International Master of Science in Agro- and Environmental Nematology

Nematodes or roundworms are everywhere. They are among the most harmful organisms of crops, especially in the tropics, but on the other hand some species are natural antagonists that can be used in bio-control programmes against pest insects. Because of their ubiquitous presence, overwhelming densities and diversity (sometimes compared to insects) the free-living nematodes are an ideal tool for biodiversity studies. They are used as bio-indicators of pollution in both terrestrial and aquatic environments.

The programme of the International Master of Science in Agro- and Environmental Nematology is unique in the world and attracts students from all over the world. It deals with fundamental as well as applied aspects of nematology and concerns all groups of nematodes in all possible environments: natural soils, agricultural soils, aquatic sediments of freshwater, brackish or marine habitats. It fulfills the international need for training highly qualified nematologists with a multidisciplinary knowledge in the diverse fields of nematology and related sciences. This international multicultural English course programme is multidisciplinary in its approach both within the field of biology and agro-engineering.


The programme consists of general courses for 30 credits to be taken in the first semester. In the second semester the student has to choose one major for 30 credits. In the third semester, the student can continue the UGent track and choose 30 credits between a series of elective courses from any of the four majors, or can take the option International Mobilty Track for 30 credits. In the fourth semester students will perform the master’s dissertation for 30 credits.

The major Bio-control and Integrated Pest Management enables the student to understand how fundamental knowledge can be translated into solutions for agro-nematological problems and how to identify and use some parasitic taxa in bio-control.

The major Bio-indicators, Biomonitoring and Ecotoxicology focuses on fundamental and applied ecological issues, and nematodes used as a tool for the assessment of the quality of the environment.

The major Biotechnology and Model Organisms focuses especially on nematodes as useful organisms to study diseases in humans-based on the well-established model system Caenorhabditis elegans-, or to use their symbiotic relationship with bacteria to control insects, as well as the molecular aspects of plant-nematode relationships.

The major International Capacity Building and Sustainability covers especially nematodes in relation to developing cooperation and the environment.


The International Master of Science in Agro- and Environmental Nematology prepares students for a career in very diverse fields and environments. Their work can vary between teaching, research in universities and laboratories in governmental institutions and industry and providing advice services to the general public, farmers or governmental policies. The multidisciplinary approach allows nematologists to be active both in the field of biology and agro-engineering and medicine, work in sophisticated laboratories (advanced molecular and genetic research) as well as in suboptimal conditions where there is hardly any basic equipment as in some developing countries. Main trumps are: in-depth and broad scientific knowledge, capacity to analyse and solve problems, write research proposals, good communication skills and contacts with national and international nematologists and centres of nematological research and applications or related fields.