EMABG MSc course

Set-up of the MSc course

The EMABG starts with a three-week introduction course in August: Welcome to EMABG (6 ects) in Wageningen, the Netherlands. After this course, students spend their first year at their university of choice (typically September to June/July).

In August, after the first year of study, the Summer school Animal Breeding and Genetics is part of the EMABG program. This is a two-week Summer school (4 ects) in Wageningen.

Students start their second year at another university of their choice. In June, after the second year, the group of students finishes the program together with the celebration of the EMABG Graduation Ceremony at BOKU, our EMABG partner university in Vienna.

Course structure

The EM-ABG builds on existing MSc courses and consists of required and elective subjects: Orientation Period, Disciplinary and Complementary subjects, Applied Period, Problem Oriented Study, and Thesis Research. The global structure of the EM-ABG is presented in the table below.

Subject Aim Year 1 (%) Year 2 (%) ECTS
Introduction course Introduction + academic skills 100 6
Disciplinary subjects Increasing understanding of Animal Breeding and Genetics 60 40 30
Complementary subjects Gaining flanking knowledge (including multidisciplinary subjects) 70 30 24
Joint summer activity Project management and career planning 100 4
Applied period Getting to know the industry 50 50 0-24
Free choice Option to specialise or to broaden skills/expertise 50 50 0-36
Thesis research Conducting research related to Animal Breeding and Genetics 100 30-60
Degree at two universities 50 50 120

The different subject types explained into detail:

Orientation period

In August at WU, The Netherlands

At the opening of the course, all EM-ABG students will attend a common Orientation Period (OP) in Wageningen. The OP introduces the students to a European and Global dimension that will complement their existing knowledge of farm animal breeding and genetics. The OP is the cornerstone of the EM-ABG, because it provides the students with an invaluable insight into the multi-faceted nature of European farm animal breeding and genetics. The three-week intensive subject provides the students with an introduction to topics ranging from biodiversity to business management and to questions of social responsibility. The OP also introduces students to each other and to staff, introduces the EM-ABG to the students and starts collective discussions between staff and students regarding their choice of optional modules in their future studies.

Disciplinary subjects

At all universities

Each university provides a number of disciplinary subjects related to Animal Breeding and Genetics. Students have the ability to make a careful selection in the following subjects: Biometrics, Genetic parameters, Prediction of breeding values, Use of molecular genetics, Population genetics, Inbreeding, Heterosis, Biological aspects, Genotype x Environment interactions, Breeding goals, Selection response, Breeding plans, Economic evaluation of breeding programmes, Animal Genetic resources, Animal Breeding and Society and Use of Biotechnology. A list of subjects per university can be found in the EMABG Study guide.

Applied Period

In a national, trans-national or international organization

The aim of the Applied Period (AP) for the students is to apply their skills and knowledge gained throughout their student and working life. The AP consists of a study assignment with a national, transnational or international organization. The AP is project based, and the topic of the work assignment is agreed upon in cooperation with the host organisation, the mentor, and the student. The form in which the AP is offered differs between universities.

Problem Oriented Study

In any of the partner universities

The Problem Oriented Study (POS) provides the students with tools to respond to a challenging situation in animal breeding programmes. The POS focuses on problem solving through team working and concerns relevant problems of the issue in question. The POS provides the students with an all-compassing view of issues that are relevant to modern-day breeding of farm animals, companion animals, or aquatic species. The focus of the POS is on working together as an international team to realise a goal, and on utilising all the experiences of the team and available expertise of teaching staff. The POS can be offered as a separate subject or be integrated as a teaching method in other subjects.

Elective subjects

In any of the partner universities

Students can chose from a large variety of subjects from each partner university to complete their personal study plan. The partner universities offer a broad range of subjects lectured in English (and, of course, the national language) in such fields as Animal Health, Product Quality, Natural Resource Management, Business Economics, Plant Science and Soil Science.

Thesis research

In any of the partner universities depending on the subject

The thesis is the main area of the EMABG MSc Course and consists of the preparation at a host university of a thesis with an international dimension. The research plan also has to be approved by the two universities awarding the double degree, and there will be dual supervision of thesis research. Video conferencing and distant learning tools will be used to facilitate dual supervision and to enhance contacts between partners.