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Master Cardiovascular Research

Last updated on 18 March 2021

The Master Cardiovascular Research educates you to become a research scientist with in depth knowledge, attitudes and skills regarding the development, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular (and related) disease. You are particularly trained to build bridges between clinicians and experimental researchers. The Master Cardiovascular Research is a two-year international programme of 120 ECTS and tuition is completely in English. The Master is embedded in the Faculty of Medicine VU, which facilitates interaction with health care providers and investigators in the field of Oncology and Epidemiology.

The two-year programme consists of the following components:
Click here for an overview of the components of the two-year programme

The final Master Examination consists of all assessed items, which in practice means that all examinations will be added up to a total of 120 EC. The Examination Board eventually decides whether your Master Examination is finished successfully.

More information on a master's degree in Cardiovascular Research

  • Courses


    The Master Cardiovascular Research program consists of 33 EC compulsory courses and 12 EC optional courses. The program includes lectures, workshops, demonstrations and literature sessions in the preclinical and clinical setting. You can make an individual choice regarding the optional courses, and it is encouraged to follow courses at other faculties or even other universities. If you want to register for a course or exam, the standard VU rules for registration apply. Attendance of at least 80% is obligatory for both the compulsory courses and the optional courses. If for some reason you are unable to attend, you need to inform the course coordinator on forehand.

    Overview courses

    Exams and retakes

    All compulsory courses and optional courses will be finished with an exam. This exam usually takes place on the last day of the course. The learning objectives for every exam are indicated in the description of the course. Retakes of the compulsory courses will take place after Christmas holiday. You have to inform the course coordinator and master coordinator in case of unforeseen absence on the day of the exam (e.g. illness). Each semester, you are required to register for the compulsory courses during the official registration period. When you register for a course, you are automatically registered for the first exam. For the retake, you have to register on VUnet at least 2 weeks in advance!
    If you want to take an exam or retake, you should register at least 2 weeks in advance through the student portal. If you do not register in time, you do not have permission to attend the exam. All the rules and regulations concerning exams and retakes of the compulsory courses and optional courses are described in the Academic and Examination Regulations (OER).
    If you have problems registering for courses or exams when using the student portal, please contact the Student Service Center at least 4 weeks before the course starts or 2 weeks before the examination date, respectively.

    Compulsory courses

    Which compulsory courses apply within your Master program depends on the year you have started the Master. Since 2016, the compulsory courses are the following:

    Heart and Circulation6September
    Cardiac Disease6October
    Diabetes and Vascular Disease6November
    Advanced Imaging 6December
    Writing a Research Proposal3January - February
    Academic Core3Throughout the program

    More information can be found in the Academic and Examination Regulations (OER).

    Optional courses

    The Master Cardiovascular Research has reserved 12 EC for optional courses. You can make a choice of the optional courses listed for the Master Cardiovascular Research or follow a course at another faculty or university. A limited number of optional courses can be found in the study guide, but we encourage you to find optional courses outside the VUmc School of Medical Sciences. You always need to ask permission from the Examination Board using the approval form and check the information about the course in the study guide.

    Optional courses in 2019-2020:

    Name coursedateOrganizer
    Cardiac Development28-09-2020 until 9-10-2020Prof. dr. Roelof-Jan Oostra and Prof. dr. Maurice van der Hoff
    Biomedical ProteomicsFebruary 2020Prof. dr. Connie Jimenez

    Here you find a list of all optional courses followed by students in previous years.

    After completion of an optional course outside the VU, fill in the credit registration form and send it to the Student Service Center (

    Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

    • I failed an exam, how can I do the re-sit? For a re-sit, you have to register in VUnet.
    • How do I request approval for an optional course? You must fill in the digital approval form for optional courses.
    • How do I register credits for an optional course? You must fill in the credit registration form for optional courses.
    • I want to do a course at a different university, is that possible? Yes, you can follow courses at universities other than the VU. However, you always need to request approval from the Examination Board for an optional course.
  • Internships

    In total, a student has to spend 66 EC for two Internships: a Minor Internship (30 EC) and a Major Internship (36 EC). Both Internships have to be performed at a research laboratory or clinical research group acknowledged by the Examination Board of the Master Cardiovascular Research. The Minor Internship may be any (bio)medical topic and has to be performed at one of the departments of Amsterdam UMC or Sanquin. The Major Internship must have a character that is related to the program and should preferentially be performed outside the VU or abroad. Each Internship needs to be approved in advance by the Examination Board.
    Make sure you carefully read the Internship Regulations!


