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Understand the core of health

Biomedical Sciences

Science Communication

The Master's in Biomedical Sciences is a two-year, full-time programme

You will start the programme with a research specialisation in Immunology, Infectious Disease or Neurobiology. 

After the first year of research, you can make your degree your own by choosing either a future in research, or in a field more directly tied to society. Those latter fields include International Public Health, Science Communication, Science in Society or Education – Teaching Biology (Dutch only).

The societal specialisations will make you well prepared and well equipped for a scientific function that lies outside the standard domain of laboratory research.

The programme’s structure ensures that you will emerge as a specialist in one or two specific disciplines within the biomedical sciences.

The programme consists of:

  • Several specialisations, each including compulsory courses (12-18 EC)
  • Three compulsory courses (total of 9 EC)
  • Elective courses (nr. of EC depends on combination of specialisations)
  • First internship (30 EC)
  • Second internship (30 EC)
  • Literature thesis (9 EC)

Courses form half of the Biomedical Sciences programme. For the other half, you must conduct your own research. There is plenty of scope for practical work, giving you the opportunity to use the very latest research methods and equipment. You can also select a work placement in policymaking, education or communication, depending on your chosen specialisation.

The Biomedical Sciences  Master’s is a two-year programme of 120 ECs. The programme is in English.
The start date of this programme is September 1st.

You can read more about the Biomedical Sciences Master's programme and course descriptions in the study guide.

First year

Your first year of the programme will begin when you choose one of three research specialisations. You will choose relevant specialisation courses, and later your first internship, in line with your chosen specialisation. There are three compulsory courses: Scientific Writing in English, Study and Career and Ethics in Life Sciences.

Summary

With a specialisation in Immunology, you will have a broad understanding of immunological processes. This ranges from the molecular and cellular interactions between host and pathogen to an integrative knowledge of the role of the immune system in various pathologies, such as cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmunity.

You will also specialise in one of the subjects within the field of Immunology. At the end of the programme, you will understand current theory and the key research questions in the field, and have an understanding of the scientific and social relevance of this subject area. 

Compulsory Courses

  • Study and Career year 1 M BMED
  • Integrated Biomedical Sciences
  • Ethics in Life Sciences
  • Scientific Writing in English
  • Internship Immunology
  • Advanced Molecular Immunology and Cell Biology
  • Clinical Immunology

You can find the complete course overview for this year in the study guide.

Summary

With a specialisation in Infectious Diseases, you gain a broad understanding of the biology of pathogenic organisms and the interaction between pathogens and their hosts.

You will gain the ability to conduct scientific research in the field of medical microbiology and to critically assess the results of microbial research. You will also choose a specialisation in one of the subjects within the field of infectious diseases.

Compulsory courses

  • Study and Career year 1 M BMED
  • Integrated Biomedical Sciences
  • Ethics in Life Sciences
  • Scientific Writing in English
  • Internship Infectious Diseases
  • Advanced Molecular Immunology and Cell Biology
  • Molecular Infection Biology

You can find the complete course overview for this year in the study guide.

Summary

With a specialisation in Neurobiology, you will gain knowledge, insight and understanding into the physiology and science of the brain.

You will master state-of-the-art techniques to developing theories and gain insight into the most important research issues in the neurosciences.

The skills you obtain will enable you to conduct neurobiological research and to critically assess the results. You will also specialise in one of the subjects within the field of neurobiology. At the end of your study, you will understand the significance of neurobiology within the context of brain research, and some of its clinical implications.

The specialisation Neurobiology as part of the Master's programme Biomedical Sciences allows a maximum number of 10 students to be enrolled.

Compulsory courses

  • Study and Career year 1 M BMED
  • Integrated Biomedical Sciences
  • Ethics in Life Sciences
  • Scientific Writing in English
  • Internship Neurobiology
  • From Molecule to Mind
  • Clinical neurosciences
  • Genetics in Neuroscience

You can find the complete course overview for this year in the study guide.

