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Education Master's and PhD degree programmes Marine Biology
Header image Marine Biology

Marine Biology

How does climate change affect whales and seals? How does overfishing influence marine food webs? How do we restore and protect the Wadden Sea?

The two-year selective master of science degree program in Marine Biology focuses on life in our seas and oceans. Whether you are interested in biological oceanography, conservation of marine mammals, coastal marine ecology or genomics, we offer plenty opportunity to receive a well-founded, expansive research-focused academic training in marine biology. Together with your mentor (a professor in the marine biology programme) you will design your own tailored study program fitting your personal preferences and career plans. The program also offers a business and policy oriented track.

Our flexible Master's degree program is open to students with a Bachelor's degree in Biology. We offer a number of mandatory master courses, taught by experienced staff from several research institutes (GELIFES, ESRIG) at the UG and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). In addition, we offer elective courses across a wide range of research disciplines, habitats and skill types.

The master program is heavily research focused. We offer research opportunities with UG staff in the following areas (names of principle investigators in parentheses):

To learn in more detail about the research opportunities at NIOZ and elsewhere, check out the Research Tab (below).

This selective master program in marine biology is designed for students to start in September as part of an annual cohort. Students who would like start during the academic year are referred to the Master’s program Biology.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in Marine Biology
Course type
Master
Duration
24 months (120 ECTS)
Croho code
60609
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Science and Engineering
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • Wadden Sea nearby: unique in the world (on UNESCO World Heritage list)
  • Focus on Biology! Research projects on the level of cells, organisms, populations and communities in seas and oceans
  • In cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)
  • Throughout the year opportunities to start your individual programme
  • 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

Curriculum

2-year programme; credits per year: 60 ECTS.

For the complete curriculum, please see: http://www.rug.nl/ocasys/fse/vak/showpos?opleiding=4871

We offer students a series of introductory and specialised courses in Marine sciences (20-30 ECTS).

The courses will facilitate students from various backgrounds to successfully obtain a degree in Marine Biology. These courses will cover a large range of topics including chemical, physical and biological oceanography, marine conservation, marine community ecology, applied marine biology and marine evolution. Courses will be taught by lecturers from various research institutes, as well as external experts (mainly NIOZ). After a series of compulsory and facultative courses, the students will start their first research project.

Programme options
Research profile (track)

This is a 2-year programme of 60 credits (ECTs) per year.

You will start with 3 mandatory courses: Principles of Biological Oceanography, Principles of Marine Biology and Principles of Population Genetics in Natural Populations.

These are all 5 ECTs courses. In addition we offer a series of specialized courses in Marine Biology. These courses cover topics including marine community ecology, marine modelling, applied marine biology or marine evolution whereas other courses are geographically oriented (polar ecosystems, Mediterranean rocky shores). Many of our courses are field oriented.

Apart from specialized marine courses you can also choose skills oriented (analytical, statistical) courses. Courses will be taught by lecturers from various research institutes, as well as external experts (mainly NIOZ). After a series of compulsory and facultative courses (in total 40 ECTs max), students will start their first research project. The programme is strongly research oriented and students complete two research projects (typically 40 ECTs and 30 ECTs). The first project is executed at University of Groningen or NIOZ, whereas the second project can be executed anywhere in the world (but needs to be discussed and approved by the student's mentor!). In the final stage of their master, students write an essay and prepare a colloquium (both 5 ECTs).

For the complete curriculum, please see: https://www.rug.nl/ocasys/rug/vak/showpos?opleiding=6404

Science, Business & Policy (track)

Interested in the business side of science? You can combine this Master's programme with the Science Business & Policy profile. The SBP profile includes a six-month internship as a scientific advisor.

For the complete curriculum, please see: https://www.rug.nl/ocasys/rug/vak/showpos?opleiding=6405

More information about this option

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is recommended
  • For an average of 20 weeks
  • Maximum of 60 EC

Exchange: All our science and engineering programmes offer study abroad possibilities at a number of partner institutions, often as a second research project. Our partners include top-100 universities in Europe (for example in Germany, UK, and Sweden) and in the USA, China, South-East Asia, and South America.

Entry requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
knowledge minimum

English proficiency on VWO level is required.

previous education

Please note: this Master's degree programme has a selection procedure!

An academic Bachelor's degree in any field of Biological Sciences including a major in any of the following domains: biology, ecology, evolution, theoretical biology, behaviour, marine biology, molecular biology, genetics. Holders of a Dutch HBO Bachelor's degree have to apply for a pre-master programme Biology and may be selected for Marine Biology after completion of the pre-master programme.

