Are you up to the challenge of finding innovative methods and sustainable solutions to the threats facing the environment? The Environmental Sciences master's programme in Wageningen has its roots in the natural, technological and social sciences. Students will gain insight into the socio-economic causes and the characteristics of pollution and degradation of the natural environment, including the effects on human beings, the atmosphere, ecosystems and other organisms. This two-year programme is based on an interdisciplinary approach. Students learn to develop analytical tools and models, as well as technologies, socio-political arrangements and economic instruments to prevent and control environmental and sustainability issues.
The Environmental Sciences MSc programme of Wageningen University is an international programme containing one year of course work and and one year of research. It is thesis-oriented with the individual research project (major) as its core. Compulsory elements are kept at a minimum, thus enabling the coursework to be tailored to the wishes and needs of the individual student. Study adviser and thesis supervisor both assist the student in selecting the most relevant courses from what Wageningen University has to offer. Read more about the background of the programme.
Within the master's programme you can choose from the following Thesis tracks to meet your personal interests:
Graduates find jobs at many different organisations. Professional job possibilities can be found as:
Read more about the career perspectives and opportunities.
From the discovery of new energy sources to the design of enzymes to produce new medicines, most cutting-edge research requires knowledge of molecular processes. The two year MSc Molecular Life Sciences study programme focuses on the molecular aspects within the fields of nutrition, health, nature and the living environment.
This MSc programme consists of four specialisations that are based upon a unique combination of three main disciplines: biology, chemistry and physics. Research is an important part of the programme and there is a wide variety of research subjects to choose from in order to carry out your thesis and internship during your second year. The combination of chemistry, physics and biology is especially appealing to many employers.
Discoveries through chemistry are based on research conducted by motivated people. Furthermore, a combination of disciplines is needed to be at the forefront of the field of science. Wageningen University offers all that and more. Wageningen University graduates are able to conduct high level research and perform in an interdisciplinary environment. It is here that theory is put to practice and it will give you a strong background for employment in industry, government or universities.
On the programme of Molecular Life Sciences page you can find the general outline of the programme and more detailed information about courses, theses and internships.
Within the master's programme you can choose one of the following Specialisations to meet your personal interests.
The labour market for Molecular Life Sciences graduates is still looking good: the large majority finds a job within a few months. About 80% starts a PhD research. In the Netherlands you get a salary for doing a PhD; in Dutch this job is called AIO = "assistant in opleiding". After finishing your PhD you get the Dutch Doctor title; you are allowed to put Dr. in front of your name.
Read more about career perspectives and opportunities after finishing the programme.
Bioinformatics is a new scientific discipline with roots in computer science, statistics and molecular biology. It was developed to cope with the output of genome sequencing initiatives, that result in an ever-increasing amount of data available about DNA (public databases currently contain over 100 Gigabases of DNA), RNA and derived proteins. Bioinformaticians apply information technology to store, retrieve and manipulate these data and employ statistical methods capable of analysing large amounts of biological data to predict gene functions and to demonstrate the relationship between genes and proteins.
There is a world-wide lack in trained Bioinformaticians resulting in long lists of positions that remain open. Some years ago Wageningen University in the Netherlands started with one of the first fully dedicated MSc curricula in Bioinformatics. Graduates are already in high demand both in industry and in academic research including medical sciences.
On the programme of Bioinformatics page you can find the general outline of the programme and more detailed information about courses, theses and internships.
Depending on the candidate's skills and interest advanced courses in 3D protein modelling, genome annotation or in software design can be taken. The last part of the programme consists of a Bioinformatics thesis period of 6 months. Typical thesis projects include genome annotation, design and testing of mutant proteins, and development of new algorithms to facilitate protein domain recognition. The programme commences annually in September and February.
Bioinformatics is a new fast growing field of research poorly served by traditional curricula in Life Sciences. As the demand has outpaced the supply of bioinformaticians the first job after graduation is often a PhD project at a research institute or at an University in or outside the Netherlands. Read more about career perspectives and opportunities after finishing the programme.
