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Gain deep understanding of the fundamentals of life

Focus on the fundamentals of molecular and cellular processes

How to provide safe, stable food and how to produce crops in a stable way? How to develop treatments for age-related diseases or infections? How to find solutions to emerging problems, such as antibiotic resistance and chemical pollutants in our soils? These are all demanding challenges that modern society faces. And it’s our priority to find solutions.

With a thorough understanding of molecular and cellular processes and a focus on fundamentals, you have a solid background to innovate and develop biotechnological solutions or treatments for these issues. Moreover, today’s biomolecular scientists are increasingly exposed to huge volumes of data from high-throughput methods, which require a critical scientific approach. To this end, it is vital that molecular and cell biology graduates are well-prepared to enter the lab within an interdisciplinary life sciences research community.

This master combines both compulsory core courses, most of them in the first year to provide knowledge in molecular biology, and a selection of elective courses to be able to delve deeper in specific topics.

You’ll be taught through a series of lectures, research tutorials, work groups, demonstrations, lab visits, lab and computer practicals, as well as onsite training and mentoring. Laboratory internships and an extensive literature study also form major components of the programme, under the mentorship and guidance of a researcher of your choice. You are also encouraged to consider going abroad for your internship in the final year. Your lecturers can help you find a suitable lab through their own extensive research networks.

The start date of this programme is September 1st.

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

Important topics within the field of biomolecular sciences

A new method to fight tuberculosis
After a period of relative calmness, tuberculosis seems to be on the advance again, causing currently some 1.5 million casualties per year. 'Mycobacterium tuberculosis' excretes different proteins all playing a role in disease development. Knowledge about the underlying mechanisms of excretion can be applied in the development of new drugs to fight the bacteria.

Regulation of gene expression
It is a miracle how a single fertilized egg cell develops into a complex organism and how undifferentiated stem cells can be assigned to take their role in this process. Expression and regulation of genes in eukaryotes is controlled by transcription factors, but in addition there is also post-transcriptional control. Unravelling these regulatory networks will open up huge possibilities in biomedical and biotechnological research.

Busy traffic within cells
Within our cells, there is ongoing and busy traffic of nutrients, organelles and signaling compounds, driven by motor proteins. In order to visualize, count and track these motor proteins and figure out how they cooperate in their job advanced new microscopy methods have been and still need to be developed.

Microplastics in human blood
We do not know how harmful microplastics really are, but we do know that they can be found everywhere and in increasing concentrations.  Three quarters of tested blood donors had detectable quantities of plastic particles in their blood, with polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyethylene, and polymers of styrene as most common types. The next question is how easy it is for these particles to move from the bloodstream into tissues such as in organs like the brain.


There are lots of opportunities for internships during the programme. Your placement can take place on campus, at our affiliated Amsterdam University Medical Centres or at any relevant research group the Netherlands. Those of you without much practical (internship) experience are advised to do their first internship at VU Amsterdam, where you’ll receive more guidance from our staff. In general, you’re expected to work more independently at an off-campus medical centre or company.

During the first semester, you’ll apply for internships by contacting lecturers from your courses or interesting research groups you find online yourself. Opportunities include:

You can take your second internship abroad, when you’re more experienced in research. Organising an internship abroad takes some time and planning in advance, but you can consult our International Office for more information closer to the time.

How do we support your preparation for the job market?

During the programme, you will receive extensive support from our junior lecturers and participate in a Professionalism in Biomolecular Sciences course designed to prepare you for the next steps in your career.

Next to training you as a scientist, we also dedicate time for you to follow professional skills workshops, attend and organize your own networking events, and receive mentorship of your own professional development. Learn more about what this unique course entails and read some student stories. For more information, have a look the Professionalism in Biomolecular Sciences page.

Change your future with the Biomolecular Sciences programme

Change your future with the Biomolecular Sciences programme

As a graduate from the Biomolecular Science Master’s programme, there are lots of career paths open to you. You could start work as a medical product specialist, junior technical scientist, IT specialist and data scientist, or junior researcher at pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology startups. However, most of our graduates aspire to a career in research, starting their PhD straight after graduation.

Explore your future prospects
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