Master student at the Department of Biotechnology and Food Science

On these pages you will find information for master students at the Department of Biotechnology and Food Science (IBT).

Norsk versjon - Masterstudent ved Institutt for bioteknologi og matvitenskap

Link: Information about master's theses at NTNU.

Information on this page is relevant for the following master programmes:

  • The 5-year integrated MSc in Biotechnology (MBIOT5)
  • The 2-year international MSc in Biotechnology (MSBIOTECH)
  • The 2-year MSc in Food and Technology (FTMAMAT)
  • The 5-year integrated MSc in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (MTKJ)
  • The 2-year MSc in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (MIKJ)
  • The 2-year international MSc in Sustainable Chemical and Biochemical Engineering (MSCHEMBI)

How to find thesis project and supervisor at IBT

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. Read up on the project proposals (link below), discuss with other students and use the departments web page to get an overview of the different research groups. The responsible main supervisor must be an NTNU-employee in a position as professor, professor II, associate professor or assistant professor. Often there will additionally be co-supervisors who can be PhD-candidates, post docs or researchers affilitated with the project. For thesis projects undertaken outside IBT, including when taken at other NTNU departments, you are required to have an internal responsible supervisor from IBT. Students at MBIOT5 and MSBIOTECH have the option to find thesis project and supervisor at either IBI or IBA, and a supervisor from IBT is then not required.

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.

Proposals to project- and master's theses

Proposals to specialization projects and master's theses are published on this page.

On the page you will find proposals from the whole Faculty of Natural Science, where relevant fields of study have been mentioned by the responsible supervisor. Proposals for the coming academic year are usually published in March/April before the spring information meetings about choosing thesis projects.

Writing the master thesis agreement

The agreement is a formalisation of the agreed project between you as a student, your supervisor and the department, which dictates the rights and responsibilties of each party. The agreement is filled in by you in the SharePoint-form, and then approved digitally by both supervisor and department. More information and link to the SharePoint-form can be found on this page.

Students in MBIOT5 and MSBIOTECH ordinarily have their submission date 15. May, since they freely can plan and conduct their 60 ECTS thesis project throughout their two years as master students. Students at MTKJ conducts their 30 ECTS thesis project in their last semester, where the submission date is calculated as 20 weeks + week for Easter from the project start date.

Deadline for the master agreement: The master agreement should be submitted in the semester before you commence work on your project, or at the latest, at the beginning of the semester when you start working on the project. For MTKJ and MSCHEMBI, the standard deadline for the Master Agreement is January 15th in the spring semester during which you are writing your master’s thesis, which is to say after having submitted your specialization project.

Submit risk assessment: You submit the risk assessment both to the student adviser and the lab where you conduct your project.

Annual cycle for choosing project- and master project

AutumnWeek 35Startup for specialization project & courseMTKJ-BT 5. year and MSCHEMBI 2. year
AutumnWeek 46Infomeeting for new master studentsMSBIOTECH 1. year
AutumnWeek 46Info meeting about master project, engineerMTKJ-BT 5. year and MSCHEMBI 2. year
AutumnWeek 51Deadline for specialization project, TBT4500MTKJ-BT 5. year and MSCHEMBI 2. year
Spring15. JanuaryDeadline for master agreementMTKJ-BT 5. year and MSCHEMBI 2. year
SpringWeek 12-14Info meeting about master project, natural sciencesMBIOT5 3. year and MSBIOTECH 1. year
SpringWeek 16-17Info meeting about specialization project, engineerMTKJ-BT 4. year and MSCHEMBI 1. year
Spring15. MayDeadline for master thesis, natural sciencesMBIOT5 5. year and MSBIOTECH 2. year
SpringJuneDeadline for master thesis, engineerMTKJ-BT 5. year and MSCHEMBI 2. year
Spring20. JuneDeadline for specialization project agreementMTKJ-BT 4. year and MSCHEMBI 1. year

