Master's Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences, Master of Science (2 years)

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Degree level
Master's degree
Start semester
2019 Autumn
Scope of studies and length
120 ECTS credits, 2 years
Language of instruction
English, Finnish, Swedish
Tuition fee per year (only non-EU/EEA citizens)
15000 €
Application period
3.12.2018 - 11.1.2019

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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 the 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.

Upon completing the Master’s Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences:

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

Further information about the studies on the Master's programme website.

Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area and pursue their studies in English, are liable to pay tuition fees. You can check from FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees. Find out more about the Be 1* of the Best Scholarship Programme.

The Master’s programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences is genuinely international, bringing together students from many countries. The language of instruction and of the study materials is English in the compulsory courses and in most optional courses. 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.

The Master's programme 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 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 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, and 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.

In this Master's programme you can choose between four study tracks, according to your own interest:  

  • biochemistry and structural biology
  • genetics and genomics
  • cellular and developmental biology
  • molecular and analytical health biosciences

You will need 120 credits (ECTS) for the Master’s degree, according to your personal study plan. The degree consists of

  • 80 credits of advanced studies, including your Master’s thesis (30 credits)
  • 40 credits of other studies chosen from your own programme or from other programmes (such as Translational Medicine, Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology or Neuroscience)

You will be able to complete the Master’s programme in two years. The degree always includes a personal study plan as well as studies in labour market orientation, career planning, and possibly also international activities. If you are aiming for qualification as a biology teacher, you will need 60 credits of teacher’s pedagogical studies in your degree (this applies only to Finnish or Swedish speaking students).

You will find more information on the Master's programme website.

The goal of the Master’s thesis is to develop your skills in scientific thinking, practical research, scientific writing, and project management. You will become familiar with the planning and implementation of a research project in your own field, as well as with oral and written presentation. The thesis is worth 30 credits, of which about half is experimental research. You will acquire the necessary theoretical and methodological skills during the preceding courses of the Master’s programme and during laboratory practice.

During your thesis work you will be a member of a research group at the University of Helsinki or elsewhere, and your project will be related to the research being conducted by the group. One or more supervisors will be appointed for your thesis. They will participate in the planning and supervision of the project as well as give you feedback on it.

After graduating from the Master’s programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences, you will be well-prepared to move on to a career or to continue your studies at the postgraduate level for a PhD degree (see Postgraduate study opportunities). Doctoral studies are a prerequisite if you wish to become a researcher in the academic sector, for example.

The Master of Science (MSc) is a generalist degree, giving 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. Your choice of specialisation and optional courses allows you to profile your skills in the direction you aim to follow for your future career. You can also take courses from other Master’s programmes at the University of Helsinki or other universities in Finland or abroad.

The professional titles of graduates in molecular biosciences include senior researcher, entrepreneur, forensic chemist, research and development chemist, product manager, senior officer, editor and teacher, so your future profession and employment can be as unique as you are. The teaching in the Master’s programme is based on cutting-edge research, so your education will be closely related and applicable to emerging fields such as bio-economy, nanotechnology, personal health and biological drugs. Some hot development areas in biotechnology include renewable energy and environmental technology. These sectors will require new kinds of specialists, who possess a wide and comprehensive understanding of molecular life sciences. After graduation, you could act, for example, in health life sciences as a quality manager or a laboratory specialist, scientific writer, clinical research monitor, or as an expert in administration.

Examples of careers:

In the Master’s programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences you will acquire a Master of Science degree (MSc). Although many of the students from the Programme continue to doctoral training (PhD), the Programme will also give you qualifications for specialist jobs outside Academia, for example in the biotechnology industry or companies. Finnish or Swedish speaking students also have the possibility to qualify as biology teachers, provided that certain criteria are fulfilled. If you are admitted into the programme in 2019, you will not be able to apply for a study right in pedagogical studies during your Master's degree. However, you can apply for a study right after you have completed the Master's degree.

If you have selected genetics and genomics as your specialisation and are fluent in Finnish or Swedish, you will be eligible to continue your studies towards qualifying as a hospital geneticist, provided that you have chosen the required courses and modules during your studies.

More information on qualifying as a hospital geneticist (in Finnish):

The Master's programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences has a multidisciplinary and international teaching staff and research environment, giving you an excellent opportunity to create interdisciplinary and international contacts which will be of great importance for your future career. The Master's programme enables you to participate in international research projects from the beginning of your studies. You will communicate in English, allowing for a smooth transition between international research and specialist environments.

You can carry out the research and internship periods included in the Master's programme abroad. You will also have the possibility to take courses for the Master’s degree as an exchange student in foreign collaborating universities.

The Master’s programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences is carried out in cooperation among several departments at the University of Helsinki. The main organizer is The Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Instruction is also provided by researchers and teachers in the following:

In addition, you will have the possibility to take certain courses at other Finnish universities through the Flexible Study Rights Agreement (JOO).

