Adaptive organisms

The Master’s specialisation in Adaptive Organisms focuses on processes at the sub-organismal level. With the latest molecular and physiological tools, you will study the adaptations of plants, animals and micro-organisms to environmental stresses. Which

regulatory mechanisms are involved? And what are the genetic constraints, the physiological plasticity and the evolutionary history of these responses? This knowledge is crucial for societal issues such as animal well-being, nature conservation, agriculture and biotechnology.

Choose this specialisation if you are interested in:

  • Adaptation of plants, animals and micro-organisms to their environment, at the organismal and sub-organismal level.
  • The link between the functioning of organisms in their environment and current themes such as climate change and sustainable agriculture.

Why study this specialisation at Radboud University?

  • This specialisation integrates all levels of organisation from molecule and cell up to functioning of organisms in their environment.
  • Students work closely together with top researchers from the Institute for Water and Wetland Research (IWWR), which develops novel applications for problems of water shortage, pollution and floods.
  • Radboud University just opened a greenhouse with advanced control systems for engineered environments.
  • Teaching takes place in small groups and in a stimulating, personal setting.

Programme outline (2 years, 120 EC)

The programme of this specialisation consists of:

  • Compulsory courses (15 EC)
  • Specialisation electives (18 EC)
  • Philosophy elective (3 EC)
  • 2 Internships (2 x 36 EC)
  • Literature thesis 1 (6 EC)
  • Literature thesis 2 / Field course (6 EC)

Research internship

During your internships, you will be responsible for your own experiments, under the supervision of one of our top researchers. At Radboud University, the most relevant departments are:

For related companies or (international) university departments, contact a lecturer or the student advisor.


This specialisation contains five compulsory courses. You can compose the rest of the programme with specialisation electives.

Compulsory courses

  • Orientation in Biology and Environmental Sciences (3 EC)
  • Quantitative Conservation Biology (3 EC)
  • Advanced Adaptation Physiology (3 EC)
  • Microbiology of Wetland Ecosystems (3 EC)
  • Molecular Physiology of Plant Stress Adaptation (3 EC)

Examples of specialisation electives

  • Advanced Endocrinology (3 EC)
  • Principles of Systems Biology (3 EC)
  • Laboratory Animal Science (3 EC)

All courses and course descriptions are listed in the online prospectus.

Your advantages on the labour market

This Master’s specialisation is an excellent preparation for a career in research, either at a university or at a company. However, many of our students end up in health care, business services, governmental organisations or trade institutions as well. Graduates work, for example, as:

  • Researchers
  • Consultants
  • Policy coordinators
  • Teachers

Admission requirements

You are required to have a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, or a closely related discipline. You must also have a sufficient proficiency in English.

Students from a University of Applied Sciences (HBO) need to follow a pre-Master’s or minor in Biology. Other additional deficiency programmes are tailor-made. For details, please visit the website or contact the study advisor.

Application procedure

The programme starts in September. The application deadline is 1 April for students from non-EU/EEA countries and 1 May for students from within the EU/EEA. You apply for the Master’s programme in Biology. Dutch students can apply via and international students can apply via After admittance to the Master’s programme, you can enrol for the specialisation of your choice.

More information

Student advisor Biology: Conny Mooren, +31 (0)24 365 22 81