Ecology and Evolution

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

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Deze opleiding

!Deze opleiding communiceert alleen in het Engels.
We tonen daarom de Engelstalige opleidingsinformatie.
Which organisms are able to adapt to global change? How do birds decide when and where to migrate? When and why do individual differences in physiology or behaviour evolve?

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typeregulier, 120 EC
start1 september
taalvolledig English
opleidingsduur2 jaar voltijd
numerus fixusnee

This Master's degree programme has a selection procedure.

During the two-year Master's programme Ecology and Evolution you will gain insight into the living organism in relation to its environment. Ecology and evolution are strongly interdependent: without ecology, we cannot really understand natural selection; and without evolution, we cannot really understand the properties of organisms and their interaction with the environment. Ecology and evolution are relevant for all domains of the life sciences.

Ecology and evolutionary biology play a crucial role in facing the grand challenges of our time. This includes the development of realistic plans for coping with the implications of global change, for stopping the alarming biodiversity loss, for designing evolutionarily stable strategies to set-up a sustainable society, and for developing evolution-informed medical treatment. The research fields of ecology and evolution are highly dynamic. Powerful new techniques (e.g. GPS-tracking of migrating birds over the whole planet; remote sensing; tracking of individual cells in a culture of micro-organisms; genome-wide sequencing; individual-based simulations; new methods to analyse ‘big data’) allow us to resolve long-standing puzzles.

These new approaches lead to new insights and concepts that change our way of thinking, including a range of new integrative disciplines (e.g. evo-devo; evolutionary medicine; evolutionary community ecology; ecological immunology; evolutionary systems biology; adaptation and conservation genomics; evolutionary psychology). With this Master's programme, we aim to educate the new generation of scientists in ecology and evolution, both those who want to study the big fundamental questions in all domains of the life sciences and those who want to contribute to solving the grand challenges of our time.

The Master's degree programme Ecology and Evolution is offered by the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), which conducts internationally recognized research in a unique diversity of areas relevant for ecology and evolution, including conservation biology, community ecology, microbial ecology, marine biology, evolutionary genetics and genomics, evolutionary systems biology, ecophysiology, neurobiology, chronobiology, evolutionary medicine, behavioural ecology, animal personality research, social evolution, and theoretical biology. We study a wide array of species, from microbes, algae, plants and insects to vertebrates such as fish, birds, rodents, marine mammals, large herbivores and humans.

The selective Master's programme offers 2 specialized research tracks:

1) Evolutionary Biology, that is strongly research-oriented and designed to provide an optimal preparation for a subsequent PhD and eventually a career in academic research;

2) Ecology & Conservation, to educate the new generation of ecologists to contribute to understanding and solving the global ecological problems, as a scientist and practitioner in the field. In this programme, you will learn how organisms, populations and communities are affected by changing environmental conditions, and how this knowledge can contribute to successful ecological conservation and restoration programs.

The selective Master's programme is designed for students primarily aiming for a career in research, and who are able to keep up with the study pace of the cohort that starts in September. Students who would like start during the academic year and / or aim for a career that focuses on the business and policy side of science are referred to our Master’s programme Biology.

Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences

Waarom aan de RUG?

  • Combination of in-depth training and the opportunity for designing a tailor-made programme in ecology and evolution
  • Offers a double degree for the track Evolutionary Biology with the universities of Uppsala, Montpellier or Munich
  • Students form collaborative cohorts and frequently interact with their supervisors & teachers
  • Coaching by personal mentor
  • Broad spectrum of research projects, tailored to the individual preferences of the student, ranging from microbes to whales, and from molecules to ecosystems. Research can be conducted in the field or in the lab and theoretically as well as experimentally.
  • Opportunities to conduct field work in diverse environments (on all five continents), including the nearby Wadden Sea (on the UNESCO World Heritage list) and the arctic regions.
  • Our faculty is the home of the 2016 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Ben Feringa, and GELIFES is the home of the 2014 Spinoza Prize winner, Theunis Piersma.


