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Biology studies: requirements, content and career prospects

Biology is often considered to be the simplest of the three science subjects, biology, chemistry, and physics, in school. That will probably also be the reason for the popularity of the biology course. But you should inform yourself beforehand exactly what studying biology entails, because a few experiments on the Bunsen burner and differentiating between plant species is far from over. If you are thinking about studying biology, we have summarized the most important information for you here.

Course content of a biology degree

In the biology course you are mainly concerned with the processes of life and living beings, with different ecosystems and the structure of nature. The special thing about studying biology is the variety. Of course, it includes a large part of theoretical study content, but you also spend a lot of time in the laboratory and research facilities to carry out your own tests and experiments. In addition to seminars and lectures, excursions and often (not at all universities) internships fill everyday student life.

But to understand all of these processes, you need chemistry, physics and mathematics above all. These three subjects, which many students hate at school, will continue to accompany you in your biology studies. You will attend the introductory events together with physics, chemistry and mathematics students, so it is no picnic. Further basics of the biology course are introductions to botany, zoology, genetics, biochemistry, ecology, microbiology and biotechnology.

In addition to these areas that you need for your basic studies, the biology degree, unlike other degree programs, has a large number of subject areas that you can specialize in in the last year of your bachelor’s degree. It differs from university to university which subject areas are offered. These include, for example, physiology, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, computer and presentation techniques, animal and neurophysiology, evolutionary ecology, biomechanics, bionics, geobotany, molecular plant biotechnology and synthetic biology.

In the master’s degree, you then specialize a little more precisely. Usually on cell biology, genetic engineering, ecology, bioinformatics, cell and developmental biology, evolutionary biology or marine biology.

TIP:To get a little insight into what you can expect as part of a biology degree, you can download biology summaries and scripts free of charge from

Study requirements for studying biology

Since you can only study biology at universities, you need a high school diploma to apply. The numerus clausus is set differently from university to university and fluctuates on average between 1.4-2.6. At some universities, the course is also free of admission. With our numerus clausus calculator, you can find out in no time where the NC is currently at your chosen university.

As far as personal requirements are concerned, you should enjoy all science subjects. You shouldn't shy away from animal experiments either, as the dissection of mice or other small animals usually occurs during studies.

Structure of the biology course

Biology studies begin with a bachelor’s degree, which consists of six semesters. The first four semesters, i.e. two years, are intended for the basic course. The last two semesters are seen as the main course, as the student specializes in certain subject areas for the first time during this period. The course ends with a scientific elaboration, the bachelor thesis. If everything goes well for you, you can get the title of Bachelor of Science after three years.

Most biology students start their master’s degree after completing their bachelor’s degree. This lasts only four semesters, in which you concentrate on certain subject areas, expand your knowledge and conduct scientific research. The master’s course also ends with a scientific thesis.

If your goal is to work in research later, you should do a PhD, like most biology students. If you have successfully completed your doctorate, your academic title is "Doctor rerum naturalium"

Where can you study biology?

Since biology is a very popular subject, it is offered at numerous universities in Germany. The universities in Aachen, Berlin, Bielefeld, Braunschweig, Dresden, Göttingen, Leipzig, Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne, Munich and Würzburg are among many others.

The biology course is not offered at universities of applied sciences and distance learning. Just as little as at private universities.

Overview of universities with biology studies in Germany:

The sorting is done according to cities:

Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen

University of Bayreuth
Free University of Berlin
Humboldt University of Berlin
Bielefeld University
Ruhr-University Bochum
University of Bonn
Technical University of Braunschweig
University of Bremen

Darmstadt University of Technology
Technical University Dresden
university Duisburg-Essen
Heinrich-Heine-University Dusseldorf

Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg

Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg

Justus-Liebig university of Giessen
Georg-August-University Goettingen
Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald

Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
University of Hamburg
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University of Hanover
University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover Foundation
University of Hohenheim

Friedrich Schiller University Jena

Karlsruher Institute for Technology
University of Kassel
Christian Albrechts University in Kiel
University of Cologne

University of Leipzig

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Philipps University of Marburg
Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich
Technical University of Munich
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
University of Osnabrück

University of Regensburg

University of Saarland
University of Stuttgart

Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen

Ulm University

University of Vechta

University of Wuppertal
Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg

Study abroad as a biology student

As long as you study biology in the EU, your degree will also be credited here in Germany. Foreign language skills are important qualifications for a biologist, which is why many students choose to spend their entire study time abroad. But semesters abroad are also very popular and welcomed by future employers.

Career and professional opportunities as a biology student

With the completion of a biology degree, many doors are open to the most diverse areas. The majority of biologists do research at universities or other research institutions. For this reason, a doctorate in biology is often the standard qualification for many students.

In addition, with this degree one has the opportunity to work in industry (especially the pharmaceutical industry), in environmental protection authorities or the like, as a scientific journalist or documentary or in traditional laboratories.

However, there is a lot of rivalry in these areas, because you are competing with veterinarians, pharmacists and medical professionals. For this reason, biologists often find it difficult to find a permanent position immediately after completing their training. Nevertheless, 70% of university graduates have a permanent job within a year.

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