This web page is a compilation of useful information, guidelines and downloadable documents to assist you through your Biology programme. If you can't find the information you need on this page, send an e-mail to the Department's Secretariat, or, for specific enquiries, to the relevant contact person. A list of the Department members and their responsibilities can accessed through the link 'Who is who' in the menu above.
> Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
> Activating your VUB NetID
> Subscribing to course units
> Canvas, the VUB's digital learning platform
> Course and Exam schedules
> Lecturers and Teaching assistants
> Study Guidance Center
> Teaching and Exam Regulations
> Oral exams
> The Master thesis
> The course unit 'Project Writing'
> Professional internship
In order to maintain a high international standard of education, the Master of Science in Biology programme is built around a number of Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs). The ILOs describe the capacities and skills a student should have acquired upon graduation of the programme. A list of the ILOs for the Master of Science in Biology programme and all of its graduation options can be downloaded here.
One of the first things to do when starting your study programme at the VUB is creating a VUB NetID. The VUB NetID allows you to activate an e-mail account, use the campus' wireless network, and log in to a number of E-tools, including My.VUB, 'Self Service for Students' and the digital learning platform 'Canvas'.You can activate your NetID through this link.
'Self Service for Students' is a recently introduced E-tool to provide students with more authority and transparency regarding their administration. By logging in into the Self Service portal, you can:
- Manage your personal information (address, phone, email, etc.)
- Check the status of your payments
- Register or cancel courses
- Re-enrol for your programme
- Apply for another VUB programme
- View your grades and download an official transcript of reports
You can log in with your NetID and password (once you have created those; see above).
- The subscription deadline for 2nd semester course units is February 28th.
Canvas is the VUB’s digital learning platform where you can find course content descriptions (including descriptions of the used forms of examination), course material (e.g., slideshows, papers, ...) and info/guidelines for each individual course unit. Go to canvas.vub.be and log in with your VUB email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) + password. 48 hours after you register your courses via the Student SelfService, you will see the courses appear on Canvas. You can then check by subject, whether there are posts, and whether the new course material is available.
Course schedules for all graduation options of the Master of Science in Biology programme can be accessed through this link.
A list of all Department lecturers and teaching assistants contributing to the Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Biology programmes, can be accessed using the link 'Who is who' in the menu above.
The Study Guidance Center (SGC) offers many forms of study guidance that may be useful to improve your study success. In each phase of your study curriculum, you can consult us with questions related to your study techniques and progress. The SGC includes a motivated team of specialized counselors providing the guidance that suits you best, on an individual bases or in group sessions. This team offers guidance in the following fields:
- Preparation for exams (planning, consultation, feedback after exams, …)
- Study skills (language training, study method, speaking, writing and reading, …)
- Well-being of the student (psychological guidance, workshops, study training, …)
- Studying under specific conditions (studying with a disability, sports career, working while studying, …)
The SGC of the Faculty of Science and Bio-engineering Sciences is situated in Building F of Campus Etterbeek, and is accessed via the Esplanade. It is open from 9am to 6pm on Monday-Thursday, and from 9am to 8pm on Friday. For questions and enquiries, you can also contact the SGC by E-mail (guidance @vub.ac.be) or by phone (+32 (0)2 629 2306). An overview of the activities and workshops organized by the SGC can be found here. More information on study guidance can be found on the SGC's web page.
All programmes and graduation options, as well as their exams are conform to the Teaching and Exam regulations of the Faculty of Science and Bioengineering Sciences. The teaching regulations determine the organisation of the academic year and the admission requirements for students. The exam regulations determine the timing and organisation of the exams, and when students are allowed to look into their corrected exams. The Faculty's teaching and exam regulations can be downloaded here.
