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How do humans, animals and plants adapt to changing environments?
Concerns about how organisms and the environment affect each other is an issue of modern global society. How humans, animals and plants adapt to their environment is the central question in Nijmegen's Master's in Biology. The mechanisms that lie underneath this adaptation are studied at all levels, ranging from the smallest living entities, such as molecules and cells to larger entities such as ecosystems, and entire populations.
You can choose one of the following specialisations:
This MSc programme does not only put the interactions between organisms
Read more about this course
1. A completed Bachelor's degree in Biology or related area.
2. A proficiency in English:
a. A TOEFL score of ≥575 (paper based) or ≥90 (internet based)
b. An IELTS score of ≥6.5
c. Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) with a mark of C or higher
Would you like to know if you are eligible to be admitted to this programme? Take our E-Check and instantly get an insight in your eligibility: echeck.ru.nl
€2,168 (from EEA countries); €16,500 (from non-EEA countries)
Fees & funding
Start dates & study options
After obtaining my Diploma Degree in Biology from the University of Athens, I decided to pursue a master programme in a foreign University to broaden my knowledge and gain more experience in research. Following closely the evolution of the biological field for the last couple of years led me to the conclusion that Dutch universities are among the best foundations worldwide, offering their students a high level of studies, embedded in a fascinating environment of research and life as a whole.
This specific programme fitted best my requirements due to its research character together with the freedom offered to select my own fields of interest. Moreover, Nijmegen is a small and friendly city, very suitable for someone who wants to stay focused on his/her studies and run an easy lifestyle. Needless to say, the difficulties I faced when I first arrived here were a lot. Although it is a European country, the Netherlands follow a quite different way of life which I had to adapt to. However, the very interesting and fascinating master programme partly compensated for this.
The main advantage of the Master Biology is that it includes two 6-month-duration internships which can also be prolonged. The obligatory courses I have to attend are just a few and this combination ends up to a long experience in the laboratory, which I am really keen on. Furthermore, Radboud University offers students the opportunity to go abroad, either to attend a course in a foreign University or carry out part or the whole of their internship there.
Since the middle of November, I am part of the Microbiology Group of Radboud University Nijmegen and I am working on my first project which deals with a very interesting and relatively new kind of microorganisms. The high-throughput equipment, the availability of all different materials and methods and the international and friendly atmosphere in the lab make this experience even more interesting than I thought.
I am not yet sure about my future plans, but I am convinced that this master programme will be a very helpful qualification either deciding to continue my studies pursuing a PhD or searching for a working position in the research field. An advice for everyone who is interested in studying here is to get prepared for the very demanding educational level and, of course, for the rainy and really cold weather.
“I first came to Radboud University as a Bachelor’s Erasmus student. I liked that there was more work in the labs than back home. Studying in English wasn’t as difficult as I thought and I really wanted to do an entire Master’s here. The level of education is high because you don’t just memorise the theory but have to understand how to apply it to real cases. I like the emphasis on practical work. This programme also has two internships of six months. When doing experiments you can’t simply follow a manual. You’re expected to be creative and adjust it according to your needs and the situation. That way I learn so much more.
I love the room given to bike paths, on campus and in the city. Studying here has changed the way I look at biking. Back home I won’t use the car as often.”
About the programme: The specialisation of 'Water and Environment' focuses on human impacts (e.g. chemical emission) on nature, which matches very well with my personal interest in environmental issues. I did my undergraduate degree in Water Supply and Wastewater Engineering back in China, which is quite different from what I do now. I did find the compulsory courses a bit hard to me at first, but after undertstanding the mechanisms, the courses became easier.
The atmosphere in class: I like the active interaction between students and teachers, either in class or during internship. They are willing to help, responds to email very quickly and really encourage interaction.
Challenges and obstacles: For me, the most challenging part was the difficulties I encountered during my research internships. For example, at a later stage during my first internship at the department of Environmental Science, I met some difficulties in analysing large datasets in R. However, having the good mentalities of trying to do a good job, staying positive, and asking supervisors for help when necessary were really helpful in these situations. I think due to strong motivation and enthusiasm, I could publish the paper as a first author in Science of the Total Environment (IF=5.6).
