MSc in Marine Biology

General information

How does increasing temperatures affect whales and seals? How does overfishing influence marine food-webs? How do we restore and protect the Wadden Sea?

The two-year Master's degree programme in Marine Biology focuses on life in our planet's seas and oceans. Whether you are interested in biological oceanography, conservation of marine mammals, or coastal marine ecology, there are plenty of opportunities: you can design your own study programme to fit your personal preferences.

Our flexible Master's degree programme is open for all students with a bachelor in biology. It includes a number of newly developed master courses which are jointly taught by several research groups in Marine Biology at the University of Groningen, and in close co-operation with the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (Texel, Yerseke). The programme is strongly research oriented. You will conduct research under the supervision of experienced scientists.

Programme options

  1. Science, Business & Policy (profile)
    Interested in the business side of science? You can combine this Master's programme with the Science Business & Policy profile. The SBP profile includes a six-month internship as a scientific advisor.
  2. Research profile (profile)

2-year programme; credits per year: 60 ECTS.

For the complete curriculum, please see:

We offer students a series of introductory and specialised courses in Marine sciences (20-30 ECTS).

The courses will facilitate students from various backgrounds to successfully obtain a degree in Marine Biology. These courses will cover a large range of topics including chemical, physical and biological oceanography, marine conservation, marine community ecology, applied marine biology and marine evolution. Courses will be taught by lecturers from various research institutes, as well as external experts (mainly NIOZ).After a series of compulsory and facultative courses, the students will start their first research project.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is recommended
  • For an average of 20 weeks
  • Maximum of 60 EC

Exchange: All our science and engineering programmes offer study abroad possibilities at a number of partner institutions. Our partners include top-100 universities in Europe (for example in Germany, UK, and Sweden) and in the USA, China, South-East Asia, and South America. Our exchange programmes have a typical duration of one semester and count toward your final degree.

Learning outcome:

Job prospects

  • About one third of the graduates continue in academic research with the pursuit of their PhD degree in The Netherlands or abroad.
  • About one third of the graduates continue in various kinds of research and management related to fisheries and coastal zone management.
  • About one third of the graduates work in the public sector, for example in journalism, teaching or communication.

Job examples

  • PhD research position
  • Research and Management related to marine biology
  • Work in the public sector
Contact Person: Wouter van Egmond (


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

0312 - Policy and governance", "0031 - Project management", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management", "0521 - Ecology", "0511 - Biology", "0532 - Physical and chemical oceanography


Venue: University of Groningen
Groningen, Netherlands



EU/EEA students​: 1.984€


Degree Requirements. An academic Bachelor's degree in any field of biological sciences. This includes, but is not restricted to, ecology, evolution, physiology, genetics, molecular biology, microbiology, theoretical biology and behavior.

Interested candidates with a background in other fields such as chemistry, physics, engineering, economics, or other cross disciplines will be considered/evaluated on a case by case basis.Students entering with no specific marine biological background will need to follow the set of Introductory Core Courses.

This Master's programme is research-focused. Candidates are therefore encouraged to have a strong quantitative background in, for example, analytical statistics, data processing, programming or other hard skills.

Language Requirements 
Sufficient English proficiency is required. Language requirements include:

  • IELTS: test score of 6.5 - no less than 6.0 on each section
  • TOEFL: test score of 580- no less than 55 on each section (paper-based), 237- no less than 21 on each section (computer-based) or 92- no less than 21 on each section (internet-based, iBT)
  • Cambridge CAE or CPE certificate
  • English language test - University of Groningen Language Centre: Minimum section scores C2 or C1 (one B2 allowed)

Application Procedure:

1.     first apply in Studielink, national on-line application and registration system for higher education in the Netherlands.
2.     you will receive an email with instructions on how to access the Online Admission System (OAS) 
3.     upload all the necessary documents for your application in OAS
4.     after all the required steps in OAS, press the 'submit-button'
5.     You will then receive an e-mail, informing you about the application fee. After you have paid the application fee of  €75, your file will be reviewed.

Required documentation

  • Personal information and contact details, such as name, address, and telephone number.
  • Diploma or diplomas which you have obtained or will obtain.
  • Payment information, who pays your tuition fees, what is his/her bank account number? (You can supply this information later). 

* Continuous application possible for Dutch students.

Deadline for application for the course start on February 1, 2017 is December 1, 2016

Grant Opportunities:

A Maria Sibylla Merian scholarship is available, equivalent to one year of tuition fee. All excellent students who are granted (conditional) admittance before March 1 are automatically considered for the scholarship. You will have to complete your application before January 15 to be considered. Moreover, the University of Groningen offers an online tool to help you find a suitable funding scheme for you studies: Grant-finder.


Academic level: Master

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