Goal of the programme
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.
Further information about the studies on the Master’s programme website.
Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area and pursue their studies in English, are liable to pay tuition fees. You can check from FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees. Find out more about the Be 1* of the Best Scholarship Programme.
Information on the languages of instruction
The Master’s programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences is genuinely international, bringing together students from many countries. The language of instruction and of the study materials is English in the compulsory courses and in most optional courses. You can write all exams, reports and your Master’s thesis in English. If you are fluent in Finnish or Swedish you can also use these languages.
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.
Selection of the study track
In this Master’s programme you can choose between four study tracks, according to your own interest:
- biochemistry and structural biology
- genetics and genomics
- cellular and developmental biology
- molecular and analytical health biosciences
You will need 120 credits (ECTS) for the Master’s degree, according to your personal study plan. The degree consists of
- 80 credits of advanced studies, including your Master’s thesis (30 credits)
- 40 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).
You will find more information on the Master’s programme website.
The goal of the Master’s thesis is to develop your skills in scientific thinking, practical research, scientific writing, and project management. You will become familiar with the planning and implementation of a research project in your own field, as well as with oral and written presentation. The thesis is worth 30 credits, of which about half is experimental research. You will acquire the necessary theoretical and methodological skills during the preceding courses of the Master’s programme and during laboratory practice.
During your thesis work you will be a member of a research group at the University of Helsinki or elsewhere, and your project will be related to the research being conducted by the group. One or more supervisors will be appointed for your thesis. They will participate in the planning and supervision of the project as well as give you feedback on it.
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.
Examples of careers:
In the Master’s programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences you will acquire a Master of Science degree (MSc). Although many of the students from the Programme continue to doctoral training (PhD), the Programme will also give you qualifications for specialist jobs outside Academia, for example in the biotechnology industry or companies. Finnish or Swedish speaking students also have the possibility to qualify as biology teachers, provided that certain criteria are fulfilled. If you are admitted into the programme in 2019, you will not be able to apply for a study right in pedagogical studies during your Master’s degree. However, you can apply for a study right after you have completed the Master’s degree.
If you have selected genetics and genomics as your specialisation and are fluent in Finnish or Swedish, you will be eligible to continue your studies towards qualifying as a hospital geneticist, provided that you have chosen the required courses and modules during your studies.
More information on qualifying as a hospital geneticist (in Finnish): www.helsinki.fi/biotieteet/perinnollisyystiede/sairaalageneetikko/
You may apply if you meet the following three requirements:
- You have completed by 31 July 2019 a first-cycle degree (e.g., bachelor’s degree) or second-cycle degree (e.g., master’s degree) or a postgraduate degree in Finland or abroad.
- You have completed or will complete studies required for the master’s programme by 11 January 2019. Below are more details concerning applicable studies.
- You are able to demonstrate your proficiency in English. For further instructions on demonstrating your proficiency in English, see the section “Required enclosures”.
If you are currently or have previously been a student at the University of Helsinki, please note the following rules.
If you have refugee status or are in a refugee-like situation, and you do not have the official documents to prove your eligibility to apply for higher education, you can still apply to the University of Helsinki.
You may be admitted if
- You prove your eligibility (see above) by the deadline
- You submit the application and the required attachments within the specified deadline. The application form is open from 3 December 2018 (8:00h Finnish time) to 11 January 2019 (15:00h Finnish time). Read more about what will happen after the application period.
- You have completed at least a first-cycle degree (e.g., bachelor’s degree) in a field applicable to the Master’s programme. Please note: even if the degree serving as grounds for application is not completed during the application round, you must have a sufficient number of applicable studies completed by 11 January 2019.
Previous studies completed by the applicants must provide them with sufficient qualifications for successful completion of the programme. Applicants must have completed no less than 30 credits worth of studies in the discipline of genetics and molecular biosciences. Certificates of employment or statements made by supervisors on research related to the field of the programme can be attached to the application. These support the application questions that concern laboratory and research experience.
In order for the studies completed for the degree serving as the grounds for application (or any studies completed to supplement this degree) to provide sufficient qualifications and knowledge for the completion of Master’s studies, their content and level must be applicable and appropriate for the Master’s programme and its disciplines. The applicability and sufficiency of these studies will be assessed during the admissions procedure. The University of Helsinki does not provide any preliminary evaluation on the suitability of the applicant’s previous studies
Applicants with a second-cycle degree in the same or related field will only be taken into consideration for compelling reasons and if the targeted degree is sufficiently different from their previously completed degree. As a rule, second-cycle degrees are used as grounds for applying for a right to complete a postgraduate degree.
