The importance of the study of life on earth, of plants, animals and micro-organisms has recently become a matter of general importance (also in the media). But in order to understand nature, knowledge of botany, zoology and microbiology are only part of the picture : a profound knowledge of the physical and (bio)chemical interactions of the living organisms with their environment is required; a good mathematical background is necessary for the interpretation of those relationships. That is why the courses like physics, chemistry and mathematics are in the curriculum of the first cycle (two years). Directly from the first year, the importance of practical work is clear : next to daily practical exercices (5 afternoons per week), students also have to prepare an herbarium. In the second year of the first cycle, field work is linked to the course of ecology.