Are you interested in working on solutions for environmental issues like water scarcity and quality, soil degradation, food supply, loss of biodiversity, vulnerability to severe weather and climate change? Join the master's Earth & Environment in Wageningen to help the next generations of scientists to find solutions for these issues confronting the way we look after our planet, now and in the future!
During the two-year master programme, you become a well-rounded specialist in the fields of (a) hydrology and water resources; (b) meteorology and air quality; (c) biological and chemical aspects of soil and water; or (d) soil geography and earth surface dynamics. Furthermore, you also gain a broad view of the interactions in the critical zone where the different spheres meet. Subjects studied range from micro to global scale; they are closely related to the innovative research and applications of ten leading research groups. Read more about the Background of the programme.
Within the master's programme you can choose one of the following Specialisations to meet your personal interests.
The best way to get to know a place is by getting to know the people. Students share their experiences with you about the master's programme and student life in Wageningen on the page student experiences.
Graduates from this programme are well equipped with the knowledge and skills to continue their academic training as a PhD student, or to start a career as a scientific professional at universities, research institutes and consultancies. Depending on their specialization, graduates may take up positions as meteorologists, hydrologists, water quality scientists or soil scientists in the public or private sector. Read more about career perspectives and opportunities after finishing the programme.
Translating fundamental biomedical discoveries into applied clinical practice and public health issues
Human Biology is the only specialisation in the Netherlands that combines fundamental human biology with clinical studies. It provides you with an extensive biological knowledge, and experience in working with animal and patient samples. In this way you’ll be trained to bridge the gap between early biomedical research results and clinical practice.
This wouldn’t be possible within the walls of the Faculty of Science. That’s why there’s an extensive collaboration between the Faculty of Science and the Radboud university medical center in the field of Human Biology. You’ll get the best of both worlds: a thorough background in for example molecular oncology, human genetics, physiology and metabolism as well as a clinical view on diseases. This is an excellent background for a medical researcher or a job at the interface of science and society, such as a consultant, policy officer or communications advisor in the area of food or health.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/humanbiology
- It is the only programme in the Netherlands that bridges the gap between fundamental biomedical research and clinical treatments.
- You’ll get the opportunity to work together with researchers from the Radboud university medical center.
- Radboud biologists and clinicians stand out in the fields of animal and human physiology, human genetics and disease, and molecular and cellular clinical studies.
- Clinical Biology offers internships at multiple related research institutes, such as the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS), the Radboud Institute for Health Sciences (RIHS) and the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (DI).
- There are various opportunities to do an internship abroad thanks to our wide network of cooperating research groups.
After graduation, our students quickly take up positions as researchers in government departments, research organisations and medical or pharmaceutical companies. However, many of our graduates also apply their academic background to societal issues, for example as a communications or policy officer. In general, clinical biologists end up as a:
- Researcher in a hospital or a university
- Researcher in a company, either a large or a start-up company
- Supervisor of clinical trials
- Consultant in the area of health or food
- Policy officer in the area of health or food
- Communications officer at a hospital or a governmental organisation, like RIVM
- Teacher in biology or medical biology
PhD positions at Radboud University
Each year, Radboudumc offers PhD positions in this field of research. Of course, many graduates also apply for a PhD position at related departments in the Netherlands, or abroad.
- From human biology to clinical treatment
Human Biology at Radboud University connects fundamental biological research to clinical treatments. The courses will provide you with a solid background in human physiology and molecular biology, which you’ll apply in developing clinically-oriented research questions. As there’s an extensive collaboration between the Faculty of Science and the Radboud university medical center, you’ll become familiar with both perspectives.
In your internships you’ll work with biomaterials, such as patient and animal samples. This means you’ll apply your biological knowledge to real-life situations. Clinical biologists do not work with patients or clinical treatments directly.
- Three focus areas
This Master’s specialisation focuses on three main topics:
- Molecular Mechanisms of Novel Therapeutics
Which molecular mechanisms lead to cancer? And how can these be translated into clinical practice? These are key questions in the specialisation in Human Biology. For example, we’ll dive into the functioning of epigenetics (heritable modifications of chromosomes without altering the nucleotide sequence), transcription factors, tumour suppressors and immunotherapy.