  • Immunology

    Summary

    With a specialisation in Immunology, you will have a broad understanding of immunological processes. This ranges from the molecular and cellular interactions between host and pathogen to an integrative knowledge of the role of the immune system in various pathologies, such as cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmunity.

    You will also specialise in one of the subjects within the field of Immunology. At the end of the programme, you will understand current theory and the key research questions in the field, and have an understanding of the scientific and social relevance of this subject area. 

    Compulsory Courses

    • Study and Career year 1 M BMED
    • Integrated Biomedical Sciences
    • Ethics in Life Sciences
    • Scientific Writing in English
    • Internship Immunology
    • Advanced Molecular Immunology and Cell Biology
    • Clinical Immunology

    You can find the complete course overview for this year in the study guide.

  • Infectious Diseases

    Summary

    With a specialisation in Infectious Diseases, you gain a broad understanding of the biology of pathogenic organisms and the interaction between pathogens and their hosts.

    You will gain the ability to conduct scientific research in the field of medical microbiology and to critically assess the results of microbial research. You will also choose a specialisation in one of the subjects within the field of infectious diseases.

    Compulsory courses

    • Study and Career year 1 M BMED
    • Integrated Biomedical Sciences
    • Ethics in Life Sciences
    • Scientific Writing in English
    • Internship Infectious Diseases
    • Advanced Molecular Immunology and Cell Biology
    • Molecular Infection Biology

    You can find the complete course overview for this year in the study guide.

  • Neurobiology

    Summary

    With a specialisation in Neurobiology, you will gain knowledge, insight and understanding into the physiology and science of the brain.

    You will master state-of-the-art techniques to developing theories and gain insight into the most important research issues in the neurosciences.

    The skills you obtain will enable you to conduct neurobiological research and to critically assess the results. You will also specialise in one of the subjects within the field of neurobiology. At the end of your study, you will understand the significance of neurobiology within the context of brain research, and some of its clinical implications.

    The specialisation Neurobiology as part of the Master's programme Biomedical Sciences allows a maximum number of 10 students to be enrolled.

    Compulsory courses

    • Study and Career year 1 M BMED
    • Integrated Biomedical Sciences
    • Ethics in Life Sciences
    • Scientific Writing in English
    • Internship Neurobiology
    • From Molecule to Mind
    • Clinical neurosciences
    • Genetics in Neuroscience

    You can find the complete course overview for this year in the study guide.

Second year

In the second year, you can shape your degree to your future ambitions.  Opt for a complete research profile by choosing another of the three research specialisations, develop an alternative second research year that you can compile yourself, or choose a profile with a closer link to society.  
The second year is also the time to  write your literature thesis, and conduct your second internship, in line with your chosen specialisation. You also finish the Study and Career course in your second year.

Summary

With a specialisation in Immunology, you will have a broad understanding of immunological processes. This ranges from the molecular and cellular interactions between host and pathogen to an integrative knowledge of the role of the immune system in various pathologies, such as cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmunity.

You will also specialise in one of the subjects within the field of Immunology. At the end of the programme, you will understand current theory and the key research questions in the field, and have an understanding of the scientific and social relevance of this subject area. 

Compulsory Courses

  • Study and Career year 1 M BMED
  • Integrated Biomedical Sciences
  • Ethics in Life Sciences
  • Scientific Writing in English
  • Internship Immunology
  • Advanced Molecular Immunology and Cell Biology
  • Clinical Immunology

You can find the complete course overview for this year in the study guide.

Summary

With a specialisation in Infectious Diseases, you gain a broad understanding of the biology of pathogenic organisms and the interaction between pathogens and their hosts.

You will gain the ability to conduct scientific research in the field of medical microbiology and to critically assess the results of microbial research. You will also choose a specialisation in one of the subjects within the field of infectious diseases.

