Track or tailor-made programme

Students enrolled in the Environmental Biology Master’s programme will contribute to ongoing projects of internationally renowned university research groups or professional organisations in the public or private domain. The programme offers you considerable freedom to choose a specific field within Environmental Biology. The structure of the programme consists of six components.
Within the Environmental Biology Master, we offer the following tracks: 

This track is research oriented and designed for students with a plant ecological or plant molecular biological interest. Students with a molecular biological interest can join the research programmes of the groups Molecular Plant Physiology, Plant-Microbe Interactions or Plant Ecophysiology. Students with an ecological interest can join the research programmes of the groups Ecology & Biodiversity or Plant Ecophysiology. All research groups focus on a variety of fundamental and applied research questions. Depending on your interests, your research training will involve investigations at the level of cells, individual plants, plant populations or ecosystems and may involve field observations in both temperate and tropical/subtropical climate zones. One of the strengths of the specialisation Plant Biology is that knowledge on molecular and cellular mechanisms is placed in an ecological or agricultural context, helping students to bridge the gap between molecular biology and ecology.

This track is also research oriented and especially suited for students interested in the role of fungi in the environment. Although fungi are less visible, they are key players in the cycling of elements on earth by degrading organic material. Fungi can establish mutual beneficial symbiosis with plants and animals, but they can be devastating pathogens as well.  Because of their role in the production of bio-ethanol, fungi can contribute to the production of environmental friendly sources of energy. Students with a microbiological interest can join the research programmes of the groups Microbiology, Plant-Microbe Interactions, Ecology & Biodiversity, or the Utrecht Fungal Biodiversity Centre. You may work on fundamental research topics such as “How fungi choose from Nature’s menu”, “The fungal protein factory”, “Fungal biodiversity”, or “Control of mushroom diseases”.

This track prepares you to generate and disseminate knowledge in ecological and environmental sciences which is needed in order to sustainably manage and protect the Earth’s natural resources. This track follows a unique multidisciplinary approach in which you will learn to integrate scientific knowledge of different disciplines and use it in practice in a societal context. University teachers from the excellent participating research groups give lectures on the latest developments in the field of ecology of natural resources. Guest lecturers from commercial enterprises, or government and non-governmental organisations provide the context for these developments from their daily work field. You will carry out a research project at one of the university research groups and you will have the opportunity to do an internship outside the university in a private company, consultancy firm, governmental institution (ministries, provinces, and municipalities), advisory boards, NGO or applied research centre, either in the Netherlands or abroad.  

This track is research oriented and is designed for students with an interest in animal behaviour in relation to ecology, social behaviour, conservation and welfare. The Behavioural Ecology programme takes a multi-level approach to understanding the causes and consequences of behaviour, with integration of evolutionary and proximate approaches. Students can join the research programmes of the groups Animal Ecology (Biology, Utrecht University), Animals in Science & Society (Ethology & Welfare, Veterinary Sciences, Utrecht University), the Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO) and the Centre for Research and Conservation of the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp at Antwerp Zoo. You can work on research topics such as: 'animal migration and ecosystem connectivity’, ‘social cognition and behaviour’, ‘social learning and animal innovation’, ‘ecology of animal personalities’, ‘animal welfare’, and ‘zoo breeding programs and wildlife conservation’. The program provides a unique multi-disciplinary approach to animal behavioural research, with work covering a variety of taxa (particularly primates, birds, and fish).

More information

More information about the study programme of Environmental Biology can be found on the Study Guide of the GSLS.

For scheduling your courses, you can use My Timetable.