- Human Genetics and Physiology
This part is about how new developments and discoveries in genetic and molecular fields can help individual patients to improve functionality, independence and quality of life. You’ll study genetic pathways and the functionality of individual organs, organ systems, regulatory mechanisms, and individuals as a whole, in an integrative way.
- Metabolism, Transport and Mobility
The energy balance in our body is one of the most important factors in health and disease. We’ll teach you how energy and metabolites are integrated into the larger cellular networks for metabolism, transport and motility.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/humanbiology
The Dutch Master's Selection Guide (Keuzegids Masters 2017) ranked this programme as the best in the field of Chemistry in the Netherlands.
Drug Innovation is about:
The Master’s in Drug Innovation programme focuses on diagnostics and the improvement and management of small molecule and biomolecular drugs. Drug innovation covers many topics such as the development of new vaccines and the study of antibodies, gene therapeutics, and medical nutrition. Once developed, a new drug then needs to go through approval, which raises a whole new set of challenges, for example the establishment of new methods and criteria for evaluating the quality, efficacy, safety, and performance of the drug.
This broad, interdisciplinary programme is open to graduates from a wide range of disciplines such as chemistry, biology, pharmaceutical sciences, biomedical sciences, or medicine.
Our programme offers a diverse suite of elective courses. This means you can concentrate on the topics of most interest to you. You will also take an internship with one of the research teams working on drug innovation at Utrecht University. This work may lead to publication in scientific journals within the field or new drug patents or protocols.
Graduates of this programme may go on to undertake research in drug innovation at universities, in the pharmaceutical or and biotechnology industry or to work in science or healthcare.
Drug Innovation is an interdisciplinary field, which pulls together expertise from chemical, biological and medical sciences. This interdisciplinarity is central to the search for new solutions to currently incurable diseases. You will contribute to this field by undertaking two internships over a total of 15 months and submitting a writing assignment.
After graduation, you will have the skills needed to translate a drug-related problem into a relevant research question and will also be able to design and perform the research needed to solve this question. Finally, you will also be able to critically reflect on your own research and report on it, both verbally and in writing. These skills are highly transferable and will enable you to work independently within a competitive labour market.
The only Master’s specialisation in the Netherlands covering the function of our epigenome, a key factor in regulating gene expression and in a wide range of diseases.
Our skin cells, liver cells and blood cells all contain the same genetic information. Yet these are different types of cells, each performing their own specific tasks. How is this possible? The explanation lies in the epigenome: a heritable, cell-type specific set of chromosomal modifications, which regulates gene expression. Radboud University is specialised in studying the epigenome and is the only university in the Netherlands to offer a Master’s programme in this field of research.
The epigenome consists of small and reversible chemical modifications of the DNA or histone proteins, such as methylation, acetylation and phosphorylation. It changes the spatial structure of DNA, resulting in gene activation or repression. These processes are crucial for our health and also play a role in many diseases, like autoimmune diseases, cancer and neurological disorders. As opposed to modifications of the genome sequence itself, epigenetic modifications are reversible. You can therefore imagine the great potential of drugs that target epigenetic enzymes, so-called epi-drugs.
In this specialisation, you’ll look at a cell as one big and complex system. You’ll study epigenetic mechanisms during development and disease from different angles. This includes studying DNA and RNA by next-generation sequencing (epigenomics) and analysing proteins by mass spectrometry (proteomics). In addition, you‘ll be trained to design computational strategies that allow the integration of these multifaceted, high-throughput data sets into one system.
- Radboud University combines various state-of-the-art technologies – such as quantitative mass spectrometry and next-generation DNA sequencing – with downstream bioinformatics analyses in one department. This is unique in Europe.
- This programme allows you to work with researchers from the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life sciences (RIMLS), one of the leading multidisciplinary research institutes within this field of study worldwide.
- We have close contacts with high-profile medically oriented groups on the Radboud campus and with international institutes (EMBL, Max-Planck, Marie Curie, Cambridge, US-based labs, etc). As a Master’s student, you can choose to perform an internship in one of these related departments.
