BIOLOGY

About the programme
Language: English  (See language requirements)  | Place of study: Aarhus  |  Commencement: August / September and January / February (only applicants with a legal right of admission can apply)

Introduction

The MSc programme in Biology provides you with the opportunity to specialise in one or more of the areas of biology that you find most interesting. Because all students begin with a basic knowledge of biology, the teaching is at a high level right from the start. The Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University is popular among students and researchers from abroad. It is an active and international research environment.

INDIVIDUAL STUDY PLAN

When you commence your MSc programme in Biology, you compose your own individual study plan in collaboration with a lecturer. The degree programme counts as 120 ECTS and consists of elective courses and a thesis. The considerable freedom of choice is an excellent opportunity for in-depth studies in one of the many disciplines within biology – such as genetics, evolution and ecology, ecophysiology, aquatic biology, microbiology, and ecosystem function and management.

The MSc thesis is often based on a major fieldwork and/or laboratory project. Under the supervision of a researcher, students are personally responsible for a project description as well as for preparing and completing their thesis. The practical element must be substantiated by theory and the project is placed in a wider context, so students will normally spend a full year working on their thesis. The thesis may be combined with fieldwork abroad, if this is deemed relevant for the project.

WELCOME TO THE RESEARCH GROUP

Teaching is carried out by researchers who are specialists in their subject and who keep up-to-date with the latest developments in their field.

For students on the programme, the door to your lecturer’s office is always open if you need clarification of the study material, and you are encouraged to ask questions at lectures and during exercises. The programme requires high-level academic skills and independent study, but in return, students gain considerable benefits in the form of academic challenge, practical competencies and scientific knowledge.

When you write your thesis, you become associated with a group of researchers where you participate in a journal club and attend guest lectures, in addition to taking part in academic discussions and dialogue.

CAREER PROFILE

Graduates from the Department of Bioscience find work in a wide range of dynamic fields, including research and development, administration, and consultancy, as well as teaching and communication. With a MSc in Biology from Aarhus University you will have excellent opportunities to continue your career with a PhD at a Danish or international university.

Read, print and be inspired

Download and print a short presentation of the MA programme in Biology.

 

I had always dreamed of going to Europe, and I had heard that it was easy to get by with English in Scandinavia, so for me the choice was easy. I thought I would learn a lot here and I certainly did. At Aarhus University, I learned how to establish a research project from scratch by myself, and I learned to write scientific articles even though I’m still just at Master’s level.

HANH NGYUEN
Graduate, MSc in Biology programme, from Vietnam

 

Admission requirements

The following Bachelor’s degrees qualify students for admission to the Master’s degree programme in Biology:

  • A Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Aarhus University, the University of Southern Denmark or the University of Copenhagen.

The following other degrees can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme in Biology:

  • Another Bachelor of Science degree with subject components in Biology equalling 60 ECTS credits, as well as basic subject components in Mathematics, Chemistry and Statistics.

Other qualifications can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme, provided the university assesses that their level, extent and content correspond to the degrees mentioned above.

Upon admission further requirements regarding composition of the degree programme may be stipulated.

Legal right of admission 

Students of the Bachelor's degree programme in Biology at Aarhus University have the right to be admitted to the Master's degree programme in Biology on the condition that application is made with a view to continuing directly from the Bachelor's degree programme to the Master's degree programme. The legal right of admission requires receipt of the application by Aarhus University within the appropriate period of time.

Selection criteria

As the Master’s degree programme in Biology (due to government legislation) only admits a limited number of students each year, meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme.

In evaluating qualified applicants, the admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of the average mark (i.e. GPA) of the Bachelor’s degree at the time of application. Marks/grades obtained after the application deadline will not be included in the GPA. 

The admissions committee assesses each applicant’s marks on the basis of the information provided by diplomas and transcripts.

Language Requirements

Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency. 

Documentation

Please see the general admission requirements.

Admission 2019

From summer intake 2019 the Master’s degree programme in Biology only admits a limited number of students each year. This means that meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme.  Allocation of student places is based on an overall assessment.

Admission requirements

The following Bachelor’s degrees qualify students for admission to the Master’s degree programme in Biology:

  • A Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Aarhus University, the University of Southern Denmark or the University of Copenhagen.

The following other degrees can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme in Biology:

  • Another Bachelor of Science degree with subject components in Biology equalling 60 ECTS credits, as well as basic subject components in Mathematics, Chemistry and Statistics.

Other qualifications can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme, provided the university assesses that their level, extent and content correspond to the degrees mentioned above.

Language Requirements

Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency. 

