Study plan

Master in Biosciences

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Programme description

Doing a master in Biosciences you are not only learning in depth knowledge within a biological field, you will also improve your way of critical thinking and be a part of a scientific research environment.

Natural resources are of great value to humankind and must be maintained for future generations. Master's students will gain knowledge on living organisms in the marine, terrestrial and anthropogenic environments. The importance of sustainability in a wide context is highlighted in all specialisations.  This study programme aims to give the students advanced knowledge in biosciences within specializations available in the following five fields: aquaculture, genomics, marine ecology, terrestrial ecology, and livestock science. A Master of Biosciences will give you a competitive edge in the job market, and will give you the flexibility to choose from a range of profiles, depending on your career goals.

Master of Biosciences has five specializations: 

  • Specialization in Aquaculture
  • Specialization in Genomics
  • Specialization in Marine Ecology
  • Specialization in Terrestrial Ecology and Nature Management
  • Specialisation in Livestock Science

Specialisation in Aquaculture: Aquaculture refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of aquatic environments. Aquaculture is probably the fastest growing food-producing sector globally, currently supplying almost 50 percent of the fish consumed worldwide. The specialisation in aquaculture aims to give students a deeper knowledge in selected areas of aquaculture. In this program, you will be part of our research team studying different aspects within aquaculture such as aquaculture nutrition, physiology, health, welfare and fillet quality. The master project can make use of the University's research station at campus Bodø or in close cooperation with the regional industry. This program prepares you for a career in research, consulting or industry.

Specialisation in Marine ecology: The study of the functioning of ecosystems and how organisms interact within marine environments, becomes increasingly important as human activity continues to exploit and affect marine ecosystems. The life under water is fascinating, but challenging to study. In this program, you will be part of our research teams studying different marine environments from various perspectives: evolutionary processes using molecular techniques, dynamics of diversity and communities and modelling of hydrodynamical regimes. The understanding of such processes is essential to sustainably manage marine resources in the future and, therefore, this program prepares you for a career in research, consulting, industry or environmental authorities.

Specialisation in genomics: Genomics, defined as the study of structure, function and evolution of genomes, is at the forefront of modern biology. Technological breakthroughs over the past decade have revolutionised genomics and all related fields of biosciences. Master projects in genomics target a range of organisation levels in biology, from the molecular level to that of populations, via cells and organisms. Exiting research questions that were previously intractable can now be addressed. You will gain knowledge on how to collect, analyse and interpret large data sets using bioinformatics. Projects in the field of genomics are often interdisciplinary, and relate to a wide range of biological disciplines, such as ecology, reproduction, development, physiology, evolutionary biology, toxicology, and ethology. A specialisation in genomics prepares for career opportunities in biotechnology, medicine, management, or academia.

Specialisation in Terrestrial Ecology and Nature Management: Sustainable use of nature is a challenge and critical to ensure the human population in the future. It includes a use of nature resources and land areas of the earth that secures biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, as recognized by the Brundtland Commision some 25 years ago. To meet the challenges we need people with knowledge and skills in this field of scientific research and management who are able to communicate and find management solutions. This program prepares you for a career in nature management and research by a deep insight and knowledge about the tools available to secure a sustainable us of nature resources.

Specialisation in Livestock Science: offer scientific and professional training that will provide the knowledge and skills required to pursue a top career within livestock industries, scientific research and education, or consultancy services. Satisfying future demands of food quality and quantity can be solved by the development and implementation of innovative concepts and ideas by well-qualified postgraduates, who can drive these developments in livestock science. Specifically, animal welfare, climate footprint, biodiversity, OneHealth, and rapidly developing high-tech and robotization are all areas that the livestock sector must relate to. In the master's specialization in Livestock Science, you will work with such issues and learn more about both opportunities and challenges for the livestock industry in the future.