    Students are encouraged to look for an internship at least 3 months before the start of their internship. For clinical internships or internships abroad a period of 6 months is advised. Finding an appropriate internship is part of your network skills and competencies.

    Duration and content

    One week full-time (40 hr/week) is an equivalent of 1.5 EC. Therefore, the Minor Internship will be 20 weeks and the Major Internship will be 24 weeks. Interruptions need to be taken into account when calculating the total number of EC.
    All Internships have to include the following elements:

    • Theoretical deepening related to the program
    • Elaboration, execution and analysis of the research question
    • Formulation of conclusions and recommendations
    • Written report in English
    • Oral presentation in English

    Amsterdam UMC Assessor

    The written report needs to be verified by a second assessor from Amsterdam UMC (VU/VUMC). This Amsterdam UMC assessor needs to be invited by the student but has to be approved by the Examiner ILS and has to work at least at the level of assistant professor (UD). He/she will critically review the report and give a mark based on the report without considering the writing process or practical skills. For external internships the Amsterdam UMC assessor is also asked to serve as backup for questions of the student and/or the assessor.

    Approval and paperwork in advance

    Before starting an Internship, a student always has to request approval of the Examination Board of the Master progam. Only students who obtained a 5.5 or higher for 3 out of the compulsory courses of the program can request to start their Minor Internship. For approval you need to completely fill out the digital approval form to allow the Examination Board to make a sound decision based on the provided information. When your Internship has been approved, you and your supervisor will receive an email stating the decision of the Examination Board.

    Approval of the major internship is no longer valid when the travel code announced by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the relevant country is orange or red. In that case, conducting the scientific internship in the country previously approved is not permitted. Students who nevertheless want to go abroad for their research internship under code yellow, are obliged to take this up this with their study coordinator or examiner internships. Any costs in the event of cancellation or early return as a result of a change to code orange or red will not be reimbursed by any fund or funds.

    Internship portfolio

    During your Internship, you should provide us with several documents. The Internship Portfolio contains all required forms mentioned below and information needed during your Internship. Only a complete portfolio handed in via email to will result in registration of your grades and credits!

    During your internship

    List of Agreements (A) needs to be filled out and send to within 2 weeks after starting your Internship. This list describes the agreements made by the student and the supervisor about the start and ending of the Internship, interruptions like optional courses, vacations/holidays or other obligations. Within 6 weeks after starting your Internship, a Research Proposal (B) should be written. In addition, it is compulsory to have an Interim Assessment (C) with your supervisor. This assessment is used to evaluate your work at the department and assess whether the Internship can be finished successfully. Halfway, you should give an oral presentation to the department to present the findings you obtained so far. 

    Finishing the internship

    At the end of the Internship, an assessment form has to be filled out. The Criteria Guidelines in the Internship Regulations should be used during the assessment to ensure uniform grading. The total mark is based on the quality of the practical work (40%), the written report (40%) and the oral presentation (20%).
    After sending a PDF of your report and your Internship Portfolio to, your report will be reviewed and graded by an independent examiner. The final mark of the written report will be the average of the individual marks for the report given by the supervisor and the independent assessor.

    Please also send the link of the second assessor assessment form to your second assessor.
    In addition, you should fill in the online evaluation form.

    Master thesis

    The Master thesis includes the results of the Major Internship, integrated with and from the perspective of the knowledge acquired in the compulsory education. The Master thesis will get a uniform cover front and cover provided and designed by the Master program.
    All forms for approval and assessment, front and cover for the master thesis and other information can be found here.

