MSc of Biology: Biodiversity, Conservation and Restoration

General information

Biology is a fundamental scientific discipline focusing on formulating and testing hypotheses through observations and experiments in the lab or the field. As a Biology student, you will  actively participate in state-of the-art research performed at the Department of Biology.

The teaching is supported by the staff and expertise of the research groups. In the specialisation “Biodiversity: Conservation and Restoration”, emphasis lies on the global biodiversity crisis, one of the key elements of global change.

You acquire insight into the causes and consequences of the current worldwide loss of plant, animal and other species, and into the theory and practice of managing endangered species and the conservation and restoration of habitats. Links with society, for example, biodiversity policy, legislation and international treaties, will also be highlighted. Students will undertake an internship with an external organisation involved in conservation/restoration.

The Master programme in Biology comprises of 120 credits (or study points, sp), to be acquired over a two year period. Per year you register for 60 credits (deviations between 54 and 66 are possible). English is the teaching language for all courses in the specialisation “Biodiversity: Conservation and Restoration”. The entire first semester, and also the main part of the second semester, of the first master year consists of compulsory courses. During the first semester students decide which optional courses they will take, and they also decide about their Master project subject and Conservation internship. These components of the programme are largely undertaken in the second master year.

The teaching is supported by the staff and expertise of the research groups. In the specialisation “Biodiversity: Conservation and Restoration”, emphasis lies on the global biodiversity crisis, one of the key elements of global change. You acquire insight into the causes and consequences of the current worldwide loss of plant and animal species, and into the theory and practice of managing endangered species and the conservation and restoration of habitats. Linkages with society, for example, biodiversity policy, legislation and international treaties, will also be highlighted. Students will undertake an internship with an external organisation involved in conservation/restoration.

Students are trained in a variety of research methods, both via the practical or theoretical courses and via specific courses on skills relevant for conservation and restoration. Field work skills are also acquired during a two-week field course on ecohydrology in a pristine ecosystem abroad (Poland). The Master project is the final part of the Master programme, where students conduct a scientific study under supervision. Through the Master project they demonstrate:

  • their scientific background
  • their capacity to understand/apply primary literature
  • their capacity to correctly and adequately communicate the results in a succinct manner via a written document

Students choose from a wide variety of subjects, with the possibility of conducting research within a research group from our Department of Biology or in an external research group. Students following the Master programme in Biology – Biodiversity Conservation and Restoration are likely to conduct their Master project in one of the following research groups:

  • Ecosystem Management. This research group concentrates on the ecology of aquatic ecosystems and wetlands and the processes in the land-water interaction along the whole river continuum and the river-coastal sea interaction. The studied systems vary from small streams with riparian margins over larger rivers and floodplains to estuaries. These studies, both descriptive and experimental in nature, are integrated to predict the impact of different management options on the functioning and the biodiversity of the system.
  • Plant and Vegetation Ecology. The overarching theme of this research group is the study of the effects of global changes – in the broadest meaning of the term – on plants and vegetations. The researchers realize this overall aim a.o. by studying responses of plants and vegetations to the (sometimes manipulated) abiotic environment over a continuum of different spatial scales (ranging from the individual leaf to the continent).
  • Evolutionary Ecology. This group focuses on evolutionary and ecological processes in natural populations, particularly in animals. The main research questions are related to dispersal and population structure, host-parasite interactions and infectious diseases, and the evolutionary basis of diversity in life-history strategies and phenotypic variation.
  • Systemic Physiologic and Ecotoxicologic Research. This research group conducts fundamental and applied research concerning the adaptation of aquatic and terrestrial organisms to their environment and the effects of environmental contamination on the health status of organisms, populations and communities.
  • Other institutions. For these and other subjects, students can also choose a research group in an institution outside the University of Antwerp, including the Antwerp ZOO (Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, RZSA) or the Research Institute for Nature and Forest  (Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, INBO).
Learning outcome:

The value of biodiversity to society means that expertise/specialist knowledge in conservation and restoration is a much sought asset.

As a specialist in conservation and restoration, you will analyse policy and influence decision-making in the field of biodiversity protection.

Research offers another career opportunity in Belgium and also abroad.


1. The master is able to independently situate and evaluate a scientific problem and to formulate the question. He/she has the knowledge and skill to answer the question in the context of the current state of scientific knowledge on the subject in literature.

2. Moreover his/her scientific training allows the master to set up a problem-solving strategy of experiments or observations. He/she has the skills to execute these and if necessary to work in a team.

3. Based on the data-analysis with – if necessary - advanced methods, the master can give a relevant answer to the question and suggest solutions, in an academic context as well as in practical applications.

4. With the acquired skills the master can summarize, communicate and interpret his/her findings at different levels: to peers, to a broad public or to policy makers.


5. The master is aware of the relativity of things, of the border between objectivity and subjectivity, of the possibilities and limitations set by technology and knowledge. He/she acts as a thinking and reflecting scientist in all his/her activities.