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Learning outcomes


The candidate

  • has advanced knowledge within the field of biology (aquaculture, genomic, marine or terrestrial ecology, livestock science) depending on the master's specialization
  • have a thorough knowledge of relevant scientific methods used in biological research


The candidate

  • can analyze and critically relate to various information sources and apply them to structure and formulate questions in biology
  • can analyze existing theories, methods and research strategies within the field
  • can use relevant methods in an independent way to collect, analyse, interpret and understand biological data
  • can carry out an independent, limited research project under supervision and in accordance with applicable norms for research ethics

General competence

The candidate

  • can analyze relevant biological and ethical issues
  • can apply his/her knowledge and skills to participate in scientific research and professional research related to the master's specialization
  • can perform advanced tasks and projects within its field
  • can communicate extensive independent work and masters language and terminology of the academic field
  • can communicate about academic biological problems to a scientific environment and the general public
  • can contribute to new thinking and innovation processes

Admission requirements

  • Higher education entrance qualification
  • Documented proficiency in English language
  • Bachelor's degree within a biological field with an average grade of C or better. Students need a minimum of 60 ECTS in biosciences courses and must have basic knowledge of mathematics, statistics and chemistry at university level.

How to apply

Career possibilities

As a Biosciences graduate and depending on your specialisation, you will be qualified to, for example, carry out laboratory work, environmental consultancy, work in commercial aquaculture, feed production and vaccincation, and work in all levels of the public sector, from munipal authorities to national government and agencies.

Further education

Graduates qualify to apply for admission to PhD programmes at Norwegian and foreign universities. If students take additional teaching training programme, they will also be qualified to teach in secondary school.

Study abroad

Ever thought of spending part of your degree in another part of the world? Our cooperations with universities in Europe and other parts of the world can offer you exciting opportunities to study one or two semesters abroad.

A study abroad complements your degree studies well. We are flexibel and will do our best to help you with your stay abroad. The world is yours to explore.

Below you will find an overview of our partner universities which offer subjects within Biosciences at master's level:

AUSTRALIA James Cook University Charles Darwin University INDIA Department of Aquaculture, Karntaka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University, College of Fisheries, Mangalore JAPAN Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology CANADA Memorial University of Newfoundland Lakehead University University of Saskatchewan USA Humboldt State University University of New England

EUROPE Netherlands: University of Groningen University of Wageningen

Russia: St. Petersburg University Murmansk State Technical University (MSTU) Russian State Hydrometeorological University (RSHU)

Scotland: University of Stirling

Germany: University of Bremen Leuphana University Lüneburg Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg Spain: University of Barcelona University of Alicante

Denmark: Roskilde University

Sweden: Gothenburg University Iceland: University of Akureyri Holar University College

Portugal: University of Algarve France: Université Jean Monnet Saint-Étienne, IUT St.-Étienne Université de Bourgogne, IUT Dijon Université Francois-Rabelais, TOURS Hungary: Szent Istvan University Italy: University of Sapienza


In addition to the semester fee and syllabus literature, students are expected to have a laptop with microphone and camera. Students must purchase their own laboratory coat for use in courses with laboratory exercises.

Cost for some elective couses may apply, max. NOK 3000,-.

Examination regulations, assessment and grading

The Norwegian system for grading and assessment using the letter grades A - F, in which A denotes the best/highest grade and F denotes "not passed". Work can also be assessed as "passed", "not passed", "approved" and "not approved".

Refer to applicable legislation, rules and regulations

Assessment methods

The courses offered in the master has different evaluating forms like written and oral exams, home exam and assignments. After submission of the Master thesis, the student defends his/her thesis in a public lecture. After the lecture, there will be an oral examination. The master thesis and courses on master level are evaluated by internal and external sensor.

Graduation requirements

Final graduation examination for the study programme is a master thesis, trial lecture and oral examination.

Programme evaluation

Students evaluate the study programme annually by using course evaluation studies and by the programme director. The evaluations are included in the university's quality assurance system.

Qualifications requirements and regulations

ECTS Credits 120 Study level Master's degree (2 years) Teaching language
Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture
Course location Bodø eller Steinkjer