- Radboud University coordinates BLUEPRINT, a 30 million Euro European project focusing on the epigenomics of leukaemia. Master’s students have the opportunity to participate in this project.
As a Master’s student of Medical Epigenomics you’re trained in using state-of-the art technology in combination with biological software tools to study complete networks in cells in an unbiased manner. For example, you’ll know how to study the effects of drugs in the human body.
When you enter the job market, you’ll have:
- A thorough background of epigenetic mechanisms in health and disease, which is highly relevant in strongly rising field of epi-drug development
- Extensive and partly hands-on experience in state-of-the-art ‘omics’ technologies: next-generation sequencing, quantitative mass spectrometry and single cell technologies;
- Extensive expertise in designing, executing and interpreting scientific experiments in data-driven research;
- The computational skills needed to analyse large ‘omics’ datasets.
With this background, you can become a researcher at a:
- University or research institute;
- Pharmaceutical company, such as Synthon or Johnson & Johnson;
- Food company, like Danone or Unilever;
- Start-up company making use of -omics technology.
Apart from research into genomics and epigenomics, you could also work on topics such as miniaturising workflows, improving experimental devices, the interface between biology and informatics, medicine from a systems approach.
Or you can become a:
- Biological or medical consultant;
- Biology teacher;
- Policy coordinator, regarding genetic or medical issues;
- Patent attorney;
- Clinical research associate;
Each year, the Molecular Biology department (Prof. Henk Stunnenberg, Prof. Michiel Vermeulen) and the Molecular Developmental Biology department (Prof. Gert-Jan Veenstra) at the RIMLS offer between five and ten PhD positions. Of course, many graduates also apply for a PhD position at related departments in the Netherlands, or abroad.
- Systems biology
In the Medical Epigenomics specialisation you won’t zoom in on only one particular gene, protein or signalling pathway. Instead, you’ll regard the cell as one complete system. This comprehensive view allows you to, for example, model the impact of one particular epigenetic mutation on various parts and functions of the cell, or study the effects of a drug in an unbiased manner. One of the challenges of this systems biology approach is the processing and integration of large amounts of data. That’s why you’ll also be trained in computational biology. Once graduated, this will be a great advantage: you’ll be able to bridge the gap between biology, technology and informatics , and thus have a profile that is desperately needed in modern, data-driven biology.
- Multiple OMICS approaches
Studying cells in a systems biology approach means connecting processes at the level of the genome (genomics), epigenome (epigenomics), transcriptome (transcriptomics), proteome (proteomics), etc. In the Medical Epigenomics specialisation, you’ll get acquainted with all these different fields of study.
- Patient and animal samples
Numerous genetic diseases are not caused by genetic mutations, but by epigenetic mutations that influence the structure and function of chromatin. Think of:
- Autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
- Cancer, in the forms of leukaemia, colon cancer, prostate cancer and cervical cancer
- Neurological disorders, like Rett Syndrome, Alzheimer, Parkinson, Multiple Sclerosis, schizophrenia and autism
We investigate these diseases on a cellular level, focusing on the epigenetic mutations and the impact on various pathways in the cell. You’ll get the chance to participate in that research, and work with embryonic stem cell, patient, Xenopus or zebra fish samples.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/medicalbiology/epigenomics
The Biology of Disease programme is an interdisciplinary programme that positions you at the cutting edge of basic and clinical science, in particular in the cardiovascular research field. In this programme, you study disease mechanisms in the broadest sense, and learn to conduct (cardiovascular) disease-related translational research in cooperation with clinical and pre-clinical staff.
Cardiovascular diseases are the primary focus in this programme. For this, the Cardiovascular Track has been designed. In addition, this Master’s programme offers you the opportunity to focus on more than one clinical speciality , enabling you to conduct research projects on different subjects and diseases while gaining experience in multiple labs. On completing the Biology of Disease programme, you are able to use advanced research techniques and function as an independent researcher in the cardiovascular field, or in your chosen specialty.
In the Biology of Disease programme you learn to translate a (cardiovascular) disease into a scientifically sound experiment or model or the other way around. Hereby, you study the underlying mechanism of the disease to expand the knowledge concerning the disease or to build bridges towards therapeutic leads. Research questions may relate to all organisational levels of the body.
