Master student at the Department of Biology

On this page you will find useful information for master students at the Department of Biology (IBI).

Link: Information about master's theses at NTNU

The information on this page is relevant for the following master programs:

How to find a thesis project and supervisor at the Department of Biology

Finding a thesis project and supervisor is the responsibility of the student, meaning that you have to contact a supervisor to discuss and agree a project. The responsible main supervisor must be an NTNU employee in a position as professor, professor II, associate professor or assistant professor. Co-supervisors can be PhD-candidates, post docs or researchers affiliated with the project. For thesis projects undertaken outside the department, including when taken at other NTNU departments, you are required to have an internal responsible supervisor from the Biology Department (students at MSOCEAN and MSBIO with the NABiS specialization are exempt from this).

The master's thesis is an independent work with input and commentary from the supervisor on the students project work. When doing the thesis project at the department, it is recommended that it is in connection with ongoing research projects. It is also recommended to agree regular meetings with your supervisor when entering the master's agreement, e.g. every two weeks.

Early in the first semester info meetings will be arranged to present projects and supervisors.

HSE requirements and How to do Science course

As a master student at the Faculty of Natural Science you have to participate in and pass the HSE-courses for master students (HMS0003), which is arranged in the autumn semester every year.

When are you expected to take the HSE-courses?

  • MSBIO, MSNARM, MSOCEAN, MSENVITOX: 1st semester (1st year)
  • MLREAL: 9th semester (5th year)

As a new master student at the department you will normally receive information about these HSE-courses in the semester you are expected to take them, but if your planned progression has been altered due to leave, approved previous studies or other circumstances, you might have to enquire about the HSE-courses when you are about to start on your master thesis.

If you are not able attend the HSE-courses when they are arranged, contact the course coordinators.

During the beginning of the first semester all master students affiliated with the Biology department should participate in How to do Science. This is a 5-day intro course where you will receive more info about what is expected of you as a master student. How to conduct and write a master thesis will be one of the main topics.

Study plan

Link: General information about master's thesis at the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

For information on master's agreement, thesis submission deadline, writing thesis with external partners etc, see the link above.


In addition to the master's thesis (60 credits) you have to take 60 credits of compulsory and elective courses. These must be listed in the master's agreement. At least 37,5 credits have to be at master's degree level (second degree, 3000-courses), not including Experts in Teamwork. This means that up to 15 credits can be lower degree level (2000-courses).

Students who take a master's degree within the natural sciences have to give a final presentation of the thesis. The presentation of the thesis usually takes place within 2-4 weeks after submitting the thesis. Date and time for the presentation is agreed upon with your supervisor. To be able to conduct the presentation you must have passed all the courses that are included in your degree.

MSBIO - Biodiversity and systematics (NABiS)

The NABiS specialization is quite different compared to the other MSBIO specialization, since this is a part of a cooperation between other Nordic universities. See more information about this specialization here. You will also find an overview of compulsory and elective courses at this website. To add courses taken outside of NTNU to your study plan you have to send a transcript or other relevant documentation to the study advisors at the department.

MSOCEAN, MLREAL: 30 credit thesis

Three of the specializations in MSOCEAN includes a 30 credit thesis: Aquaculture, Harvesting and Aquatic Food Science. This means an additional 30 credits of courses must be included in the degree and master agreement. Up to 15 credits can be lower degree level (2000-courses). MSOCEAN students with 30 credit thesis also have to give a final presentation of the thesis. To be able to conduct the presentation you must have passed all the courses that are included in your degree.

MLREAL students have a 30 credit master thesis and 30 credits master courses to be included in their master agreement. 15 credits of the master courses can be lower degree level (2000-courses). Usually the master courses are taken during the 9th semester and the thesis work conducted during the 10th semester. MLREAL students will have to conduct a presentation of their thesis for their supervisor ahead of the submission deadline. This needs to be approved by the supervisor before the student submits their thesis. The presentation is planned by the supervisor. The MLREAL students do not give a final presentation of the thesis after submission.

MBIOT5, MSBIOTECH: 60 credit thesis

It is possible for Biotechnology students to find a supervisor and project at the Department of Biology. For these students the same conditions regarding courses and exam apply as for the students in MSBIO, MSNARM, MSENVITOX or MSOCEAN (see more info above). These students have to make sure that they submit their master agreement to the Department of Biology.

Compulsory and elective courses

Compulsory courses are presented in the study plan of the master program, and must be included in the master's agreement. See the study plan for you master program here:

Elective courses are chosen in conference with your supervisor, and must be included in the master's agreement.

If during the master's degree you want to change the course composition, you have to contact the department's study advisor for approval. The change must be approved by your supervisor as well.

Special Syllabus

Special syllabus is an individual theoretical syllabus with relevance to the master's thesis. This is not a compulsory course and can therefore be replaced with another elective course at master level. The syllabus is put together in conference with your supervisor, and must be approved by the department. The special syllabus should not be a central part of the master's thesis, but be more an overview and give a broader academic understanding. Exam in the special syllabus is often given the same day as the final thesis presentation, but can be conducted earlier.

The application for special syllabus should be sent to the study advisors at the Department at least 4 weeks before the planned exam date.

Extension for submission of master thesis

If you are delayed due to technical difficulties with the project/equipment, illness or other circumstances, you can apply for an extended deadline for submission of your master's thesis to your study advisor.

According to the regulations you can only apply for 3 months extension at a time, and you can only apply for an extension twice; meaning a maximum of 6 months extension. These regulations do not apply for extensions due to health issues.

If the master's thesis is not submitted within the deadline, including approved extensions, the thesis will be considered not passed and given the grade F - fail. A new or revised thesis is then allowed to be submitted only once. A voluntary retake of a passed thesis is not allowed.

Contact Info

Questions about the Master's programs can be directed to:

Ann-Kristin Strømseng, study advisor for MSBIO, MLREAL and MBIOT5/MSBIOTECH

Silje Strand Lundgren, study advisor for MSOCEAN, MSNARM and MBIOT5/MSBIOTECH

Hege Johannesen, study advisor for MSENVITOX

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