Programme - Biobased Sciences

The two-year master's programme Biobased Sciences prepares the graduate to be able to assess opportunities and challenges of the biobased economy from an interdisciplinary perspective.

In the first year you will start with two foundation courses followed by a specialisation, free optional courses and Academic Consultancy Training. In the second year you will do your internship and write your master's thesis.

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About Biobased Sciences

It is possible for all nine billion humans to have a relatively high level of prosperity and welfare in 2050. For this to happen, however, major changes in the way we deal with food, animal feed, materials and energy are required. Right now, materials and energy are often produced from fossil fuels, and this should increasingly be replaced by biomass in the future.

Wageningen University & Research covers the transition from a petrochemical to a biobased society from the different disciplines in an interdisciplinary, holistic approach. Wageningen has many pilot facilities, such as AlgaePARC and Acrres, as well as production facilities for products such as bioplastics, chemicals and packaging materials.


You will develop expertise in one of the three disciplines:

Based on this, you will be able to research and develop robust biobased concepts, products, or processes and consider their technical, economic, and societal sustainability. Within the specialisation there are several courses with an interdisciplinary approach. So you will always learn something about biomass production, biorefinery and circular economy and about their correlation. Many aspects are important if you want to create a biobased and circular system. Of course the specialisation will have a main focus on either biomass production and carbon capture, biorefinery and conversion or biobased and circular economy.

First year

The first year begins with a joint start of two foundation courses with the emphasis on circular material flows, followed by one of the three specialisations and space for optional courses for personalisation. The first year is also comprised of an Academic Consultancy Training, in which teams of students from the different specialisations will be formed to tackle a provided case.

Foundation courses

The two foundation courses, Circular Economy (BMO-26806) and Principles of Biobased Economy (BCT-23806), are both taught in period one. In Circular Economy, you will learn how to realize a transition from a linear economy to a circular economy. This requires an interdisciplinary approach, combining technical, managerial, and environmental considerations. A systems approach to the circular economy is taken, considering different stakeholder perspectives, their incentive structures, and their impacts on circular alternatives. The course Principles of Biobased Economy is about exploring how to create a sustainable future by moving away from dependence on fossil resources to biomass resources for the production of food, chemicals, and energy-carriers. In this course students will learn which different disciplines are important and how they are connected. Lectures about logistics, economy, biomass production, biorefinery and catalysis are included.

Academic consultancy training (YMC-60809)

ACT gives the students an opportunity to work in teams to execute an inter-disciplinary driven consultancy project for an external commissioner (for example governmental, private and civil society organisations). The teams and projects are allocated based on respective student interests.

Second year

The second year will involve a thesis (36 credits) at one of the Chair Groups and an internship (24 credits) at a host organisation outside Wageningen University & Research. The chair groups differ per specialisation. More information can be found on the website of the specialisations.