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Masters in Biomedical Sciences

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Program overview
1 year
Full time
Master's degree
Virtual open day
Virtual open day
Start dates
September 2021

September 2022

September 2023

Program description

Masters in Biomedical Sciences

It's all about a fascination for human life

Do you want to combine human biology with molecular biology? Or do you want to learn about the other&;possibilities of biomedical sciences after&;a year of research? This master's programme will offer you just that!

While pursuing a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences you can opt to study a combination of different specialisations. The research specialisations&;will enable you to embark on a career in research. In the second year you decide on your profile, either with a focus on research or more into biomedical related specialisations. These specialisations&;will enable you to work in professions like policy officer, sciencific journalism or advisor, and the education specialisation (only in Dutch) will enable you to teach at pre-university or higher vocational education level.

Are you interested in infectious diseases and do you want to gain a deeper understanding of how the immune system works? Then you can focus on both these specialisations. Does your scientific interest lie in neurobiology and your professional ambition in policy-making? Then you can combine these two. You can tailor your programme according to your own desires and interests, in the form of internships and/or compiling your own biomedical programme in the second year.

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Admission requirements

1. Knowledge 

A minimum of 24ECTS in molecular biology and a minimum of 24ECTS in human biology, including at least:

  • Cell biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Statistics

And preferably

  • (Human) anatomy and physiology
  • Histology and pathology

When choosing the specialization Neurobiology, you need to have advanced level of knowledge of Neurosciences.

2. Research laboratory skills:

  • Practical laboratory techniques gained in courses
  • A bachelor research internship of ≥12ECTS in a research laboratory. The internship should be performed at a research department within a university, academic medical center or acknowledged research institute in the field of human or molecular biology.

3. Grades:
Holding an international Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field?

  • Intake procedure: final grade bachelor research internship/thesis in a relevant field (molecular biology or human biology) is at least 7.5 and a bachelor grade average of at least 7.0 (excluding the internship).
  • Please upload a grade list, including your GPA average.

4. English language proficiency requirements:
VU Amsterdam requires international students to pass anEnglish language proficiency test.
N.B. Students who need a visa (MVV) to enter the Netherlands must have passed the test and submitted the original test certificate before 1 June. All other students have to submit the test certificate at the latest before 1 September.

Copies of your English test results can be sent to the following addresses:

  • For non-Dutch degree holders: contact the Faculty of Science by e-mail

5. Intake procedure (when the above criteria are met):
Interview to assess competence to function at academic MSc level, motivation for a career in research, and a small assessment, discussing an article chosen by the admission board.

If criteria are not completely met, you might still be considered to do the intake.The Admission board may set additional requirements if necessary, for example Bachelor courses in a pre master program (with a maximum of 30ECTS).In some, but not all cases direct admission might be possible without the need for a pre master program and/or assessment.

When choosing the specialization Neurobiology, you need to fulfill more specific admission requirements (see theMSc Neurosciences programme). The specialization Neurobiology as part of MSc Biomedical Sciences allows a maximum number of 10 students to be enrolled.

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Program content

The Master's in Biomedical Sciences is a two-year full-time programme, commencing each September. The curriculum in brief: After your first research specialisation in either Immunology, Infectious Disease or Neurobiology, you can choose to either do a second research specialisation in another of these subjects: 

  • International Public Health 
  • Societal Specialisation (Science Communication or Science in Society) 
  • Science education specialisation (science teacher degree) 
  • Alternative second biomedical research year that you can compile yourself 

There are two compulsory courses: Scientific Writing in English and Ethics in Life Sciences. You will go on two internships, either both in research or one practical and one research placement and you will write a literature thesis. 

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a Master of Science degree (MSc). 

Active research 
Lectures form only a comparatively modest part of the Biomedical Sciences programme. For the most part, you are encouraged to 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 take a work placement in a policy-making, education or communication position, depending on your chosen profile. 

Design your own programme 
If you choose to compile your own second year you can choose from all the subjects taught by the Master’s programme. You can also opt to take part of your programme or internship elsewhere in the Netherlands or abroad. 

Outline of the programme 
The full Master’s programme in Biomedical Sciences takes two years and consists of 120 EC. 

The programme consist of: 

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

Scholarships & funding

With our own scholarship, the VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP), we offer highly motivated students with excellent study results the unique opportunity to pursue a Master’s degree with financial support provided by the university.

The VUFP scholarship is a tuition fee waiver. The Holland Scholarship Programme (HSP) is meant for students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who want to follow a Master’s programme in the Netherlands. VU Amsterdam embraces diversity as an enrichment to our teaching, research and our contribution to society. This scholarship is specifically intended for excellent students who contribute to the diversity at our campus. As an international student planning to study at VU Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries.

Tuition fees

  • Tuition fee for EU: € 1,084
  • Tuition fee for NON-EU/EEA: € 14,236


MSc in Biomedical Sciences 

Continuing studies

Job prospects Your job prospects are excellent with a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences. Most of our graduates enter scientific research. 

The research-oriented specialisations will enable you to embark on a career in research. The specialisation in International Public Health will equip you for a career as scientific researcher, policymaker, advisor or manager in the field of international public health at a university, research institute, government ministry, industry, non-governmental or international organization. The societal specialisation will equip you for a position as a policy officer. The communication specialisation will enable you to work in public relations or scientific journalism, and the education specialisation (only in Dutch) will enable you to teach at pre-university or higher vocational education level.

Orientation towards a career and the labour market

Spending part of the programme conducting internships helps to prepare and familiarize students with the labour market. In addition, students are introduced to the labour market by yearly Career days or during Business Days organised by NiBi (the Netherlands Institute for Biology). 

More about NiBi (Dutch website)

Bèta Career Event

Each year the Stichting Bèta Bedrijvencontactdag Amsterdam organizes a Career Event. Large companies are represented at the event. The career event offers lectures, workshops and a speed-date lunch to enable students to meet with future employers.  

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About this institute

Welcome to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (‘VU Amsterdam’) is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English-taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to more than 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff...

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Why study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

With more than 24,000 students, of which 4,088 are international, VU Amsterdam conducts cutting-edge research into problems of societal and scientific importance.

They distinguish themselves in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes:

  • Human Health and Life Sciences
  • Science for Sustainability
  • Connected World
  • Governance for Society

As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world.

In addition, VU Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.

The Dutch higher education system has been ranked in the top 10 by Universitas 21. In the first Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking, VU Amsterdam is ranked 16th worldwide. In this ranking, universities are assessed based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to measure the impact of the universities on society. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 (Shanghai Ranking) VU Amsterdam holds the 104th position. The international QS World University ranking 2021 places the Vrije Universiteit at number 236 in the world, which means the Vrije Universiteit belongs to the top 20% of the world.

At VU Amsterdam, the teaching style can be described as student-centred: they encourage students to develop their own opinions through independent and creative thinking. This means that teaching is mainly conducted in small tutorials, where interactivity is the norm rather than the exception. At every opportunity, students are encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue with their professors.

Contact info

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands, the

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