This 2-year Master’s programme Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences (MCLS) is research oriented and takes a multidisciplinary approach to molecules and cells. The acquired broad knowledge will be translated into novel technologies solving societal problems, such as cancer, diabetes, plant growth, thereby creating industrial innovations in biotechnology.

More information

More general information about the study programme of MCLS can be found on the Study Guide of the GSLS.

Components of the MCLS programme:

1.major research project (51 EC)

A 36-week research project with one of the participating research groups. This includes giving a presentation and writing a report.

All the research groups belong to one of the research institutes:

Bijvoet Centre for Biomolecular Research or
the Institute for Biodynamics and Biocomplexity

If approved by the programme committee, it is also possible to conduct the Major Research Project outside Utrecht University under the supervision of one of the research groups. This is only allowed when the Minor Research Project is done in one of participating research groups.

For formal approval from the Board of examiners of the GS-LS you’ll have to fill in the general application form (see study guide life sciences) hand it in 1 month before the start of the research project.

2.minor research project (33 EC)

A 24-week research project in a field of interest related to the Biomolecular Sciences, performed either at Utrecht University or abroad, in academia or industry. This includes writing a report. All external projects are subject to the approval of the programme committee and have to be supervised by a principal investigator (PI) of Utrecht University.

Courses or traineeships in the fields of ‘Science and Business’ or ‘Science and Education’ can be substituted for this minor research project (see profiles). Students who have a BSc degree from a Dutch higher education vocational college (HBO) or laboratory training college (HLO) can exchange parts of their research training for courses to fill in gaps in their education (upon approval).

For formal approval from the Board of examiners of the GS-LS you’ll have to fill in the general application form (see study guide life sciences), hand it in 1 month before the start of the minor research project.

3.Mandatory theoretical courses (15 EC)

The mandatory part consists of

4.Elective component (12 EC)




This compulsory course is given in the first week of September for all Master's students. More information about ILS is available in the study guide.


Every month a seminar is organised by a different Master's programme. For more information about the LS seminars, please visit the study guide.

Together, the ILS course and 10 LS seminars count for 1.5 EC. 


There are two options for the writing assignment:

  • Students write a literature overview on a subject of their own choice, supervised by a member of staff from one of the research groups participating in the MSc programme.
  • Students write a research proposal based on the outcome of either their major or minor research project.

The choice of subject can be determined by personal interest and will often be related to future career plans, e.g. possibilities for a PhD project or specific areas of research in connection with industrial job opportunities.

Duration: approximately 5 weeks.

For formal approval from the Board of examiners of the GSLS you’ll have to fill in the general application form (see study guide life sciences) hand it in 1 month before the start of the thesis.