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.
> Manual for Master Students
> Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
> Activating your VUB NetID
> Subscribing to course units
> Course schedules
> Lecturers and Teaching assistants
> Study Guidance Center
> Teaching and Exam Regulations
> Oral exams
> The Master thesis
> Professional internship
> VUB Career Center
The general information provided above, and the information specific for Master students below, is compiled in a manual that your can download here.
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 Urbizone, and log in to a number of E-tools, including My.VUB, 'Self Service for Students' and the digital learning platform 'Pointcarré'.You can activate your NetID through this link. A tutorial can be found here.
'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:
- Subscribe for course units
- Manage your personal data (address, phone, e-mail,…)
- Consult your study data (enrolment, programme, marks,…)
- Check the status of your payment
You can log in with your NetID and password (once you have created this; see above).
- The subscription deadline for 1st semester and annual course units is October 15th.
- The subscription deadline for 2nd semester course units is February 28th.
Questions about Self-Service for Students? Contact the helpdesk 'First Aid Registration'.
Pointcarré is the VUB’s digital learning platform where you can find content descriptions (including descriptions of the used forms of examination), and course material (e.g., slide shows, papers, ...) for each individual course unit. Pointcarré can be accessed through this link by logging in using your VUB NetID. Note that you need to be registered for a specific course unit in order to access its Pointcarré pages.
Course schedules for all graduation options of the Master of Science in Biology programme can be accessed through this link.
- Scroll down in the 1st menu to select your programme and year (e.g. the 1st year of the graduation option 'Biology: Environment, Biodiversity and Ecosystems' = 1M Biology - Environment, Biodiversity and Ecosystems).
Note: to see the course schedule for electives, you may need to select a separate line in the menu (e.g. 1M Biology - Environment, Biodiversity and Ecosystems (Electives)).
- Scroll down in the 2nd menu to select the period of the academic year for which you would like to see the course schedule (week or semester).
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 Pointcarré. In addition, at the start of a new course unit, every lecturer explains the form and organization of the exam. If you still have doubts on how to deal with the different examination forms, check the activity calendar of the Study Guidance Center for guiding sessions on Exam skills.
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 and evaluation criteria can be downloaded here, and an example of the expected thesis format can be downloaded here.
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 recognize and avoid plagiarism can be downloaded here.
All graduation options of the Master of Science in Biology programme 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 internship is an elective course unit accounting for 6 or 9 ECTS. An ‘Internship agreement request form’ can be downloaded here and should be sent to the VUB Career Center by email.
The best way to prepare your professional career while studying at the VUB, is by seeking advice and assistance at the VUB Career Center (VCC). The VCC, apart from helping you to find a suitable internship position for the course unit 'professional internship', can give useful advice on how to compose your CV and how to increase your chances during job applications. The web page of the VCC can be accessed here.