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In this programme, unlike the other three tracks within the MSc programme Biological Sciences, students have the freedom to combine courses from all biological Master's of the UvA and other universities. It depends on course admission rules and course capacity if you can be admitted to courses. The same freedom applies to choosing research projects and literature review. All this gives you the opportunity to create your own specific study path.

Detailed course information

The first semester is where students in this track follow courses. These are full-time (42 hours of study per week) and consist of roughly 15 contact hours (lectures, exercise classes, etc) per week. For coursework, students can choose among all available courses from the other three tracks in the MSc Biological Sciences, as well as from Biomedical Sciences and Earth Sciences of the University of Amsterdam, and from other universities (this requires approval of the Examination Board). Have in mind that admission to courses depends on their admission rules and capacity.

  • For coursework: 10 hours per week max for lectures, 10 hours per week max for exercise classes, which leaves on average at least 22 hours of self study per week.

For detailed information regarding the curriculum and courses, please see the UvA Course Catalogue via the link below or download the study schedule.

Research projects

Students usually carry out their first research project at one of the biological research institutes at Sciencepark (IBED and SILS), or at closely associated research institutes such as Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), or the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). For their second research project students can look for research opportunities elsewhere, in the Netherlands or abroad.

The standard programme consists of individual projects:

  • For research projects (in total at least 72 EC): expect full-time working days.
  • For literature review (12 EC = 2 months): expect full-time self-study (reading literature and writing the review). 

Majors or Minor: if you want more than research

Students of the Master's programme Biological Sciences have further the option to choose one of three professional majors (60 EC) or minor (30 EC), each designed to train a specific set of skills needed as a secondary school teacher, in policy and communication or elsewhere outside the academia:

  • The major Teaching
    Prepares students to become a teacher in Biology at secondary schools and Higher Vocational Education (Dutch: HBO). This major is offered by the Interfacultaire Lerarenopleidingen (ILO).
  • The major Science Communication
    Prepares students for a role in communication between science and other societal sectors. This major is offered by the Athena Institute of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).
  • The major Science in Society
    Trains skills such as reading and writing policy advisory reports, management and leadership, and organisation, and is meant for students with a broad interest in current affairs, social issues, policy, management and entrepreneurship. This major is offered by the Athena Institute of the VU.
  • Minor Collective Futures
    Trains skills needed in interdisciplinary environments by tackling real business or societal cases with external partners. This minor Collective Futures has recently been developed by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies at the Faculty of Science.

Accreditation and academic title

General Biology is a track of the Master's programme in Biological Sciences. The Master's programme in Biological Sciences has been legally accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). This means that upon successful completion of the programme, students will receive a legally accredited Master's degree in Biological Sciences and the title of Master of Science (MSc).

Bring your own device

All students enrolled in Biological Sciences are requested to bring their own laptop, due to the nature of the programme. More information on specific system requirements can be found here.