Master in Biology

The master (1.5 year) can be chosen with or without specific option:

Free specialization

Specific options

PDF: Presentation of the master’s objectives (in French)


Discover the three clips with the master in biology’s characteristics (Introduction by the President, Presentation, Students words).

Organisation

If the student has completed a bachelor in biology, he/she may complete his/her basic training by a master in biology, in three semesters (90 ECTS).

The student can enroll in a master in biology with free specialization or with options. In any case, the title issued is the master in biology.

If the student has completed a bachelor in biology with option prehistory, he/she may complete his/her basic training by a master in prehistoric archeology in four semesters (120 ECTS).

Warning : registration to the master is not automatic after the bachelor. See registration procedure (Annex to the Regulation)

Regulation and study plan

Host laboratories

The search for a subject and a supervisor for your master’s thesis are done with the laboratories of the Section or those of other faculties and institutions, or by consulting the master positions on the website of the Section. The procedure to be followed is detailed in the first answer on this page.

Registration procedure (Annex to the Regulation)

Registration to a master degree is only possible after having found a master work supervisor. The student has to get in touch him/herself with a potential supervisor according to his/her interest for a given discipline and the possibilities of supervision.

The master work supervisor must be a professor or MER of the Section of Biology. CCs and CEs with PhD degree can also be authorized by the president to supervise or sponsor  a master work (see below).

Students are allowed to perform their master work in a laboratory outside the Section of Biology with the agreement of the Section’s presidency. In that case, a sponsor acting as responsible for the Section of Biology has to be found. This sponsor must be a professor or MER (or CC/CE as indicated above) of the Section of Biology.

The sponsor of the Section of Biology ensures both that the academic environment of the host laboratory is appropriate and that the subject proposed to the student for his/her master work fulfills the criteria of the Section of Biology. The sponsor or his/her Department can request a written project description before accepting the sponsorship. The sponsor checks and cosigns the final evaluation of the master thesis.

If the master in biology is done with a particular option, the choice of the thesis supervisor or sponsor may be restricted.

The registration form for the master work must be brought to the Secretariat for students of the Section of Biology with all signatures by the official start of the 1st semester of the master, at the latest.

The registration form is checked by the Secretariat for students (credits, courses in relation to the master work, etc) and signed by the presidency of the Section.

Copies of the registration form are sent back to the student, including one for the master supervisor and/or sponsor.

According to the Art. 19c of the “Règlement d’études général” of the Faculty of sciences, a minimum of 20 ECTS must be obtained for the first two semesters of the master. If the student has not successfully obtained them with courses, the master’s thesis supervisor (and the sponsor, if required) can provide a certificate attesting that the student’s work on the master’s thesis is equivalent to at least 20 ECTS for this period. To this end, an official form will be sent to the master’s thesis supervisor at the end of the first year by the Secretariat for students of the Section of Biology.

Goals of the master’s thesis

  • To answer a question related to biology through experimentation and/or data analysis.
  • To become familiar with the practical and theoretical aspects of the scientific process.
  • To acquire experimental/analytical skills through the learning of a large variety of techniques.
  • To learn how to present scientific results in group seminars and in a written form (e.g. master’s thesis).

Duration of the master’s thesis

  • The master’s thesis amounts to 60 ECTS. This corresponds to 45 weeks full-time (without counting holidays).

Writing

The master’s work must be presented in the form of a written master’s thesis.

The title page should contain all the instructions written on the template page.

Generally, the presentation of the work reflects that of a publication:

  1. summary (if possible in French and English)
  2. introduction
  3. material and methods
  4. results
  5. discussion
  6. conclusion
  7. bibliography
  8. annexes (if applicable)

It is possible to write the master’s thesis in English.

Note the exact sources for figures borrowed from other texts.

Provide a table of abbreviations and explanatory information understandable to the general reader.

Ensure that the quotes are consistent with the literature and, especially, that the bibliography is treated in a strictly uniform way. In case of doubt, for example about the abbreviations, it is best to consult the librarian. The full title of the articles must be included in the bibliography.

Where appropriate, the authorization number of animal experiments must be in the “Materials and Methods” section.

Once accepted, the work will not be returned for editorial corrections. The style, clarity and presentation of text (including references), as well as the graphs’ quality, will affect the rating.

For examples of master’s theses, consult the open archive (Archive ouverte) and browse with the key-words “Academic structures” > Section de biologie or “Document type” > maîtrise.

Deadlines & Conditions

To obtain the master’s degree in biology, the student must acquire a total of 90 ECTS credits: 60 ECTS for the master’s work and 30 ECTS for the master’s courses. The study period is 3 semesters, but an extension is possible (maximum of 6 semesters in total).

The master’s thesis must be handed in before the end of the exams’ session (January – February) of the third semester of the master.

  • Beyond the third semester, you must submit a request for an extension justified and approved by your master supervisor, by completing the form and returning it to the secretariat of the Section of Biology.
  • In the case of a final deadline granted, the master’s thesis must be handed in before the end of the exam period (August-September) of the sixth semester.

Evaluation

The master’s thesis is evaluated by two examination jurors,  the supervisor of the master and a juror, according to the criteria published on the website of the Section. If the thesis is led by a professor who is not part of the Section, the responsible in the Section acts as a juror.

The final score is transmitted  by the supervisor of the master with both signatures on the official form of the Section.

The grade can be assigned by the College of Professors of the Department concerned.

Submission of the master’s thesis

Once the master’s thesis has been accepted by the master supervisor, the procedure is as follows:

1) A pdf version must be sent to the Secretariat for students of the Section of Biology (e.g. sent by e-mail to secretariat-biologie@unige.ch).

2)  After validation of the thesis and reception of the exam grade, the Secretariat will send a confirmation to the student by e-mail.

3) The student will then file an electronic copy of the master’s thesis in the Open Archive (Archive ouverte) and send the official confirmation (including the link) from the Open Archive to the Secretariat for students of the Section of Biology.

4.) The Secretariat for students of the Section of Biology will forward the grade to the Faculty. In order for the master to be formally granted, this process must be completed before the end of the exam session of the 3rd semester of the master. According to the terms of the relevant Department, additional paper copies may also be required for the director (and supervisor if applicable) and /or the Department.

Forms to download

The registration forms, as well as other types of forms related to the master, are available on this page.

FAQ

Answers to the most frequent questions concerning the master are to be consulted on this page and on the general page of the FAQ.