Marine Biotechnology - master

Duration: 2 Years

Photo: Marius Fiskum
Photo: Marius Fiskum

Marine Biotechnology - master

Duration: 2 Years

Application deadline
Nordic appl: 15. April.
International appl 1. December.
How to apply?

The aim is to educate candidates in biotechnological skills in general, thus qualifying them for careers in a range of organisations including those whose focus is on innovation, commercial development and value creation of marine resourses in prosesses and industry.

We have an advantage in Norway to enormous marine resources. In this program the exploitation of these resources are in focus. Most of the organisms that comprise the marine biodiversity are still little researched. These bio-resources can be the source of unique biomolecules (enzymes, secondary metabolites, proteins/peptides, marine fats and carbohydrates) and associated genetic information.

Good relationships with the biotechnological industry are exploited to adapt the teaching, and ensure that it is relevant for commercial development and innovation. Many newly established businesses in the region have their origins in the biotechnological community in Tromsø and the sector is expanding. The programme will give you much sought-after expertise.

Questions about the study
Trine Holm Larsen

Seniorrådgiver / Studiekonsulent NFH

Objectives, content and organization
The purpose is to educate candidates in modern biotechnological expertise, with particular empasis on use of marine resources, bioactive compounds, gene products and marine rest raw materials. You will qualify for careers in fields such as marine value creation, innovation and research.

A good marine biotechnologist must have a broad base of knowledge and skills in basic molecular biology, chemistry and techniques and processes that use marine micro-organisms, plant and animal cells, or parts of these, to manufacture, develop or modify commercially useful products. On successful completion of the programme, the degree of MSc in Marine Biotechnology is awarded.

In preparation for your study we encourage you to do the following:

iKomp - information literacy: The course is an online course that aims to make you better equipped to deal with the demands and expectations you are met with at universities and colleges when it comes to learning and academic integrity. Check the website: iKomp.

There will be a mandatory introductory part with themes like:

  • How to do science
  • How to be a master student in biotechnology
  • Writing a master theses/what we excpect from a master's thesis
  • Plagiarism / iKomp
  • Searching for literature / Munin
  • EndNote/Using references databases and how to use them in Word
  • Preparation for laboratory work
  • Web page for Master students at NCFS

The first semester consists of compulsory courses. See the menu "Programme structure" for course details.

In the second semester the student has various subject choices. Alternatively, this semester may be used for an exchange visit.

The master's thesis (60 credits/ECTS) is written during the third and fourth semesters and is based on supervised experimental work. it is also possible to start the Master's thesis in the second semester (10 Credits and combine it with one elective course (10 Credits) in the third semester.

HMS-0501 (web-module), HMS-0502 (first aid, practical course), HMS-0504 (web-module), the compulsory safety course for laboratory work, must be taken by all students who carry out lab work. The compulsory parts of this multi-module course are taken online. The first aid part requires physical attendance. Students must fulfill the compulsory online modules as soon as the semester starts to have access to the laboratory wings. There are no credits for this course.

On completion of the course, the candidate is expected to have achieved the following learning outcomes:


  • advanced knowledge about processes for use of molecules with unique characteristics
  • knowledge that can be applied to solve specific tasks in industry and public administration
  • understanding our ethical responsibility for sustainable resource utilization, industrial practice and innovation
  • knowledge of scientific theory and experience in applying scientific methodology


  • advanced skills in genetic, biotechnological and molecular biological techniques
  • multidisciplinary skills that enable students to combine different disciplines so that they can analyse and solve a wide range of technical problems
  • proficiency in working individually and as a member of a team
  • complete a research project in marine biotechnology

General competence:

  • a general understanding of the importance of natural resource-based industries and the challenges and opportunities involved
  • qualifications for admission to PhD programmes in biotechnology and related specialist fields
  • advanced knowledge of current R&D issues and the related commercial potential, especially in marine biotechnology
  • in-depth awareness of the biochemical, cellular and genetic basis of life
  • a thorough understanding of natural marine resources as the basis for developing food, biochemical, bioactives and medicinal components

The job opportunities are many and varied. With skills and qualifications in marine biotechnology, you may work locally, nationally and internationally. The Norwegian Government's High North strategy highlights marine biotechnology as one of the most important disciplines for the future of the economy. The field is growing rapidly and highly qualified candidates are in demand.

