Master in Molecular Life and Health Sciences
Molecular mechanisms govern the fate and the function of every cell, from archaea living in the remotest trench in the ocean, to the highly connected cells of our brain. Interestingly, cells of various origins share common genes, and therefore use similar proteins and molecular pathways. These can be explored in a variety of model organisms and cultured cells, which you will discover in this exciting Master programme that bridges fundamental molecular science and potential applications to understanding human health and disease.
The Department of Biology of the Faculty of Science and Medicine offers a multidisciplinary study programme leading to the degree of
Master of Science in Molecular Life and Health Sciences
with four research options.
The programme consists of 120 ECTS credits and corresponds to 24 months of full-time study.
Students aiming at becoming high school teachers and having to acquire 30 additional ECTS credits in a different study domain, can choose the option "Teaching" consisting of 90 ECTS (18 months).
- Developmental Biology and Regeneration | 120 ECTS
- Neurobiology | 120 ECTS
- Biochemistry and Cell Biology | 120 ECTS
- Marine Biology | 120 ECTS
- Teaching | 90 ECTS
Master of Science in Molecular Life and Health Sciences
Language(s) of Study
120 ECTS credits
4 semesters full-time
90 ECTS credits
3 semesters full-time
September or February
Dr Alessandro Puoti
Profile and Options
A special emphasis is placed on the development of the student’s scientific capabilities (independent thinking, problem-solving skills, critical evaluation of data, oral and written communication skills, ability to work in a team).
The student will deepen her/his theoretical, conceptual and practical knowledge of a selected area of molecular biological sciences and acquire techniques needed in basic research as well as in practical applications such as biomedical and pharmacological research, biotechnology, public health, and teaching at secondary level II.
Courses are accompanied by discussions, oral presentations by students and writing exercises in order to stimulate active participation. Students are integrated in one of the research teams and have the opportunity to experience all aspects of the daily life of a research scientist. They will obtain extensive experience with academic research in biology and learn to plan, carry out, analyse and present research.
For each option, the MSc programme offers a number of obligatory, and recommended courses. If prerequisites are met, credits for recommended courses can be replaced by elective Master courses offered in both MSc in Molecular Life and Health Sciences and MSc in Environmental Biology programme (details in the respective study plans). Elective courses can also be chosen among Master level courses at the Universities of Berne and Neuchâtel (BeNeFri convention). An individual programme of elective courses according to the study programme is established by each student. In this case, the student must consult the study advisor.
The Master’s thesis is a scientific project carried out by a student under the supervision of a group leader within a research group of the Department of Biology. The details vary with the option and research group, but in general the student is expected to establish a research strategy, plan the project, carry out the research, analyse the results, present them in a formal seminar, and write them up in the form of a scientific paper. The written report in the form of a scientific paper, the oral presentation of the work and the practical work will be the objects of the final assessment of the Master thesis.
Each student must choose a research group and be accepted during the first semester of her/his Master studies. The group leader will be his/her supervisor for the Master thesis. For the options Developmental Biology and Regeneration, Neurobiology, Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and Teaching, students have the possibility to carry out their Master thesis within a research group of the Medicine section of the Faculty of Science and Medicine, University of Fribourg. This requires however the approval of the hosting group, the study advisors of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, and furthermore needs a summary describing the prospective project and the techniques that will be used.
Master thesis related activities
As members of a research team the Master students take part in various activities such as research group meetings, seminars, literature study/Journal club etc. Students are expected to participate in those activities throughout the duration of the study.
The acceptance to a Master programme in Molecular Life and Health Sciences may be granted provided the following two conditions have been met by the applicant:
- Satisfying the University admission requirements as defined in the Règlement concernant l’admission à l’Université de Fribourg
- The student possesses a Bachelor of Science in Biology or in Biochemistry from the University of Fribourg or an academic degree judged equivalent by the Faculty of Science and Medicine.
Depending on the option chosen by candidates with degrees that are not judged equivalent by the Faculty of Science and Medicine, the Commission for Students’ Requests will decide on eligibility : https://www.unifr.ch/scimed/en/studies/request
Based on the candidate’s academic qualification for the specific option of the MSc in Molecular Life and Health Sciences, the Commission for Students’ Requests can accept the application on the condition that additional requirements are fulfilled, provided they are of a minor scope and can be completed simultaneously with the Master studies. Otherwise, access is denied or applicants can be admitted to a “pre-master programme” and can begin the Master programme only after having fulfilled the requirements initially set for the pre-master. Final acceptance to the Master programme for a qualifying student depends on the successful completion of the additional requirements.
Academic and professional openings
The Master paves the way to a potential PhD and an academic career in biology and related fields. Other MSc graduates also find job opportunities as laboratory manager in the academic or private sectors.