Master Studies: Introduction and overview

The University of Fribourg offers a multidisciplinary study programme leading to the degree of Master of Science in Biology, with four options, as well as a Master in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology. The programme consists of 90 ECTS credits and corresponds to 18 months of full-time study. English is the principal language for all activities, but the students can choose to take their exams in English, French or German.

Animal Molecular Life Sciences


Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

Ecology & Evolution

Plant and Microbial Sciences

Study Advisor
Dr Alessandro Puoti

+41 26 300 8878


The study leading to the title of Master of Science in Biology takes 3-4 semesters, normally beginning in an autumn semester.

The programme consists of three modules:


  • Master courses: 30 ECTS credits

    For each option the University of Fribourg offers a number of obligatory and elective Master courses. Elective courses can also be chosen among Master level courses at the Universities of Berne and Neuchâtel BENEFRI convention or among activities of the Doctoral Programs in Biology. An individual programme of elective courses according to the study programme is established by each student. The study advisor may help in case of difficulties. An elective course not listed in the study programme of the three options (list below) may also be taken. In this case, the student must consult the study advisor. Completing the Master programme requires a minimum of 30 ECTS credits for Master courses. Courses are evaluated with a grade or on a pass/fail basis, based on an oral or a written exam, or on another aspect of the student's performance.

  • Master thesis related activities: 15 ECTS credits

    As a member of a research team, each Master student takes parts in various activities such as research group meetings, seminars, literature study/journal club and so on...Students are expected to participate in those activities throughout the duration of the study. The credits for these activities amount to 15 ETCS points. Activities required from students following a given option are listed in the detailed programmes of each Master option.



  • Master credit: 45 ECTS credits

    The Master thesis is a scientific project carried out by a student under the supervision of a group leader within a research group of the Department of Biology or the Division of Medicine. The details vary with the option and research group, but in general the student is expected to establish a research strategy, plan the project, write a research proposal, carry out the research, analyse the results, present them in a formal seminar, and write them up in the form of a scientific paper. The written report in the form of a scientific paper, the oral presentation of the work and the practical work will be the objects of the final evaluation of the Master thesis. A Master thesis is evaluated with a grade and corresponds to 45 ECTS credits.

    Each student should choose her/his thesis supervisor and be accepted during the first semester of the Master studies.

    To facilitate this choice, students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the research carried out in the different research groups either before starting their studies or during the first weeks of their Master study, e.g., by taking part in their research group meetings. The student informs the study advisor of her/his choice.

    If a thesis is evaluated as insufficient (graded less than 4.0), the student has the option to begin a new Master thesis in another research group. In this case, the student has to continue to participate in the Master thesis-related activities, and obtain again the corresponding ETCS credits.