6. The master can independently recognize and describe problems in relation to life and society. He/she is able to track and interpret relevant data with the appropriate methods. Of the greatest importance is the ability to value paradigms and theories and in particular to define the limits of their reliability.

7. The master has a thorough insight in living matter and in the relationship between biotic and abiotic matter. He/she has the attitude to continuously follow up the state of knowledge in the subfield he/she has made his/her own and he/she learns to think, plan, experiment and conclude using the current methodology and technology.

8. The master has the required social, management and communication skills to be able to work in a team, both within his/her discipline and in an interdisciplinary environment, to lead and execute experiments as well as to process and present data.

9. The master has a sense of professional responsibility. He/she will try to communicate the results of his/her creativity at a high level in order to broaden the general knowledge.

10. The master can not only undertake actions in his/her mother tongue, but at least also in English, the international communication tool.

11. The master has a sense of social responsibility. He/she has a solid critical training. With the acquired communication skills he/she is able to relate his/her field (biology) to society, and give a two-way account in this relation. To optimally fulfill his/her role in society, the master specializes in biodiversity: conservation and restoration.

Contact Person: Sarah Verberckmoes ( )


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0511 - Biology", "0512 - Toxicology", "0521 - Ecology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management


Venue: University of Antwerp
Antwerp, Belgium


Open from
1 Dec 2016 to 28 Feb 2017


How do I calvulate the tuition fee?

The sum of the course credits in your programme must be multiplied with the rate per credit for the programme selected.  The fixed amount must then be added to this sum to caculate the total amount you have to pay.

230 euro + 11 euro/credit.


Diploma requirements
Students with diplomas from outside the Flemish community: all bachelor degrees in the field of Science, Applied Sciences or Life Sciences that have a strong focus on biology will be considered by a board of admission of the specific programme (e.g. Biology, Bio-engineering, Environmental science, ...).

Students with diplomas of the Flemish community: direct admission for holders of the diploma of Bachelor in Biology and admission after permission to holders of an academic bachelor or master in exact, medical, engineering or industrial sciences.

Language requirements
The programme is taught in English and candidates must be proficient in this language. Candidates with a bachelor degree from universities outside Flanders are required to demonstrate their English language skills in one of the following ways:

  • By submitting proof that they have studied at least one academic year in an English-language Bachelor's or Master's programme. The Board of Admission may ask additional proof of your proficiency in English. 
  • Applicants can also prove their knowledge on the basis of a language certificate showing their TOEFL or IELTS results:

TOEFL: paper-based level of minimum 550, or an internet-based level of minimum 79-80.  
IELTS: a minimum score of at least 6.5, and on each part minimum 6.0.  

Candidates with a bachelor degree from a Flemish university are strongly advised to take a test to assure they possess the necessary language skills to successfully complete the programme. 

Pre-screening. To be eligible for the Master programme in Biology, specialisation 'Biodiversity: Conservation and Restoration', a student should have a strong scientific background including basic knowledge of mathematics, physics, and inorganic and organic chemistry. Knowledge of the basic principles of statistics is crucial.

Candidates should also be acquainted with plants, animals and other organisms (diversity, evolution, cell biology, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, etc.), but familiarity with ecology in particular is a necessity. In addition, an understanding of the physical environment (soil, water, air) is useful. Students also need to have basic computer skills (word processing, spreadsheets, …). If basic computer skills are lacking, it is strongly recommended to take tutoring before coming to Belgium.

Before you start the official admission procedure, the Faculty of Sciences will screen your academic history and motivation by means of a pre-screening procedure.


Application Procedure:

This programme has a pre-screening procedure.

Why a pre-screening procedure? The pre-screening procedure is meant to quickly assess if an interested international student is eligible to start this Master programme. This procedure is less formal than the official application procedure as the documents can be sent electronically; they do not have to be legalised yet; and there is no application fee involved. After receiving a positive advice from the Admission Board, you can start up the official enrolment (Step 2, see below).

Practical information about the pre-screening. It will take approximately 2 weeks to process your pre-screening application. Please understand that a positive decision from the faculty in this pre-screening procedure does not automatically imply you are accepted onto the programme. It is a preliminary appraisal of the suitability of your academic background. The decisions of the Admission Board will be based on the information provided in your pre-screening application. 

Complete the pre-screening application meticulously and supply all supporting documents as an attachment to your pre-screening application. Only complete applications will be forwarded to the Admission Board for pre-screening. Send your pre-screening application via e-mail to

You will need to submit your pre-screening application before the deadlines below:

  • 28/02: nationals of non-EEA member states
  • 30/04: nationals of EEA member states (European Union + Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein)

Pre-screening applications received after the deadline will automatically be referred to the next academic year.

After receiving the result of your pre-screening, you can start the official enrolment procedure.


Academic level: Master

Qualification: Master of Science

Occupations (not validated):
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