Biological Sciences

The Master’s programme in Biological Sciences is a two-year programme for students with a Dutch Bachelor of Science degree or its equivalent in Biology. Some of the tracks of this Master’s programme may also be of interest to students of biomedical sciences, life sciences, physical geography, earth sciences, chemistry, environmental sciences, physics, mathematics and even econometrics.

Studying Biological Sciences at the University of Amsterdam
The Master’s programme in Biological Sciences is closely linked to the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) and the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS), both founded in 2000.
The Master’s programme in Biological Sciences consists of four tracks:
Ecology and Evolution (MSc)
General Biology (MSc)
Integrative Plant Sciences (MSc)
Limnology and Oceanography (MSc)

Students choose one of these based on their specific interests and work toward a Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences.

Ecology and Evolution

Sustaining natural biodiversity and protecting the environment is impossible without extensive knowledge of ecology and evolution. The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) offers a state-of-the-art Master’s programme in Ecology and Evolution. The aim of the programme is to promote understanding of:

  • the relationships between living organisms
  • the extinction and evolution of species
  • the functioning of ecosystems
  • how organisms live, interact and disperse on earth

General Biology

The Master’s programme in General Biology covers everything from the molecular mechanisms of a virus to the population dynamics of African elephants. This programme is designed for students who want to become specialists with a broad orientation who do not restrict their focus to one subject in the field of biology.

The Master’s programme in General Biology offers you the opportunity to select one of three specialisations in research, applications in society or teaching and communication. The programme consists primarily of research lab courses in which students work with scientists on their current research in the University’s Biology Department or at one of the research institutes associated with the programme, such as the Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation Laboratory, the Netherlands Cancer Institute or the Dutch Institute for Ecological Research.

Integrative Plant Sciences

How can agricultural practice and ecosystem management be improved? How do plants function at the biochemical, genetic and ecological level, and how are these processes regulated? These are just a few of the research areas that are central to the Integrative Plant Sciences programme.

This programme combines training in theoretical and practical aspects of cell biology, genetics, biochemistry and physiology with ecology, systematics and population biology. This enables students to develop an integrated view of how plants function. Understanding biochemical processes as well as evolutionary and ecological issues and their interrelationship is essential for students in this programme.

Limnology and Oceanography

Water covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and sets our planet apart from every other planet we know. Water plays an important role in the global climate and is a source of food, minerals, energy and recreation. Aquatic ecosystems teem with organisms, ranging from tiny phytoplankton and zooplankton to coral, fish, and whales. Unfortunately, aquatic ecosystems are also used as ‘dumping grounds’ for much of society’s waste and are profoundly affected by global change.

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) multidisciplinary Master’s track in Limnology and Oceanography is devoted to the study of the biology, chemistry and physics of aquatic ecosystems. It is geared towards gaining a better understanding of the world’s aquatic resources and working toward their protection. This programme offers an advanced curriculum, with a dual focus on freshwater ecosystems (limnology) and marine ecosystems (oceanography). The Limnology and Oceanography programme provides a challenging educational programme for students interested in the aquatic sciences, and offers career prospects in the scientific arena and social others.