The Master of Science (M.Sc.) program “Biological Oceanography” is arranged in 4 semesters providing knowledge and skills in a number of disciplines that address various areas of the global ocean as a complex system. The curriculum is focused on biology and imparts knowledge in chemistry, geology, physics and mathematics.

First semester: The first semester covers the theoretical and practical fundamentals for the systemic analysis of the marine environment. All first semester modules are compulsory.

Second semester: Building on the first semester's knowledge, students begin to form their individual focus within the curriculum in compulsory/elective and elective modules. Students also take part in the theory and practice of running research projects.

Third semester: This semester is devoted to further specialization (including a 9 day research cruise), first contacts to the research group where the individual students plan to do their master's thesis and an introduction to cutting-edge research, instrumentation and literature.

Fourth semester: Here, students apply the knowledge they have gatheres in the first three semesters toward work on the master's thesis as part of ongoing research projects (how to start your master thesis). Most students perform their thesis in one of the research groups within FB3 (marine ecology) or within FB2 (Marine Biogeochemistry).

Occupational fields/employments: Graduates are especially qualified for work in the fields of research and teaching, for example of marine science institutes, universities etc., but also in areas as:

  • Marine environmental monitoring for environmental authorities and fisheries research institutions
  • Environmental Management: Assessment and monitoring of existing biological, energy and mineral resources and their environmentally friendly use
  • Private sector: e.g. environmental analysis, marine consultants, maritime technology (shipping, pipeline projects, offshore wind farms, etc.) 
  • Food industry (marine food supplements) 
  • Pharmacy and medicine (biologically active substances from the sea) 
  • Science journalism, science publishers
  • etc.

Some of the optional modules are planned for second (summer) or third (winter) semester but are given in summer AND winter semesters. Have a look at the module description and ask the person in charge.

The most recent list of modules can be found here.

For information about actual official regulations click here "Prüfungsordnung(German only) - English version (not official) and "Prüfungsverfahrensordnung" (German only).

For further information, contact the study advisor.

Actual modules (previous and current semester)

List of modules in winter semester 2020/2021 (CAU UnivIS).

List of modules in summer semester 2020 (CAU UnivIS).

Designation of modules

First number: semester (first semester: MNF-bioc-1xx, second semester: MNF-bioc-2xx, third semester: MNF-bioc-3xx)

Second/third number: section (compulsory: MNF-bioc-x01-20, compulsory elective:MNF-bioc-x21-39, optional: MNF-bioc-x40-99)


MNF-bioc-10x: first semester (winter), compulsory

MNF-bioc-23x: second semester (summer), compulsory elective

MNF-bioc-36x: third semester (winter), optional

Complete module handbook M.Sc. Biological Oceanography.

For optional modules within Biological Oceanography look at the module list and for courses outside of our curriculum look here (Optionals outside of Biological Oceanography).

Optional courses outside of Biological Oceanography

Within the optional courses or free choice section you can choose either one of the modules within your M.Sc. Biological Oceanography curriculum - have a look on the module list - or any other module out of B.Sc.- or M.Sc.-curricula at the CAU.

Read instructions below! 

Here you find a list - (incomplete and not regularly updated) - of ideas of study programs, modules, courses etc. outside of the M.Sc. Biological Oceanography which might be of interest for you to include into the optionals sector.

Before attending contact the person in charge of the respective course, module etc. AND the M.Sc. Biol. Oceanogr. study advisor AS WELL AS "our" Office Examination Board (Prüfungsamt Biologie, Tel. 0431-880-3724; -4157) AND the external Office Examination Board!



All of those courses, lectures, seminars etc. you want to attend have to be organized and classified as modules with assigned credit points. A number of lectures etc. e.g. within the old programs (like diploma programmes) are not yet modularized - which means you can't get any credit points!


Single courses, lectures, seminars etc. as part of a module will not be used for calculation of your workload and will not be used for your final marks!


Make sure in advance!

Ocean Education Initiative

Ocean Education is an initiative of the Kiel Marine Science priority research area (KMS), the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at CAU and the Future Ocean Network. We invite and encourage students from all disciplines to gain and expand competencies in interdisciplinary ocean knowledge and collaboration and to tackle the complexity of solution-oriented (ocean) sustainability science. Together with the faculties of CAU and associated institutes such as GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, Ocean Education compiled a catalogue of open elective modules on current marine and environmental topics. In most modules, students enrolled in Master programs can earn ECTS for the optional component of their curriculum. Learn more about us and find interdisciplinary courses currently on offer at


As the links below are external, they might be outdated. In this case use the data to search within UnivIS.

 List of curricula with English as general language of instruction

  • Next application period: February 1 to April 30, 2021!

    More information at "how to aply"

  • OLAT is the central online learning platform of CAU. On OLAT you always find recent material for lectures, seminars etc. 

  • PD Dr. Frank Melzner
    Curriculum Coordinator
    Hohenbergstrasse 2
    Room 13
    Phone: +49 (0)431 600-4274
    E-mail: fmelzner(at)

    Dr. Jörg Süling
    Study Coordinator
    Hohenbergstr. 2
    Room 114
    Phone: +49 (0)431 600-4454
    E-mail: jsueling(at)
    Consultation Tuesday 8-9 am and Thursday 2-3 pm - currently only by E-mail, online or telephone

    Annegret Stuhr
    Room 323
    Phone: +49 431 600-4028
    Email: astuhr(at)

  • Chairman of Examination Board 

    Prof. Dr. Thorsten Reusch
    Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
    Düsternbrooker Weg 20
    24105 Kiel
    Room: A 31
    Phone: +49 431 600-4550
    E-Mail: treusch(at)

    Office Examination Board (web)

    Marianne Lange  Tel. 0431/880-3724 (Raum E 50)
    Ines Wetzel   Tel. 0431/880-4157 (Raum E 51)

    Prüfungsamt Biologie
    Am Botanischen Garten 7
    24118 Kiel
    FAX 0431/880-5704