A frequently used form of evaluation in all graduation options of the Master of Science in Biology programme is oral examination. If you are not familiar with this type of examination, we like to reassure you that there is nothing to be nervous or worried about. Oral exams provide a flexible and interactive way to test your depth of knowledge and conceptual insight in the course matter. In addition, a personal conversation allows you to revise or correct your answers on the fly, and allows your teacher to direct or extend the discussion by asking additional questions (or rephrasing them), and give immediate feedback regarding your performance. Most oral exams are accompanied by a “written preparation”, which means that you receive ample time to prepare your answers and write them down before you start the oral discussion with your lecturer. Details regarding the form of examination for each course unit can be found on the Canvas platform. In addition, at the start of a new course unit, every lecturer explains the form and organization of the exam.
As a Master student, you have to conduct a research project supervised by one of our principal investigators, and write a dissertation (a “Master thesis”) in order to obtain the degree 'Master of Sciences in Biology'. This thesis accounts for 30 ECTS and is prepared in the 2nd year of your Master programme. A document with useful guidelines can be downloaded here, and examples of submitted theses that received high grades can be found on the Canvas platform. In addition, in the first semester of every academic year, the Biology Department organises an info-session where the different research groups present their thesis subjects using posters and where useful information and guidelines are provided in an oral presentation. All students subscribed in the Biology Master program receive an invitation for this event by e-mail.
For the course unit ‘Project writing’ (3 ECTS) you are expected to prepare a PhD project proposal in the format of a 'PhD Fellowship fundamental research' application at the 'Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen' (FWO). FWO is one of the principal funding resources for scientists at Flemish universities and follows an application format and selection criteria comparable to those in other countries worldwide. Guidelines and examples of good project proposals submitted by students in the past years can be found on the Canvas platform. In addition, an info session is organised in February-March of each academic year. All students subscribed for this course will receive an invitation by e-mail to attend this session.
Your project proposal should be submitted to the Biology Department's Secretariat (Room 7F426). Your submission should include three hard copies and an electronic version (pdf by E-mail to email@example.com). The deadline for submission is exactly four weeks before the start of the exam session (always on a Monday before 4 pm; this will be in the beginning of May for the first exam session and approx. half-July for the second exam session, and Early December if you plan to graduate in January).
Whether preparing a lab report, a paper manuscript, a slideshow presentation, or your Master thesis, it is very important that you properly cite any used information sources. Reproducing text fragments or figures from published work or internet sources (even if it is just one sentence) without adding a proper reference to the original work is called plagiarism. Plagiarism is not accepted in the scientific community, and the VUB is currently establishing a policy to prevent plagiarism. Being caught plagiarising may have severe consequences for your evaluation and even your graduation. A document that explains how to recognise and avoid plagiarism can be downloaded here.
All graduation options of the Master of Science in Biology program provide the opportunity to conduct an internship, allowing you to gain experience related to your study in a professional environment, like a company, a governmental institute, a museum, or a research lab. The course unit ‘Professional Internship’ can only be chosen once in your two-year master program either in the first or second semester, and either as an elective of 6 ECTS (= internship of 15 full working days) or as one of 9 ECTS (= internship of 20 full working days). During these days, you complete a task or series of tasks agreed upon by you, the internship provider and the Department of Biology. This task is related to the field of biology and gives a realistic view of the daily activities and conditions of a professional environment and work floor.
If you choose the course ‘Professional internship’, you are responsible for finding your own internship position. This is an important and valuable part of the course, as it helps you gain experience in job application. Once you have found a possible internship place, download the ‘internship agreement request form’ (IARF.docx) here or from the relevant ‘Professional Internship’ course page on the Canvas platform. Complete this form and send it by e-mail to:
- the coordinator of the graduation option you are enrolled in;
- the chairman of the educational board of the Biology Master program, Kim Roelants; (Kim.Roelants@vub.be);
- the secretariat of the Biology department (Bert Vervloessem; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Your request should be approved by the coordinator of the graduation option you are enrolled in, or by the chairman of the Biology Master educational board.
Detailed guidelines for the course 'Professional Internship' can be downloaded here, or found on the Canvas platform.