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The Top Programme Evolutionary Biology is part of the Master's programme in Ecology and Evolution. It provides an optimal preparation for excelling students pursuing a career in academic research.

As a student of the Top Programme you will be involved with research within the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES; that harbours research groups of international excellence. The hallmark of the programme is to explore the interface between ecology and evolution. In line with the mission of GELIFES, the programme also strives to integrate mechanistic 'proximate' approaches (how does a biological system function?) with evolutionary 'ultimate' approaches (why does the system function the way it does?).

Research projects can be found in a broad variety of areas, ranging from community ecology to evolutionary medicine, and from behavioural ecology to evolutionary genetics. Research can be conducted in the field or in the lab and theoretically as well as experimentally.

Since the Top Programme is highly demanding and challenging, only the top 10-15% of a cohort can be admitted. During these projects, students are fully embedded in a research group where they work on their own research questions. The label 'Top Master' programme to a limited number of selective, international programmes that are strongly research oriented and specifically designed to provide an optimal preparation for a subsequent PhD project and eventually a career in academic research.

We also offer the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master's Programme in Evolutionary Biology (MEME;, which is a joint initiative of the universities of Groningen, Montpellier (France), Munich (Germany), Uppsala (Sweden) and Harvard (USA). MEME is based on the same philosophy as the Top programme, but students have extra mobility requirements, since they are supposed to obtain a double degree from two different universities.

Job prospects

These programmes are specifically designed to prepare you for a subsequent PhD and eventually a career in academic research. Accordingly, >90% of all Top Programme students continue their career by starting PhD research.

Job examples

  • PhD research position

Visit the Ecology and Evolution: Evolutionary Biology MSc page on the University of Groningen website for more details!




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