Biology - master

Varighet: 2 år

Biology - master

Varighet: 2 År

Application deadline
Nordic applicants: 15 April, EU/EEA + Swiss applicants: 1 March, Non-EU/EEA applicants: 15 November
How to apply?

Have you decided to become a biologist and get in-depth understanding of the natural world from genes to ecosystems? You wish to learn how to conduct exciting research of both scientific and societal relevance?

Then UiT The Arctic University of Norway is the right place for you!

Take your master’s degree in a unique location, north of the Arctic circle, where spectacular landscapes and ecosystems will offer you both educational and recreational opportunities.

Come and study in one of the most dynamically developing and modern campuses in Norway, offering a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities for basic and applied research. Our location in the high North provides direct access to fascinating Arctic marine and terrestrial habitats, which we consider our field laboratories.

This study programme requires compulsory attendance to the introductory meeting. See this web page for more information.
Spørsmål om studiet

Saga Svavarsdottir


  • Telefon: +4777660525
  • Campus: Tromsø

Informasjon om studiestart

Our Master’s program provides opportunities to explore an array of pressing questions within modern biology and emphasize some of society`s challenges with regard to management of natural resources and biodiversity.

Here are some of the training opportunities provided by UiT:

  • You will have access to laboratories, field stations and research vessels providing great facilities for field and experimental work in northern and Arctic regions for your master project and courses.
  • You will learn cutting-edge technologies and scientific methods.
  • You will be engaged in one of our on-going research projects with the possibility to study a wide range of species spanning from single cell organisms to polar bears.
  • You will receive the help and support from highly qualified and enthusiastic supervisors to solve research questions using either field observations, field or laboratory experimentation, theoretical biology and quantitative models or any combination of these and other methods.
  • You will learn to work according to the principles of scientific integrity and best practices from planning the project to publication.
  • You will receive comprehensive training in writing skills and scientific presentation.
  • You may be part of a wide collaboration network across the institute and beyond faculty borders, including institutions involved in nature management, consultancy services and biotechnological research.
  • You will have teachers and supervisors that are experienced and established nationally and internationally within their research specializations.

Each of the disciplines is strongly linked to ongoing research in our research groups, providing the relevant theoretical background, training in state-of-the-art laboratory and field methods, thesis and publication writing as well as training of presentation and knowledge transfer proficiency.

Course component

The program has a number of compulsory courses for all students (safety courses, academic skills BIO-3529, data analysis BIO-3012) as well as discipline-specific compulsory components (see the specific discipline for details). For all students undertaking experiments on live animals (vertebrates and decapods), BIO-3503 or HEL-6320 is compulsory. There is the opportunity to apply for courses at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) during the second and third semesters (see a list of relevant courses under each discipline description).

The number of compulsory and elective courses varies depending on the master’s discipline and the sum of courses taken by the student must be at least worth 60 ECTS. The course portfolio taken by individual students will be decided upon consultation with thesis supervisors (see below for details related to the master thesis).

Master students are allowed to take up to 20 ECTS of 2000 level courses. In particular cases, also 10 ECTS of 1000 level courses. Contact the study administration for further information.

It is recommended for students to consider an individual special curriculum (BIO-3805/3810 - 5/10ECTS) with their supervisor on a relevant topic to their master thesis project. It is also recommended for students to consider the course BED-2054 Innovasjon i praksis (10 ECTS, in Norwegian only).

Obligatory Master Thesis component (BIO-3950)

The selection of a master project is done during the first or second semester. You are encouraged to contact teachers and research group members within your discipline as soon as possible to discuss available projects and opportunities and find a master project and supervisor during the first two semesters of the MSc. Information on available MSc projects can also be found through internal communication channels for program students once admitted to the program.

You may start working on a 60 ECTS thesis already in the first, second or (latest) third semester, depending on your own availability and the character of the project.

It is possible to conduct part or the entire master project work in collaboration with external organizations such as Fram Centre Institutes, the University Centre In Svalbard (UNIS), or other organizations in Norway and abroad. In this case, you will need to have an external supervisor at the host Institution, as well as an internal supervisor at our department of Arctic and Marine Biology. For stays abroad, please contact the study administration.

Many master’s students in Biology are connected to research projects at the Department of Arctic and Marine Biology (AMB) and other institutes in Tromsø that carry out biological research and consultation work. You are welcome to contact potential external supervisors at these institutions to discuss potential master projects. For instance at the Norwegian Polar Institute, Institute of Marine Research, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), Akvaplan-niva and Nofima.

A Master's candidate is expected to gain advanced and comprehensive knowledge of biological methodology, theories, concepts and scientific approaches. The candidates who complete the program are expected to have achieved the following learning outcomes:


The candidate will, through one of the seven disciplines offered, acquire advanced scientific understanding of key concepts and theories at the forefront of research and development in biological sciences. For discipline-specific knowledge outcomes, please go the specific discipline description.

The program´s obligatory course in Study design and Data analysis II (BIO-3012) will provide advanced knowledge of quantitative approaches useful for evaluation of questions relevant to science and management. The candidate will learn about both study designs, including the critical differences between experimental and observational studies, and how to choose an appropriate statistical analysis approach. The candidate will also be able to apply different statistical modelling approaches adapted to different study designs and data types and to interpret results in terms of quantitative effect sizes. Finally, the candidate will be able to understand and evaluate study design, statistical analyses and interpretation as presented in scientific papers.

