Study plan for MAMN-BIOMI Microbiology, spring 2024

Name of qualification

Master of Science in Biology - Microbiology

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



Autumn (main admission) & Spring (supplementary admission if not all spots are filled)

Objectives and content

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

Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms: bacteria, archaea, fungi, single-cell algae and protozoa, and includes also viruses. Fundamental to the field is the study of the microorganisms' properties and their functions in different environments. The field ranges from basic cell biological and molecular questions to ecology and the use of microorganisms in practical and commercial applications.

Knowledge about microbiology is important in e.g. food industry, human and veterinary medicine, farming, oil industry, biotechnology and in relation to ecology and ecological processes in nature. Knowledge of microbiology therefore has large social implications and is also important for the understanding of the origin and diversity of life, and as a model for possible extraterrestrial life.

The goal of Microbiology specialization is to give an insight into the subject through theory, experiments and other relevant work, so that the student gets an overall understanding of the characteristics, activity and role of microorganisms in the environment. The specialization will enable you to enter into a wide range of positions where microbiology is relevant.

Required Learning Outcomes

During the study the candidate will gain knowledge about:

  • The most characteristic features of microorganisms; bacteria, archaea, fungi, microalga, protozoa and virus
  • The functions and importance of microorganisms in different environments
  • Interactions between microorganisms and between micro and macro-organisms (symbiosis), including their importance of development of deceases.
  • Microbial diversity, physiology, metabolism, microbial food-webs and biogeochemical cycles.
  • Microbial gene regulation and gene transfer mechanisms.
  • The role of prokaryotes in the early evolution of life.
  • The social applications of microbiology
  • Basic methods and techniques used in microbiology, molecular technology and biotechnology.

During the study the candidate should have gained the following skills:

  • Be familiar with relevant research questions in microbiology and contribute constructively to the design and performance of microbiological experiments and analyse the results in view of the given hypothesis.
  • Pursue, critically evaluate and implement microbial knowledge and scientific litterature
  • Practical and theoretical knowledge about basic microbial methods.
  • Be able to present and analyse quantitative data, discuss the precision and accuracy of the data and combine the analysis with the most basic statistical principals.
  • Present, analyse and discuss microbial results in a good scientific and critical manner both oral and in a written style, also for non-spesialists.

General competences

  • Be able to work in accord with scientific principles, and understand and respect openness, precision, accountability and the significance of distinguishing between knowledge and opinion.
  • Consider central scientific and ethical tasks, in the student¿s own work and others work.
  • Communicate scientific issues, analyzes and conclusions within microbiology, both to specialists and non-specialists
  • Be able to analyze general biological scientific questions and contribute to discussions to enlighten these questions
  • Be able to work independently and as part of a team with comprehensive and demanding biological assignments, in accordance with research ethics standards.
  • Be able to discuss the student's research field in public discussions.

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:

  • 60 ECTS in biology
  • 7,5 ECTS in chemistry that must include lab work
  • 7,5 ECTS in statistics
  • 7,5 ECTS in mathematics

Bachelor degrees from UiB that qualify:

  • Bachelor degree in Biology,
  • Bachelor degree in Sustainable Aquaculture,
  • Bachelor 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

Basic courses in microbiology, such as BIO214 General Microbiology, BIO217 Microbial Ecology and BIO219 Molecular Microbiology. These courses are also part of the Master's Programme.

Compulsory units


1st semester (Autumn):

  • BIO214 General Microbiology* (10 ECTS)
  • BIO217 Microbial Ecology* (10 ECTS)
  • BIO300A Academic Writing (5 ECTS)
  • BIO300B Biostatistics (5 ECTS)

2nd semester (Spring):

  • BIO219 Molecular Microbiology* (10 ECTS)
  • Elective courses (20 ECTS)

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.


1st semester (Spring):

  • BIO219 Molecular Microbiology* (10 ECTS)
  • Elective courses (20 ECTS)

2nd semester (Autumn):

  • BIO214 General Microbiology* (10 ECTS)
  • BIO217 Microbial Ecology* (10 ECTS)
  • BIO300A Academic Writing (5 ECTS)
  • BIO300B Biostatistics (5 ECTS)

3rd semester (Spring):

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

4th semester (Autumn):

  • 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

Dependant on your specialisation and topic of your master's thesis, you will select 20 ECTS in elective courses, in consultation with your supervisor. It is also possible to specialise in geomicrobiology and arctic microbiology.

Recommended electives:

  • BIO213 Marin økologi, miljø og ressursar (10 ECTS, autumn) Norwegian only
  • BIO299 Research Practice in Biology (10 ECTS, autumn/spring)
  • BIO309 Marine Flora (5 ECTS, spring)
  • BIO315 Selected Topics in Microbiology (5 ECTS, spring) irregular, only if min. 5 students enroll
  • BIO318 Current Geobiological Topics (10 ECTS, spring) even-numbered years
  • GEOV245 Geomicrobiology (10 ECTS, autumn)¿
  • GEOV243 Environmental Geochemistry (10 ECTS, autumn)¿
  • KJEM202 Miljøkjemi (10 ECTS, spring) Norwegian only
  • STAT200 Applied Statistics (10 ECTS, spring)¿ odd-numbered years

Recommended electives at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS):

AB-327 Arctic Microbiology (10 ECTS, summer)

Master thesis credits

In agreement with your academic supervisor, you will choose a master thesis (30- 60 ECTS) and make a progression plan containing important milestones for your project. The master's thesis can be based on either a practical research experiment or analyses of collected data series.

Teaching and learning methods

The Master's thesis is an independently scientific work, under supervision of an academic supervisor. A combination of teaching methods is used in the various courses, mainly lectures, laboratory exercises, field trips, and workshops. You can find more information in the course description.

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: Pass/Fail 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.

Access to further studies

To be eligible for admission to the Doctoral education (PhD) the candidate must have completed a Master's degree.

To qualify for the Doctoral education (PhD) at UiB the average grade for the master's thesis, the Master's degree and the Bachelor's degree should be at least C.

In order to get enrolled you have to be granted a fellowship for doctoral training.


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

Programme committee

The Programme Board is responsible for the academic content, the structure and the quality of the program.

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 adviser for the program if you have any questions: studie@bio.uib.no

Phone: + 47 55 58 44 00