    Internship abroad

    Are you planning an Internship outside the Netherlands? The International Office can assist you finding a suitable scholarship and make sure you leave fully prepared for your Internship. When you tick the box This internship will be conducted outside of the Netherlands in the approval form, the International Office will automatically be notified that you will perform your Internship abroad. After you have received approval from the Examination Board, you will be invited by the International Office to pick up your dossier. Apply for your Internship abroad at least 3 months in advance!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    • How do I request approval for an Internship? For every Internship you must request approval for an Internship by filling out the Internship approval form
    • Who do I fill in as first/second supervisor? Your first supervisor is usually your day-to-day supervisor (PhD student or post-doc), your second supervisor is a principal investigator (post-doc or professor).
    • Do I have to hand in hardcopies at the Student Desk? No, only a pdf version of your report and prtfolio is sufficient.
  • Literature study


    Your Literature Study will be carried out under supervision, but in this stage of your education it is expected that you act highly independent. It is also possible that you propose your own subject and present your own question. The study may be focused on a scientific (bio)medical question, but a more applied or social question is also allowed. The literature objective may be related to your Major Internship. The aim of the Literature Study is that you will be able to select, evaluate and critically discuss relevant literature. Based on the literature analysis, you have to clearly explain not only the state-of-the-art, but also the limitations and problems in the literature. Depending on the context of the study, the student has to formulate recommendations and strategies for further research to solve remaining problems. The Literature Study is written in the format of a review paper.
    Make sure you carefully read the Literature Study Regulations!

    Overview literature study


    For your Literature Study you need to find a Cardiovascular-related subject that interests you. You can either find a suitable supervisor with knowledge on the particular subject you are interested in or find a supervisor from the lecturers that have been presenting during the courses. If you are not able to find a suitable subject or supervisor, your program coordinator can assist you.

    Amsterdam UMC Assessor

    The Literature Study report needs to be verified by a second assessor from Amsterdam UMC (VU/VUMC or AMC). This Amsterdam UMC assessor needs to be invited by the student but has to be approved by the Examiner ILS and has to work at least at the level of assistant professor (UD). He/she will critically review the report and give a mark.

    Approval and literature study portfolio

    Your Literature Study needs to be approved by the Examination Board. For approval you need to fill out the approval form for a Literature Study. Finish the form as completely as possible to allow the Examination Board to make a proper assessment of your request.
    The Literature Study also has a portfolio. The Literature Study Portfolio contains a summary of the assignment and the Survey Outline which needs to be written and send to within 2 weeks after the start of the Literature Study.
    After writing your Literature Study, you need to give an oral presentation at the department of your supervisor/assessor to present your findings.
    When your Literature Study is finished, your assessor fills out the assessment form. As guidance, your assessor can use the Criteria Guidelines in the Literature Study Regulations which contain an overview of the assessment criteria. The total mark consists of 10% research outline, 70% report and 20% oral presentation.
    You have to send your report and the second assessor assessment form to the Amsterdam UMC assessor who will review and grade the written report. The final mark of the written report will be the average of the individual marks for the report given by the supervisor and the Amsterdam UMC assessor.
    Furthermore, you have to send a PDF of your report and Internship Portfolio to
    In addition, you should fill in the online evaluation form.
    All forms for approval and assessment and other information can be found here.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    • How do I request approval for a Literature Study? For every Literature Study, you must request approval by filling in the Literature Study approval form
    • How many ECTS/week does a Literature Study take? A Literature Study grants 9 EC and officially lasts 6 weeks.
  • Academic Core

    The Academic Core is a component of the Master program which is designed to prepare students for the transition from student to scientist. During this course, students will learn academic elements such as writing a CV, skills required for a job application and participating in a conference. The academic skills are all related to a future career in scientific research.

    In the Academic Core the student learns several academic and transferable skills like career development (including a resume assignment), legal and ethical judgment, presenting skills, conference participation and networking. Most of the academic and transferable skills are integrated in the program components and tested in the assessments. Others are explicitly separated in special meetings. A mentor (program coordinator) is assigned to each student. The student has to contact the mentor at least twice to discuss aspects of a career in science. The students complete an Academic Core portfolio to demonstrate their development, and this is evaluated by the examiner of the Academic Core.

    The course lasts throughout the entire program. During the course, students should make an Academic Core Portfolio. At the end of the first year, the student has to send the assignments of the first year before the first of September to the program coordinator: Upon completion of the whole portfolio, the student must send this portfolio to the program coordinator and it will be assessed during a meeting with the Academic Core examiner. Afterwards, the credits will be registered.