Through the program´s obligatory course in Academic skills (BIO-3529, the candidate will acquire advanced knowledge about the different forms and structure of written and oral scientific communication taking into consideration the objectives and the audience. The candidate will also learn how to search scientific material, use reference tools and use sources in a critical and ethical manner. Finally, the student will learn about academic fraud.


The candidate can:

  • Conduct rigorous scientific research using the following stepwise approach:

    • Read up on background theories and knowledge (information literacy – the skill of knowing how to locate, evaluate and use information),
    • Formulate research questions and hypotheses (critical thinking skills – including evaluation, analysis and synthesis),
    • Identify and use scientific methods to answer research questions and test hypotheses (innovative problem solving),
    • Collect, visualize, analyze and synthesize qualitative and quantitative data (data fluency),
    • Interpret and discuss data considering current advances in the research area and study designs.
  • Apply theories, concepts and methods relevant to the scientific and ethical standards in the field,
  • Critical and constructive evaluation of your own and others’ academic work,
  • Acquire technical and methodological competence in your field of specialization,
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, by giving both spoken and written presentations of scientific topics and research results.

General competence

The candidate can:

  • Conduct independent work in the field or in a laboratory in accordance with general and work-type specific safety regulations
  • Communicate biological knowledge and concepts to the scientific community, policy makers and the general public,
  • Understand the foundations of the scientific process, critical reflection of research ethics, including ethics in animal research, integrity, and transparency.
  • Work cooperatively, professionally, and ethically with others towards a common goal.

The Master’s degree in Biology will allow you to qualify for different career paths and prepare you to step into a professional role or to apply for a PhD.

A Master of Science degree in Biology will prepare you for a wide range of jobs, in both public and private sectors, including research, resource and nature management, administration, consulting and the teaching profession.

The master thesis can play an important role to establish your domain of expertise and to showcase acquired technical and soft skills. Also, it can be very important in building scientific and professional network, that will be a support in your future job search.

For information regarding the program structure see the study plan.

Admission to the master’s program in Biology requires a bachelor’s degree (180 ECTS) or equivalent qualification, including a specialization in biological topics [i.e., biodiversity (zoology/botany), ecology, cell- and molecular biology, microbiology, physiology (animal/plant), biochemistry and bioinformatics] corresponding to a minimum of 80 ECTS.

Applicants must have a minimum grade average comparable to a Norwegian C (3,0) in the ECTS scale. The average grade is calcualted from the entire bachelore´s degree.

Applicants with education from non-Nordic countries must document English language proficiency. You will find more information of English language requirements here:

Applicants with a degree in Agricultural, Fisheries and Aquaculture studies, Biomedical laboratory sciences ("Bioingeniør"), or Bachelor of Pharmacy, Medicine or Dentistry do not fulfil the admission requirements.

Certain disciplines in our Master’s program require specific qualification requirement:

Arctic Animal Physiology: Applicants must meet the general admission requirements for the Master of Science in Biology program. Additionally, applicants must have completed a basic course in animal physiology corresponding to a minimum of 10 ECTS (BIO-2002 or equivalent).

Molecular Environmental Biology: Applicants must meet the general admission requirements for the Master of Science in Biology program. Additionally, applicants must have completed courses in basic and practical molecular biology corresponding to a minimum of 10 ECTS (BIO-2018 or equivalent) or can document hands-on molecular lab experience through a bachelor thesis.

Please contact the student adviser for more information about this.

Applicants from Norway or Nordic countries:

Online application is via Søknadsweb, application codes:

6020 Arctic animal physiology

6021 Freshwater ecology

6022 Arctic marine ecology

6023 Molecular environmental biology

6024 Northern populations and ecosystem

6025 Arctic marine ecotoxicology

6026 Ecology and sustainability

How to apply for admission to UiT? Read more here.

EU/EEA + Swiss applicants:

Online application, application codes:

7110 Arctic animal physiology

7111 Freshwater ecology

7112 Arctic marine ecology

7113 Molecular environmental biology

7114 Northern populations and ecosystems

7115 Arctic marine ecotoxicology

7116 Ecology and sustainability

You will find more information about international admission here.

Non-EU applicants:

Online application, application codes:

2076 Arctic animal physiology

2077 Freshwater ecology

2078 Arctic marine ecology

2079 Molecular environmental biology

2080 Northern populations and ecosystem

2081 Arctic marine ecotoxicology

2082 Ecology and sustainability

You will find more information about international admission here.

Non-EU students must be prepared to pay tuition fees, more information here

Several teaching and assessment methods are employed, including lectures, seminars, laboratory work, computer lab and field courses. These will vary from course to course.

Course examinations may be oral or written examinations, assessments of project work/ lab reports/field reports, often in combination.

Supervision of the project work that leads to the writing of the Master`s thesis will be given by faculty staff, sometimes in co-operation with an external supervisor.

The language of instruction and all syllabus material is English.

On successful completion of the degree programme, students may be qualified for admission to a PhD-programme in Biology at the UiT or elsewhere.

Students can undertake periods of studying at The University Centre at Svalbard (UNIS), especially during their third and fourth semester. Each discipline highlights relevant courses at UNIS under program description.

International exchange during an entire semester is not possible in the first year of studies due to obligatory courses in all discipline.

Stays abroad can take place as part of a master project in the third and fourth semester. Please consult the program study advisor for more information.

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