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 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, 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.

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 15-20 cr
  • Study track specific studies: Compulsory and Elective courses 80 cr
  • Master´s Thesis of 30 cr
  • Free choice studies 15-25 cr

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).



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 written Thesis you are expected to demonstrate that you are capable of scientific thinking, that you master relevant research methods and that you 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.

During the Master's Seminar, you will get support for all 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 students studying towards biology teacher qualification can deal with pedagogical or didactic issues in biology teaching (applies only to Finnish or Swedish speaking students).