Documentation

Please see the general admission requirements.

Legal right of admission 

Students of the Bachelor's degree programme in Biology at Aarhus University have the right to be admitted to the Master's degree programme in Biology on the condition that application is made with a view to continuing directly from the Bachelor's degree programme to the Master's degree programme. The legal right of admission requires receipt of the application by Aarhus University within the appropriate period of time.

Selection criteria

As the Master’s programme only admits a limited number of students each year, meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme. 

Allocation of student places is based on an overall assessment. In evaluating qualified applicants, the admissions committee assess applicants on the basis of the following criteria:

Academic background

  • Overall grade level – Bachelor’s degree
  • Grades achieved on relevant courses*
  • Relevant courses* (measured in credit units) included in your Bachelor’s degree

* Relevant courses include modules from the natural sciences including Life Sciences, Mathematics, Chemistry and Statistics.

Please note that grades obtained after the time of application cannot be included in the assessment of grade level.

The admissions committee assess each applicant on the basis of the information provided in diplomas, transcripts, and course descriptions.

Programme structure

The Master’s degree in biology counts as 120 ECTS credits and mainly consists of subjects within the biology field of study. You specialise by participating in course activities and projects and by writing a thesis. During your very first week, you structure your own individual study programme with the help of a teacher from the biology degree programme by choosing courses from a course catalogue. Your programme is based on your academic qualifications and interests and the subjects you studied for your Bachelor’s degree. The plan must be approved by the Board of Studies before you can enrol for examinations.
For more information about the individual courses, visit our course catalogue.

In the Master's degree programme in Biology, you choose a specialization with a minimum of 30 ECTS. The courses in the specialization consist of both required courses and elective courses that fall within the field of specialization.
The remaining maximum 30 ETCS in the Master's programme are elective courses and can be chosen freely from the total offer of courses. It is also possible to follow courses offered from other subject areas if the academic context of the education is ensured.

You can choose between the following specializations:

  • Aquatic Ecology
  • Biodiversity and Ecoinformatics
  • Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Genetics
  • Microbiology
  • Nature Conservation and Environmental Management
  • Zoophysiology

You can read more about the specializations here (PDF).

If you would like information about a Master’s thesis in biology working with research groups at the Department of Bioscience, go to their respective web sites.

PhD degree programme

If you have the necessary skills and interest, you have the option of applying for admission to the PhD programme. You can apply when you have completed your Bachelor’s degree and one year of your Master’s degree or when you have completed your Master’s degree. In the PhD programme, you start working on a research project and are gradually trained through courses and personal guidance to become a researcher. For more information click here to read more about the PhD programme in Bioscience or read examples of current research projects at the Department of Bioscience.

Forms of teaching

At the University of Aarhus, you are in close contact with researchers in a way that you rarely experience at other universities. The door to the professor’s office is always open if you need clarification of the study material, and you are encouraged to ask questions at lectures and during exercises. We make heavy demands on your academic skills and independence. In return, you gain considerable benefits in the form of academic challenges and scientific knowledge, in addition to broad competences.
The teaching at the university is based on independence, critical thinking and collaboration. Part of the teaching is in the form of lectures that introduce new angles to the material compared with the textbooks. The theoretical and practical exercises take place in small groups where you work with relevant issues in depth. Most biology students also spend a certain amount of time on laboratory work or work related to field courses.

The varied forms of teaching, collaboration in groups and the opportunity for close scientific dialogue with the researchers provide you with general competences that are in great demand in the global job market. These competences include abstract, critical and independent thinking, analytical skills and strategic planning. You can use these skills in many contexts – even in jobs you didn’t know you were qualified for.

Academic regulations


 

International double degree in Biodiversity Ecology and Evolution

International MAster of Biodiversity Ecology and Evolution 'IMABEE' is a two-year research-oriented master programme for talented and motivated students who are interested in understanding biodiversity, ecology and evolution.

Get a double degree from two European universities

IMABEE offers students the opportunity to compose an individual study programme in biodiversity, ecology and evolution by combining elements from complementary programmes at the partner universities, and on completion of the programme, students are awarded a double degree from the two partner universities.

The programme is a joint programme between four European universities:

Programme structure

Students spend their first year at their home university (one of the four partners), and the second year at their chosen host university among the four partners.

The Master Programme is built upon existing master tracks within each partner university and involves three stages:

  1. A starting track during semester 1 and 2
  2. Advanced teaching modules during semester 3
  3. a Master thesis project during semester 4.

