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Ecology and Evolution: where Science meets Sustainability

Like to study ecology from a plant, animal, fungal, bacterial and systems perspective?

If so, the Master Ecology and Evolution is definitely for you. Check whether you meet the admission requirements and find out how to apply.

Check whether you meet the programme requirements and apply

  • I have a Dutch university level (WO) Bachelor’s degree (VU Bachelor’s degree, VU pre-master's or Bachelor’s degree at another university)

    Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide on your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score.

    In general, you can be admitted to the master’s programme Ecology and Evolution if you have completed a Bachelor’s degree in Biology in The Netherlands. Students who are selected of the Double Degree programme, are also directly admissible to the programme. 
    Furthermore, admission is provided to VU-students with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences, Health and Life Sciences or Earth Sciences, with an examination programme that should minimally include at least the following components:

    • Minor Evolutionary Biology and Ecology (30 ECTS) or equivalent
    • Sufficient statistical knowledge (i.e. 12 ECTS)

    Dutch Bachelor’s degree in another subject 
    If you have a Bachelor’s degree in another subject, the Admission Board will decide whether you can be admitted. You will need to motivate that you have obtained sufficient knowledge, understanding and skills at Bachelor's degree level, obtained at an institution of academic higher education:

    a. Knowledge and understanding. At least 36 ECTS in:
    • Basic biological knowledge in the fields of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (insight into molecular and cellular processes in living organisms),
    Genetics (both at the organismal and population level)
    Evolutionary biology (origin and development of life, processes of speciation, relationship between and within taxa, body plans of the most important groups),
    Ecology (understanding of ecosystems, the ecological processes that play a role within them and the interrelationship of those processes, behavioural ecology)
    • Physiology (the function at supra-cellular level, insight into the construction and function of the main tissues, organs and organ systems and the regulation of their operation)
    • Knowledge and understanding of basic statistical (e.g. t-test, regression and correlation analysis, analysis of variance, non-parametric tests) and mathematical principles and techniques (e.g. differentiation and integration, ordinary differential equations).

    b. Skills:
    • The ability to collect data in a systematic way by means of observations during (laboratory) research and fieldwork, using literature review or internet sources,
    • The ability to manage the collected data and observations in relation to each other, save, process, interpret them and write a scientific report that meets the bachelor level,
    • The ability to clearly define a biological question, along with accompanying assumptions and to determine a strategy for answering the question (under guidance),
    • The ability to analyse research on main lines, both with regard to the design and conduct of research and to the interpretation of results.

    In addition to the mentioned requirements above, the Admission Board will also assess requests for admission in terms of the following criteria: 

    • talent and motivation;
    • proficiency in methods and techniques; i.e. the ability to work with computer programs in the field of: word processing, spreadsheets, modelling, statistical processing, graphics, presentations, management of databases and consultation of scientific literature. 

    In all cases, the final decision for admission will be based on the evaluation of these requirements in combination with a judgment of the scientific quality of the applicant’s Bachelor’s programme.

  • I have a Dutch higher vocational education (HBO) Bachelor’s degree (pre-master's)

    If you do not have a Bachelor in the appropriate discipline, if you have a Dutch HBO/HLO degree, or if a period of more than 5 years has elapsed since you received your Bachelor’s diploma, you are strongly advised to contact the coordinator of the Master Ecology and Evolution programme before you start the online application in order to evaluate your chances of being admitted by the Admission Board.
     
    Note that no rights can be derived from the reply given by the coordinator regarding your admission. Only with the “admission email” you will be officially notified about your conditional or unconditional admission.

     
    The pre-master's programme
    Please visit the pre-master's programme page Ecology and Evolution for more information. You have to complete the pre-master's (30 EC) within 1 year. After you have finished the pre-master's programme you can be admitted to the master of Ecology and Evolution.  

    Language Requirements
    VU Amsterdam requires international students and students with a HBO degree to pass an English language proficiency test. This requirement can be met if no longer than two years before the start of the programme the applicant has successfully completed one of the following examinations with the minimum scores indicated:

    Exceptions are made for students who:
    -    have obtained a Dutch VWO diploma including English, or an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma
    -    have obtained a bachelor’s degree from a Dutch university,
    -    have completed previous education in Canada, Ireland, UK, USA, Australia or New Zealand.

    Please refer to the Language Requirements webpage for the general requirements regarding language proficiency.
    Copies of your English test results can sent to the following address: toelating.beta@vu.nl.

  • Application with a Dutch degree

    Enthusiastic about this programme? And do you meet the admission requirements? Find out how to apply.

    The application deadlines are:

    • 1 February for international students applying for one of the VU scholarships 
    • 1 April for non-EU/EEA students*
    • 1 June for non-Dutch EU/EEA students
    • 1 June for holders of a Dutch bachelor’s degree (with a Dutch or EU/EEA nationality)

    *non-EU/EEA students who do not need a study visa and/or a residence permit can still apply until 1 June.

    For Dutch applications, you can apply through Studielink. Please see the application page for Dutch university degree holders. 

    This Master’s programme requires the following documents for Dutch degree holders:

    • Copy of your valid passport or ID 
    • Transcript of records of your Bachelor's programme*
    • Motivation letter*
    • CV*
    • Course descriptions focused on the four topics mentioned above (ecology, evolution, genetics and statistics)* You can use this format. (please submit as part of your CV or motivation letter, or upload as a new document under 'transcript' (both documents will stay visible for us))

    For documents marked with an *: these need to be uploaded before the application deadline mentioned above. If one or more of these documents are missing, the application cannot be assessed by the Admission Board. Documents submitted after the application deadline will not be assessed.

