Structure, content and study tracks

The Master's Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences (GMB) is based on basic scientific research. You will acquire knowledge and skills in modern genetics and molecular biosciences, which you will deepen in your chosen field of specialisation (study track): Biochemistry and Structural Biology, Cell and Developmental Biology, Genetics and Genomics or Molecular Analytical Health Biosciences.
Programme structure

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 to all study tracks of the Programme 55 cr
  • Study track specific studies: Compulsory, alternative and elective courses 50 cr
  • Advanced studies include the Master´s Thesis of 30 cr
  • Optional and free choice studies 15 cr
Study contents

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.

Download the new 2023-2026 GMB degree sturucture

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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).



Spe­cial­isa­tion within the pro­gramme (study tracks)

In this Master's Programme you can specialise according to your interests by choosing between four study tracks:

  • Biochemistry and Structural Biology
  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Molecular and Analytical Health Biosciences
Study track: Bio­chem­istry and Struc­tural Bio­logy

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
  • Chemical Biology
  • Membrane biology and biochemistry
Study track: Ge­net­ics and Ge­n­om­ics

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

The study track of Genetics and Genomics covers the structure and function of genes and genomes. Current research in this field requires a 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 audiences.

Examples of courses:

  • Essentials of gene regulation & epigenetics                            
  • Population genetics and genomics                    
  • Human and cancer genetics
  • New experimental approaches in genomics
  • RNA-seq and data analysis
  • Elements of bioinformatics
Study track: Cell and De­vel­op­men­tal 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 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 audiences.

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
  • Research project  
Study track: Mo­lecu­lar and Ana­lyt­ical Health Bios­ciences

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 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 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 health biosciences
  • Principles of bioscience omics
  • Laboratory medicine and molecular diagnostics
  • Physiology
  • Advanced immunobiology
More about the programme