Master’s studies

Syllabus for Master Programme in Biology

Masterprogram i biologi

A later update of this programme syllabus has been published.

  • 120 credits
  • Programme code: TBI2M
  • Established: 2008-05-08
  • Established by: The Educational Board of Science
  • Revised: 2010-11-11
  • Revised by: The Educational Board of Science
  • Syllabus applies from: Autumn 2011
  • Responsible faculty: Faculty of Science and Technology
  • Responsible department: Biology Education Centre

Entry Requirements

For the following specialisations:
• Cell and Molecular Biology
• Environmental Toxicology
• Genetic and Molecular Plant Science
• Immunology and Infection Biology
A degree at Bachelor’s level or higher. The degree must include 40 weeks of full-time studies (60 ECTS) in Biology plus 20 weeks of full-time studies (30 ECTS) in Chemistry.
Proficiency in English.

For the following specialisations:
• Ecology and Conservation
• Ecological Management of Catchments in Europe (Ecocatch)
• Erasmus Mundus Master of Evolutionary Biology (MEME)
• Evolutionary Biology
• Limnology
A degree at Bachelor’s level or higher. The degree must include:
Alt. 1) 60 weeks of full-time studies (90 ECTS) in Biology,
Alt. 2) 40 weeks of full-time studies (60 ECTS) in Biology plus 20 weeks of full-time studies (30 ECTS) in Chemistry or Earth Sciences. Proficiency in English.

Decisions and Guidelines

1. Decision to offer two-year Master programmes
According to a decision taken by the Vice Chancellor 2006-09-16, Uppsala University will offer two-year Master programmes in biology, computer science, physics, earth science, sustainable development, chemistry, mathematics, computational science and applied biotechnology, all from 2007-07-01. Furthermore according to a decision taken by the Vice Chancellor 2008-06-07 a Master programme in bioinformatics from 2009-07-01.

2. Objectives for a Degree

2.1 Objectives for a Degree of Master (One Year) (Magisterexamen)

Objectives for a Degree of Master (One Year) according to the Higher Education Ordinance, System of Qualifications.

Knowledge and understanding
For a Degree of Master (One Year) students must
- demonstrate knowledge and understanding in their main field of study, including both a broad command of the field and deeper knowledge of certain parts of the field, together with insight into current research and development work; and
- demonstrate deeper methodological knowledge in their main field of study.

Skills and abilities
For a Degree of Master (One Year) students must
- demonstrate an ability to integrate knowledge and to analyse, assess and deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations, even when limited information is available;
- demonstrate an ability to independently identify and formulate issues and to plan and, using appropriate methods, carry out advanced tasks within specified time limits;
- demonstrate an ability to clearly present and discuss their conclusions and the knowledge and arguments behind them, in dialogue with different groups, orally and in writing; and
- demonstrate the skill required to participate in research and development work or to work in other advanced contexts.

Judgement and approach
For a Degree of Master (One Year) students must
- demonstrate an ability to make assessments in their main field of study, taking into account relevant scientific, social and ethical aspects, and demonstrate an awareness of ethical aspects of research and development work;
- demonstrate insight into the potential and limitations of science, its role in society and people’s responsibility for how it is used; and
- demonstrate an ability to identify their need of further knowledge and to take responsibility for developing their knowledge.

2.2 Objectives for a Degree of Master (Two Years) (Masterexamen)
Objectives for a Degree of Master (Two Years) according to the Higher Education Ordinance, System of Qualifications.

Knowledge and understanding
For a Degree of Master (Two Years) students must
- demonstrate knowledge and understanding in their main field of study, including both broad knowledge in the field and substantially deeper knowledge of certain parts of the field, together with deeper insight into current research and development work; and
- demonstrate deeper methodological knowledge in their main field of study.

Skills and abilities
For a Degree of Master (Two Years) students must
- demonstrate an ability to critically and systematically integrate knowledge and to analyse, assess and deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations, even when limited information is available;
- demonstrate an ability to critically, independently and creatively identify and formulate issues and to plan and, using appropriate methods, carry out advanced tasks within specified time limits, so as to contribute to the development of knowledge and to evaluate this work;
- demonstrate an ability to clearly present and discuss their conclusions and the knowledge and arguments behind them, in dialogue with different groups, orally and in writing, in national and international contexts; and - demonstrate the skill required to participate in research and development work or to work independently in other advanced contexts.

