Systems Biology

Systems biology is a new, rapidly evolving multidisciplinary field in biological and biomedical research, based on a holistic perspective and relying on mathematical and computational models to complement experiments in the lab. Currently, multilevel system-data (Big Data) are generated with increasing speed, but traditional ways of analysis fall short. Data integration with mathematical models is required to unravel new perspectives and unifying concepts and to get a deep and more fundamental insight into emerging properties of biological systems, diseases mechanisms and possible therapies. Systems biology is still in its early days, but it will become the main stream in biological sciences in this century, applicable for academic, industrial and societal progress. In the programme, you will acquire knowledge and practical skills necessary for unravelling the complexity of biological systems, to bridge biology and mathematics from molecule to ecosystem and to translate and integrate huge and heterogeneous data sets into biologically relevant information and experiments. The programme offers a challenging environment where you will learn to work with students from different backgrounds, allowing to cross borders between disciplines and to foster collaboration beyond national frontiers. The unique merger between mathematics and biology provides you with a competitive advantage for a career in the life sciences.

Why study Systems Biology at Maastricht University

We offer:

  • A curriculum with (elective) courses, a personal portfolio and an academic supervisor
  • A wide spectrum of science courses and skills leading to a multi-disciplinary programme merging biology and biomedical sciences with mathematical modelling (closely related to current and future demands of society)
  • A large proportion of student research in the programme (student projects and master thesis)
  • Instructional format directed to problem solving and student-centered learning (problem-based learning and research-based learning)
  • An international academic community in close contact with local industry
  • Educational setting in small groups meaning high staff/student ratio
  • Staff consisting of top researchers (Veni, Vidi, Vici and ERC award winners), which brings enormous added value to the scientific quality of the programme
  • Participation in ongoing, cross-border research at Maastricht University and our preferred partner University of Liège, giving you hands-on experience and an international network

 Programme outline

 The Systems Biology master is a 2 year programme, during which you can obtain 120 ECTS.

Year 1

  • Connecting Biology and Mathematics – 4 weeks – 6 ECTS
  • Evolution – 4 weeks – 6 ECTS
  • Comparative Biology – 8 weeks – 12 ECTS
  • Heart-Brain Connection or Plant Biology – 8 weeks – 12 ECTS
  • Cancer, Metabolic Syndrome and Chronic Disease – 8 weeks – 12 ECTS

Research projects:

  • What makes us Human? – 4 weeks – 6 ECTS
  • Modelling Life – 4 weeks – 6 ECTS

 Year 2

  • Designing and writing a basic and applied research project in systems biology – 8 weeks – 12 ECTS
  • Master Thesis – 32 weeks – 48 ETC

 Course descriptions can be found on the website under courses and curriculum.

You are eligible for admission if you have a bachelor degree, issued by a Dutch or Flemish university, in biology, biomedical sciences, molecular life sciences, life sciences and technology, medical natural sciences, mathematics, informatics, physics or chemistry.

You are also eligible for admission if you have a bachelor degree in biomedical sciences, sciences or knowledge engineering issued by Maastricht University.

If you come from an international university, you are eligible if you have a bachelor degree in a relevant field composed of at least 180 ECTS; at least 15 ECTS (or equivalent) in mathematics at bachelor level. The mathematics should include the topics: Linear and/or geometric algebra, analysis & calculus, trigonometry and basic statistics (data analysis and evaluation).

The master Systems Biology is entirely taught in English; therefore we require a thorough active and passive command of the English language. If you meet any of the following criteria, no additional proof of English proficiency is needed:

  • You are a native English speaker
  • You have completed an English taught bachelor or master

If you do not meet these criteria, you have to provide proof of English proficiency by taking either an IELTS or TOEFL test.

Applicants should ensure that their educational transcripts include an official translation into English.

The programme starts in September. The application deadline for non-EU/EEA students is 30 April (before 1 MAY) and 31 May (before 1 June). You can apply through

For more information admissions requirements and procedure you can contact the admissions office
Tel: +31 (0)43 3885321.

You can visit the website for more information via the link here.