MSc in Biology - Marine Science

General information

Join the Marine science profile of the MSc programme in Biology to learn in depth about life in the sea. Learn how marine organisms interact with one another and with their environment, and how human activities influence marine ecosystems, including the management of marine resources.

If you wish to enrol in the Marine science programme, you must apply for the MSc programme in Biology. This programme has a duration of two years (120 ECTS). The first semester consists of 30 ECTS worth of courses, which will ensure that you acquire a wide range of skills relevant to biology. The second semester allows you to specialise in environmental biology through elective courses and/or an internship. The primary emphasis of the second year is research, the result of which will be an individual thesis (60 ECTS). All courses are taught and examined in English. 

This MSc programme is research-driven, and laboratory work is coupled with field studies. The programme combines a broad foundation in natural sciences with state-of-the-art knowledge and advanced experimental methodology within marine science.  There is a particular focus on near-shore ecosystems but also includes global issues such as the impact of anthropogenic CO2 emissions on marine ecosystems.

Elective or mandatory courses with a marine science profile

  • Field Course in Freshwater or Marine Biology
  • Research project
  • Planning and evaluation of biological experiments
  • Risk assessment of chemicals
  • Mathematical environmental modelling
  • An introduction to the biology of marine mammals
  • Marine ecosystems
  • Geographical Information systems (GIS) in Environmental monitoring and Natural conservancy

*Scientific SCUBA Diver: at the University of Southern Denmark, you have a unique opportunity to obtain a commercial diving certificate as part of the MSc programme in Biology.

Learning outcome:
  • A graduate with a Master's degree in Biology has in-depth and detailed knowledge of fundamental theoretical concepts and experimental methods in the field of biology.
  • The graduate has detailed knowledge of the topics of the research carried out by the staff at the Institute of Biology and other similar research institutions. The graduate has expert knowledge of a well-defined area of research within the field of biology. 
  • The graduate has specific skills in conceptualizing problems relating to the central disciplines of biology by applying biological thinking, reasoning, and technical terms, as well as planning and carrying out advanced biological laboratory and field work.
  • The graduate's competences entail that he/she is able to contribute to the generation of new scientific insights or to the innovation of new applications of results from research in biology.
  • The graduate can put professional and academic insights into perspective and evaluate the interaction between biology and development of history, culture, and technology. 

Career opportunities. Graduates in Biology from SDU are among those biologists in Denmark who have the highest employment rates. The Biology programme at SDU is versatile and can be pieced together in many different ways. Therefore, you can follow several different career paths as a biologist, depending on your professional interests, both in Denmark and abroad.

Science communication. Information officers at science museums, zoos, aquariums and nature centres often work with teaching special classes or leading tours and hikes, as well as designing exhibits. If you have excellent writing and communication skills, other potential career opportunities exist with media specializing in science.

Environmental conservation and nature management. Conservation and management biologists are often employed by public nature and environmental conservation authorities or private consulting firms, solving environmental problems and conserving the natural world. Other potential employment opportunities exist with zoos and aquariums, where biologists carry out endangered species recovery programs and serve as a educators to the general public.

Teaching. Depending on how you piece together the programme, your degree may qualify you to teach in Danish secondary schools. Employment opportunities also exist at university colleges, where some biologists are employed as teachers.

Research. A PhD in Biology qualifies you for a career as a researcher at universities. A PhD student is usually paid through a scholarship from a university, a foundation or through a collaboration with a company.

Contact Person: Study programme advisors (


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

0511 - Biology", "0521 - Ecology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management", "0731 - Marine spatial planning", "0831 - Fisheries


Venue: University of Southern Denmark
Odense, Denmark

Faculty of Science, Campus Odense
Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M


Open from
1 Oct 2016 to 1 Nov 2016


Only students with a non-EU/EEA-citizenship or non-Swiss-citizenship have to pay tuition fees. The fees at the Faculty of Humanities are 13.280€ per year and cover the educational expenses, such as courses, academic supervising, issuing of diplomas and exams (general information on tuition fees).


Entry requirements for the Master's programme in Biology

  • Bachelor's degree or other degree based on at least three years of higher education after the high school level.
  • Qualifications in biology corresponding to at least 60 ECTS, including the following subject areas:
    • The structures and functions of biomolecules and cells.
    • The systematics, structures, development and functions of organisms.
    • The interaction between organisms and their environment.
    • The evolution of life.
  • Fundamental knowledge of mathematics, chemistry and statistics.

Students will be qualified for admission after an individual assessment by the Study Board.

Admission limitations. There is restricted admission to this programme. If your application is to be considered, it is important that your application and relevant supporting documents are received before the application deadline. There are 40 seats available for this programme in 2016.   Selection criteria for admission to the Master's programme take effect if, due to reasons of capacity, the university cannot admit all qualified applicants to a graduate programme. The students will be selected based on the Grade Point Average from the applicants' qualifying exams.

Legal claim. Applicants who have completed a BSc in Biology at SDU have the right to admission to this master programme immediately after completion of the bachelor programme. Please be aware of that any legal claim for admittance, will cease to exist, if the applicant applies after the application deadline.

Language requirements. Applicants will need to document English proficiency at the Danish B level, corresponding to the C1 level on the Common European Framework of reference for languages.

Read more about the English language requirements.

Application Procedure:

Applications for the programme are carried through the new online application portal, which is a common application system for all Danish Universities. You need to complete the form, upload all required enclosures (please note that enclosures sent by regular mail are not accepted) and submit it. Please use Firefox as browser when entering the application portal. You are required to upload the following documents:

  • Copy of bachelor diploma in English
  • Copy of official grade transcript in English 
  • Explanation of the grading scale used in bachelor diploma and grade transcript
  • Documentation of English skills
  • Letter of Attorney
  • Copy of passport or identification card 
  • Curriculum Vitae 

More information about the application procedure is available on the 'How to Apply' webpage of the University. Non-EU/EEA citizens are required to pay an application fee of 100€ when applying for admission to a full master degree. The application will not be processed until you have paid the application fee. The fee will be deducted later from your first tuition fee payment if you gain admission.

Enclosures. Please note that the basis for the evaluation of your application is the material you have included in your application. This means that it is very important that you make sure to include all relevant enclosures to your application.

  • The deadline for submitting any relevant enclosures and applying for the September 2016 intake is 1 April 2016.
  • The deadline for submitting any relevant enclosures and applying for the February 2017 intake is 1 November 2016.

If we, during the processing of your application, become aware that the enclosures you have submitted are inadequate, we will contact you no later than 23 April 2016 for the September 2016 intake and no later than 23 November 2016 for the February 2017 intake.

The following enclosures are mandatory for all programmes at SDU:

  • Bachelor’s diploma including all transcripts with grades and course credits (preferably in one .pdf file) – stamped and signed by the university.
  • If you have not finished your Bachelor’s degree you must submit the newest transcripts with grades and course credits.
  • Proof of English language proficiency. Please see our rules on the English Language Requirements website.

Read more about the required enclosured for your applications.

Application deadlines

  • Autumn enrolment
    1 February for non-EU/EEA citizens
    1 April for EU/EEA and Swiss citizens and non-EU/EEA citizens with a residence permit in Denmark
  • Spring enrolment
    1 August for non-EU/EEA citizens
    1 November for EU/EEA and Swiss citizens and non-EU/EEA citizens with a residence permit in Denmark

Grant Opportunities:

More information about funding opportunities is available on the 'Scholarships' section, on the website of the University. 


Academic level: Master

Qualification: Master of Science

Occupations (not validated):
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