Biology (MBI) / MSc


Biological issues are at the forefront of technological advances in today' s 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 and from single generations to evolutionary timescales, provides a unique intellectual challenge. Students taking the MSc Biology programme aim to understand living systems, to help preserve biodiversity and our environment, and to maintain human and animal health and welfare. Students taking the MSc Biology programme obtain a broad overview of the latest developments in the field, ranging from genes to ecosystems. They learn to critically discuss and reflect on current scientific advances. 
The programme at Wageningen University & Research offers you tailor-made programmes fitting your personal interests. This will allow you to become a specialist in your chosen field. A choice out of four specializations will chart the course of your biology studies here:
- Cell Biology and Molecular Interactions
- Development and Adaptation
- Health and Disease
- Ecology
In the Cell Biology and Molecular Interactions specialization, students study processes at a molecular and/or cellular level using modern, state of the art research techniques in order to understand complex biological processes and phenomena such as for example evolution, aging, symbiosis, bio-interactions, physiology and immunology.
In the Adaptation and Development specialization, students learn to use biomechanics, behavioural observations, genetic principles, biochemical analysis, molecular and physiological techniques to study how individual organisms, particularly plants and animals, adapt to their biotic and abiotic marine and terrestrial environment, both during development and in adult life. 
The Health and Disease specialization focuses on the prevention of health problems and the functioning of healthy animals. Therefore, students are taught molecular, immunological, virological, physiological and disease ecological approaches.
The main theme in the Ecology specialization is the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in changing marine and terrestrial environments. Field research, molecular techniques, modelling and quantitative analysis of large datasets form an integral part of this specialisation.
Within these specializations you can define your own focus, such as marine biology, nature conservation, biological interactions, molecular ecology, behavioural biology, developmental biology, immunology, physiology, toxicology, plant adaptation, evolutionary biology, systems biology, soil biology, biodiversity, gene regulation, genomics, bioinformatics and animal adaptation. We provide a broad Biology programme which includes 30 chair groups (ABG, BIC, BIS, CLB, ENT, EZO, GEN, HAP, MAE, MIB, MOB, NEM, PHP, PPH, SSB, AFI, CBI, HMI, HNE, TOX, VIR, AEW, BHE, CSA, ESA, FEM, PEN, REG, PPS, SBL) where students can perform their thesis research.
In each specialization, students follow two specialization courses to deepen their knowledge of literature and scientific analysis, and to develop research skills relevant for the scientific discipline of the specialization. The specializations offer more than two courses, providing opportunities for further specialization. Students also have the option of following more courses related to their specialization within their free choice or to perform a second thesis research project. Students work on a thesis and internship project at one of the chair groups mentioned in the study handbook in the description of each specialization. In addition to the internship, students also orientate themselves on the future labour market either by following an Academic Consultancy Training and Modular Skills Training or the Research Master Cluster.
A quantitative approach becomes more and more important in biology and therefore students of all specializations can also choose to follow courses of the Data Science track or a course on Systems Biology. 

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;
- analyse advanced and complex biological concepts, approaches and methods and reflect upon scientific biological literature;
- analyse the fundamental concepts and mechanisms in biology in the chosen specialisation;
- apply and evaluate state of the art research techniques in the field of biology;
- write, critically evaluate and adapt a research plan in the field of biology and carry out the research plan by doing experiments and/or collecting (field) data and interpreting the results;
- communicate and discuss convincingly project outcomes, methods and underpinning rationale to specialists and non-specialists audiences;
- take into consideration social, scientific and ethical aspects of biological research that are encountered in work or study in the field of biology;
- design and plan own learning processes based on continuous reflection upon personal knowledge, skills, attitudes and performance;
- adapt to a working environment in principle outside Wageningen University and critically reflect on their performance;
- cooperate as a specialist in a multidisciplinary, international team to solve a biological research questions or perform project-based work.


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

Programme Director

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

Study Adviser(s)

- Ir. A.J. Hoetmer (A-D)
Phone: 0317-(4)85223
- Dr. ir. M.E. Huigens (E-R)
Phone: 0317-(4)81580
- Drs. Ing. A.Teunissen, MSc (S-Z)
Phone: 0317-(4)82806
- P.A. den Besten, MSc
Phone: 0317-(4)88827

Programme Committee

Chair: I. 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