The assessment is based on the studies applicants have completed by the end of the application period.
In the application form, you must place the study tracks in an order of preference. The choice of study track, however, is not binding and you can change the study track during your studies. The Master’s programme offers five study tracks: A) Biochemistry and structural biology B) Cell and developmental biology C) Genetics and genomics D) Molecular and analytical health biosciences 5) Biology teacher (only available for those aiming to become biology teachers, and who are fluent in Finnish or Swedish).
Two-stage assessment and selection of applicants
Student admissions to the Master’s Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences are carried out in two stages. At the first stage, all eligible applicants will be assessed on the basis of their application documents and in accordance with the criteria below (scored on the following scales):
- Applicability of previous studies to the Master’s programme (0–25)
- Academic performance in completed studies required for the programme (0–20)
- Laboratory skills and experience in practical research work (0–10)
- Motivation letter (0–5)
For this programme, there exists further information about the scoring of the applications.
In the first assessment stage, applicants with more than the minimum score of 35 will be ranked based on their score. Of these, no more than the best 40 will be selected for video interviews held in the second assessment stage.
The video interviews consist of a certain number of predetermined questions. Each answer will be scored on a scale 0-15. Admission to the programme requires participation in the interview.
The interviews will be conducted with the help of the Skype application. The interviews will be primarily arranged in English. Applicants who wish to complete the degree in Finnish or Swedish may, however, ask for the interview to be conducted in the language they have selected for their degree in their application.
Admissions are based on the combined score from the two assessment stages. The maximum score is 75. The minimum requirement is a score of 50. No more than the best 20 applicants will be admitted to the programme.
In the event the programme quota cannot accommodate all applicants who have completed studies applicable to the degree programme, a comparison between the applicants will be made. Only the best applicants will be accepted. There is no requirement for the programme to fill its admission quota.
If two or more applicants are tied after the evaluation, they will be ranked firstly on the basis of an interview, secondly on the basis of applicable studies, thirdly on the basis of academic performance and fourthly on the basis of the motivation letter.
If in this round of admissions you are applying for more than one master’s programme at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, you must rank them in order of preference on your application form. If you could be admitted to more than one programme, you can only be admitted to the one you have ranked the highest.
Applicants will be informed of the results of the student selection by 13 April 2018 at the latest. Please note the one study place per term provision if you are applying for more than one study programmes in the spring 2018.
Study right to be awarded
If you are admitted, you have been granted the right to pursue the degree of Master of Science in the multilingual Master’s Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biology.
In the multilingual Master’s Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biology, you can choose the language of your degree to be Finnish, Swedish or English. You will also have to choose the language of your degree (English, Finnish or Swedish) on the application form. This means that even though most of the teaching will be offered in English, you can answer examination questions and write course assignments and your Master’s thesis in the language that you select as the language of the degree. Please note that you can apply to this Master’s programme through only one language option and that the selected option defines the language of your degree (English, Finnish or Swedish). The Master’s programme admits no more than 20 students regardless of their selected language of degree and application option.
Statistics on applicants can be found on the university’s web page.
The application must be accompanied by the following documents, and the documents must be submitted as instructed below:
- Official photocopy of the degree certificate/diploma
- Official transcript
- Certificate of language proficiency
- Authorised translations into English, Finnish or Swedish
- A photocopy of your passport, your official identity card or your Finnish residence permit card
- Diploma supplement (if available)
- Motivation letter to be included in the application form
- Certificates of employment or statements made by supervisors on research related to the field of the programme. The certificate must clearly indicate the quality and quantity of the work experience. Please note that this attachment is not compulsory, if you don’t have relevant work or research experience.
1) Read carefully the instructions on application enclosures and their submission.
2) You must demonstrate your proficiency in English, Finnish or Swedish (Updated 18/12/2018: Finnish and Swedish added). Read the instructions on proving your language skills.
3) If the degree serving as grounds for application to the programme is still incomplete, you need not submit a degree certificate/diploma with the application documents. If you are admitted, the admission decision will be conditional, and you will receive instructions with your letter of admission for submitting the official degree certificate/diploma. NB! The final degree certificate/diploma must be presented by 14 August 2019 at the latest.
|Due date||11.1.2019, 15:00|
Admission Services, University of Helsinki
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