The courses below are 7,5 EC (unless indicated otherwise). The period (1/2/3/4) and time slot (A/B/C/D) are stated in parentheses per course, see schedule. You take 15 EC per period from different timeslots. You have to register for courses yourself.

Year 1

In your first year you take at least six courses (45 EC). You can make up the rest with electives (15-30 EC). It is also possible to take complementary courses at another university.


You take two compulsory courses (15 EC):


You choose at least four courses (30 EC) from at least three of the core fields of Physics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Biology.


Earth Sciences



Depending on interest and ambition, you may select seminar modules / advanced courses (15-30 EC) from the total offer of Utrecht University. You will find this offer on the pages of the Master’s programmes under the heading 'Study programme' or look for courses in the Course Catalogue. It is also possible to chose from the offer of other universities, in the Netherlands or abroad.

The (NS-MO446M) NIOZ Marine Summer Course could be interesting (3,75 EC) for you for example.

The electives of your Master’s programme should be:

  • relevant to your Master’s programme
  • approved by the Board of Examiners as a part of your personal programme ( Fill in the form to apply for this approval.

You can choose to take complementary courses at other universities in both the course part and elective part of this Master’s programme. Both Dutch and foreign universities offer courses.

Please note! You need approval of the Personal Advisor before you start a course at an other university.

The following universities and courses are available:

University of Groningen (RUG)

  • Function of Marine Biodiversity
  • Polar Ecosystems
  • Applied Population Genetics
  • Molecular Methods in Ecology and Evolution
  • Ecosystems Mediterranean Rocky Shores
  • Advanced Statistics
  • Mathematical Models in Ecology and Evolution

Search courses at RUG

University of Amsterdam (UvA)

  • International Excursion Tropical Marine Biology
  • Aquatic Ecotoxicology and Water Quality
  • Benthic Ecology
  • Coral Reef Ecosystems
  • Experiments in Limnology & Oceanography
  • Food Webs

Search courses at UvA

Wageningen University (WUR)

  • Life History of Aquatic Organisms
  • Fisheries Ecology
  • Aquaculture Production Systems
  • Marine Resources Management
  • Nutrition, Welfare and Reproduction in Aquaculture
  • Marine Systems
  • Microbial Ecology
  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Ecology: Classics and Trends

Search courses at WUR

Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) 

University of Svalbard (UNIS) (Norway)

Year 2

You’ll spend your second year primarily on research. An independent research project which leads to your Master's thesis (30-45 EC) is compulsory. The rest of this year you’ll spend on a internship (15-30 EC), and/or a guided research (7,5-30 EC). This means you will write at least two and maybe three academic papers: your Master's thesis and a report on the guided research and/or a report on your internship.