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Genetics and Molecular Biosciences - MSc

Course Description

How do genes regulate the development and functioning of cells, tissues and organisms? How do molecules, cells and tissues function and communicate with each other, and how are their functions studied? These are the key issues for understanding molecular and cellular mechanisms, whose disruption can contribute to the onset and progression of various diseases. Researchers in the fields of genetics, genomics, cellular and developmental biology, biochemistry, structural biology, and biosciences of health are searching for the answers to these questions.

Upon completing the Master’s Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences:
-You will have in-depth knowledge of genetics and molecular biosciences and of the experimental methods used in them.
-You will understand the characteristics and functions of genes and biomolecules at the cellular, tissue and organism levels.
-You will be able to analyse scientific knowledge critically and communicate it to different audiences.
-You will have the ability to produce new scientific information about the properties of genes, biomolecules and cells by means of experimental studies.
-You will be able to take advantage of existing research data and biological databases.
-You will have mastered good scientific practice and know how to act accordingly.
-You will have the capacity for independent project management and problem solving, as well as for maintaining and developing your own expertise.
-You will have the ability to work in multi-disciplinary and multicultural communities.

The University of Helsinki will introduce annual tuition fees to foreign-language Master’s programmes starting on August 1, 2017 or later. The fee ranges from 13 000-18 000 euros. Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area, are liable to these fees. You can check this FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees: https://studyinfo.fi/wp2/en/higher-education/higher-education-institutions-will-introduce-tuition-fees-in-autumn-2017/am-i-required-to-pay-tuition-fees/

Programme Contents

The Master's programme is based on basic scientific research. In the programme you will acquire knowledge and skills in modern genetics and molecular biosciences, which you will deepen in your chosen field of specialisation. The programme is tightly integrated with the experimental research carried out at the University of Helsinki in genetics, genomics, biochemistry, structural biology, and cellular and developmental biology. By combining course units, you will be able to acquire a broad-based understanding of biological phenomena and of the molecules that have an effect on health, including their interactions and functions at the levels of cells, tissues and organisms.

Courses include a variety of working methods: seminars, lectures, laboratory work, oral and written presentations, project work in small groups, independent studies and study circles formed by the students. The instruction will utilise digital learning environments.

These diverse teaching methods require active involvement from you. They will develop your ability to search, structure and present new information, as well as to draw conclusions. You will learn about the principles and methods of research during laboratory exercises, and about practical work in research groups and when writing your Master's thesis. In addition to academic excellence, you will acquire general working life skills such as fact-finding, problem solving, communication, project management and teamwork. You will acquire competence both for post-graduate studies in a Doctoral Programme and for expert positions immediately after gaining your Master's degree.

Programme Structure

You will need 120 credits (ECTS) for the Master’s degree, according to your personal study plan. The degree consists of:
-60 credits of advanced studies, including your Master’s thesis (30 credits).
-60 credits of other studies chosen from your own programme or from other programmes (such as Translational Medicine, Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology or Neuroscience).

You will be able to complete the Master’s programme in two years. The degree always includes a personal study plan as well as studies in labour market orientation, career planning, and possibly also international activities. If you are aiming for qualification as a biology teacher, you will need 60 credits of teacher’s pedagogical studies in your degree (this applies only to Finnish or Swedish speaking students).

Career Prospects

After graduating from the Master’s programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences, you will be well-prepared to move on to a career or to continue your studies at the postgraduate level for a PhD degree (see Postgraduate study opportunities). Doctoral studies are a prerequisite if you wish to become a researcher in the academic sector, for example.

The Master of Science (MSc) is a generalist degree, giving you the ability to work in basic and applied research and to act as an expert in public administration, the private sector and biotechnology companies. Your choice of specialisation and optional courses allows you to profile your skills in the direction you aim to follow for your future career. You can also take courses from other Master’s programmes at the University of Helsinki or other universities in Finland or abroad.

The professional titles of graduates in molecular biosciences include senior researcher, entrepreneur, forensic chemist, research and development chemist, product manager, senior officer, editor and teacher, so your future profession and employment can be as unique as you are. The teaching in the Master’s programme is based on cutting-edge research, so your education will be closely related and applicable to emerging fields such as bio-economy, nanotechnology, personal health and biological drugs. Some hot development areas in biotechnology include renewable energy and environmental technology. These sectors will require new kinds of specialists, who possess a wide and comprehensive understanding of molecular life sciences. After graduation, you could act, for example, in health life sciences as a quality manager or a laboratory specialist, scientific writer, clinical research monitor, or as an expert in administration.


The Master's programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences has a multidisciplinary and international teaching staff and research environment, giving you an excellent opportunity to create interdisciplinary and international contacts which will be of great importance for your future career. The Master's programme enables you to participate in international research projects from the beginning of your studies. You will communicate in English, allowing for a smooth transition between international research and specialist environments.

You can carry out the research and internship periods included in the Master's programme abroad. You will also have the possibility to take courses for the Master’s degree as an exchange student in foreign collaborating universities.

Visit the Genetics and Molecular Biosciences - MSc page on the University of Helsinki website for more details!

Entry Requirements

See the website for the latest admission requirements: View Website

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