Circumstances might mean that meetings could be held a little sooner or later than suggested in the above table. Especially the Easter vacation and excursion weeks will in some years affect meetings in the spring semester. Information about the meetings will be emailed based on registered class, meaning that students with leave or who for other reasons deviate in their study progression, should be attentive in case they do not receive that information

HSE-requirements for master students

As a master student at the Faculty of Natural Science you have to take HSE-courses for master students (HMS0003), which is arranged in the autumn semester every year. In addition you have to attend a departmental HSE-courses for master students, held by the HSE-coordinator at the department, which is also arranged in the autumn semester. Both courses are mandatory, even if you are writing a theoretical thesis, and are required before you can start any laboratory work at the department.

When are you expected to take the HSE-courses?

  • FTMAMAT: 1st semester (1st year)
  • MSBIOTECH: 1st semester (1st year)
  • MSCHEMBI: 1st semester (1st year)
  • MBIOT5: 7th semester (4th year)
  • MTKJ: 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.

MBIOT5, MSBIOTECH, FTMAMAT - Master and elective courses

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

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

FTMAMAT: In addition to the master's thesis (45 credits), you must take 75 credits with compulsory and elective courses. These must be listed in the master's agreement.

MBIOT5 og MSBIOTECH: In addition to the master's thesis (60 credits), as a student at these programmes you have to take 60 credits with compulsory and elective courses. These must be listed in the master's agreement. Also take note that of these, at least 30 credits have to be at master's degree level (second degree, 3000-courses), not including Experts in Teamwork. This means that up to 22,5 credits can be lower degree level (2000-courses). Introduction courses (1000-courses) can not be part of the master's degree/the last two years of the 5 year programme. For engineer/technology-courses (4000-courses) you have to check the course description to find the study level (see picture).

Exam in special syllabus and defence of the thesis will usually take place within 4 weeks after submitting the thesis.

Students who take a master's degree within the natural sciences have to give a final presentation of the thesis, approximately 30 minutes. The presentation is public, and followed by a closed examination with the grading committe.

Selecting course code for the master thesis

There are three course codes for the master thesis available to studens in MBIOT5 and MSBIOTECH, and which course code is correct for you depends on which department your supervisor and project belong to:

  • BIOTBT3900 - Department of Biotechnology and Food Science (Trondheim), IBT
  • BIOTBI3900 - Department of Biology (Trondheim), IBI
  • BIOTBA3900 - Department of Biological Sciences (Ålesund), IBA

If you have agreed an external project and supervisor outside these departments, you still need an internal supervisor from one of these departments, and then choose course code depending on that.

NB! Each master thesis consists of 60 ECTS, and in Studentweb it will divide itself across 4 semesters as 15 credits in each, because you are free to plan and work on your thesis project throughout both these years. The way it divides across the semesters is a technicality within Studentweb, it cannot be adjusted, and it has no practical consequeces. Outside your education plan in Studentweb, e.g. in your diploma transcript, the thesis will only appear as the whole 60 ECTS course after completion.

The different course codes are administered by each department, and if you have any issues with your project you should contact the student adviser at the department your thesis belong to.

Compulsory and elective courses

Compulsory courses are given in the programme study plan, and must be included in the master's agreement. See the study plan:

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 should want to change the course composition, you have to contact the departments study adviser to have it approved. The change must be recommended by your supervisor.

Special Syllabus

Special syllabus is an individual theoretical syllabus with relevance to the master's thesis. 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 defence, but can be done earlier.

The application for special syllabus should be sent to the study adviser no later than 4 weeks before submitting the master's thesis.

NB! Students who write their thesis at the Department of Biotechnology and Food Science can replace BT3091 Special Syllabus for Master Thesis with an ordinary elective course. If so, it has to be listed in the master's agreement.

MTKJ, MIKJ, MSCHEMBI - Specialization courses and master for engineering

Link: General information about starting on master's thesis as an engineer (Norwegian only)

For information on starting on master's project, master's agreement, writing in cooperation with an external organization etc, see the link above.

