Biology (BBI) / BSc


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 preserve biodiversity and our environment, whilst simultaneously enabling us to produce sufficient, healthy, and safe food. The BSc Biology programme focuses on the functioning and complexity of living systems and the interactions with their (a-)biotic environment. The BSc Biology programme is a broad bachelor in the life sciences with a fundamental and multidisciplinary approach. It equips students with a broad range of theoretical and practical skills.  with which they reach a level of knowledge and understanding that offers them a start on the job market. Bachelor graduates acquire the competence to work as a junior specialist under the supervision of a senior and are trained further on the job. Students who take the education minor are qualified to teach the first three grades at Dutch secondary schools (tweedegraads bevoegdheid). However, in general employers in the Netherlands prefer university graduates with an MSc-degree, or students from professional bachelor degree programmes (Universities of Applied Sciences / HBO). In most cases, Biology bachelor graduates continue to develop their knowledge and skills in one of the many Wageningen master programmes in biology or related areas.
During the common part of the programme, students study the basic concepts of biology on a molecular, cellular, organismal, population and ecosystem level. Many biological Chair Groups contribute to the education programme. These biological Chair Groups provide a firm and broad basis for the BSc Biology at Wageningen University. In addition, students obtain a background in chemistry, mathematics, statistics, physics, and modelling at the level they need to understand biological concepts.
After the common part of the programme, a considerable number of courses are offered to students to deepen their biological knowledge. Students choose one of the four majors: Cell and Molecular biology, Organismal Adaptation and Development, Human and Animal Health Biology, or Ecology and Biodiversity. In the Cell and Molecular Biology major, students study processes on a cellular level using several research techniques like basic computational sequence analysis methods, genetics and microscopy, in order to understand complex biological phenomena such as evolution, aging, symbiosis etc. In the Organismal Adaptation and Development major, students learn to use biomechanics, molecular techniques, genetic principles and a systems biology approach to study how the organism adapts to the biotic and abiotic environment, both during development and in adult life. The Human and Animal Health Biology major focuses on the prevention of health problems and the functioning of healthy animals. Therefore, students are taught molecular, genetic, immunological, toxicological, virological, physiological, behavioural and epidemiological approaches. The main theme of the Ecology and Biodiversity major is the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in changing environments. Field research, modelling and quantitative analyses of large datasets form an integral part of this major.
After completion of the common part of the programme and their major, students continue with either their BSc thesis or Optional Courses. The BSc thesis is a short research project for which students have to write a research plan, investigate a biological question and present their results in the form of an article and an oral presentation.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this BSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- understand the fundamental concepts and mechanisms in biology at a molecular, cellular, organismal, population and ecosystem level;
- apply basic knowledge of physics, mathematics, statistics and chemistry, and relate concepts at molecular, cellular, organismal, population and ecosystem level to solve biological problems (under supervision);
- analyse concepts, approaches and methods and reflect upon scientific biological literature;
- gather and interpret relevant data in the field of biology using standard research techniques such as microscopy, dissection, determination of organisms, molecular biological techniques, safe microbiological techniques, and modelling;
- apply procedural knowledge on the main phases of the scientific research process (under supervision) by writing a research plan, planning and performing experiments and collecting, analysing and interpreting data sets in the field of biology;
- be capable of running simulations with the goal to identify the parameters that drive complex biological processes (under supervision);
- communicate (verbally and in writing) the outcomes of learning, experiments or project work to both specialist and non-specialist audiences, both in Dutch and in English;
- make judgments based on social and ethical aspects of biological research and be able to recognise and analyse these aspects in concrete situations;
- design and plan own learning path (under supervision) based on continuous evaluation, as well as on personal knowledge, skills and performance.


A - Cell Biology and Molecular Interactions;
B - Development and Adaptation; 
C - Health and Disease;
D - Ecology.

Programme Director

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

Study Adviser(s)

- Ir. A.J. Hoetmer
Phone: 0317-(4)85223
- V.L van Berlo, MSc
Phone: 0317-(4)82053
- Dr. ir. M.E. Huigens
Phone: 0317-(4)81580
- Ing. A. Teunissen, MSc
Phone: 0317-(4)82806
- P.A. den Besten, MSc
Phone: 0317-(4)88827

Programme Committee

Chair: Isa Vroom
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

Unconditional Admission to the MSc

MAM Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management;
MAS Animal Sciences;
MBF Bioinformatics;
MBI Biology; 
MDR Development and Rural Innovation; 
MPB Plant Biotechnology; 
MPS Plant Sciences.