NB: Students from Aarhus completing their second year in Amsterdam will not get this double diploma due to an incompatibility between Danish and Dutch law, but the mobility can be done under Erasmus exchange agreements. This exemption also applies to students from Amsterdam completing their second year in Aarhus

Learning outcome and career prospects

The IMABEE Master provides students with an advanced understanding of biodiversity, ecology and evolution by applying a multidisciplinary approach. Apart from general competence in academic attitude and academic skills, graduates of the IMABEE Master will acquire specific competences and knowledge in the following areas:

  • The main theories, concepts and tools of scientific ecology, biodiversity and evolution;
  • Methods of statistical analysis;
  • Modelling;
  • Molecular tools;
  • Sampling protocols, experimental techniques in situ or in the lab, field and lab observations, and long-term monitoring.

This International Master degree is mostly designed to prepare graduates for the research activities carried out by researchers, engineers, and R & D managers, but also offers the possibility to pursue other careers such as ecological consulting, governmental institutions, local or regional authorities, etc.

Graduates will be able to intervene in the fields of Research and Development, Patents, technological monitoring, advice and expertise in public and/or private research structures and within different national and/or international institutions.

IMABEE graduates will also be trained to efficiently start and handle a PhD project.

Admission requirements

High profile Bachelor graduates (180 ECTS or 3 years) or equivalent with outstanding study results in Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution (GPA above average) can apply.

The following Bachelor’s degrees qualify students for admission to the IMABEE programme:

  • A Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Aarhus University, the University of Southern Denmark or the University of Copenhagen.

The following other degrees can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme in Biology:

  • Another Bachelor of Science degree with subject components in Biology equalling 60 ECTS credits, as well as basic subject components in Mathematics, Chemistry and Statistics.
  • Other qualifications can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme, provided the university assesses that their level, extent and content correspond to the degrees mentioned above.

Language requirements

Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency.

Here you can read how to document your English qualifications.

Documentation

Please see the general admission requirements.

How to apply and deadlines

Find information about how to apply here and important deadlines here.

Selection

There is a limited number of places in the programme. Selection of successful applicants will be performed to achieve recruitment of the best possible students. Criteria will include study results in relevant subjects in Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution and the motivation letter for acceptance into the programme.

Contact and more information

Feel free to contact Jesper Givskov Sørensen about options, requirements, and selection criteria. 

Find more information about the programme on www.imabee.eu

Student life

There is more to life as a biology student at the University of Aarhus than subjects and lessons. The all-round, inspiring student life at the Department of Biological Sciences is centred at Biologiens Hus (the House of Biology), a small building with a hall, a reading room and group rooms, in which the students meet for academic and social activities. This venue houses collections of field literature and textbooks, and makes rooms available for the Bio-Geobladet newsletter and the department’s Student Committee, which keeps students informed about activities at the Department of Biological Sciences. In addition, a number of student organisations at the department organise academic activities, excursions, celebrations and social events. The different student committees at the university consist of students who meet to discuss issues relating to the degree programme. These organisations influence the academic content of the degree programmes, from department and centre level to the top management levels at the university.

Campus – a unique place

The University of Aarhus is unique, especially because the buildings are grouped in one campus area close to the Aarhus city centre. The campus has many green areas and a beautiful park surrounding a small lake. Here you also find student accommodation and an underground system of corridors, which means that you don’t have to get your feet wet going from the canteen to your study area. There are also lecture theatres and a host of activities ranging from sports days to the regatta on the lake, interesting lectures, a film club, libraries and university celebrations. The campus ensures that you have easy access to the canteen, student counsellors, teachers, the bookshop, the State and University Library and the Friday bar.

Aarhus as a study centre

The university is not all Aarhus has to offer. As the second-largest city in Denmark, Aarhus has numerous different cultural activities. The well-known Aarhus Festival is celebrated for a week at the beginning of September every year and the streets really come to life. During the rest of the year, you can visit different music venues and concert halls in the city or find entertainment at one of the many theatres in Aarhus. The city’s many museums include ARoS – the major international art museum, which is a spectacular place for visual experiences. If you have had enough of cultural activities, you can ride your bike to the beach in no time or go for walks in the Risskov woods or in the beautiful woods around Marselisborg. The forty thousand young students in Aarhus make up 17.5% of the population, which leaves its mark on city life. Aarhus is a young, dynamic city with plenty of opportunities.

Follow the student life at Aarhus University

-experienced, photographed and filmed by the students themselves.

 With thousands of pictures #yourniversity gives insight into the everyday life as a student at AU; the parties, procrastination, exams and all the other ways you’ll spend your time at university.

 

The photos belong to the users, shared with #Yourniversity, #AarhusUni and course-specific AU-hashtags.