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track Evolutionary Biology

This programme is for students with an interest in understanding all facets of evolution.

It offers advanced theoretical and practical training to provide students with a head-start in a subsequent PhD, and eventually a career in scientific research.
During the first year, students follow a set of multidisciplinary courses that are developed to provide an overview of the fundamental principles underlying modern evolutionary biology, including developing the scientific, methodological and academic skills required for conducting research. During two major research projects, students receive individually supervised research training, while working on their own research questions. During these projects, students are fully embedded in leading research groups where they and can make use of state-of-the art research methods and facilities. Research projects can be conducted in all areas related to ecology and evolution.
There are options for students to follow part of their programme at one of our partner universities: Uppsala, Montpellier or Munich . Under strict mobility requirements, students can study at two of these partner universities, and in the end receive MSc degrees from two universities (a "double degree").

For the complete curriculum, please see:

track Ecology & Conservation

This programme is designed for students that strive to become an ecologist that can contribute to an understanding of the global ecological problems, and help to solve them.

In this programme, students will learn how organisms, populations and communities are affected by changing environmental conditions, and how this knowledge can contribute to successful ecological conservation and restoration programs. This track will equip students with the knowledge and skills to work in scientific research, conservation & restoration, ecological consultancy, management, education, private corporations and (non-) governmental organizations. The first semester consists of three mandatory advanced courses, and the option for a series of elective courses. In the two major research projects, students are individually supervised while working on their own research questions. Research projects can be conducted in all areas related to ecology, conservation and evolution.

For the complete curriculum, please see:


taal van onderwijs100% en
onderwijsopzet20% zelfstudie
20% theorie
60% praktijk
study guidance
Students choose a mentor to coach them in the design of their individual programme, which will lead to a personal professional profile in Research or in Science, Business and Policy. They can design their own path, with their desired specialization or without a specialization, and their personal mentor helps them find their optimal trajectory.
More information about the general programme options and its compulsory and optional courses can be found on

study abroad
Exchange: All our science and engineering programmes offer study abroad possibilities at a number of partner institutions. Our partners include top-100 universities in Europe (for example in Germany, UK, and Sweden) and in the USA, China, South-East Asia, and South America. Our exchange programmes have a typical duration of one semester and count toward your final degree.

Toelating en kosten


1 september 2019

aanmelding deadline : 1 mei 2019
wettelijk tarief : € 2083 (€1042 in het eerste jaar)
instellingstarief : € 14650
niet-EU/EER studenten : € 15500

1 september 2020

aanmelding deadline : 1 mei 2020
collegegeld nog niet bekend

The Admissions Board will decide whether you can be admitted to the Master's degree programme.

Please fill out the application form (for Dutch students or for international students) to explain why you choose to apply for this Master's degree programme (questions to be addressed are outlined on the form).

Use the application form to describe your education in:

  • Biostatistics
  • Evolution
  • Ecology
  • Physiology
  • Cell biology

Provide two reference letters (non EU applicants) or provide the names of those we may contact for reference (EU applicants) using the application form:
Provide a bachelor thesis or another individually written report of an academic assignment. If such a report is not available an assignment will be given by the Admission Board.


English proficiency on VWO level is required.

This master's degree programme has a selection procedure; read the information below!

An academic Bachelor's degree in Biology with a specialization in Ecology, Evolution or another related field. This is merely an indication of required background knowledge. The admissions board determines whether the specific contents of this/these course(s) meet the admission requirements of the master programme for which you applied.

Information about admission possibilities and requirements for students from a Dutch HBO institute is published on:

studie kosten
bron: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
bedrag kostenpost
€ 9500levensonderhoudper jaar
€ 75inschrijvingsgeldin het eerste jaar
€ 500studiematerialenper jaar
€ 750visa/permitvoor de gehele opleiding

estimated monthly costs

bron: Nibud
303kamerhuur in Groningenrond het landelijk gemiddelde
172collegegeldop basis van € 2060 per jaar
80studieboeken en -spullen
77uiterlijkkleding, kapper, schoenen
132vrije tijdstappen, uit eten, vakantie
42vervoernaast de OV-kaart

€ 1171totale maandelijkse uitgaven landelijk gemiddelde is € 1181
Hiernaast staat een overzicht van de gemiddelde kosten die een uitwonende student heeft. Niet iedere student heeft met iedere kostenpost te maken. Het totaalgemiddelde is dus niet gelijk aan de optelsom van alle kostenposten.

