Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
EducationMaster's and PhD degree programmesMarine Biology
Header image Marine Biology

Marine Biology

How does increasing temperatures 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's degree programme in Marine Biology focuses on life in our planet's seas and oceans. Whether you are interested in biological oceanography, conservation of marine mammals, or coastal marine ecology, we offer plenty opportunities to receive a solid academic training in marine biological research. Together with your mentor (who will be a professor in marine biology) you can design your own study programme to fit your personal preferences.

Our flexible Master's degree programme is open for all students with a Bachelor's degree in Biology. We offer a number of mandatory master courses which are jointly taught by several research groups in Marine Biology at the University of Groningen, and in close co-operation with the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (Texel, Yerseke). In addition you can select a number of facultative courses which may be discipline oriented, geographically oriented, or (research) skills oriented.

The programme is strongly research oriented. You will conduct two research projects under the supervision of experienced researchers. The first projects will be executed at University of Groningen or NIOZ, the second project can be done anywhere in the world as long as it meets our academic standards. For example, our students have performed projects on the Great Barrier Reef, in the Wadden Sea, the Baltic, Mediterranean, up to the Antarctic.

The selective Master's programme is designed for students who are able to keep up with the study pace of the cohort that starts in September. Students who would like start during the academic year and / or aim for a career that focuses on the business and policy side of science are referred to our Master’s programme 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&ocasysyear=2019

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.

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

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

Use the application form to describe your education in:

  • Biology
  • Research Methodology
  • Major (in any of the following domains: biology, ecology, evolution, theoretical biology, behaviour, marine biology, molecular biology, genetics)

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 Admission Board.

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.

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.

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.

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
IELTS overall band6.5
TOEFL paper based580
TOEFL computer based237
TOEFL internet based92

Registration procedure

The Admissions Board will decide whether you can be admitted to the Master's degree programme. Applications are evaluated on a continuous basis. You do not have to wait until the application deadline to apply.

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

Use the application form to describe your education in:

  • Biology
  • Research Methodology
  • Major (in any of the following domains: biology, ecology, evolution, theoretical biology, behaviour, marine biology, molecular biology, genetics)

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 Admission Board.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202001 September 2020
EU/EEA students01 May 202001 September 2020
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202001 September 2020
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2019-2020€ 2083full-time
non-EU/EEA2019-2020€ 15500full-time
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

You have the opportunity to conduct research under the supervision of experienced marine scientists. Your first research project (40 ECTs) needs to be executed at UG or NIOZ. There is a very high variety of research topics to choose from. At Ocean Ecosystems research is focused on biodiversity and productivity of marine (mainly polar) phytoplankton whereas marine applications and marine biomimetics are also strongly developed.

This group is specialized in experimental work but also performs field campaigns in both Antarctic and Arctic. The group of Eriksson is highly field oriented and executes (benthic) community ecology projects in the Wadden Sea and the Baltic. Other groups involve the Palsboll and Fontaine labs. These groups have a strong focus on marine mammals. For example, research focuses on whale dispersal, population structure and conservation issues related with climate change. Both labs apply state of the art molecular approaches and bioinformatics. Finally the internationally renowned Institute NIOZ on Texel and Yerseke offer a wealth of research possibilities both in the field and in the lab.

To get up to date information on current research projects, please visit the following webpages.
At the University of Groningen:

At NIOZ:

Examples of research conducted in the field, on board research vessels:

  • Studying species interactions across trophic levels in the Wadden Sea
  • Population dynamics of krill in the Antarctic
  • The evolution and dispersal of marine organisms

Examples of research conducted in the laboratory:

  • The influence of ultraviolet radiation on plankton
  • Marine biomimetics
  • Analysis of dispersal and genetic population structure of seaweeds, sea grasses, fish and invertebrates
  • Molecular identification of invasive species
  • Conservation genetics of marine mammals



Apply nowBrochureEventsContact
Campus TourNijenborgh 9More information
Master's WeekBroerstraat 5More information

Contact

If you want to know more about the programme Marine Biology, please contact:

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

Study associations

GLV Idun

GLV Idun is the study association for students taking programmes in Biology and Life Science & Technology at the University of Groningen.
The association boasts more than 1,500 members and organizes study-related and social activities all year round. These include parties and drinks, as well as an annual conference, regular lunchtime lectures and a quarterly newsletter featuring scientific publications.
https://www.idun.nl
Read more