The Master's Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences (GMB), provides you with understanding and skills in modern biosciences at the level of genes and molecules to cells and organisms. You can specialise according to your interests in one of the four study tracks: Biochemistry and Structural Biology, Cell and Developmental Biology, Genetics and Genomics or Molecular Analytical Health Biosciences.
What is Genetics and Molecular Biosciences (GMB )?

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 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.

The GMB programme is based on basic scientific research and tightly integrated with the experimental research carried out at the University of Helsinki.

This Prezi presentation compiles key information about the GMB programme in a visual format.

Why Genetics and Molecular Biosciences?

The Master's Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences (GMB), provides you with understanding and skills in modern biosciences at the level of genes and molecules to cells and organisms. 

Upon completing the programme, you will:

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

The Master of Science (MSc) degree gives 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. It also makes you eligible for admission to postgraduate/doctoral studies.

The graduates achieve success due to the strong academic culture combined with practical knowledge.
Language of instruction

The language of instruction and the study materials in the compulsory courses and most optional courses is English. 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.

Structure, content and study tracks

The Master's Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences is based on basic scientific research. You acquire knowledge and skills in modern genetics and molecular biosciences with a focus on your chosen field of specialisation.

The Master’s Degree (120 cr) consists of:

  • Studies common to all study tracks (including the Master´s thesis): 55 cr
  • Study track -specific studies: compulsory and elective courses: 50 cr
  • Optional, free choice studies: 15 cr

In principle, the curriculum enables the student to complete 90 cr in 12 months with full-time studying and utilizing the summer months, but not including the Master’s Thesis (30 cr). Completing the programme (120 cr) studies in two years is recommended, and 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).

Based on your interests, you specialise by choosing between four study tracks:  

  • Biochemistry and Structural Biology
  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Molecular and Analytical Health Biosciences
The teaching curriculum was well-structured allowing a wide choice of theoretical and practical courses.
Courses and teaching

The GMB 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 affect health, including their interactions and functions at the levels of cells, tissues and organisms. In addition, you will learn about the principles, methods and practises in research in laboratory courses and research projects.

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. Digital learning environments are used to support learning.

The lectures include the latest findings on a topic, and the lecturers presenting conduct cutting-edge research.
Master's thesis

All students undertake a Master’s thesis (30 cr). You will learn how a research project proceeds from planning the work and choosing adequate methods to performing the experiments and analysing the results. 

The thesis is typically based on an experimental research project carried out in one of the University’s research groups under the supervision of an experienced researcher. You will write your Thesis as if it were a scientific publication, critically describing, contemplating and discussing your results in the light of previous scientific literature on the topic.

In your thesis, you are expected to demonstrate that you are capable of scientific thinking, master the relevant research methods and are profoundly familiar with the topic of the thesis. Completing the thesis work shows that you have the required skills in project management and written scientific communication.

In the Master's seminar, you will get support for all the stages of the thesis process and beyond, including data acquisition, communication skills, peer interaction and support, networking and career opportunities.

The Master’s thesis of the students studying towards a biology teacher qualification can deal with pedagogical or didactic issues in biology teaching (applies only to Finnish- or Swedish-speaking students).

Student testimonials

The best way to know more about the GMB programme is through our students and graduates!

In the testimonials, they give their insights about the programme, studies and student life in Helsinki as well as share their aspirations and future goals.

I wanted the opportunity to work with leading scientists.
Student life

Student life and especially the student organisation culture is exceptionally rich and diverse in Finland. 

At the University of Helsinki, the student community is very active. More than 240 student organisations operate within the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY), ranging from faculty and subject organisations to political and societal organisations, and from choirs and orchestras to sports and game clubs. Their activities include anniversary celebrations, academic dinner parties, cultural events, get-togethers and excursions.

Students in Finland are also entitled to many benefits and services. For example, affordable student housing, low-cost sports services and student-priced meals. You also get numerous discounts, for example on public transport fees across the country.

Your campus

The Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences is located at Viikki Campus, an international hub of life sciences hosting several faculties, institutes, research projects and network organisations. There's also a veterinary teaching hospital, a research farm, an arboretum, a greenhouse and a research field. 

The faculties of Viikki Campus have several research stations in Finland offering excellent facilities and support for research and teaching.

More about the programme