Compulsory courses

  • Study and Career year 1 M BMED
  • Integrated Biomedical Sciences
  • Ethics in Life Sciences
  • Scientific Writing in English
  • Internship Infectious Diseases
  • Advanced Molecular Immunology and Cell Biology
  • Molecular Infection Biology

You can find the complete course overview for this year in the study guide.

Summary

With a specialisation in Neurobiology, you will gain knowledge, insight and understanding into the physiology and science of the brain.

You will master state-of-the-art techniques to developing theories and gain insight into the most important research issues in the neurosciences.

The skills you obtain will enable you to conduct neurobiological research and to critically assess the results. You will also specialise in one of the subjects within the field of neurobiology. At the end of your study, you will understand the significance of neurobiology within the context of brain research, and some of its clinical implications.

The specialisation Neurobiology as part of the Master's programme Biomedical Sciences allows a maximum number of 10 students to be enrolled.

Compulsory courses

  • Study and Career year 1 M BMED
  • Integrated Biomedical Sciences
  • Ethics in Life Sciences
  • Scientific Writing in English
  • Internship Neurobiology
  • From Molecule to Mind
  • Clinical neurosciences
  • Genetics in Neuroscience

You can find the complete course overview for this year in the study guide.

Summary

When you choose a specialisation in International Public Health, you will have a broad understanding of current and future challenges in international public health, their main causes, and applied and potential interventions.

You will gain specialised knowledge of relevant concepts from various disciplines, including epidemiology, policy science, anthropology, management studies, biomedical sciences and health sciences.

You will have the ability to conduct scientific research in the field of international public health, and to critically assess the results.

You will also specialise in one of the subjects within the field of International Public Health. And, you will understand current theory and the key research questions in this field and recognise the scientific and social relevance of this subject area.

The International Public Health specialisation has a study load of 54 EC and can only be pursued in the second year of your Master’s programme.

Summary

Bridge the gap between science and society

Science in Society is a transdisciplinary major that provides tools and strategies for understanding and approaching complex societal problems related to scientific and technological development.

Science in Society (SiS) is a collaborative programme (60 EC) of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA). It teaches students how to identify, analyse and manage complex societal problems. The programme is concluded with an internship in which the student applies the acquired knowledge and skills.

For more information about the courses, internship, job opportunities or other questions, please have a look on the Science in Society page.

Summary

Become a reflective science communication practitioner

Science Communication is a transdisciplinary major that gives you insights in the fundamentals of science, communication and science communication.

You develop an in-depth understanding of communication processes between scientists of different disciplines, between different sciences and their stakeholders, and between science and citizens. The major (60 EC) is open to students of most two-year masters at the Faculties of Science of VU Amsterdam and UvA.

For more information about the courses, internship, job opportunities or other questions, please have a look on the Science Communication page.

Summary

Motivate & inspire students as a teacher in the STEM disciplines - This specialisation is taught in Dutch. 

During the specialisation Secondary Education Teacher Training for STEM Disciplines, you will learn how to transfer your knowledge and motivate and inspire students in your field of study, whether it is Geography, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry or Biology. For computer science, there is another route: the one-year teacher training programme. The courses for this teacher training specialisation are taught in Dutch and your teaching qualification will be valid in the Netherlands.

As a teacher, you make an important contribution to the future of young people, society and education in the Netherlands. In our knowledge economy, specialists in the area of knowledge transfer are indispensable. With an abundance of jobs in secondary education, obtaining a teaching qualification guarantees job security and—flexibility—because in addition to being a teacher, you are also a scientist in your field.

The teacher training programmes at VU Amsterdam are unique because of their modular structure that is built around 20 themes (core practices). You will apply these teaching practices directly in the classroom, as you will be working in a school for more than 50% of your study programme. At VU Amsterdam, personal attention and individual guidance are top priority. You will have a mentor from VU Amsterdam and a workplace supervisor who is an experienced first-degree subject teacher.