Meet our students

Hans Paarup Thomsen, MSc in Biology from Aarhus University

HANS PAARUP THOMSEN, MSc in Biology, senior advisor at Sweco  

My time at the university was both really enjoyable and profitable.

The beginning of my biology study was characterised by the fact that I had little knowledge about nature - especially about nature in Denmark. Furthermore, I did not have any kind of network at the university.

Regarding the courses, the most important thing for me, was the opportunity to select a wide range of subjects within my fields of interest. It was not important for me to specialise within one subject area. Therefore, even though I was - and still am – a field biologist, I wrote my Master thesis within genetics. I had one specific subject about Danish flora and vegetation, which led me to my student job working with nature mapping and later on to my current job.
With a degree in Biology, I have acquired a broad knowledge of plants, animals, fungi, etc., and a comprehensive understanding of the interaction between biotic and abiotic conditions, such as soil, climate and natural habitats. That is, the fundamental knowledge of many of the topics I work with today.

Furthermore, the education has also enriched me with a broad network - both socially and professionally. 

All the social activities at Biology were also of great value to me. Everything from the committed tutors welcoming you as a new student, Friday get-togethers, party associations, and academic committees. In addition to this, we had spontaneous field trips, shared meals at the department and many other fun activities arranged by students.

The people, I came to know through these experiences, are the people I call my network today.


ELLEN ROSE JACOBS, MSc student in Biology at Aarhus University, BSc in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution from University of California

I chose Aarhus University because of the faculty. The lab I'm studying in here is world-class in marine bioacoustics, so I came here to study with researchers at the forefront of their fields. I've worked in a number of bioacoustics labs, but the one here at Aarhus University is definitely among the best. I've followed their work in my previous studies so it's almost surreal to get to work directly with them.

Before coming here I'd heard about Denmark's flat hierarchical power structure, but when I arrived it was still a positive surprise! The staff and faculty are mostly laid-back in their interactions with students, which creates a low-pressure environment and makes it very comfortable to come to them with any problems. My professors have all been high up in the department, but they treat the students as equals. Ultimately, I feel respected by the staff, which makes my experience here infinitely better than it would be in a department with a strict power structure.  

I'm really enjoying my Master's program here! The flexibility to study what I am interested in is fantastic. In a more strictly structured Master's program, I wouldn't be able to do extended field work in my first year, but here at Aarhus everything is accommodating enough that I can take advantage of all that the university has to offer. I'm getting real research experience and right from the start, which is incredibly valuable. I appreciate that nothing I do here is busy work. There is an emphasis on real-life application, so any lab exercises in my classes demonstrate valuable theories from our curriculum, and my independent projects are attempts at actual contributions to my field.

I would like to work in bioacoustics research when I graduate. I'm really excited about marine bioacoustics, and the longer I spend studying in the field, the more I like it and feel that it's what I want to spend my life doing.

Career

Job functions for grads

This data is derived from AU's 2013/2014 employment survey. This data should not be considered a completely accurate representation of the labour market and job functions for all graduates of the individual degree programmes. It exclusively represent the responses submitted to the survey in the years in question.

Competence profile

With a Master’s degree in biology, you have the following competences:

  • You have general knowledge of biology and detailed knowledge of key disciplines, methodologies, theories and concepts within biology.
  • You can independently plan, manage and implement projects and apply the results in scientifically relevant decision processes.
  • You can assess the applicability and appropriateness of theoretical, experimental and practical methodologies for the analysis and solution of scientific questions and issues.
  • You can structure your own competence development independently and critically.
  • You are able to systematically and critically familiarise yourself with new subject areas.
  • You can communicate academic questions and issues to both a scientific and a general audience.
  • You can collaborate constructively on a scientific basis to solve subject-related issues.

Job profile

The University of Aarhus educates biology graduates for the regional, national and international job markets. Graduates from the Department of Biological Sciences find work in many different fields and institutions. Most jobs are within research, administration and consultancy as well as teaching and communication in the private or public sectors.

Biologists are employed in positions within a wide range of biology areas ranging from biotechnology, nature and the environment to biological production within agriculture and the fishing industry. Many biologists also work as consultants or environmental officers within environmental administration and management.

If you have a burning desire to communicate about biology, you can choose to teach at upper secondary school or at laboratory technicians’ or teachers’ training colleges, or in connection with different forms of adult education. Finally, some biologists work with communicating biological knowledge in the media and publishing worlds or as nature consultants. A biology degree is the key to many different types of jobs throughout society.
For more information about job opportunities, go to: biology.au.dk/karriere.