Biomolecular Sciences

Biomolecular Sciences is a 2-year (120 ECTS) master’s program that focusses on the molecular mechanisms that make life possible (with a focus on human life). This is expressed by a broad range of subjects for example protein science, extreme biology (the biology of extremophiles), genetics/epigenetics, biochemistry and biophysics.

Although the program focuses on the theoretical aspects of biology it also offers limited lab caputs which will teach about general lab techniques and more biophysics related techniques (e.g. FRAP, FRED, etc.). The internships that this program allows are very varied ranging from hands on lab work (e.g. biochemistry) to the more theoretical (e.g. bioinformatics) as long as it involves molecular biology in some form.

Upon completing this master you will understand the fundamentals of life in a molecular sense and you will also be able to apply various advanced lab techniques and methods. The varied nature MSc Biomolecular Siences allows masters of this degree to be able work at almost any department where molecular research is being performed whist also offering an good job perspective for people that would like to enter into the commercial branch of science.

For more information see the study guide description on the VU website.


The MSc Biomolecular Sciences offers 2 tracks:

  • Cell Biology
  • Biological Chemistry

However it is worth noting that it is possible to follow the 2 tracks at the same time, and thus specializing in 2 subjects. In order to do this you will have to have your minor internship in a cell biology related field and major internship in a biological chemistry related field (or swapped the other way around).

Study components

This master starts off with 2 compulsory courses (the same for both tracks)

  • Protein Science (6 ECTS, September)
  • Genomes and Gene Expression (6 ECTS, October)

This is followed by the following choice of either (you may also pick both, differs per track):

  • Cell Biology
    • Cell Structures and Functions (6 ECTS, November) AND/OR
    • Molecular Cell Physiology and Function (6 ECTS, December)
  • Biological Chemistry
    • Cellular Stress and Signaling (6 ECTS, November) AND/OR
    • Signal Transduction in Health and Disease (6 ECTS, December)

If only one of the above courses is followed, one of the following courses can be chosen as alternative as well as other courses from this or another Master’s program:

  • Cell Biology
    • Drug-induced Stress and Signaling or Developmental Biology (6 ECTS, November) OR
    • Signal Transduction in Health and Disease or Extreme Biology (6 ECTS, December)
  • Biological Chemistry
    • Cell Structures and Function (6 ECTS, November) OR
    • Molecular Cell Physiology and Function (6 ECTS, December)

In January and February, several technical modules can be selected. The aim of these modules is to prepare the students optimally for their research internships. The students can use this period to acquire (new) research skills and to get acquainted with possible areas of research in which they may want to do their internships.

For more information on the tracks see the specialization programs page on the VU website and for a more detailed overview of the courses see the yearly schedule on the VU website.


Direct admission to the Master’s program in Biomolecular Sciences is possible with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences, Gezondheid en Leven (major Biomedische Wetenschappen) or Biology from VU University Amsterdam. With a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences or Biology from another university in the Netherlands or a Dutch Bachelor’s degree in Medical Natural Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Molecular Life Sciences, (Bio)chemistry or related studies you can also enter the Master’s program without additional requirements in the academic year 2014-2015.

It is also possible to apply as WO bachelor students from other fields, students from institutes of higher education or students from abroad although the admission board will decide whether you will be allowed admission. The criteria for this admission can be found on the admission and application page on the VU website.

Please note the following:

  • VU University Amsterdam requires all international applicants to pass an English language proficiency test.
  • Before you apply always contact the Master’s coordinator. Please note that no rights can be derived from the reply given by the coordinator regarding your admission. Only by the admission email you will be notified about your conditional or unconditional admission. For this master its best to contact Dr. Rieky van Walraven by emailing to . For more information see the contacts page of this master.
  • The deadlines for application are 1st of June for all students with a Dutch degree, 1st of April non-Dutch students with an international degree and 1st of March for non-EU/EAA and EU/EEA students who wish to apply for a VUFP grant. More information and how to apply can be found on the admission and application page on the VU website.

Further information

Disclaimer: This page contains a consolidation of information found on the VU, FALW, VUmc and master specific websites; hence no rights can be derived from the information on this page, for more up to date, detailed and accurate information please refer to aforementioned websites!