With this specialisation, you will obtain a specialist Master's degree in a STEM discipline and a first-degree teaching qualification (eerstegraads lesbevoegdheid).  This means that in two years, you will be qualified to teach both lower and upper secondary vocational education (HAVO/VWO) and pre-university education (VMBO) in the Netherlands. All teachers in the STEM disciplines are also qualified to teach the STEM elective NLT (Nature, Life and Technology). 

The teacher training specialisation in the STEM disciplines starts every academic year in September and February, unless you are following a Master's programme in Ecology, Earth Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, or Biomedical Technology and Physics. Within these Master's programmes, you can only start the specialisation in September.

Second year

What makes you unique as a STEM teacher? We explore your strengths as a teacher while focussing on personal attention, customisation and guidance. You will follow an integrated programme, which includes a practical component (internship) in secondary education and didactic theory at VU Amsterdam. You will be taught general didactics related to core practices as well as specific subject-related didactics for your school subject. The theory is always applied and tested in practice at the school where you conduct your internship. You will start immediately with the practical component. Internships are arranged by VU Amsterdam.

You can find the complete course overview in the study guide

  • Immunology

    Summary

    With a specialisation in Immunology, you will have a broad understanding of immunological processes. This ranges from the molecular and cellular interactions between host and pathogen to an integrative knowledge of the role of the immune system in various pathologies, such as cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmunity.

    You will also specialise in one of the subjects within the field of Immunology. At the end of the programme, you will understand current theory and the key research questions in the field, and have an understanding of the scientific and social relevance of this subject area. 

    Compulsory Courses

    • Study and Career year 1 M BMED
    • Integrated Biomedical Sciences
    • Ethics in Life Sciences
    • Scientific Writing in English
    • Internship Immunology
    • Advanced Molecular Immunology and Cell Biology
    • Clinical Immunology

    You can find the complete course overview for this year in the study guide.

  • Infectious Diseases

    Summary

    With a specialisation in Infectious Diseases, you gain a broad understanding of the biology of pathogenic organisms and the interaction between pathogens and their hosts.

    You will gain the ability to conduct scientific research in the field of medical microbiology and to critically assess the results of microbial research. You will also choose a specialisation in one of the subjects within the field of infectious diseases.

    Compulsory courses

    • Study and Career year 1 M BMED
    • Integrated Biomedical Sciences
    • Ethics in Life Sciences
    • Scientific Writing in English
    • Internship Infectious Diseases
    • Advanced Molecular Immunology and Cell Biology
    • Molecular Infection Biology

    You can find the complete course overview for this year in the study guide.

  • Neurobiology

    Summary

    With a specialisation in Neurobiology, you will gain knowledge, insight and understanding into the physiology and science of the brain.

    You will master state-of-the-art techniques to developing theories and gain insight into the most important research issues in the neurosciences.

    The skills you obtain will enable you to conduct neurobiological research and to critically assess the results. You will also specialise in one of the subjects within the field of neurobiology. At the end of your study, you will understand the significance of neurobiology within the context of brain research, and some of its clinical implications.

    The specialisation Neurobiology as part of the Master's programme Biomedical Sciences allows a maximum number of 10 students to be enrolled.

    Compulsory courses

    • Study and Career year 1 M BMED
    • Integrated Biomedical Sciences
    • Ethics in Life Sciences
    • Scientific Writing in English
    • Internship Neurobiology
    • From Molecule to Mind
    • Clinical neurosciences
    • Genetics in Neuroscience

    You can find the complete course overview for this year in the study guide.

  • International Public Health

    Summary

    When you choose a specialisation in International Public Health, you will have a broad understanding of current and future challenges in international public health, their main causes, and applied and potential interventions.

    You will gain specialised knowledge of relevant concepts from various disciplines, including epidemiology, policy science, anthropology, management studies, biomedical sciences and health sciences.

    You will have the ability to conduct scientific research in the field of international public health, and to critically assess the results.