Compared to other Master’s programmes in (cardiovascular) disease mechanisms in the Netherlands, our programme in Utrecht:
Biology of Disease graduates often work in a clinical/hospital research environment, where questions from the clinic are being translated into model systems to study the underlying cellular or molecular cause of the disease. Communication with doctors or veterinarians is therefore of great importance. Most Biology of Disease graduates find jobs as PhD's in clinical labs, as product managers, or in the R&D department of industries. Others have found a position in the communication and education field, as policy advisor, science journalism, or staff member at HVTO (the national expert organisation Girls/women and Science/Technology).
Radboud University’s Master’s specialisation in Microbiology deals with the interface between fundamental biological and medical sciences. It focuses on molecular, medical and environmental microbiology to improve our health and environment and provides in-depth insight into present-day microbial research in general and clinical microbiology.
The major topics of the Microbiology specialisation are:
Microorganisms can be used to break down environmental pollutants and toxic chemicals. Therefore microbiology has the potential to replace common energy-intensive chemical processes with more sustainable solutions. Radboud University collaborates closely with environmental scientists and industrial partners to create energy-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions for societal waste problems.
Unfortunately some microorganisms make us ill. A better understanding of battle between our immune system and these microorganisms will lead to the development of improved vaccines.
The genome of a microorganism is a key factor in research, because it determines how the organisms interact with the host cell and how they cause diseases. Molecular Microbiology acts on the interface between microbiology, molecular biology and genetics and is fundamental for the development of novel antibiotics and improvement of vaccines against microorganisms.
The department of Microbiology at Radboud University has been bestowed with the most prestigious science prizes, including two ERC Advanced Grants, a Spinoza Prize, and two Gravitation Grants. Additionally, many of out students have been awarded prizes for best thesis, poster and paper. The department works at the forefront of environmental microbiology and is specialised in the discovery of ‘impossible’, new anaerobic micro-organisms. The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art bioreactors, electron microscopy, GC-MS, metagenomics, and metaproteomics facilities to grow and study micro-organisms that contribute to a better environment by consuming greenhouse gasses and nitrogenous pollutants.
- Research themes
The Master's specialisation Microbiology is mainly focused on research. You can choose one of the following themes as the subject of your research internship:
- Environmental Microbiology & Biotechnology
For students who are intrigued by questions like: How does life without oxygen work? How do global biogeochemical (nutrient) cycles govern the functioning of the Earth? Can we use microorganisms to create a more sustainable wastewater industry? How do microorganisms break down environmental pollutants and toxic chemicals?
You will do research at the interface between Microbiology, environmental sciences and biochemistry. The research questions cover several levels, from gaining fundamental understanding of energy metabolism of bacteria to their applications in wastewater treatment.
Societal relevance: Microbiology has the potential to replace common energy-intensive chemical processes by more sustainable solutions. Radboud University collaborates closely with environmental scientists, animal ecologists and industrial partners to create energy-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions for societal waste problems.
For students who are intrigued by questions like: Why do some bacteria make us ill whereas others do not? How do bacteria outsmart our immune system? What are the mechanisms of human defence against microorganisms?
You will do research at the interface between Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology, and can, for example, work on how microorganisms are recognised by the host defence system
Societal relevance: A better understanding of host defence will lead to the development of improved vaccines against microorganisms.
- Molecular Microbiology
For students who are intrigued by questions like: How are microorganisms able to persist inside the human body and how do they cause diseases? What does gene regulation tell us about their pathogenic capabilities? Can microbial genomes help us determine how microorganisms interact with human host cells?
You will do research at the interface between Microbiology, molecular biology and genetics, and can, for example, work on functional gene analyses by mutagenesis studies and on the interaction between epithelial cells and pathogenic bacteria.
Societal relevance: Understanding host-pathogen interactions is fundamental for the development of novel antibiotics and improvement of vaccines. Radboudumc collaborates with public health institutes – such as the RIVM (National Institute of Public Health) – and with industrial partners.