  • I have an international degree

    The Ecology and Evolution programme is open to both Dutch and international students. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application.

    In order to gain admission to the Ecology and Evolution Master’s programme, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. A Bachelor's degree obtained at an applied university or higher vocational education (HBO in Dutch) in most cases does not grant direct access to the programme (only exceptionally high ranking students stand a chance of admission).

    Specific requirements for the Ecology and Evolution Master’s programme
    a. Knowledge and understanding:

    • Basic biological knowledge in the fields of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (insight into molecular and cellular processes in living organisms),  
    • Genetics (both at the organismal and population level)  
    • Evolutionary biology (origin and development of life, processes of speciation, relationship between and within taxa, body plans of the most important groups),  
    • Ecology (understanding of ecosystems, the ecological processes that play a role within them and the interrelationship of those processes, behavioral ecology)  
    • Physiology (the function at supra-cellular level, insight into the construction and function of the main tissues, organs and organ systems and the regulation of their operation)  
    • Knowledge and understanding of basic statistical (e.g. t-test, regression and correlation analysis, analysis of variance, non-parametric tests) and mathematical principles and techniques (e.g. differentiation and integration, ordinary differential equations).

    b. Skills:

    • The ability to collect data in a systematic way by means of observations during (laboratory) research and fieldwork, using literature review or internet sources,  
    • The ability to manage the collected data and observations in relation to each other, save, process, interpret them and write a scientific report that meets the bachelor level,  
    • The ability to clearly define a biological question, along with accompanying assumptions and to determine a strategy for answering the question (under guidance),  
    • The ability to analyse research on main lines, both with regard to the design and conduct of research and to the interpretation of results. 

    In addition to the mentioned requirements above, the Admission Board will also assess requests for admission in terms of the following criteria: 

    • a. talent and motivation;
    • b. proficiency in methods and techniques; i.e. the ability to work with computer programs in the field of: word processing, spreadsheets,modelling, statistical processing, graphics, presentations,management of databases and consultation of scientific literature. 

    In all cases, the final decision for admission will be based on the evaluation of these requirements in combination with a judgment of the scientific quality of the applicant’s Bachelor’s programme. 

    English language requirements

    If you are applying for one of our English-taught Master's degree programmes you will have to demonstrate sufficient English language proficiency by submitting English test results. 

    Although complete applications are preferred, you can begin your application before you have completed the test and then submit your passing score once you have been conditionally admitted.

    You can find which test types and scores are accepted, the deadlines for submitting test results and all other relevant information on our application page under the Language Proficiency Requirements tab.

  • Application with an international degree

    Required format and required documents
    Please note: you will need to upload all required documents in one PDF file, using this Application Form Template.
    Please check here which documents you need to submit for this specific Master's programme.

    After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. Here you can find all relevant application information, including deadlines, a step-by-step explanation of the procedure and the English language requirements.

    For more information, international students may also contact the International Student Advisors: masters.fs@vu.nl.

    Your application file for the MSc in Ecology should provide a clear and comprehensive description of the following:

    • The statistical methods and analyses you are acquainted with;
    • The ecological, evolutionary and genetic concepts/theories you are acquainted with;
    • The textbooks that have been used for the above subjects; 
    • Detailed information on your BSc thesis, internships and working experience, if applicable; 
    • The experience you have with lab work; 
    • The address of the webpage where the Admission Board can find further information regarding the content and learning objectives of the courses in your Bachelor’s programme; 
    • Your current position/profession.

    Grants and scholarships
    As an international student planning to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries. Detailed information about scholarships and deadlines can be found on www.vu.nl/scholarships or The Netherlands Student Grantfinder website. 

    International Student and Alumni Ambassadors
    Our International Student and Alumni Ambassadors are happy to tell you all about their experiences with studying at VU Amsterdam and living in Amsterdam.

    • Our Student Ambassadors are current students at VU Amsterdam that represent a wide variety of programmes and countries.
    • Our International Alumni Ambassadors are VU Amsterdam graduates who are currently either working in the Netherlands or abroad, or doing a PhD or (second) Master's.

    You will find the full overview of our Ambassadors here: vu.nl/ambassadors. There you can chat with them directly.

Want to know more?

Don't hesitate to contact us!

Are you applying with a Dutch diploma? You can contact the Educational Office of the Faculty of Science for questions and practical information: toelating.beta@vu.nl

For questions about the programme, please send an e-mail to programme coordinator Stef Bokhorst: s.f.bokhorst@vu.nl. For more general questions, please send an e-mail to contact@vu.nl

Call us on +31 20 5985000 (on working days from 10.00 till 16.00)

International diploma applicants

Do you have any questions about the application or admission procedure? International diploma applicants are welcome to send an e-mail to masters.fs@vu.nl or book a phone appointment to get in touch with the International Student Advisor of this programme.

If you have questions about the tuition fee, Studielink or your personal dashboard on VU.nl, please contact the Student Desk: studentdesk@vu.nl

Also, make sure to take a look at our FAQ page - you might already find your question answered there.

Contact

  • Marija Bosnić
  • International Student Advisor
  • Faculty of Science
  • masters.fs@vu.nl
  • Sandra van Daalen
  • International Student Advisor
  • Faculty of Science
  • masters.fs@vu.nl
  • Jasper Oosterveld
  • International Student Advisor
  • Faculty of Science
  • masters.fs@vu.nl