Information about admission possibilities and requirements for students from a Dutch HBO institute is published on: https://www.rug.nl/fse/msc-admission

other admission requirements

The Marine Biology research master is selective. Selection will be based on academic performance and motivation to determine if you will be selected for the master's programme. After you have registered via https://www.rug.nl/fse/msc-admission (before May 1st) your application will be requested to pass on to the Admissions Board of the programme.

BEFORE YOU APPLY Make sure to visit 'MSc Application Procedure' at https://www.rug.nl/fse/msc-admission for all the necessary information about the procedure and admission requirements.

Registration procedure

The Board of Admissions will decide whether you can be admitted to the Master's degree programme.

Please fill out the checklist to explain why you choose to apply for this Master's degree programme (questions to be addressed are outlined on the form).

Use the checklist to describe your pre-education.

Provide two reference letters (non EU applicants) or provide the names of those we may contact for reference (EU applicants) using the application form.
Provide a bachelor thesis or another individually written report of an academic assignment. If such a report is not available an assignment will be given by the Board of Admissions.

Transfer options

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
BiologyAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

This Master's degree programme has a selection procedure, please read the information about this procedure.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
BiologyUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

This Master's degree programme has a selection procedure, please read the information about this procedure.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
BiologyRadboud University Nijmegen

Additional requirements

More information:

This Master's degree is selective, please read the information about the selection procedure.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202101 September 2021
EU/EEA students01 May 202101 September 2021
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202101 September 2021

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
additional subject

The Admissions Office will advise the Admissions Board on your application, after which the board will decide if you meet the admission requirements in terms of general level of previous education and specific background knowledge.

language test

MAKE SURE TO VISIT https://www.rug.nl/fwn/fmns-programme/admissions/msc/language-requirements for all the necessary information about required language tests and minimum scores.

previous education

This Master's degree programme has a selection procedure; read the information below.

An academic Bachelor's in any field of Biological Sciences including a major in any of the following domains: biology, ecology, evolution, theoretical biology, behaviour, marine biology, molecular biology, genetics. 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 master programme for which you applied.

Registration procedure

The Board of Admissions will decide whether you can be admitted to the Master's degree programme.

Please fill out the checklist to explain why you choose to apply for this Master's degree programme (questions to be addressed are outlined on the form).

Use the checklist to describe your pre-education.

Provide two reference letters (non EU applicants) or provide the names of those we may contact for reference (EU applicants) using the application form.
Provide a bachelor thesis or another individually written report of an academic assignment. If such a report is not available an assignment will be given by the Board of Admissions.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202101 September 2021
EU/EEA students01 May 202101 September 2021
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202101 September 2021
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2020-2021€ 2143full-time
non-EU/EEA2020-2021€ 17500full-time

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

  • About one third of the graduates continue in academic research with the pursuit of their PhD degree in The Netherlands or abroad.
  • About one third of the graduates continue in various kinds of research and management related to fisheries and coastal zone management.
  • About one third of the graduates work in the public sector, for example in journalism, teaching or communication.

Job examples

  • PhD research position
  • Research and Management related to marine biology
  • Work in the public sector
Research

Get engaged in the Research of Dutch National Research Institutes on Marine Life

During your master, you will conduct two research projects supervised by experienced staff in the relevant research field. The first project is placed at UG or NIOZ. The second research project can be undertaken anywhere in the world or be an internship at a governmental organization, company or NGO (business and policy track). A UG staff member will serve as the internal supervisor to ensure the project meets UG's academic standards..

There is a wide variety of research topics to choose from for your first UG/NIOZ-based research project (~40 ECTs). Apart from the research conducted by permanent UG staff (see Marine Biology Master main page) there are also opportunities at NIOZ. NIOZ has two centers; on Texel (open ocean, North Sea, Wadden Sea research) and in Yerseke (estuarine research). The research opportunities with NIOZ are described in the following link: https://www.nioz.nl/en/education/internships. Projects at NIOZ are mostly supervised by senior staff who hold a Honorary Professorship, or who have a teaching contract with UG. Involved staff include (with their own scientific field in parentheses):





Apply nowBrochureEventsContact
Campus TourNijenborgh 9More information
Online Master's WeekMore information

Contact

  • Academic Advisors FSE (For questions regarding the programme)
  • sciencemasters@rug.nl Sciencemasters (For international students who are interested in a Campus Tour or have other practical questions)
    Email: sciencemasters rug.nl