    Overview academic core 

  • Graduation

    Have you completed you studies? VU Amsterdam will automatically start your graduation process

    Once you have completed the final part of your studies, you will receive an email from VU Amsterdam, containing an overview of your results and the date of your graduation. Would you rather not graduate on the date given? In certain circumstances, you can submit a request to your Examination Board to postpone your graduation. However, you must submit a postponement request within two weeks of receiving the email, otherwise you will graduate automatically.  
    More information on the new graduation process and submitting a request for postponement can be found on VUweb.  

    More information

    All information about graduation, awarding degree certificates and related topics can be found on VUnet. 
    Student must have: 

    • All of their assessments/marks registerd in VUweb, but at least 4 weeks before the exam date;
    • You have fulfilled the requirements for the Master program as stated in the Academic and Examination Regulations (OER);
    • On the requested graduation date, you will still be enrolled in the degree program for which you are requesting your diploma;
    • You have met all your payment obligations (tuition fees);
    • If you stop your studies without succesfully completing the final examination, you can obtain an attandance certificate from the Examination Board, provided that you have successfully completed at least two course components. The attandace certificate lists those examinations.

    What is the graduation date?

    • Your graduation date will be in the month in which you officially completed your degree program. This is always the last working day of the month. This date will also be stated on your degree certificate. Please note: it is not the date on which the degree awards ceremony is held.
    • The graduation ceremonies take place only in the months January, June and September.
    • The official graduation date is important for your deregistration from Studielink, your tuition fees, and your public transport pass.
    • Please consult the Graduation Schedule Research Masters to see which deadlines apply to you.

    Degree awards ceremony

    • Will you attend your graduation ceremony? 
      Keep in mind the following:
      • You will receive your invitation to the ceremony no later than two weeks beforehand
      • Each graduate is permitted to bring max 7 guests 
      • Bring whit you a valid form of identification (passport, IDcard or driver's license)
      • If there are less than 6 graduates, the ceremony might be cancelled. If you are already registered for the graduation ceremony, you will automatically be moved to the next graduation ceremony. 

    The graduation ceremony is an official part of the Master Cardiovascular Research /  Master Oncology and not a formality. Therefore, your presence is mandatory. If, by any chance, you are unable to come to the ceremony, you need to send an official statement to the Student Service Center with a valid reason for not attending. If the Exam Committee approves your request, you could get the option to obtain your diploma at the nearest Exam Committee meeting. 

    Note: being abroad for vacation or work is not a valid reason. In addition, it is not possible for your diploma to be sent via post due to strict academic regulations.
    Cancelled: Graduation Ceremony 18 June 2020
    Due to the current situation regarding the coronavirus, the ceremony for the Master's graduates for June 18, 2020, will NOT take place.  
    We regret that we will not be able to celebrate your successful graduation together in a timely manner, but your health and that of your relatives comes first.  
    We hope that we can make up for the ceremony and reception on September 2020. We will provide more information as soon as possible.

    Date of graduation ceremonyTimeLocation
    17 September 2020afternoonVU - Medical Faculty
    21 January 2021afternoonVU - Medical Faculty
    17 June 2021afternoonVU - Medical Faculty

    These are tentative dates.

    What to do after graduation?

    Stay in touch: Alumni Master Cardiovascular Research

    Connect with us on our LinkedIn page! 
    We will post interesting updates and information relating to the program, upcoming events etc.!

    Master cardiovascular research (group):

  • Contact

    Miriam E. van Strien, PhD.
    Coordinator Master Cardiovascular Research  
    Tel: +31 20 44 46345

    Postal address

    Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc
    Faculty of Medicine VU, MF G-010
    PO BOX 7075
    1007 MB Amsterdam
    The Netherlands


Onderwijs Service Centrum (studentenbalie) - Faculteit of Medicine VU Note: we are only available per mail because of the coronavirus.

The student desk will help you. Call us on +31 20 59 85020 (available Monday – Friday: 10.30 – 12.30 and 14.00 – 16.00).

Do you have any questions? Please send them to