Specialization course

The specialization course is compulsory for students on the engineering programme. It can also be taken by students on the master programmes in the natural sciences. TBT4506, TBT4507, TBT4508 and MATV4008 are the specialization courses available. These courses present the same content as the discontinued course TBT4505.

Specialization project

TBT4500: See the course description. Planning the specialization project starts in the eight semester, and similar to the master's thesis it is the students responsibility to find a supervisor and project. Agreements for specialization projects can not be made before 1. May each year, to ensure a fair opportunity to explore the options.

Use the form Agreement on Specialization Project. Submit the signed agreement to the department within the deadline 20th June, either at the office or by sending it to If the project is done in cooperation with an external organization/company, you should also write and submit a cooperation agreement.

Startup of the project is in the first week of lectures in the autumn semester and the deadline for submitting the project is the last week of exams (week 51). All students taking the specialization project at the Departement of Biotechnology and Food Science have to give an oral presentation of the project in November. The presentation is public and is recorded on video, where the student afterwards go through the presentation with an appointed professor.

Extension for submission of specialization project- and 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 adviser, either on paper or email. If you need the extension due to difficulties with the project your supervisor have to recommend the application. Otherwise attach all necessary documentation, such as a doctors notice, or submit it as soon as possible.

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 does 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.

Assigned reading room desk

Gløshaugen: Students who are writing their thesis can be assigned an desk in one of our reading rooms. How this is assigned differs between the departments:

  • Students who write their thesis at the Department of Biotechnology and Food Science apply for a work space to the study adviser. In the beginning of August an online application form will be sent out to all master students. Students who arrive later in the semester should contact the student adviser directly.
    • Application form for the academic year 2024/25 will come in August.
  • Students who are writing their thesis at the Department of Biology should apply for a reading room there.

Akrinn: Students at the MSc programme in Food and Technology dispose the reading room KA-GU259. Questions concerning access can be sent to Kristin Belsaas.

Regulations for the reading rooms

In order to apply for an individual work space in a reading room you must have a study right at one of the department’s 2-year master's programmes or the last two years of the one of the Department’s five-year integrated master’s programmes. Work spaces are assigned by the department after application for one academic year at a time, and access is automatically terminated on 31. July each year. One has to apply anew for the following academic year.

Students in their final year is given priority, while students starting on their master's usually are given access to a reading room with clean desk-policy.

Work places and reading rooms are intended for study activities. Users of the reading rooms must show consideration for fellow students, and reading rooms must be kept quiet and orderly. The individual work space must be cleared at the end of each semester, i.e. within 22. December in the fall semester and 30. June in the spring semester - this is necessary for cleaning.

In case of absence another student may use the work space, provided they leave the space in the same condition as the holder left it in. If you plan to be away from the reading room for more than four weeks, you must notify the student adviser at the department. In case of absence for more than six weeks, the department may revoke the work space and assign it to another student.

NTNU assumes no responsibility for any items left in the reading rooms. We advise students to bring valuables when you leave your work space.

If the reading room has faults or deficiencies it should be reported in NTNU's e-custodial services. Users of the reading rooms who violate these rules may be issued one warning by the department. In case of new violations, the department may reassign the work space to another student.

Students who wish to complain about the circumstances in a reading room should contact the departments student adviser.

In principle these regulations apply equally for everyone, but in consultation with the counselling service for students with disabilities, we can grant exemptions from certain provisions when necessary.

All users of NTNU's reading rooms are obligated to familiarize themselves with NTNU's fire instructions.

Biotechnology employers in Norway

If you want some overview of possible employers after graduation you might take a look at this database.

Contact Info

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

Henrik Stamnes Dahl, study adviser for Biotechnology

Kristin Belsaas, study adviser for Food and Technology

Silje Strand Lundgren, study adviser at the Department of Biology