Master of Science in Biology: Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences

From DNA to organism
Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences

The graduation option Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences introduces students to the study of animal and plant development, microbiology, cell signaling pathways, cytoskeleton dynamics, cancer biology, virology and immunology.
Courses of this profile span multiple levels of biological organisation, from whole organisms down to the molecular level. Students choosing this profile not only gain detailed insights in these topics but also acquire the laboratory skills required to engage in cutting-edge research. The presence of a highly experienced research staff and state-of-the-art equipment ensures an ideal training ground, and excellent opportunities to enter a PhD programme after graduation.

Programme structure

Compulsory: 6 ETS + 9 ECTS
Electives: 75 ECTS
Professional Internship: 6 or 9 ECTS
Master's thesis: 30 ECTS

For an overview of all Master courses, click here.

The programme consists of a continuous interaction between theoretical knowledge and scientific skills, notably intellectual, practical and communicational skills.

The curriculum is directly founded on research in the areas of environment, ecology, evolution, biodiversity, genetics, molecular-, cellular-, developmental- and human biology, with an option to include human ecology. Students learn how to use modern information technology resources in order to collect information. They learn how to report orally and in writing on experimental assignments or literature research and how to engage in scientifically argued debates. Students will conduct a professionally guided research project and report the results in a Master's Thesis. Thesis subjects are chosen in agreement with one of the department’s leading researchers who will act as supervisor.


Did you know you can go abroad during your studies Biology at VUB? You can do part of your study programme abroad through the well-known Erasmus programme, but there is also a whole range of other possibilities both inside and outside of Europe. You might choose to study a semester at another European university, or you can do your entire master's thesis or the fieldwork for your thesis abroad. Alternatively, you can also opt for an international internship.  

You can go on Erasmus exchange to:


For more information you can contact:

Exchange Coordinator Biology

Coordinator Internationalisation - Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences


The Master of Science in Biology is open to holders of a Bachelor degree in Biology. For other academic bachelors in science, applied science and life sciences, equivalency will be evaluated based on scientific competences and skills of the students by the Master of Biology Steering Committee.

Application procedure

Admission is based upon acceptance of the application (proof of meeting the academic and language requirements, satisfactory background,...). All necessary information regarding the admission requirements, deadlines and application forms can be found on the application page

Language requirements

To be admitted to the programme, students need to be proficient in English.


As a Master in Biology, you will find work in many sectors. Most Biology masters play an active role in research, in universities as well as in the business world (medical and pharmaceutical industry, agro-industry). In addition to this, as a Master in Biology, you can also perform policy and governance work at the municipal, regional, federal or international levels.

Biologists also find their way into education (secondary, higher and university) and into the educational sector (nature and environment, among others). In each job, the knowledge and skills that you have acquired during your education at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel will be an important trump card.

Career guidance? VUB Career Center is your one-stop shop!

The VUB alumni are known to be critical, independent and open-minded people. Even then your first steps on the job market are not always easy. The VUB Career Center gives you that extra push you need to make it work. They offer individual advice on career opportunities and can help you to pimp your cv, or prepare for your first job interview. And you don't have to wait until after graduation. Pay them a first visit during your studies to find out what the job market has to offer you.

Student life

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel, a dynamic and modern university with three campuses in the Brussels-Capital region. The main campus in Etterbeek offers high-quality education and research in a green and stimulating environment. With all fields of study being represented there, you can go above and beyond your own discipline. At our student restaurant, you will easily find an engineering student standing next to a future philosopher trying to decide together between a pasta meal or the vegetarian selection of the day.
Our students do not feel like they are just a number in a long row of unknown students. They have good relationships with their lecturers and assistants who have an open-door policy where students with questions are always welcome. Small group workshops are also used to ensure close interaction and hands-on experience. Educational assessment conducted annually indicates that our students are “satisfied” to “very satisfied” with 90% of their courses.

Lecture halls and laboratories are furnished with the most up-to-date equipment. Modern sports facilities, including gymnasiums, fitness rooms, tennis and squash courts, and a swimming pool, can be found on campus.

For more information on student life in Brussels and at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, go to

City life

Brussels is the capital of Europe, but it wasn't always. Actually, Victor Hugo was amongst the first pro-Europeans who redeemed Brussels' geographical location ideal to be the capital of Europe.

You will encounter a strange mix of skyscrapers and small curving streets, of bourgeois and bohémien, of oui and non. It will get you lost, but it does so with everyone.

Brussels gives you what you expect from a real city: high buildings, busy traffic, an underground art scene, eccentric old ladies dressed in drag, bars on every corner, and a lot of love from the locals. Brussels is officially a bilingual city, which means that everywhere you go you'll see signs in French and in Dutch (and very often in English too). However, you'll find that most people in Brussels are native French speakers rather than Dutch speakers.

Here, in our belle Bruxelles you'll discover one of the greatest cities in Europe...

Brussels is a challenging city which you can explore endlessly, but you have to take some time to discover its true face. For a push in the right direction, take a look at the following pages:


I am a Master student in Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology. I have always dreamed of finding a new treatment for a life-threatening disease such as cancer. That is why I knew early on in my studies that my preference would go to Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology. The VUB gives you the opportunity to partly develop a tailor-made study programme, so it fits perfectly with your needs and interests. I must also add that the philosophy of the VUB made me decide to do my Biology studies there, as for me independent research is inherent to life.
Dimitri Boon


My journey in the world of biology started one day when I woke up and I said to myself: I want to be a biologist. After 15 years I am still in love with it.
For my PhD thesis, in the Laboratory of Cell Genetics, I combined fundamental research with some applied research. I evaluated the potential effects of engineered nanomaterials in altering the differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells. What does it mean if we related to human? Very simple, can engineered nanomaterials be toxic for the developing embryo? I differentiated mouse embryonic stem cells into cardiomyocytes that are very easy to distinguish under microscope because they are beating cells...a little bit beating as our heart is doing. This model has been used to study the effect of nanomaterials on differentiating embryonic stem cells.
Next to study the effect of engineered nanomaterials, the main focus in the lab is to study the differentiation of embryonic stem cells, used as a model of the early stage embryo, towards mesodermal and neural fates.

PhD Student Sara Corradi