The Master’s programme focuses on the key research areas of the University of Helsinki, the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and the Institute of Biotechnology. In Life Sciences, these include:

  • Genetics and genomics
  • Cellular and developmental biology
  • Biotechnology and molecular biology
  • Structural biology and biophysics
  • Molecular basis of health

The Master’s degree makes you eligible for admission to postgraduate/doctoral studies. The strong research orientation of the programme provides you with an excellent background for doctoral studies and a research career in Finland or abroad. At the University of Helsinki, the relevant doctoral programmes include:

  • Doctoral Programme in Integrative Life Science
  • Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine
  • Doctoral Programme in Drug Research
  • Doctoral Programme in Plant Sciences
  • Doctoral Programme in Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Doctoral Programme in Wildlife Biology
  • Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind

You will find more information on Doctoral programmes on the University of Helsinki web pages.

If you have selected genetics and genomics as your specialisation, are fluent in Finnish or Swedish, and have taken the required courses and modules during your studies, you will be eligible to continue your studies towards qualifying as a hospital geneticist.

How to apply
Below you’ll find a link to the entry requirements for this programme. The application period to our international programmes is in December every year.

Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

The Faculty provides expert training in the biological and environmental sciences, giving you a competitive edge in the labour market. As an expert in the biological and environmental sciences, you can find work in many areas, such as health care, medicine, the sustainable use of natural resources, the resolution of environmental problems, food production, and many fields of industry.  

The Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences plays a key role in the research and teaching conducted on the Viikki Campus. The Faculty and its associated units constitute Finland’s largest centre of research and teaching in the biological and environmental sciences. The Faculty’s strengths include high-quality research as well as a wide range of research and teaching. 

The Faculty consists of two departments:

  • Department of Biosciences (Viikki Campus)
  • Department of Environmental Sciences (Viikki Campus and Lahti University Campus)  

The Faculty also operates three biological field stations:

  • Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in the northwestern region of Finnish Lapland
  • Lammi Biological Station in the Kanta-Häme region in central Finland
  • Tvärminne Zoological Station in Hanko in southern Finland by the Baltic Sea


The Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences provides the bulk of its teaching in the modern research and teaching facilities of the Viikki Campus. Degree education in the environmental sector is also provided on the Lahti University Campus. Instruction is in Finnish, Swedish, and English.  

The Faculty employs a wide range of learning methods, including lectures and small group work, as well as laboratory and field courses. The majority of field courses take place at the Faculty’s field stations in Lammi, Kilpisjärvi and Tvärminne. Your work in many major subjects here can also include study and research trips abroad. You will have the opportunity to take part in a traineeship and in practical training in a research group in Finland or abroad. For the experimental section of your Master’s thesis, you will be able to collect data and conduct experiments in the laboratory or in the field, in the research environment of your choice. The Faculty’s research groups also include a large number of international researchers. The atmosphere is international; communication is in English.  

Your education here combines lectures and web-based teaching. Lectures and other study materials are available on virtual learning platforms. We have developed a separate online learning environment for species identification of organisms and various habitats.  

A campus library is located in Viikki in conjunction with a public library. The institutes of higher education operating on the Lahti University Campus have also established a joint scientific library.

Helsingin yliopiston tutkinto-opiskelijana sinulla on mahdollisuus lähteä opiskelijavaihtoon tai harjoitteluun ulkomaille. Helsingin yliopistolla on yli 500 vaihtokohdetta ympäri maailman. Jakso ulkomailla antaa

  • kansainvälisen lisän tutkintoosi, ja saat kansainvälistä osaamista omalta alaltasi. Hyvin suunniteltu opiskelijavaihto tuo osaamiseesi monipuolisuutta ja ainutlaatuisuutta!
  • Saat uudenlaisen näkökulman maailmaan, opit myös itsestäsi ja kielitaitosi vahvistuu.
  • Tutustut kohdemaan kulttuuriin uudella tavalla, tapaat uusia ihmisiä ja saat erinomaisen mahdollisuuden verkostoitua alallasi kansainvälisesti.

Tutustu ulkomailla opiskeluun, Helsingin yliopiston vaihtokohteisiin sekä vaihtokokemuksiin.

At the University of Helsinki we provide an accessible learning environment for all students.

If you have a disability, an illness or a learning disability, and might need some special arrangements to be able to complete your studies, please contact the faculty at the beginning of your studies or when the need arises.

You will usually agree upon the practical arrangements with your professor before the course or seminar begins. If needed, you can also consult the Head of Academic Affairs at the faculty.

Special arrangements for your studies, such as individual support for learning, might include extra time to complete assignments and exams, teaching materials given in advance or in electronic form, accessibility to classrooms and alternative ways to complete assignments and coursework.

If you would like more information about special arrangements, please contact the Student Services in the City Centre at

University students have access to various services and benefits; among them housing, meals, health care, wellbeing as well as sports. On the New Student web pages, you find information on necessary insurances, permits, and fees. The University of Helsinki Student union (HYY) members may use a great variety of services and participate in various events and activities. Not to mention discounts available for students e.g. on travelling, cultural events, and several stores. Sub-organizations of HYY also organize a wide variety of social events. More information is available at Instructions for students.