Master of Science in Biology: 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.


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