MSc of Biology: Biodiversity, Conservation and Restoration

General information

Your programme

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.

Your future

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 protectionResearch offers another career opportunity in Belgium and also abroad.

What does the program entail?

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.

Research in the programme

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).

Into the field: internship and training

The Conservation Internship is organised in collaboration with external (non-academic) organisations active in the field of conservation/restoration, e.g. NGOs such as Natuurpunt or Greenpeace, governmental bodies such as the Nature and Forest Agency, etc. Students are trained at applying their knowledge and skills to a practical conservation/restoration issue, e.g. selecting priority habitats in conservation/restoration planning, evaluating the consequences of legislation and international treaties on conservation/restoration, problems of ex situ conservation such as in zoos, conflicts between conservation/restoration targets and society, etc.

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.

General

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.

Specific

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 (sarah.verberckmoes@uantwerp.be )

Content

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

Venue: University of Antwerp
Antwerp, Belgium

Application

Open from
1 Dec 2018 to 15 Feb 2019

Cost:

The mentioned fees apply to the academic year 2018-2019.

Your tuition fee is calculated based on how many credits you are using by registering for courses.

The tuition fee for this programme will be:

  • If your nationality belongs to a member state of the European Economic Area*: a fixed amount of 238.3 euro, increased with 11.4 euro per credit taken. This means 922.3 euro in case you register for 60 credits.
  • If your nationality does not belong to a member state of the European Economic Area*: a fixed amount of 250 euro, increased with 44 euro per credit** taken. This means 2890 euro in case you register for 60 credits.

The tuition fees are subject to yearly revision.  Please see the tuition fees overview page for more information about fees for other programmes and details about the payment.

*The member states of the European Economic Area are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithowenia, Luxemburg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

**A reduction to 26 euro per credit is possible if all the following conditions apply:

  • as a new student you belong to the top 20% of your class which gives access to the programme (or as an existing student you should get excellent results in your first year of enrolment)
  • you belong to a Least Developed Country (LDC) or Other Low Income Country (OLIC) of the DAC list
  • you have not yet obtained a master's degree
  • you do not have a scholarship
  • your request for reduction, submitted before the enrolment, has been approved by the faculty

Prerequisites:

Diploma requirements

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.

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

  • holders of the diploma of Bachelor in Biology

Admission after permission

  • for 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 (Test of English as a Foreign Language, organized by ETS): paper-based TOEFL level of minimum 550, or an internet-based TOEFL level of minimum 79-80. You can find more information on the TOEFL-website
    • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): a minimum score of at least 6.5, and on each part minimum 6.0. You can find more information on the IELTS-website

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 succesfully complete the programme.


Application Procedure:

Procedure

Always read the programme information and check the admission requirements first before submitting an application.  You can find the link to the application in the application procedure below. Please read the full procedure before proceeding! If you don't have a bachelor degree from a higher education institution in Belgium, The Netherlands or Luxembourg (see the diploma requirements for more information about these degrees) or if you need to apply for a visum, you alwaysneed to follow the admission procedure below. Erasmus Mundus master programmes and the InterUniversity Research Master in Philosophy use their own admission procedure.  Please do not start an application in Mobility-Online for these programmes because it will not be processed.

Procedure overview

The applicaton process consists of two major parts.  Each part will trigger a specific evaluation

  • part 1: screening on content and level
  • part 2: screening of hard copy documents on authenticity

The combined results of the evaluation of part 1 and part 2 will determine if your application will be accepted.

  • If your application is accepted, you will receive a Letter of Acceptance and more information about the enrolment..
  •  If your application is rejected, you will be informed about the reason of the rejection and you will have the possibility to appeal.

The application procedure at the University of Antwerp is free of charge (please do not deposit any money because it cannot be returned).  However, take into account the deadlines and that the legalisation and translation of documents for part 2 takes time and can be expensive.
Note that you can only apply for one programme in a specific academic year (you can't submit a second application) and that no submitted documents will be returned.

Part 1 Screening on content and level

The admission board of the programme you selected will screen your educational history and your motivation to determine your access to the programme.  This process may take up to 6 weeks after you uploaded all required data and documents (holidays and closing days are not included in the 6 week-period).  If the admission board gives a positive recommendation, you can proceed with part 2 of the application.

You need to provide all necessary data and electronic documents for this part of your application before the deadlines mentioned under "Application deadlines".

Start your request for admission for a master or advanced master in the electronic application Mobility-Online (available on 1 December 2018). Need help with the application? A user guide (PDF, 500kb) is available.

  1. Enter your personal details and select the programme in which you wish to enrol in the academic year 2019-2020 (or 2020-2021 if you still have to attend preparatory courses (e.g. language courses))
  2. Generate a user account to access the application in a secure way
  3. Upload electronic documents to support your application.  No legalisation is necessary at this point.  The following minimum documents are required:
  • a color copy of a valid passport or identity card
  • a curriculum vitae
  • a motivation letter
  • a color copy of an original degree certificate with a translation in Dutch, French, German or English if the degree is drawn up in another language (applicants that are enrolled in their final year should, instead of the degree, submit a copy of an original and signed letter from their college or university confirming that they are expected to complete the programme at the end of the current academic year)
  • a copy of the original academic transcripts and course descriptions with a translation in Dutch, French, German or English if they are drawn up in another language
  • for admission in Dutch programmes: a Dutch language certificate indicating the level or the acceptance letter of a registration in a Dutch language course or test.  Always check the language requirements under Admission requirements for more information!
  • for admission in English programmes: an English language certificate indicating the level.  Always check the language requirements under Admission requirements for more information!

Part 2 Screening of hard copy documents on authenticity

The registrar's office will screen the submitted hard copies of your documents and verify the authenticity of the degree.  If needed, your previous educational institution(s) will be contacted.  This process may take up to 4 weeks.

The registrar's office has to receive your hard copies before the deadline mentioned under "Application deadlines".

  1. Legalise the copy or copies of your degree(s) which you previously uploaded. Use the proper legalisation method as outlined in the document about legalisation.  Also note that if a translation is required, it has to be done by a sworn translator and the translation also has to be legalised.  Transcripts do not need to be legalised.  It is sufficient if they are certified by the awarding institution.
  2. Send the legalised copies to the registrar's office by post or courrier. Please note that submitted documents (originals or copies) are never returned.

Application deadlines

All applications for 2018-2019 have been closed.

Do you want to start in the academic year 2019-2020 in Flanders in a master/advanced master programme or in a preparatory (language) course and do you have to submit an application? Please complete your electronic application between December 1 and the date mentioned in the table below.  Please note that the application procedure consists of two parts, both with their own deadlines.

Master and advanced master programmes (including preparatory language programmes)
You are a national of a country that is not a member state of the European Economic Area* You are a national of a country that is a member state of the  European Economic Area*
Part 1: Screening on content and level Complete upload of electronic documents before 15 February 2019.  If this step is not completed before the date mentioned, the admission board reserves the right to reject the application. Complete upload of electronic documents before 15 April 2019.  If this step is not completed before the date mentioned, the admission board reserves the right to reject the application.
Part 2: Screening of hard copy documents Hard copies received by registrar's office before 31 May 2019.  If this step is not completed before the date mentioned, the admission board reserves the right to reject the application. Hard copies received by registrar's office before 31 May 2019.  If this step is not completed before the date mentioned, the admission board reserves the right to reject the application.

*European Economic Area member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithowenia, Luxemburg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (or other nationalities with a permanent Belgian residence permit)

 

Qualification

Academic level: Master

Qualification: Master of Science

Credits:
Scheme: 
ECTS
Value: 
120
Occupations (not validated):
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