Biology of Disease

Biology of Disease (BoD) is a 2-year (120 ECTS) master’s program that studies disease mechanisms in the broadest sense via internships in pre-clinical and clinical research in medical, biomedical, biological, industrial and veterinary labs.
This program offers the opportunity to focus on more than one clinical speciality, enabling students to conduct research projects on different subjects and diseases and in various labs. Alternatively, students may choose to focus on cardiovascular research.
The central theme of this program is the translation of a clinical problem (disease) into a scientifically secure experiment or model in order to study the underlying mechanism of the disease. Such experiments and models can reveal therapeutic leads. Research questions may relate to all organisational levels of the body.
On completing the program, you will be able to use various advanced research techniques. The MSc in Biology of Disease lends itself particularly well to conducting disease-related research in co-operation with clinical and pre-clinical staff.

The master can be done in two ways: in one, the student takes courses and the research projects on any disease-related topic that is possible in the master. The other option is to focus on cardiovascular research. There are four mandatory courses for these students and the research projects and thesis have to be done on a cardiovascular topic. Within this focus area, there are two lines of research. More information can be found on the website of the master program (link can be found at the bottom of this page).

Study components
The study consists of different parts that are depicted in the table. Biology of Disease Master’s students spend eight of the ten weeks completing the two-week course ‘Mechanisms of Disease’ (compulsory for everyone) and three of the following five courses: ‘Metabolic Disorders’, ‘Infection and Immunity’, ‘Biomolecular and Cellular Cardiology’, ‘Essentials of Neuroscience’ and ‘Vascular Biology’. For the remaining two weeks, students may select courses offered as part of other programs. The major research project has to be done in one of the research groups participating to the program.

Applicants must hold a BSc or equivalent qualification in: Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Chemical Sciences or Medical Biology. The student must have knowledge of the pathology, physiology and pathophysiology of organs and organ systems. Utrecht University students should have passed the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) –Bachelor’s courses ’Organ systems’ (or ‘Circulation’ of the Pharmacy Bachelor’s program) and ‘Pathology’.

Applicants from outside Utrecht University (like foreign applicants or applicants from HLO) will be assessed on an individual basis. It will then be decided whether the student will be allowed to enter an individually designed pre-Master’s program (three to six months) or they can immediately enter the program.
For further questions, contact the program coordinator:
M.L. Zonderland (mail:
For starting 1 September, the application deadline is April 1st. Dutch students can apply until 1 June but placing is not guaranteed then.
For starting 1 February, the admission deadline is  October 15th.

Further information

UU website-BoD


Ervaring van een student

Ervaring student Biology of Disease (in het Nederlands)