Programme info

What does the programme entail?

The Master programme in Biology comprises of 120 credits, to be acquired over a two-year period. Each year you register for 60 credits (deviations between 54 and 66 are possible).

English is the teaching language for all courses in the specialisation Global Change Biology.

The entire first semester, and also the main part of the second semester, of the first year consists of compulsory courses. During the first semester students decide which optional courses they will take, and they also choose a subject for their Master project. These components of the programme are largely undertaken in the second year of the programme.

Take a look at the curriculum for an overview of all courses

Are you eligible to start the programme?

To be eligible for the Master programme in Biology, specialisation 'Global Change Biology', a student should have a strong scientific background including basic knowledge of mathematics, physics, and inorganic and organic chemistry. Knowledge of the basic principles of statistics is crucial.

Candidates should also be acquainted with plants, animals and other organisms (diversity, evolution, cell biology, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, etc.), but familiarity with ecology in particular is a necessity. In addition, an understanding of the physical environment (soil, water, air) is useful. Students also need to have basic computer skills (word processing, spreadsheets, …). If basic computer skills are lacking, it is strongly recommended to take tutoring before coming to Belgium.

Students with diplomas from outside the Flemish community

All bachelor degrees in the field of Science, Applied Sciences or Life Sciences that have a strong focus on biology will be considered by a board of admission of the specific programme (e.g. Biology, Bio-engineering, Environmental science, ...).

Students with diplomas of the Flemish community

Direct admission

  • holders of the diploma of Bachelor in Biology

Admission after permission

  • for holders of an academic bachelor or master in exact, medical, engineering or industrial sciences

Language requirements

The programme is taught in English and candidates must be proficient in this language.

Candidates with a bachelor degree from a university outside Flanders are required to demonstrate their English language skills in one of the following ways:

  • By submitting proof that they have studied at least one academic year in an English-language Bachelor's or Master's programme. The Board of Admission may ask additional proof of your proficiency in English.
  • Applicants can also prove their knowledge on the basis of a language certificate showing their TOEFL or IELTS results: 
    • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language, organized by ETS): paper-based TOEFL level of minimum 550, or an internet-based TOEFL level of minimum 79-80. You can find more information on the TOEFL-website
    • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): a minimum score of at least 6.5, and on each part minimum 6.0. You can find more information on the IELTS-website

Candidates with a bachelor degree from a Flemish university are strongly advised to take a test to ensure they possess the necessary language skills to successfully complete the programme.

Research in the programme

You will be trained in a variety of research methods, both via the practical and theoretical courses and via specific courses on skills relevant for global change biology. Laboratory skills are sharpened during a 12 credits worth integrated practical class. Field work skills are also acquired during a two-week field course on ecohydrology in a pristine ecosystem abroad (Poland).

The Master project is the final part of the Master programme, where you conduct a scientific study under supervision. Through the Master project you demonstrate your:

  • scientific background
  • capacity to understand/apply primary literature
  • capacity to correctly and adequately communicate the results in a succinct manner via a written document

You will choose from a wide variety of subjects, with the possibility of conducting research within a research group from the Department of Biology or in an external research group.

As a student of the Global Change Biology programme, you are likely to conduct your Master project in one of the following research groups:

  • Ecosystem Management
    This research group concentrates on the ecology of aquatic ecosystems and wetlands and the processes in the land-water interaction along the whole river continuum and the river-coastal sea interaction. The studied systems vary from small streams with riparian margins over larger rivers and floodplains to estuaries. These studies, both descriptive and experimental in nature, are integrated to predict the impact of different management options on the functioning and the biodiversity of the system.
  • Plant and Vegetation Ecology
    The overarching theme of this research group is the study of the effects of global changes – in the broadest meaning of the term – on plants and vegetations. The researchers realize this overall aim a.o. by studying responses of plants and vegetations to the (sometimes manipulated) abiotic environment over a continuum of different spatial scales (ranging from the individual leaf to the continent).
  • Integrated Molecular Plant Physiology Research
    This group specializes in research aimed to understand the mechanisms that control general plant development, under optimal conditions but also under different kinds of (anthropogenic) stress (e.g. drought, high levels of radiation).
  • Evolutionary Ecology
    This group focuses on evolutionary and ecological processes in natural populations, particularly in animals. The main research questions are related to dispersal and population structure, host-parasite interactions and infectious diseases, and the evolutionary basis of diversity in life-history strategies and phenotypic variation.
  • Systemic Physiologic and Ecotoxicologic Research
    This research group conducts fundamental and applied research concerning the adaptation of aquatic and terrestrial organisms to their environment and the effects of environmental contamination on the health status of organisms, populations and communities.
  • Other institutions
    For these and other subjects, students can also choose a research group in an institution outside the University of Antwerp, including the Antwerp ZOO (Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, RZSA) or the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, INBO).