Biology (MBI) / MSc


Biological issues are at the forefront of the technological advance of modern society, and are central to global concerns about how we affect, and are affected by, our environment. Understanding the complexity of biological systems, at scales ranging from single molecules to whole ecosystems, provides a unique intellectual challenge. The biosciences aim to understand living systems and to help preserve biodiversity and our environment and simultaneously produce sufficient healthy and safe food.
During the MSc Biology students get a broad overview of the latest developments in Biology ranging from genes to ecosystems. They learn to critically discuss the newest scientific developments in the biological sciences. A systems biology approach provides a way to make a link between these organisation levels and teaches students to quantitatively analyse biological problems.
Within their area of specialization students deepen their knowledge and skills in a certain subject for example; Animal adaptation and behavioural biology, Bio-interactions, Molecular ecology, Conservation and systems ecology, Evolution and biodiversity, Health and disease, Marine biology, Molecular development and gene regulation or Plant adaptation. Within their area of specialization students follow two courses. A student can do the thesis and internship at a core chair group of the specialization. These chair groups are mentioned in the study handbook in the description of each specialization. In addition, it is possible to do the thesis and internship at other chair groups that are not mentioned as core chair groups of a particular specialization. The other chair groups which provide thesis and internship subjects within a specialisations are listed at The choice of a thesis and/or internship at a non-core chair group needs the permission of de examining board. If the thesis and/or internship subject fits in the specialization permission will be given usually. In addition to the internship, students also orientate themselves on the future labour marked either via an Academic Consultancy Training and Modular Skills Training or via an orientation programme to become a teacher on secondary schools.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this MSc programme graduates are expected to:
- be able to critically discuss the latest scientific developments in the biological sciences at molecular, cellular, organismal, population and ecosystem level;
- be able to analyse advanced and complex biological concepts, approaches and methods and reflect upon scientific biological literature;
- have specialized knowledge and understanding of the fundamental concepts and mechanisms in biology in the chosen specialization;
- know how to use and evaluate the use of state of art research techniques in the field of biology;
- be able to write, evaluate and adapt a research plan in the field of biology;
- be able to carry out a research plan in the field of biology by doing experiments and/or collecting (field) data and interpreting the results;
- be able to communicate convincingly project outcomes, methods and underpinning rationale to specialists and non-specialists audiences;
- be able to cooperate as a specialist in a multidisciplinary, international team to solve a biological research question or project-based work;
- be able to respond to social, scientific and ethical aspects of biological research that are encountered in work or study in the biology;
- be able to design and plan own learning processes based on continuous reflection upon personal knowledge, skills, attitudes and performance.


- Animal Adaptation and Behavioural Biology;
- Bio-interactions;
- Molecular Ecology;
- Conservation and Systems Ecology;
- Evolution and Biodiversity;
- Health and Disease;
- Marine Biology;
- Molecular Development and Gene Regulation;
- Plant Adaptation.

Programme Director

Ir M.V. Coppens
Phone: 0317-(4)82407

Study Adviser(s)

Dr P.W. de Jong
Phone: 0317-(4)82806

Programme Committee

Chair: Dr D. Vreugdenhil
Secretary: Ir M.V. Coppens


Study Association

B.V.W. Biologica
Membership 9 Euro a year
B.V.W. Biologica, Forum / Building 102; Droevendaalsesteeg 2, Wageningen