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Studium Biologie Masterstudium

General information

Admission and enrolment

Students who have successfully completed their Bachelor degree program in Biology at UZH will be admitted to any of the 14 concentrations of the consecutive Masters program in Biology (application for a direct entry via the semester enrolment).


Students with an equivalent Bachelor degree from an university other than the University of Zurich must apply online at UZH. All information about the application procedure, deadlines and fees are given there. Questions must be addressed to the admissions office of UZH. 
For admission, a degree which is equivalent to a BSc in Biology at UZH is required. To be considered equivalent, the study program of your BSc must be similar in content, scope and quality to the respective UZH program, and the university at which you obtained the degree must be of equivalent standing (e.g. QS ranking). This is very strict, and usually less than 5% of applicants from outside Switzerland get admission, mostly with one semester of conditions/additional requirements to fulfill before starting the Masters. The chances of being admitted do not depend on the chosen concentration.

Mono or combination of Major and Minor

Mono Major Minor combination

The MSc program in Biology comprises either 90 or 120 credit points (120 ECTS = 90 ECTS major and 30 ECTS minor). The structure and content of the major Biology are the same in both cases:

  • Course work of 20 ECTS credits: 15 ECTS from core elective modules (according to the regulations of the concentration), 5 ECTS from elective modules
  • MSc thesis of 60 ECTS credits (twelve months full time)
  • Mandatory module BIO 520 "Integrated knowledge in Biology" of 10 ECTS credits
  • Mandatory module BIO 338 "Introduction to Scientific Writing" of 0 ECTS credits

Course work

Mandatory module BIO 338 "Introdution to Scientific Writing" (0 ECTS, one day) should be taken before writing up the MSc thesis.

Core elective modules (15 ECTS) must be chosen from advanced studies modules of Biology according to the regulations of each concentration of Biology. Usually, 12 ECTS (1-2 block courses) are chosen from the block courses (WP 2), less ECTS are possible too. If you choose a third block course, keep an alternative in mind, as it is not guarateed that you get a place.

Elective Modules (5 ECTS) can be chosen among all modules of UZH and ETHZ (given you fulfill their specific requirements). If they are from Biology/Biomedicine, they must be advanced studies modules (WP 2 or 3 and not from the basic studies, such as research practical courses). Your supervisor and your Master coordinator can request you to take additional modules, also more than 20 ECTS in total, if necessary fro your project or concentration. 

All modules listed in your Learning Agreement are compulsory. You have two attempts for each module (either take the reptition exam if one is offered, or re-take the module next year). If you fail one module twice, you cannot complete your Masters.

In the MSc degree, modules of up to 10 ECTS extra credits can be counted towards the average grade. Additional modules are listed on the Academic Record under "nicht angerechnete Leistungen". If you do additional modules that are not listed in your Learning Agreement, you can choose whether they are counted when you apply for the MSc degree at the end of your studies. You are always allowed to take additional modules while being enrolled at UZH (no extra fee and no chages to the Learning Agreement).

Master thesis project

The Master thesis project is a project work that takes one year full time (60 ECTS credits) and is completed with a written Master thesis usually in English. Seminars and colloquia are seen as parts of this and do not yield extra credits.

The Master thesis project is not paid. Doing it part-time is not possible, unless you have a disability/chronic ilness or care duties. The Learning Agreement is not a work contract, therefore there are no official rules about working times or holidays. Usually, 2-4 weeks of holidays are possible, but the requirements of the project work must be taken into account. You should discuss working times and holidays in advance with your thesis supervisor.

The Master thesis project takes exactly one year, start date and end date are fixed in the Learning Agreement. If you do one or two 3.5-weeks block courses in between, you can allow for this time in he Learning Agreement.

A prolongation of the MSc thesis project time is only possible in case of an unforeseen, imperative event such as a longer illness. In such a case, you must contact your supervisor, the Master coordinator and the Studienkoordination immediately.

Download FAQ on Master's thesis layout (PDF, 96 KB) (PDF, 79 KB)

At the hand-in date, the printed MSc Thesis must be delivered to the Office of the Studienkoordination in person, and sent by email as a PDF to

The Master coordinator is responsible for grading the thesis and has the right to reject an ineadequate thesis. It can be repeated once (with a new topic).


Very rarely, it is possible to do a 45 ECTS (9 months) thesis project and a 3 months Research Project (BIO 500, 15 ECTS), er even a 30 ECTS thesis (6 months) and two Research projects. This must be planned in advance and noted in the Learning Agreement.

The mandatory module BIO 520 "Integrated Knowledge in Biology"

This module contains about 6-8 weeks of self study, followed by an oral and a written exam in the same week (usually on the same day). Usually, it is scheduled 8 weeks after hand-in of the Masters thesis. In some concentrations, it can done before or during the MSc thesis project year, in this case about 2 months time must be allowed in the Learning Agreement.

In this exam, students demonstrate their understanding and command of relevant biological facts, methods and concepts. They identify and explain interrelationships between the various facts, methods and concepts and show they are able to summarize and critically review scientific literature efficiently and effectively. The module allows students to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of specialized areas of the Biology curriculum, especially – but not only – in the area of their chosen Master's concentration.

The content and dates of the exams is given by the Master coordinator of your concentration. The written exam takes 3 hours, the oral exam 30-60 minutes. 

If you are ill, you must inform the examinators immediately, the exam will then be postponed to the next possible date. You must pass both the oral and the written part. The module is considered as passed when in each of the two parts (oral exam / written exam) the grade of 4 is reached. Each part can be repeated once.

Apply for the Masters degree (twice!)

At the end of your studies, as soon as you completed all requirements (including handing in the MSc thesis and doing the exam for BIO 520, and the Minor modules if you have a Minor), you must apply for graduation via the StudentAdmin tool of the Faculty of Science:
In case of questions you will be contacted by the Office of Student Affairs (Studiendekanat MNF) by e-mail.

Subsequently, when all grades are visible in your account, you must apply to graduate via the “Study Progress & Graduation” app (see After having received a provisional confirmation of your degree by the Office of Student Affairs (Studiendekanat MNF), you can then withdraw from UZH.


Weiterführende Informationen

Do you own a Bachelor degree from an university other than the University of Zurich?

Mehr über Do you own a Bachelor degree from an university other than the University of Zurich?

Students with a Bachelor degree from an university other than the University of Zurich must apply online at UZH


UZH Zurich

Division of Biology

Academic support office

Universität Zürich-Irchel
Winterthurerstrasse 190
CH-8057 Zürich

studienkoordination *

Phone +41 44 63 54863