Bekijk ook de uitgebreide toelichting: wat kost studeren?

Studenten en studentenleven


80 studenten volgen deze opleiding
49% daarvan is vrouw
20 eerstejaars gestart in 2017
55% daarvan is vrouw
29331 studenten aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
51% daarvan is vrouw
bron: StudieData


GLV Idun
GLV Idun is the study association for students taking programmes in Biology and Life Science & Technology at the University of Groningen.
The association boasts more than 1,500 members and organizes study-related and social activities all year round. These include parties and drinks, as well as an annual conference, regular lunchtime lectures and a quarterly newsletter featuring scientific publications.

Op kamers in Groningen

55216studenten studerend
31914studenten woonachtig   
€ 303gemiddelde kamerprijs
kamer betaalbaarheid
21 m2gemiddelde kameroppervlak
kamer beschikbaarheid
bron: Nationale Studenten Enquête

aan het woord: studenten en docenten

Siwen Tang
My Ecology and Evolution programme gives me a lot of freedom, which means I can schedule my time the way I like

Life at the university is totally different from my home country China . My Ecology and Evolution programme gives me a lot of freedom, which means I can schedule my time the way I like. We work in projects a lot, so I get the chance to practice my applied skills. You learn to solve problems by yourself and work independently. But at the same time my classmates, the professors and the university staff are always there when I'm in need for help or advice!

I love the fact that the study programme allows me to do an internship as a project...
This experience is really valuable for my future career. A piece of advice to future students would be to inform about possible projects before you arrive here. It gives you an advantage when you've already found a suitable project and supervisor.

I would recommend Ecology and Evolution, and the city of Groningen as a whole, to any prospective student who wants to enjoy a quiet, cosy and academic studying experience abroad! The University has a great 400 year history , the residents are lovely and friendly, and all speak English at a high level. Other than that, I really enjoy riding my little cute bike to anywhere I want in this city! it's convenient and safe.

lees verder ...
Sustainable development in major wildlife migration region

Feiten en / studie in cijfers


bron: Nationale Studenten Enquete
algemeen oordeel4.34.3
De Nationale Studenten Enquete is het grootschalige onderzoek van de overheid onder studenten in Nederland naar de kwaliteit van opleidingen aan hogescholen en universiteiten.
In 2017 hebben meer dan 280.000 studenten hun oordeel gegeven over hun studie en instelling.

Ecology and Evolution aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen is beoordeeld door 21 respondenten. Gemiddeld waarderen ze de opleiding met 4.3 uit 5.

Na de studie

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Beroepsperspectief / arbeidsmarkt

Graduates of the programme who have chosen for the selective research master often enter a PhD programme or join a research and development team in a company or research institute.

For an overview of the different fields our students find jobs in:

aansluitende masteropleidingen

Radboud UniversiteitEenjarige Educatieve Master Biologie educational+ aanv. eisen
UULeraar VHO biologie full-time,part-time educational+ aanv. eisen
Universiteit LeidenLeraar VHO in Biologie educational+ aanv. eisen
Universiteit LeidenLeraar VHO in Biologie part-time educational+ aanv. eisen
Amsterdam UVALerarenopleiding Biologie educational+ aanv. eisen
Amsterdam UVALerarenopleiding Biologie part-time educational+ aanv. eisen

Potentiële beroepen

phd research position
r&d in a company or research institute
scientific advisor, project officer or consultant
bron: StudieData


Academic Advisor

For questions regarding the programme

For international students who are interested in a Campus Tour or have other practical questions

Meer informatie?
Bezoek de website van deze opleiding.

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