MSc in Biological Sciences: Green Life Sciences

University of Amsterdam

Program Description

MSc in Biological Sciences: Green Life Sciences

University of Amsterdam

The two-year track Green Life Sciences in the Biological Sciences Master’s programme is a research oriented programme that focuses on studying plants and their interactions with the environment at the molecular level.

The study programme gives you the opportunity to combine fundamental and applied training in molecular biology, chemical ecology, ecogenomics, biotechnology, plant breeding, phytopathology, pest control, cell and population biology. This enables you to develop an integrated view of the functioning of plants and to gain skills required for modern research.

Is Green Life Sciences at the UvA the study for you?

It is, if you:

  • are interested in how organisms function at a genetic, biochemical and cellular level and how this translates to their ecology, evolution and usage.
  • want to learn how plants cope with abiotic stress such as drought or high salt levels in the soil, which is an increasing problem in agriculture.
  • want to investigate how pathogens and plagues (insects, mites) affect the plants’ immune system.
  • want to study how outbreaks of pests can be predicted and circumvented, and how natural enemies can be used for pest control.
  • want to research the underlying mechanisms that lead to an enormous diversity of inflorescence and flower architectures in nature, which is in sharp contrast with the high conservation of gene and genome sequences.
  • are interested in the role of epigenetic mechanisms and chromatin structure in gene/genome regulation.
  • want to become an independent researcher by taking part in internships with internationally renowned scientists.
  • have the ambition to get down to the core of a scientific problem and are eager to discuss this at the highest level with your peers.
  • want to design your own study programme for example by following a professional specialisation in entrepreneurship.

What does Green Life Sciences at the UvA have to offer me?

The Master’s track Green Life Sciences highlights molecular biology. Lectures and research labs are taught by top scientists who have published in Science, Nature, Plant Cell and Plant Journal. In masterclasses you will have the opportunity to interact with international guest scientists. You will also have full access to the Green Life-Sciences Hub with its R&D for the Top Sector Food & Flowers, the Amsterdam Economic Development Board, Greenport Aalsmeer, NAK-tuinbouw, and the Seed Valley cluster of the plant breeding industry in North-Holland.

Furthermore, you will:

  • become part of a close group of students and get your own ‘lab bench’.
  • work with state of the art facilities for transcriptomics (next generation sequencing), proteomics and metabolomics and in new experimental facilities including greenhouses and plant growth chambers.
  • learn through interactive teaching methods, individual supervision, and internships.

Study programme


Practical training forms the core (75%) of the Green Life Sciences programme. You are required to complete at least one research project and a literature review, at the UvA or at a national or international lab.

At the UvA you can benefit from the Green Student Lab (GSL), offering internships that focus on a career outside the academic world. GSL is a lab that is run like a regular – independent – lab, but, it obtains research questions from non-academic parties, such as breeding companies. In addition, the GSL also offers students extra courses focusing on a career outside academia. Examples are: planning and time management or professional self-awareness.

Courses & electives

Advanced courses on biomolecular, ecological, genetic and physiological topics, allow you to become familiar with contemporary issues in plant biology. Students present the results of their research and literature study and receive feedback from the scientists participating in the Master’s programme.

Majors or Tesla Minor: if you want more than research

Students of the Master’s programme Biological Sciences have further the option to choose one of three professional majors (60 EC) or minor (30 EC), each designed to train a specific set of skills needed as a secondary school teacher, in policy and communication or elsewhere outside the academia.:

  • The major Teaching: prepares students to become a teacher in Biology at secondary schools and Higher Vocational Education (Dutch: HBO). This major is offered by the Interfacultaire Lerarenopleidingen (ILO).
  • The major Science Communication: prepares students for a role in communication between science and other societal sectors. This major is offered by the Athena Institute of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).
  • The major Science in Society: trains skills such as reading and writing policy advisory reports, management and leadership, and organisation, and is meant for students with a broad interest in current affairs, social issues, policy, management and entrepreneurship. This major is offered by the Athena Institute of the VU.
  • Minor Tesla: trains skills needed in interdisciplinary environments by tackling real business or societal cases with external partners.

Career prospects

Graduates of the Green Life Sciences programme have excellent research training that will allow them to pursue their PhD and enter an academic career. Alternatively, graduates are also well equipped to take on positions in industrial labs (plant biotechnology and life sciences).

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated December 7, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2018
24 months
Full time
2,006 EUR
Netherlands - Amsterdam
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
Netherlands - Amsterdam
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
EU/EEA students. Non-EU/EEA students €14,630 per year.