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Biology - master


Duration:2 År
Credits (ECTS):120
Qualification:Master`s of Science in Biology.
Admission requirements:Bachelor`s degree with a major in biology (min 80 ECTS).
Application deadline:Nordic applicants: 15 April, EU/EEA + Swiss applicants: 1 March, Non-EU/EEA applicants: 15 November
Application code:See application codes under "Admission requirements"

Programme description

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:

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.

Programme structure

10 ects 10 ects 10 ects
1. sem. (autumn)
2. sem. (spring)
3. sem. (autumn)
4. sem. (spring)

Learning outcomes

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:

General competence

The candidate can:

Teaching and assessment

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.

Language of instruction

The language of instruction and all syllabus material is English.

Exchange possibilities

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.

Job prospectives

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.

Access to further studies

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