Your Master degree has equipped you with sound expertise in biotechnology, which will provide you with opportunities in biotechnological industries, in fields such as production of seafood and other foodstuffs, and laboratory-based specialisations.

With an MSc in Marine Biotechnology you can also become a product developer, principal engineer, researcher, company manager, entrepreneur or public administrator. The course qualifies students for management-level jobs in the expanding and innovative commercial biotechnology sector.

Our graduated students work as PhD's at the University, teachers, in hospital laboratories, and in different companies like: Colifast, Pharmaq, Mowi, Nofima, Ayanda, GenØk, Nordic Pharma Inc, Akvaplan-Niva, TosLab and ArcticZymes.

Term 10 ects 10 ects 10 ects
Autumn (1st semester)
Autumn (1st semester)

Spring (2nd semester)
Elective course
Elective course
BIO-3901 Master's Thesis
If you go abroad: Elective course
BIO-2610 is for students from other institutions outside UiT
Autumn (3rd semester)
Elective course
If you were abroad in 2nd semester: BIO-3901
Spring (4th semester)
BIO-3901 Master's Thesis (30 STP/ECTS)
Elective courses Spring. Check the schedule for crashes and exam dates.
Selection of some available elective courses. You can only have one course with 2000-code in the master's program.
Late summer course in Svalbard at UNIS:
KJE-3201 next time: Spring 2020
Elective courses Autumn. Check the schedule for crashes and exam dates.
Selection of some available elective course, autumn semester 2018
Late summer course in Svalbard at UNIS:

Admission to the MSc in Marine Biotechnology requires a bachelor's degree in biotechnology, marine biotechnology or equivalent education. An average grade of equivalent to C or better in the Norwegian grading system is required.

Required background in biotechnology:

  • In-depth specialisation at the 2000 level (2nd-3rd year) in the following subjects;
    chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, methods in molecular biology and biotechnology (min. 10 credits in each subject).
  • The in-depth specialisation must amount to 80 credits in total.
  • Lack of in-depth specialisation in one of these 2000 topics can be compensated by a strong background in one or more of the other topics.

Formal admission requirements - Master's level.

Are you an international applicant? Read more here.

We have 15 places available each year. Upon admission, applicants are ranked by average grade on subjects included in the in-depth specialisation from the bachelor degree.

The study programme uses a variety of teaching methods, depending on the courses/subjects and may include: lectures, seminars, laboratory work, working in teams, fieldwork and industrial visits - or preferably a combination.

For some of the subjects, specific work requirements may have to be met prior to exam entry. There may be compulsory requirements to submit reports and assignments and attend teaching seminars.

Some courses in the study programme are marked on a pass/fail basis, while for others the graded scale of marks from A to E (passed) and F (failed) may be used. The individual course description specifies the marking system used. Individual tutoring is provided for the master's thesis by the department's scientific staff.

The language of instruction is in English and all of the syllabus material is in English. Examination questions will be given in English, but may be answered either in English or a Scandinavian language.

Given satisfactory grades at bachelor and master's level, the MSc degree will qualify students for admission to PhD studies. With a master’s degree in Marine biotechnology you will qualify to apply for vacant PhD-positions if you finish your masters with an average grade of C or better in the Norwegian grading system.

For the students on the program, there will be opportunities for foreign stays in the second semester. A stay abroad can give you professional, linguistic and cultural experiences that give you valuable additional skills - and memories for life! In recent years, students on the Master's program in biotechnology have been exchanging to Copenhagen (Denmark), Uppsala (Sweden) and Aberdeen (Scotland). There are many types of exchange agreements at UiT, some apply to specific programs, while others are general agreements that apply to the entire UiT. Contact the study counselor on the program for status of active and operational exchange agreements before applying for an exchange. Most agreements will require some dedication from the student before everything is in place. The students who have been abroad come back with experiences and experiences they would not have been without.