Judgement and approach
For a Degree of Master (Two Years) students must
- demonstrate an ability to make assessments in their main field of study, taking into account relevant scientific, social and ethical aspects, and demonstrate an awareness of ethical aspects of research and development work;
- demonstrate insight into the potential and limitations of science, its role in society and people’s responsibility for how it is used; and
- demonstrate an ability to identify their need of further knowledge and to take responsibility for developing their knowledge.

Layout of the Programme

4.1.1 Description of the programme
The biology education at advanced (Master) level is based on studies at basic (Bachelor) level, and includes a development of the student's skills and competences. The courses within the Master programme focus on topics with a strong research base at the University, and the courses are given in close contact with active research. In addition, there are courses that prepare for a professional life in private companies and various organisations. During the first year the student can select among a wide range of courses.

The Master programme offers many alternative course combinations, and there are a number of specialisations with recommended combinations of courses preparing for future research and professional careers in biology. Each specialisation has a set of advanced and specific profile courses, but includes also issues related to future job careers.

For the Master's degree there are several options for degree project: one project of 30 or 45 credits, or two projects of 30 + 30 credits. The one-year Master concludes with a 15-hp degree project.

4.1.2 Comprehensive aims of the education
The Master programme in Biology should give skills and competences for qualified professional career within private enterprises, governmental organisations or further studies for a PhD. After examination the student should be able to take responsibility for research and development in the studied fields.

4.1.3 Aims as expected results of the study
In addition to the general objectives stated in the Higher Education Ordinance, the student should
• have theoretical insights and sufficient skills to independently apply the achieved knowledge to define and formulate biological research problems and use information retrieval, data collection, experiment and/or computer methods to solve such problems
• have advanced skills in biological work by computer, lab and/or field methods
• be able to solve biological problems by applying knowledge and skills from adjacent fields such as chemistry, mathematics, statistics and earth sciences
• be able to critically analyse and evaluate scientific models

4.1.4 Programme outline
The Biology programme has several specialisations characterised by one or several profile courses, a recommended course sequence and a relevant degree project. Beyond this, the student can choose courses quite freely. Common to all specialisations is the compulsory module Introduction to Master's studies, 2 credits, during the first period of the programme. This module discusses the role of biology in society, issues relevant for future job careers, research ethics, gender issues and sustainable development – discussions that continue in seminars throughout the study period. The programme has the following specialisation:
Specialisation: Cell and Molecular Biology
Starting course: From Genes to Cells or Medical Genetics and Cancer or Microbal Genetics D
Other profile courses: Molecular Cell Biology
Specialisation: Ecology and Conservation
Starting course: Ecology D or Evolutionary Processes or
Limnology I D
Other profile courses: Population and Community, Ecology,
Specialisation: Ecological Management of Catchments in Europe (Ecocatch)
Starting course: Ecocatch Introduction, Limnology I D or Ecology D or Evolutionary Processes or Toxicology D
Other profile courses: Applied Ecosystem Ecology, Limnology II. At least 30 credits of courses should be abroad at some of the collaborating universities
Specialisation: Environmental Toxicology
Starting course: Toxicology D or Limnology I D or Ecology D
Other profile courses: Ecotoxicology
Specialisation: Erasmus Mundus Master of Evolutionary Biology
Starting course:
Other profile courses:
Specialisation: Evolutionary Biology
Starting course: Evolutionary Processes
Other profile courses: Evolutionary patterns
Specialisation: Genetic and Molecular Plant Science
Starting course: Plant Growth and Development
Other profile courses: Plant Biodiversity, Breeding and Biotechnology (the Swedish Agricultural University)
Plant-Microbe Interactions (Stockholm University)
Specialisation: Immunology and Infection Biology
Starting course: From Genes to Cells or Medical Genetics and Cancer or Microbal Genetics D
Other profile courses: Immunology,
Molecular Infection Biology
Specialisation: Limnology
Starting course: Limnology I D or Ecology D or Evolutionary Processes or Toxicology D
Other profile courses: Applied Ecosystem Ecology, Limnology II

Degree

3.1 Regulations according to Higher Education Ordinance
A Degree of Master (One Year) is obtained after the student has completed course requirements of 60 higher education credits with a certain area of specialisation determined by each higher education institution itself, including at least 30 higher education credits with in-depth studies in the main field of study. In addition, the student must hold a Degree of Bachelor, a Degree of Bachelor of Arts in…, a professional degree worth at least 180 higher education credits or an equivalent foreign qualification.