Internship: I am currently doing my second Master internship at RIVM on the topic of 'Towards an ecosystem service-based approach to assess the impact of chemical pollution on the filtration capacity of Dreissenid mussels in the Netherlands'.
Plans after receiving a degree: Students with this degrees are able to understand and predict the impact of anthropogenic stressors on species including humans, and help with decision making processes. I am more motivated to carry out research on environmental science related topics after graduation, especially on the impacts of chemicals on ecosystems.
About the programme: Besides the improvement of my English language use I also got an insight into many different fields and therefore felt more secure about the direction I've aimed to work in. In my view, the importance of handling data and the ethical implications of new developments in the future, is important and therefore I choose to work in this field. Staying enthusiastic and curiosity-driven helped me to find and perceive opportunities. Even if the Master or the job-search is challenging, engage yourself with drive and a positive attitude.
Challenges and obstacles: The biggest challenge during my master was the decision about which internship I should choose to positively affect my personal development and the direction I am aiming work-wise. I also understood the importance of Soft Skills as communication and work ethics.
Internship: The job I got offered now is focusing on the ethical implications of biomedical data.
I have a growing interest in maintaining a sustainable environment, also noticing the present-day quest for water-related resources that will face a great challenge in the nearest future, I tend to find myself more involved in finding solutions about how to solve problems linked to Lakes, Streams, Rivers, as well as landmasses with less or degraded system of irrigation. Traveling and an outdoor working environment, I quest in meeting and interacting with the general public.
The atmosphere in class: With just a few students in the classrooms. there has always been a high level of student-student and student-teacher interaction. This helped me to learn, share and ask questions easily when I faced challenges. The lecturers make sure the student have access to the relevant materials needed for the course and make individual research by giving assignments or projects.
Challenges and obstacles: I had a limited background in Biology, this was a problem for me at the beginning of the master's program, but with time I could catch up with courses.
Internship: I am not yet doing my internship. I still have to finish my second semester at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Plans after receiving a degree: My goal is to become an Integrated Water Resource Manager after the completion of this program. Unlike other students who did this program, solving water-related problems linked to society as it tends to be more tricky these days, creating a link between societal development and environmental challenges, between engineering measures and ecological conservation. Having a career in this field would give me the opportunity to do something worthwhile for society, a chance to take initiatives and have decision-making authority.
About the programme: What I like about Microbiology is that we can focus our studies on what we like. Some students like Environmental Microbiology and others, like me, like more Clinical Microbiology. I also really like that two internships are included in the master's program because this way I can specialize in the field that I like and learn with researchers of different institutes in the Netherlands or any part of the world who can have a project with me and supervise my work.
The atmosphere in class: The atmosphere in class was beyond my expectations. For instance, I became friends with classmates from Nepal, Spain, India, Iran, and the Netherlands. The relationship with teachers and researchers from Radboudumc is really good. In the end, these relationships really helped me in getting supervisors for my first internship and my review article.
Challenges and obstacles: After the compulsory courses, you are recommended to start your first internship. This was difficult for me because I am interested in Clinical Microbiology and specifically Virology. I wanted to work with viruses, so this difficulty in finding an internship led to a little stress during the beginning. I did not find one at Radboud University or Radboudumc. For this obstacle, I recommend students to send CVs, or even emails to researchers as soon as possible. However, this might not be an obstacle for other students, who decided to take more courses and wait for an internship opportunity.
Internship: After all of that experience, I have two confirmed internships opportunities. I will start next March my internship in the United States about human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and its immunology. I also did a Review Article about the actual biomarkers for HPV and its progression from infection to cancer, with the collaboration of the Medical Microbiology Department in the Radboudumc. After that, I am planning to go to Canada for my second internship to study the immunology of influenza virus.
Plans after receiving a degree: We need to be prepared and try to clarify how microorganisms, such as bacterias and archaea in the deep ocean, fungi causing diseases, and viruses outbreaks around the world can be useful and harmful to humanity. After I get my master's degree, I would like to start a Ph.D. program in Radboudumc, Nijmegen.
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