    You will also specialise in one of the subjects within the field of International Public Health. And, you will understand current theory and the key research questions in this field and recognise the scientific and social relevance of this subject area.

    The International Public Health specialisation has a study load of 54 EC and can only be pursued in the second year of your Master’s programme.

  • Science in Society

    Summary

    Bridge the gap between science and society

    Science in Society is a transdisciplinary major that provides tools and strategies for understanding and approaching complex societal problems related to scientific and technological development.

    Science in Society (SiS) is a collaborative programme (60 EC) of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA). It teaches students how to identify, analyse and manage complex societal problems. The programme is concluded with an internship in which the student applies the acquired knowledge and skills.

    For more information about the courses, internship, job opportunities or other questions, please have a look on the Science in Society page.

  • Science Communication

    Summary

    Become a reflective science communication practitioner

    Science Communication is a transdisciplinary major that gives you insights in the fundamentals of science, communication and science communication.

    You develop an in-depth understanding of communication processes between scientists of different disciplines, between different sciences and their stakeholders, and between science and citizens. The major (60 EC) is open to students of most two-year masters at the Faculties of Science of VU Amsterdam and UvA.

    For more information about the courses, internship, job opportunities or other questions, please have a look on the Science Communication page.

  • Secondary Education Teacher Training for STEM Disciplines

    Summary

    Motivate & inspire students as a teacher in the STEM disciplines - This specialisation is taught in Dutch. 

    During the specialisation Secondary Education Teacher Training for STEM Disciplines, you will learn how to transfer your knowledge and motivate and inspire students in your field of study, whether it is Geography, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry or Biology. For computer science, there is another route: the one-year teacher training programme. The courses for this teacher training specialisation are taught in Dutch and your teaching qualification will be valid in the Netherlands.

    As a teacher, you make an important contribution to the future of young people, society and education in the Netherlands. In our knowledge economy, specialists in the area of knowledge transfer are indispensable. With an abundance of jobs in secondary education, obtaining a teaching qualification guarantees job security and—flexibility—because in addition to being a teacher, you are also a scientist in your field.

    The teacher training programmes at VU Amsterdam are unique because of their modular structure that is built around 20 themes (core practices). You will apply these teaching practices directly in the classroom, as you will be working in a school for more than 50% of your study programme. At VU Amsterdam, personal attention and individual guidance are top priority. You will have a mentor from VU Amsterdam and a workplace supervisor who is an experienced first-degree subject teacher.

    With this specialisation, you will obtain a specialist Master's degree in a STEM discipline and a first-degree teaching qualification (eerstegraads lesbevoegdheid).  This means that in two years, you will be qualified to teach both lower and upper secondary vocational education (HAVO/VWO) and pre-university education (VMBO) in the Netherlands. All teachers in the STEM disciplines are also qualified to teach the STEM elective NLT (Nature, Life and Technology). 

    The teacher training specialisation in the STEM disciplines starts every academic year in September and February, unless you are following a Master's programme in Ecology, Earth Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, or Biomedical Technology and Physics. Within these Master's programmes, you can only start the specialisation in September.

    Second year

    What makes you unique as a STEM teacher? We explore your strengths as a teacher while focussing on personal attention, customisation and guidance. You will follow an integrated programme, which includes a practical component (internship) in secondary education and didactic theory at VU Amsterdam. You will be taught general didactics related to core practices as well as specific subject-related didactics for your school subject. The theory is always applied and tested in practice at the school where you conduct your internship. You will start immediately with the practical component. Internships are arranged by VU Amsterdam.

    You can find the complete course overview in the study guide

Change your future with the Biomedical Sciences programme

Change your future with the Biomedical Sciences programme

As a graduate from the Biomodical Science Master’s programme, there are lots of career paths open to you. You could start work as a scientific researcher or policymaker, or advisor in the field of international public health. However, there are also lots of graduates who choose a career in research, starting their PhD straight after graduation.

Explore your future prospects
Researcher in the lab