Bachelor Biology program

Study the living systems around you, discover new things and contribute to solving problems related to biological sciences.

In the Bachelor Biology program, knowledge and insight into modern biology are taught in a program that challenges you to put theory into practice, and to make cross-links among different subdisciplines of biology.

We aim to study all levels of biological processes, from the molecular and cellular, to ecosystem level dynamics. While doing this, you are trained as a future researcher with knowledge about biodiversity, climate change, genetic modification, biochemistry, evolution, development, organismal behaviour, and much more.

We keep our program high quality by focusing on small cohorts of students. Using this approach, we create an informal atmosphere between students and lecturers. This means our program offers individual attention and we tailor a career-orientation track to meet your needs. We also give students the opportunity to engage in more hands on research by offering the longest bachelor internships (4 months) in the country.

In the third year we offer the minor Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, which is taught in English and leaves you perfectly prepared for your master in Ecology and Evolution.

For more information:
about Admission requirements, Regulations, Information Day:

Tuition fees, registration:


Master of Ecology and Evolution

Study nature for knowledge and sustainability, and gain a research Masters’ in Ecology and Evolution

In the Masters’ in Ecology and Evolution, you will study how nature works: What explains patterns of diversity in plants, animals and microbes? How do living organisms control biogeochemical cycles? How do species co-evolve and how does DNA help us understand this? These and other questions are addressed at a fundamental level, and the answers are used to develop sustainable solutions to environmental problems such as pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change.

The two-year VU masters’ program in Ecology and Evolution has an explicit research-oriented character and is designed to provide its students the knowledge, skills and insights to operate as an independent professional scientist in the fields of Ecology and Evolution. Our program, taught in English, is for both international and Dutch students: our students come from all over the world.

Students are trained to use field observations, theoretical modeling, experiments, and data analysis to identify ecosystem patterns and reveal the underlying mechanisms. We work with a highly-skilled team of lecturers and a world-wide network of collaborations. This means we can offer internships in the Netherlands, Europe and globally. We share teaching with the University of Amsterdam (UvA). This means that students benefit from the expertise, networks and research projects that both universities offer. The program prepares students to become top candidates for PhD positions or other research-related functions in fundamental or applied ecology.

Master’s Day (online): Saturday 6 March 2021.

For more information:

Contact the Master coordinator, Joris Koene:

General admission questions, Sandra van Daalen:

Once registered, general information and documents are available in a module of the course “Employability Skills and Career” (AM_1244).


Internships in Ecology and Evolution

Learn by doing. An internship in the Department of Ecology allows you to work side by side with leading researchers to develop and then test your own ideas.

We welcome masters-level students from the VU and UvA, and other universities, to join us for a research internship. Students are an integral part of our department, and become part of our scientific community. Internships are available in the The Netherlands, but also globally. Projects are developed with the aim of acquiring the necessary skills to excel in a research setting. We are proud that a large proportion of projects result in co-authorship of publications in international scientific journals.

For more information:

Contact the Thesis Coordinator, James Weedon:

Click here for potential projects

Contact relevant staff to develop your own idea

Explore what Systems we study


PhD in Ecology

Gain expert training and advanced knowledge in Ecological and Evolutionary sciences with a PhD in Ecology from VU Amsterdam.

As an Ecology PhD candidate, you will uncover the world around you and contribute to research that shapes the future of the Earth.

A PhD is the highest academic qualification in the Netherlands and will involve four years of original research on a specific topic. Every year, over 300 PhDs complete their research at the VU Amsterdam. As an Ecology PhD candidate, you will tackle the frontiers of science by learning the qualitative and quantitative skills necessary to understand organisms and how they function in their environment. You will gain skills to perform professional research in ecological theory and its applications.

As a PhD candidate, you will be member of the graduate school Production Ecology & Resource Conservation (PE&RC). PE&RC has the mission of organizing and facilitating research and education of PhD candidates, with the aim of training them to become highly qualified independent researchers. You will participate in a variety of competence, skill and career related courses to prepare you for your future. This means we can bring together the best international expertise and infrastructure to optimize the quality of research.

For more information:

PhD coordinator Ecological Sciences, Toby Kiers:

General information for obtaining a PhD at the VU