Structure, content and study tracks

The Master's Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences (GMB) 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.

You can specialise according to your interests in Biochemistry and Structural Biology, Cell and Developmental Biology, Genetics and Genomics or Molecular Analytical Health Biosciences.

Students undertake modules to the value of 120 credits (cr; ECTS) according to their study track and personal study plan. The Master’s Degree consists of

  • Common Studies of the Programme 10-15 cr
  • Study track specific studies: Compulsory, Optional and Elective courses 90 cr
  • Master´s Thesis of 30 cr
  • Free choice studies 15-25 cr

 

GMB Degree Structure image

The curriculum of the Programme will in principle enable completing 90 cr in 12 months (full-time studying and utilizing study opportunities during the summer months, and not including the Master’s Thesis research project). However, completing the Programme in 2 years is recommended, as it will give more flexibility with the optional studies. Career planning or extracurricular activities may be included in the personal study plan.

Students studying for qualification as biology teachers will have 60 cr of pedagogical studies in their degree (applies only to Finnish or Swedish speaking students).

 

Master’s Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences 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
  • cell 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. In comparison, you will learn 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.

You can check out courses in Weboodi, the online course catalogue for students at the University of Helsinki.

What is the code of life, how is it interpreted and how does its variation lead to different traits and disease?

The study track of genetics and genomics covers the structure and function of genes and genomes. Current research in this field requires strong integration of theoretical knowledge, experimental approaches and computational data analysis. Achieving such integration is the key learning objective of the study track. The student will obtain strong knowledge on

  • genome properties
  • gene regulation
  • epigenetics and population genetics

and will learn to apply this knowledge to address questions in

  • development
  • physiology and evolution of organisms as well as
  • human health and disease.

The student will learn key concepts and methods currently in use in genetics and genomics. Practical courses will strengthen the student’s laboratory skills and ability to carry out statistical and bioinformatic data analysis. Further training can be obtained by participating in research at local research groups. The student will also learn transferable skills, including critical thinking, scientific writing, project management and presentation of research to professional and general audience.

Examples of courses:

  • Genomes and cytogenetics
  • Essentials of gene regulation & epigenetics                            
  • Population genetics and genomics                    
  • Evolutionary genomics data analysis
  • Quantitative genetics
  • Elements of bioinformatics

What are the molecular mechanisms underlying life´s processes at the most fundamental level?

The study track of biochemistry and structural biology focuses on macromolecular structure and function and molecular interactions. Research laboratories associated with the study track use a wide range of modern techniques and experimental and computational approaches relevant to address the molecular basis of key biological phenomena.  

The courses provide the student with up-to-date theoretical knowledge in biochemistry and structural biology and strong hands-on methodological experience through lab rotations and thesis work. In addition to quantitative and analytical skills, the courses support the development of creative and critical thinking and good communication skills.

Examples of courses:

  • Research Project in biochemistry/structural biology
  • Introduction to Structural Biology
  • Protein structure, function and folding
  • Enzymes
  • Advanced Molecular Biology Techniques
  • Molecular Biology Laboratory Course
  • Chemical Biology

How do cells function, what makes them so diverse, and how do their complex interactions guide the normal development of multicellular organisms?

The study track in the Cell and Developmental Biology covers

  • molecular biology of cells and organelles, as well as
  • mechanisms the cells use to form tissues and organs during development and regeneration.

The University of Helsinki has strong research traditions in many aspects of cell and developmental biology, particularly in

  • organelle biology
  • cytoskeletal dynamics
  • cell signaling
  • stem cell biology
  • ectodermal and neuronal development and in
  • evolutionary developmental biology.

Our teaching methods include lectures, student seminars, writing exercises, laboratory courses and practical training in expert laboratories. Our mission is that the student should become

  • a critically thinking independent expert
  • skilled in scientific communication and
  • equipped with excellent theoretical and practical knowledge about cells and their interactions in development and disease.

In addition, the students will also learn transferable skills, including scientific writing, project management and presentation of research to both professional and general audience.

Examples of courses:

  • Advanced cell biology
  • Methods in functional genetics and development 
  • Stem cells and organogenesis
  • Seminars in cell and developmental biology
  • Book exam in Cell Biology or Developmental Biology
  • Drosophila genetics
  • Research project  

Which molecules and networks underpin human health? How can these be analyzed and used in personalized health strategies?

Molecular and analytical health biosciences (MAB) -study track aims to train life science experts with an in-depth understanding of the analytics of biomolecules and their functional networks in health. After completing the Master’s programme, the graduates will have the expertise to handle omics-based big data and to combine it with an understanding of traditional laboratory testing. 

The MAB specialization course, ”Integrative biosciences for health” provides

  • an introduction to new aspects of health biosciences including e.g. biobanking, precision/personalized medicine, and new cutting edge analytical health technologies, as well as
  • an opportunity to explore different actors and career opportunities in the life science sector.

In addition to a wide selection of courses in the other GMB study tracks,  the students can widen their perspective of health biosciences by attending courses e.g. in immunology, pharmacy and nutrition. A spectrum of human molecular health-oriented research projects at the University of Helsinki are obtainable for the MAB students in the form of laboratory training and/or as the practical part of their master’s thesis.

Students will also acquire transferable skills such as analytical thinking, scientific writing and project management. Interaction with companies and other Biohealth actors and stakeholders is facilitated during studies.

Examples of courses:

  • Integrative biosciences for health
  • Principles of bioscience omics
  • Laboratory medicine and molecular diagnostics
  • Physiology
  • Advanced immunobiology