Master in Molecular Life Sciences


Program Description

Master in Molecular Life Sciences

Are you looking to broaden your career options in the field of bioscience? Would you like to gain professional experience while studying? Do you want a course that meets industry needs and has been rated ‘top program’ for 5 years running? Then take your science career to the next level by studying Molecular Life Sciences at HAN University of Applied Sciences.

Location: Nijmegen
Duration: 2 years
Degree: Master of Science
Course start: September

The profession in a nutshell

Biotechnology uses living systems and organisms to develop or make products for agriculture, medicine, and industry. As an expert in this field, you usually work in a lab setting in fundamental research and/or quality control. By raising your qualifications to a Master's level, you expand your job opportunities to include positions with higher-level responsibility. This means you have the skills to independently plan, organize and execute projects, devise experimental strategies and write scientific documents. Moreover, you are able to oversee the organizational and interpersonal aspects of your projects. These are valuable skills that employers look for.

Theory and practice

One of the hallmarks of education at HAN is the seamless integration of theory and practice. During this course theory and practice go hand in hand. Both in class and at your workplace, you continually work on projects that contribute to the actual development of bioscience products. For example, the discovery of new targets or drugs, the optimisation of protein production and purification, or the development and validation of diagnostic tests.

After studying the literature, you design strategies and experiments, write complete project proposals, analyze data, give scientific presentations and write project reports. To help you reflect on your development in these areas, you have your own personal coach, who also stays in close contact with you during your internship.


The Master in Molecular Life Sciences is connected to HAN BioCentre, where students and staff conduct multidisciplinary research on actual issues from the professional field of biodiscovery. One such issue is finding alternatives to animal testing. HAN BioCentre is collaborating with the University of Oxford and other Dutch universities on the C. elegans screening system. C. elegans, a nematode, is genetically similar to humans, which means it serves as an ideal model for processes occurring in humans. Smart screening applications using this organism are therefore being developed as a viable alternative to animal testing. Another promising area within the field of biodiscovery is the microbial production of oil as an alternative to petroleum. HAN BioCentre is researching the use of microorganisms such as yeasts as promising sources of oil.

Practice-based modules

This professional Master's course is geared to the needs of companies and research organizations active in the Bioscience sector. It consists of seven modules in which you learn to plan and execute projects in various phases of applied research and product development. Modules 1-4 cover the range of contexts that are important in the different areas of applied research and product development in the Bioscience sector. Modules 5-7 are conducted as an internship. Because your lecturers are actively involved in professional practice, they are abreast of all the latest developments in the field. As a result, they can effectively support you throughout your studies, especially during your internship.


Modules 5-7 are conducted as an internship, where you develop your skills in research and project management at a company. You do this by creating professional research products, for example, a scientific report or an experimental design. On the project management side, you write up a project proposal for the internship company and develop your personal effectiveness by analyzing your network and learning about situational leadership, for example. Students have previously carried out their internships at companies like MSD and NTRC or at the HAN BioCentre.

Master's thesis

In the final module, you demonstrate your knowledge and skills in the form of a Master's thesis. This involves carrying out a project in applied research or product development for your internship company. You begin by writing a product plan and ensure that it is executed. Next, you report on the results and reflect on the project execution. Finally, you defend your thesis in front of a board of examiners. Examples of past projects include developing diagnostic or prognostic tests, drug research, developing laboratory kits and protein production.

International setting

The course has a strong international focus. Firstly, you study and work on projects with students from a range of different countries, allowing you to learn about intercultural teamwork. Secondly, you complete your internship at an internationally oriented company, giving you first-hand experience of working in an international setting. And finally, HAN collaborates with the University of Florida (UF), allowing you to complete parts of their online Master's course in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. This provides you with intercultural competencies that are in high demand in the industry.

Career prospects

With this Master's degree, you can work in different areas of the Bioscience sector, such as pharmaceuticals, personal health care, diagnostics and the food and feed industry. Our graduates also work in universities, hospitals, and private research institutes. A professional Master's degree gives you the opportunity to apply for jobs with more responsibility and opens doors to new challenges.

Our graduates get jobs as:

  • Project Leader
  • Lab Manager
  • Researcher

If this Master's course has motivated you to delve even deeper into applied research, you can always follow in the footsteps of many past graduates and further your career with a Ph.D.

A good match?

  • Do you have a Bachelors degree in molecular life sciences, biotechnology or something similar?
  • Are you looking for more knowledge, skills, and responsibility?
  • Are you interested in both the science and project management aspects of bioscience projects?
  • Would you like to translate fundamental knowledge into practical applications, such as drugs or diagnostics?

Is your answer to most questions YES? Then this study program would be a good match for you.

Study load per week

  • Contact hours: 8
  • Workplace learning: 24
  • Study hours: 8

Graduation percentage

90% of all students graduate within 2,5 years

Course overview

Module 1: Fundamentals

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Gene Technology
  • Statistics
  • Using Databases
  • Reading Scientific Articles

Module 2: Drug Development

  • Molecular Aspects of Cancer Development
  • Various Targets and Drugs
  • Assay Development
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology
  • Statistics
  • Bio-informatics
  • Drug Registration
  • Structure Elucidation Analysis

Module 3: Production of Biomolecules

  • Production Strains
  • Fermentation Technology
  • Downstream Processing (DSP)
  • Bio-analysis Methods
  • Metabolic Engineering
  • Gene Annotation
  • Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)

Module 4: Vaccines and Diagnostics

  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Vaccine Development
  • Diagnostic Testing
  • Validation
  • Statistics

Module 5: Research and Product Development Skills

  • Research Skills
  • Scientific Writing and Presenting
  • Experimental Design
  • Quality Assurance and Control
  • Business Development

Module 6: Project Management

  • Professional Conduct
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness
  • Project Planning and Control
  • Professional Identity

Module 7: Master's Thesis

Last updated Feb 2019

About the School

HAN strives to be one of the top universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. With campuses in both Arnhem and Nijmegen, in the east of the Netherlands, HAN has over 30,000 students.

HAN strives to be one of the top universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. With campuses in both Arnhem and Nijmegen, in the east of the Netherlands, HAN has over 30,000 students. Read less
Nijmegen , Arnhem + 1 More Less