicine or Biological Data Science and Modelling , a Science, Business, and Policy track, as well as the option to design a tailor-made programme, the MSc Biology offers unlimited flexibility to shape your personal study programme.
The MSc Biology has two tracks that prepare you either for a career in scientific research (in academia or a company R&D department, for example), or for a societal career in policy, business, or consultancy. The research-oriented option is the Integrative Biology track. This track contains substantial individual research projects, in which you learn in practice how to conduct scientific research from start to finish. You will develop skills such as exploring scientific literature, formulating hypotheses, designing and performing field or lab experiments executing computational analyses, and presenting your research results. Before starting your research projects, you have developed in-depth knowledge in your chosen area of specialization, by choosing one of the available Integrative Biology specialization profiles, or by selecting a tailor-made programme of electives from Ecology and Evolution, Biomolecular Sciences, Biomedical Sciences or other disciplines. The Science, Business & Policy track combines a solid foundation in biology with a skills-oriented training on how to connect science to real-world issues in society. Besides an academic research project in biology, this track also contains a six-month internship focused on the application of scientific insights in business, policy, consultancy or administration.
Throughout the programme, you will interact with teachers who are active at the frontiers of biological research. You will be able to select one of them as your personal study mentor; s/he will help you find the most interesting study route among the many available options and coach you throughout your master's programme.
"The freedom in my research, in a tight-knit interdisciplinary setting, is a great way to prepare for a future as an academic in Biology"
Upon completing my Bachelor’s degree in Zoology at Bristol University, I was eager to improve my skills in coding and modelling to compliment my ecological knowledge and skills. The MSc Biology programme at Groningen stood out to me as a comprehensive mix of theoretical and empirical work, which I believe lays a solid foundation for any aspiring biologist's future academic pursuits.
I found a similar Masters’ programme in the UK, however there the programme is only one year. As I wanted to focus on both theory and research skills, I found that the University of Groningen was a better fit for me.
The Master in Biology is very broad. In my track, we needed to take courses in Mathematics, Biological Model Analysis, and C++. Next to these courses, I chose to expand my research projects.
My first project focused on theoretical modelling. In the research group of Charlotte Hemelrijk on dominance hierarchies in primates. We wanted to investigate whether ecological factors could have influenced the differences we see between chimpanzees and bonobos. To do this, we built an agent-based model and analyzed the emergence of female dominance.
Currently, I am working on publishing the results of my second Master's research project' Together with the research group of Hannah Dugdale, we investigated the effect of rainfall on partnership stability in the Seychelles warbler . In short, climate change is becoming more radical, which has an effect on the stability of relationships, which may lead to more divorces
My next step would be to do a PhD programme. Preferably, this would be a double PhD. Here, I can combine theoretical and empirical research in different institutions. Luckily, the University of Groningen has a lot of collaborations. After this, I would like to focus more on conservation.
The added value of my programme here is the freedom that I got in my research. We had a small, tight-knit community in the Life Sciences department. This meant that we had a lot of time and interaction to discuss a wide range of topics. This opened up doors to subjects that I normally would not choose to do. Furthermore, I could work independently on my research, which reflects a PhD research programme. As for the courses, the coding level is very high.
I really enjoy my time here in Groningen. Next to having a small class where I met my new best friends, I followed my love for music. I found a lot of creative people to jam with. The vibe here in Groningen is similar to Bristol: there are a lot of students, it feels almost like a big village and there is always something to do.
In my future work, I would like to focus more on the effect of climate change on animal behaviour. When I was a child I always wanted to work with reptiles, but now I am more open to other species.