Master of Science in Biology

Course content

The research domain of biology is very broad, basically covering the full spectrum of the origin and diversity of life and its different levels of biological organisation, ranging from cells to ecosystems and the biosphere.
Actual topics and challenges such as the conservation of threatened species, global change, sustainable use of natural resources, cloning of organisms, infectious diseases and medical progress find their roots in biology.

Biology also forms a source for numerous conceptual innovations that lead towards new disciplines such as the molecular biology and biotechnology.

Thanks to the interactions with other scientific disciplines such as chemistry, geology, geography and physics, biology forms an exciting study domain that is constantly in evolution and of which the development goes hand in hand with broad developments and challenges within society.

As such, the Master of Science in Biology has strong links with various aspects of science and society.


The English Master of Science in Biology programme aims at teaching master students the latest scientific developments in global change ecology, biodiversity and evolutionary biology, or functional biology. These programmes deal with interactions of organisms, populations, species and communities with their biotic and abiotic environment, thereby focusing on underlying morphological, functional and evolutionary processes. Such focus closely corresponds to the research experience available at Ghent University and allows students to specialise in one of the chosen domains.
Research at the department is essentially fundamental in nature, and is carried out in 14 research groups covering a suite of zoological, botanical, functional and ecological disciplines.
The department has close links with the botanical garden and the zoology museum, each of which plays an essential role in the training of biology students and in supporting various research programmes.

Course structure


The master program of biology has a mixed offer of courses in English and Dutch. It is possible to choose a complete curriculum of English courses  (120 credits).

The curriculum of a 2 year master program in biology is divided in to the following parts:

The general courses prepare you for the correct choice of your major courses and your master dissertation.

In the first year of the master program you select a major from a total of four major course packages.

The four major  course packages are: Ecology, Evolution, Functional biology and Bio-diversity. These major course packages give you a chance to improve your in-depth knowledge in all of the existing research areas of which there is a research expertise within Ghent University, and they allow you to specialize within  these research areas.

The master dissertation is situated within the research area of the major course package you have chosen. Most of the master dissertations fit within a current national or international (research) project. However, your master dissertation can also exploit the results of projects or a master dissertation can even be of a prospective character towards future new projects.

Besides your major course package, you can also choose a minor course package. Here you choose 30 credits of broadening elective courses, offered  within the same master program of Biology or offered by another Flemish/Dutch University.

The two-year master’s programme (120 credits) consists of the following parts:
- 18 credits for general courses
- 42 credits for major courses in the field of General Biology, Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, Global Change Ecology, Functional Biology
- 30 credits for minor (elective) courses
- 30 credits for the master dissertation, situated within the research area of the major course package you have chosen


The exchange programme contains a preferred list of English courses taught at UGent of the Master of Science in Biology. The programme offers a wide selection of courses with subjects in Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, Global Change Ecology and Functional Biology.

Career perspectives

As a graduate of the master of Biology you can work on scientific research in universities or scientific research institutions, in counseling or managerial functions with the government and in companies where research and development is the core business.

Admission requirements


  • For non-Flemish degrees: the course is open to students with at least a Bachelor degree in the field of biology with minimum 180 credits.
  • For Flemish degrees: the list of degrees giving access to this master can be consulted in the online course catalogue. 


Check the language requirements for English study programmes.

Application Procedures


International students who want to obtain a diploma or degree at Ghent University apply and enroll as regular students on the basis of a diploma obtained abroad.


International students who temporarily live in a foreign country and attend courses or are involved in other academic activities, have to follow the procedure of exchange students.