- Personal tutor
Our top scientists are looking forward to guiding you during a challenging and inspiring scientific journey. This programme offers you many opportunities to follow your own interests under the excellent supervision of a personal tutor. This allows you to specialise in a field of personal interest.
- The Nijmegen approach
The first thing you will notice as you enter our Faculty of Science is the open atmosphere. This is reflected by the light and transparent building and the open minded spirit of the people working, exploring and studying there. It is no wonder students from all over the world have been attracted to Nijmegen. You study in small groups, with direct and open contact with members of the staff. In addition, Nijmegen has excellent student facilities, such as high-tech laboratories, libraries and study ‘landscapes'.
Studying by the ‘Nijmegen approach' is a way of living. We will equip you with tools which are valuable for the rest of your life. You will be challenged to become aware of your intrinsic motivation. In other words, what is your passion in life? With this question in mind we will guide you to translate your passion into a personalised Master's in Biology.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/microbiology
Is your passion linked to the human system? Are you interested in the workings of the brain, or would you be the one that bridges the different understandings of fundamental biological processes and health & disease in humans? Your choice might be Medical Biology!
Where studying Biology starts with a fascination for life, Medical Biology shares this trait and specifies it towards the human system. The Master's in Medical Biology in Nijmegen focuses strongly on molecular and cellular life processes at the cutting edge of fundamental biology and medical scientific research.
Our programme is unique because it is a combination of fundamental research and the translation of its findings into clinical applications. This is facilitated by our close cooperation with the University Medical Centre.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/medicalbiology
At the beginning of the first year, all students follow an orientation course before they choose one of the three Master's specialisations:
- Human Biology
- Medical Epigenomics
- Science in Society
- Science, Management and Innovation
This programme provides you with the qualifications you need to start working on your PhD and in the field of communication, business and management or education. Medical biologists often continue their research careers in universities, research institutes, pharmaceutical companies and public health authorities. On graduation, our students quickly take up positions as researchers or analysts in government departments, research organisations and medical or pharmaceutical companies.
What medical biologists do:
- Researchers at universities or in companies
- Supervisors of clinical trials
Where medical biologists work:
- Health care
- Business services
The Master's programme has a strong emphasis on research, especially during the first year, but allows you to broaden your horizons towards the fields of Management, Communication and Education during the second year. This way, you have the opportunity to experience whether these specialisations might suit you when you start looking for a job.
- Research trains students for fundamental and applied research. This specialisation is required for people pursuing a PhD position or a position in industrial or institutional research.
- Science, Management and Innovation prepares students for a management position as an academic professional. It prepares students for a career in science related business and administration and for innovation and enterprise from an academic perspective.
- Science in Society trains students in the direction of science communication, which prepares them for a career in communication research, applications and media.
- Education prepares students to become a (first degree) teacher (this variant is only available in Dutch).
Education is closely linked to on-going research within the:
- Institute for Water and Wetlands Research;
- Institute of Neuroscience;
- Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences.
Nijmegen's biologists are experts in the fields of animal physiology at system level as well as at cellular and molecular level. But they also are top researchers in the fields of human health, disease and development.
- Personal tutor
The programme offers you many opportunities to follow your own interests under the guidance of a personal tutor. Each time you start a research internship you will select a research group and be allocated a supervisor. Together you will decide which research to carry out and the specialisations and subject choices that most effectively support it. In practice you will be occupied for four days a week with your own research and one day will be devoted to lectures.
- The Nijmegen approach
The first thing you will notice as you enter our Faculty of Science is the open atmosphere. This is reflected by the light and transparent building and the open minded spirit of the working, exploring and studying people that you will meet there. No wonder students from all over the world have been attracted to Nijmegen. You study in small groups, in direct and open contact with members of the staff. In addition, Nijmegen has excellent student facilities, such as high-tech laboratories, libraries and study ‘landscapes'.
Studying by the ‘Nijmegen approach' is a way of living. We will equip you with tools which are valuable for the rest of your life. You will be challenged to become aware of your intrinsic motivation. In other words, what is your passion in life? With this question in mind we will guide you to translate your passion into a personal Master's programme.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/medicalbiology