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Facts and Data

  • Duration: 4 semesters
  • Degree Award: Master of Science
  • Language: English
  • admission limited
  • Special admission requirements

Biology - Master's Programme


Orientation and Goals

In the winter term 2019/20, the bilingual Master degree programme “Biologie” will be succeeded by the Master degree programme “Biology”, which is taught exclusively in English.

The biology master’s degree programme is a research oriented course of studies which aims to provide in depth training in the techniques and methods used in modern biology and related fields. The programme takes an interdisciplinary approach necessary for adequately conveying the complexity of biological sciences, and thus prepares students to work independently in industry, business, research or at other private or public institutions. Students acquire in-depth, interdisciplinary knowledge of mathematics and biological systems spanning the molecular and organism levels. The programme uses a methodological and practical approach to enable students to conduct independent research in accordance with scientific and ethical standards and to interpret and present research results appropriately. The international nature of the scientific community demands not only sound knowledge of subject matter but also well-developed communication skills, especially in English. Structured, hypothesis-driven thinking, communication skills and social competences form the basis of successful professional practice.

The bilingual Master's degree programme in Biology has the following learning outcomes:
  • in depth biological expertise
  • in depth knowledge of biological working methods
  • data analysis skills
  • interdisciplinary thinking
  • critical and analytical thinking
  • independent research and knowledge of scientific literature
  • ability to perform independent biological research
  • data presentation and discussion in German and English (written and spoken)
  • teamwork
  • ethical and professional behaviour
  • project and time management
  • statistics and scientific programming

The course of studies enables students to create a clear specialization profile in the areas of biodiversity, ecology, and evolution as well as neurobiology, molecular and cellular biology and genetics. The course of studies lays the groundwork for PhD work and thus forms the basis of education the next generation of academics in the institute of biology and environmental sciences.

Study Design and Contents

The course comprises 120 credit points (CP) of which, at minimum, 90 must be chosen from the M. Sc. Biology curriculum:
  • Background Modules (min. 24 CP)
  • Research Modules (min. 15 CP)
  • Skills Modules
  • Master thesis and defense (30 CP)
As many as 30 CP can be chosen from other relevant programmes (e.g. Landscape Ecology, Marine Environmental Sciences, Neuroscience, Informatics, Hearing Technology and Audiology) or from courses offered by other universities in Germany or abroad.
Modules stemming from outside the M. Sc. Biology program should be relevant to the rest of the course of studies and must be approved by the examination board.

Focus Areas

The individually determined areas of concentration arise from the University’s working groups e.g.:
  • Biodiversity and evolution of plants
  • Biodiversity and evolution of animals
  • Evolutionary plant genetics
  • Functional plant ecology
  • Marine biodiversity
  • Molecular and cell biology
  • Neurobiology
  • Ecological genomics
  • Avian Ecology and physiology
  • Systematics and evolutionary biology
  • Behavioral biology

Further specializations are enabled by cooperation with external research institutions, such as the unique relationship with the Institute of Avian Research in Wilhelmhaven (Helgoland Bird Observatory) in research and teaching. Further opportunities for internships or master theses can be found in the areas of Plant Ecology or Marine Biodiversity Research through cooperation with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institue in Panama or the Alfred-Wegener-Institue and HIFMB respectively.
For an overview of the working groups in biology and their respective research foci, research associates, and international partners, as well as further information on the course of studies can be found on the institute’s website und the following links: und
Please refer to the course plan.

Teaching and Learning

The Master of Biology curriculum distinguishes three types of modules that have different aims and teaching formats:
Background Modules provide background knowledge on a biological topic. Courses for 8-20 students are organized in full-time blocks of 3-7 weeks (between 6 and 15 CP) and usually consist of lecture, seminar and hands-on practical sessions.
Research Modules consist of individual or small-group student research projects in a supervisor’s lab or in an external research institution. Projects last 6-7 weeks (15 CP) and are usually oriented to a specific research question. The aim here is to become familiar with independent research, including conducting experiments, researching background literature and presenting results.
In Skills Modules, professional skills are developed in courses (6 CP) for up to 24 students. Topics include biological working methods, scientific English and bioethics.
This is complemented by the Master thesis (written thesis and oral defense).

Reasons for Studying

  • Flexible: Individual study plans, no mandatory courses, wide range of biology modules, optional choice of courses from related M.Sc. Programs (e. g. Landscape Ecology, Marine Environmental Sciences, Neuroscience or Molecular Biomedicine)
  • Intensive: Block courses focus on one topic at a time
  • Hands-on: Almost all courses include lab time or field trips/work
  • Science-oriented: Individual student projects in research groups
  • Personal: Small groups, close contact to teachers and scientists
  • International: Most courses in English; optional semester abroad
  • Future perspectives in Oldenburg: Graduate school, collaborative research projects

Foreign Language Skills

German language skills are not required for admission.

In order to study this course at the University of Oldenburg, you need an adequate knowledge of English.

English Language Proficiency see admissions regulations
  • Native speaker English or
  • the university entrance qualification or a university degree was acquired in English or
  • language certificate at level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) or
  • simple average of the scores in the subject English of the last four course semesters of at least 10 points in the German upper secondary school.
The proof of English language proficiency must not be older than 5 years at the time of application.

Proof of language proficiency must be available at the latest at the time of enrolment. For other proof possiblities see: Language requirements

Careers and Areas of Employment

The master's degree prepares students to acquire an independent research or organizational role in industry, economy or public service. Graduates of the progamme attain the skills to work as an academic assistant, at a public institution, or to pursue a PhD. Institutions which employ qualified graduates include biotechnology companies, clinical labs, medical technology companies, administrative bodies, pharmaceutical companies, test facilities in the agricultural industry, research institutes for natural and social sciences, national and international environmental protection agencies, publishing houses, and public media.

Target Group/Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent qualification in Biology or from prior studies in a closely related field.

English language proficiency see admissions regulations
For more details see "Foreign language skills" on this page

Application/Admission Procedures

This course of studies accepts a limited number of applicants, and application is only possible in the winter semester.
The application deadline for the winter semester is 15 June.
(Changed: 15 Sep 2023)  |