Study plan for MAMN-BIOMAR Marine Biology, fall 2022

Name of qualification

Master of Science in Biology - Marine Biology

ECTS Credits

Two years of full-time study, where the normal workload for a full-time student is 60 credits for one academic year.



Language of Instruction




Objectives and content

Marine Biology is a specialization in the Master's Programme in Biology.

The specialization Marine Biology aims to educate marine biologists with a general overview and knowledge about: key processes and typical patterns in the marine ecosystem, flora and fauna characteristics to marine habitats, marine organisms - their biology and ecology, and the most common research methods within field-based, experimental and theoretical oriented research of marine ecosystems.

The independent research project (master's project) combined with specialization courses and special curricula will give a specialized and deep knowledge of selected research topics and methods. Relevant topics for research projects are: marine ecology, marine organismal biology, biogeography, invasion biology, population genetics, biosystematics and general evolutionary themes based on the study of marine organisms.

Master's students also develop general skills in defining, planning and conducting an independent research project, and to learn to document and discuss scientific results through a written dissertation.

Required Learning Outcomes


  • Explain key concepts and terminology in Biology/Marine Biology
  • Describe typical marine habitats and associated flora and fauna
  • Familiarity with oceanographic forcing of marine systems
  • Understand interactions between marine organisms and the environment, and adaptations of marine organisms
  • Understand the dynamics and structural processes in marine populations and communities
  • Apply marine research methods and understanding their limitations and sources of error
  • Apply knowledge to illuminate and / or solve management problems


  • Use basic methods in marine biology
  • Perform an independent, limited research project under supervision, but with a high degree of independence and own initiative, and in line with research ethics standards
  • Handle, and present quantitative data, and evaluate confidence to conclusions by use of basic statistical principles
  • Analyze marine biological topics and discuss ways to explore these applying relevant theory and method
  • Retrieve, evaluate and apply new knowledge within the field
  • Analyze, interpret and discuss own data in a professional and critical manner, in light of data and theories within their subject

General knowledge

  • Be able to follow scientific discurse in general and evaluate approaches and techniques for solving problems
  • Give good written and oral presentations of scientific topics and research results
  • Be able to communicate professional topics and findings in marine biology, both to specialists and the general public
  • Be able to reflect on key ethical and scientific issues in their own and others' work
  • Show understanding and respect for scientific values such as remaining accurate, open, honest, objective, factual and distinguish between knowledge and opinions

Admission Requirements

In order to apply for the Master Programme in Biology, you need a bachelor degree in biology or related field. You must hold a minimum of:

  • 80 ECTS in biology, which must cover the following fields: zoology, botany, microbiology, cell biology, genetics, molecular biology, physiology, evolution and ecology
  • 20 ECTS in chemistry, whereof 10 ECTS must include lab work
  • 10 ECTS in statistics 
  • 10 ECTS in mathematics (excluded in GPA calculation)

Bachelor degrees from UiB that qualify:

  • Bachelor degree in Biology
  • Bachelor's degree in Sustainable Aquaculture
  • Bachelor's degree in Environment and Resources (Natural Sciences specialisation, Biology track)

Bachelor degrees that qualify

Other bachelor degrees may qualify, if they include the required subjects listed above

You also need to document:

Recommended previous knowledge

Courses in ecology and marine ecology, such as BIO201 Ecology, BIO212 Marine Community Ecology - Organisms and Habitats, BIO213 Marine Ecology, Environment and Resources, BIO217 Microbial Ecology, or equivalent.

Compulsory units


1st semester (Autumn):

Watch a video with students sharing their experience with the research cruise in BIO325 Ocean Science (in Norwegian).


2nd semester (Spring):

  • BIO309 Marine Flora (10 ECTS)
  • Elective courses (15 ECTS) 

Choose 1 out of the 4 following courses:

  • BIO201 Ecology* (10 ECTS) - if selected, to be taken 3rd semester (Autumn)
  • BIO212 Marine Community Ecology - Organisms and Habitats* (10 ECTS) - if selected, to be taken 2nd semester (Spring)
  • BIO217 Microbial Ecology* (10 ECTS) - if selected, to be taken 3rd semester (Autumn)
  • SDG214 UN Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water* (10 ECTS) - if selected, to be taken 2nd semester (Spring)


3rd semester (Autumn):

  • BIO399 Master's Thesis in Biology (30 ECTS)


4th semester (Spring):

  • BIO399 Master's Thesis in Biology (30 ECTS)


*Compulsory unless the course (or equivalent) has been taken previously. If taken previously, replace with an elective.

Recommended electives

  • BIO232 Systematics and Evolution of Marine Invertebrates (10 ECTS, Autumn) even-numbered years
  • BIO280 Fish Biology I - Systematics and Anatomy (10 ECTS, Autumn)
  • BIO299 Research Practice in Biology (10 ECTS, Autumn/Spring)
  • BIO301 Current Topics in Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology (10 ECTS, Spring)
  • BIO302 Biostatistics II (5 ECTS, Spring)
  • BIO315 Selected Topics in Microbiology (5 ECTS, Spring) irregular, if min. 5 students enroll
  • BIO318 Current Geobiological Topics (10 ECTS, Spring) irregular, if min. 5 students enroll
  • BIO324 Fish Behaviour (5 ECTS, Spring)
  • BIO332 Phylogenetic Methods (5 ECTS, Autumn)
  • BIO335 Population Genetic Methods (5 ECTS, Spring)
  • BIO340 Selected Topics in Fisheries and Marine Biology* (5 ECTS, Spring/Autumn) irregular, if min. 5 students enroll
  • BIO341 Biodiversity (5 ECTS, Autumn) irregular, if min. 5 students enroll
  • BIO356 Stock Monitoring and Responsible Harvesting* (10 ECTS, Spring)
  • LAS301 Animal Science Course (6 ECTS, Spring/Autumn)
  • LAS303 Fish Science Course (4 ECTS, Spring)

*Note: The acoustics module (5 ECTS) of BIO356 Stock Monitoring and Responsible Harvesting (10 ECTS), may be taken as BIO340 Selected Topics Fisheries and Marine Biology (5 ECTS).

Study period abroad

You can plan study periods abroad in consultation with your supervisor as a part of the master agreement.

Teaching and learning methods

The Master's thesis is an independent scientific work, under supervision of an academic supervisor. A combination of teaching methods is used in the various courses, mainly lectures, seminars, hands-on laboratory practice, and workshops. You will find more information in the individual course descriptions.

Assessment methods

The final step in the programme is an oral examination. The examination is held when the master's thesis has been submitted, evaluated and approved. The most common assessment methods in courses are written and oral exams, individual and group presentations, and various forms of term projects. The assessment methods for each course are described in its course description.

Grading scale

At UiB the grades are given in one of two possible grading scales: Passed/Failed and A to F. The master's thesis will be graded A to F. The grading scale for each course is given in the course description.

Diploma and Diploma supplement

The Diploma, in Norwegian, and the Diploma Supplement, in English, will be issued when the degree is completed.


Many Marine Biologists work with nature, environment and resource management, research, aquaculture, education, industry, environmental organizations and the media and consulting businesses. The program will provide a solid basis for work in public management and administration, trade and industry, education and for further doctoral study in marine biology and in related fields.


The programme will be evaluated according to the quality assurance system of the University of Bergen.

Programme committee

The Programme Committee at the Department of Biological Sciences is responsible for the academic content, the structure and the quality of the programme.

Administrative responsibility

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, by the Department of Biological Sciences, holds the administrative responsibility for the programme.

Contact information

Please contact the study advisor for the programme if you have any questions: studie@bio.uib.no