Exceptions may be made to the requirement of a previous qualification for a student who has been admitted to the educational programme without having had basic eligibility in the form of a qualification. However, this does not apply if in the admissions process an exception has been made under Chapter 7, Section 28, second paragraph on the grounds that there has been insufficient time to issue a qualification certificate.

A Degree of Master (Two Years) is obtained after the student has completed course requirements of 120 higher education credits with a certain area of specialisation determined by each higher education institution itself, including at least 60 higher education credits with in-depth studies in the main field of study. In addition, the student must hold a Degree of Bachelor, a Degree of Bachelor of Arts in…, a professional degree worth at least 180 higher education credits or an equivalent foreign qualification.

Exceptions may be made to the requirement of a previous qualification for a student who has been admitted to the educational programme without having had basic eligibility in the form of a qualification. However, this does not apply if in the admissions process an exception has been made under Chapter 7, Section 28, second paragraph on the grounds that there has been insufficient time to issue a qualification certificate.

Independent project (degree project)
For a Degree of Master (One Year) students must have completed an independent project (degree project) worth at least 15 higher education credits in their main field of study, within the framework of the course requirements.

For a Degree of Master (Two Years) students must have completed an independent project (degree project) worth at least 30 higher education credits in their main field of study, within the framework of the course requirements. The independent project may comprise less than 30 higher education credits, but not less than 15 higher education credits, if the student has already completed an independent project at the second level worth at least 15 higher education credits in their main field of study, or an equivalent project in a foreign educational programme.

3.2 Local regulations
Main fields for a Degree of Master (One Year) and a Degree of Master (Two Years) at the Faculty of Science and Technology are Biology, Computer Science, Physics, Earth Science, Sustainable Development, Chemistry, Mathematics, Computational Science and Applied Biotechnology.

A Degree of Master (one year ) may, except for courses on advanced level, contain one or several courses on basic level comprising not more than 15 higher education credits. A degree of Master ( two years ) may, except for courses on advanced level, contain one or several courses on basic level comprising not more than 30 higher education credits. The course or the courses are meant to provide such additional competence as is needed for in-depth studies in the main field of study and cannot be included in the student’s basic degree.

For a Degree of Master (Two Years) students must have completed an independent project (degree project) worth at least 30 higher education credits.

Other Directives

Students who, outside the programme, have acquired equivalent qualifications corresponding to at least 15 credits on advanced level in addition to the degree at Bachelor’s level, may apply to be accepted to a later part of the programme. The application deadline is for the autumn term May 1 and for the spring term December 1.

4.1.7 Grade and examination
Unless otherwise prescribed in the course syllabus, a grade is to be awarded on completion of a course. A student who has taken two examinations in a course or a part of a course without obtaining a pass grade is entitled to have another examiner appointed, unless there are special reasons to the contrary.

4.1.8 Courses together in a degree
Some courses cannot be considered in a degree together. Which courses this concerns will be pointed out in each course syllabus.

4.1.9 Qualification and diploma
Upon request, a student who has received a pass grade in a course is to receive a course certificate from the higher education institution. Upon request, a student who meets the requirements for a qualification is to receive a diploma from the higher education institution.

A Degree of Master (One Year) is obtained after the student has completed course requirements of 60 higher education credits including at least 30 higher education credits with in-depth studies in biology. For a Degree of Master (One Year) students must have completed an independent project (degree project) worth at least 15 higher education credits in biology, within the framework of the course requirements.

A Degree of Master (Two Years) is obtained after the student has completed course requirements of 120 higher education credits including at least 60 higher education credits with in-depth studies in biology. For a Degree of Master (Two Years) students must have completed an independent project (degree project) worth at least 30 higher education credits in biology, within the framework of the course requirements. A degree of Master (Two Years) may, except for courses on advanced level, contain one or several courses on basic level comprising not more than 30 higher education credits