Master's Degree Programme in Biosciences: Molecular Systems Biology

Function of a cell requires a multitude of molecular interactions and signaling cascades, which form complex regulatory networks orchestrating metabolic reactions. What are the identities of these molecular components? How do they function? How are they regulated and what are their positions in the molecular networks? Marked progress in omics technologies and constantly deepening mechanistic understanding of cell functions have provided us an opportunity to get a holistic systems biology view on biological processes.

    Molecular Systems Biology track offers extensive training in modern molecular biology and education focused on systems biology (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, gene/protein structure-function relationships) with a special focus on practical laboratory skills and molecular interaction networks. The students will acquire scientific and analytical skills, expertise in present theories and up-to-date technologies, as well as practical skills including teamwork and interpersonal skills; all in an international environment. The skills and knowledge obtained pave the way for future career paths in academia or industry.

     

    Programme in brief

    PROGRAMME STRUCTURE

    Courses will contain of a mix of teaching methods, including lectures, exercises, laboratory and computer practicals, student-driven presentations as well as completion of an independent research project (M.S. Thesis). Numerical analysis of biological data including bioinformatics and other statistical analyses will be part of curriculum.

    The Master’s degree in Bioscience is a two-year programme amounting to 120 ECTS. Both tracks follow their own curriculum of courses. The degree is comprised of:

    • Common courses which provides you essential knowledge needed as well as transferrable skills including mandatory language studies
    • Track-specific major subject studies that will provide the state-of-the-art theories and practical skills relevant to the field
    • Selectable studies that expand your knowledge in specific thematic areas and special themes of your choice
    • Master’s thesis where you will apply your newly acquired knowledge
    MASTER'S THESIS & TOPICS

    To complete your studies, you will carry out a final project that is an independent and experimental, supervised research project aiming for the Master’s thesis. The purpose of the Master thesis is to display your obtained skills in terms of data gathering, data analysis and interpretation of the analyses, as well as setting your project within the larger scientific background based on scientific literature. You will present your project and its results in a Master’s seminar that follows procedures used in scientific meetings. Subsequently you will write a Master’s thesis that describes your experimental work and its results as well as includes a review of relevant background literature. You will select the topic of your Master´s thesis yourself, with the help of teachers. Thesis work can be done in different departments, faculties or research institutes.

    Examples of recent MSc topics:

    • Microbial production of synthetic spider silk proteins
    • MARCO expressing macrophages as a target of cancer immunotherapy
    • Formation of high-light tolerant populations of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
    • Production and characterization of secondary metabolites in Streptomyces sp.
    • Regulation of endoreduplication by protein phosphatase 2A in Arabidopsis thaliana
    • Screening of novel membrane markers for adult hippocampal neurogenesis
    • Vimetin modulates focal adhesion dynamics in directionally migrating cells
    • Proteomics analysis of root plastids in Arabidopsis thaliana: effects of salt stress
    • Potential of microalgae for sustainable biodiesel

     

    SPECIALISATION TRACKS

    The programme offers two tracks:

    • Molecular Systems Biology (M.Sc.)
    • Evolutionary Biology (M.Sc). 


    Molecular Systems Biology offers extensive training in modern molecular biology and education focused on systems biology (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, gene/protein structure-function relationships) with a special focus on practical laboratory skills and molecular interaction networks.

    In the Evolutionary Biology track focus is on deepening knowledge of evolutionary biology, ecology, genetics, and physiology, with a special focus on bioinformatic and computational methods for analyzing and interpreting evolutionary and NGS data, both modern and ancient DNA.

    Career options

    COMPETENCE DESCRIPTION

    In the Molecular Systems Biology track, you will get a solid understanding of the theories and concepts behind state-of-the-art technologies used for systems biology research in a variety of molecular bioscience disciplines. Hands-on training provided in practical courses and research projects allows you to develop methodological proficiency in current systems biology techniques. The course facilitates strong expertise and active participation in modern bioscience research.

    JOB OPTIONS

    Master´s Programme in Biosciences educates future experts for positions in academia, industry, and public sector. Students graduating from the programme are eligible for scientific postgraduate degree studies, and may work, among others, as:

    • Research scientist
    • Lecturer
    • Project manager
    • Research coordinator
       
    CAREER IN RESEARCH

    Master of Science degree provides you with eligibility for scientific postgraduate degree studies. Postgraduate degrees are doctoral and licentiate degrees. Degrees can be completed at the University of Turku in the University of Turku Graduate School and one of the Doctoral Programmes.

    Entry requirements

    GENERAL ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

    General Requirement

    You are an eligible applicant for Master’s-level studies if

    • you have a nationally recognized first cycle degree – normally a Bachelor’s degree – from an accredited institution of higher education,
    • your degree corresponds to at least 180 ECTS (European credits) or to three years of full-time study,
    • your degree is in a relevant field for the Master’s degree programme that you’re applying to. Please check the programme page for detailed degree requirements.


    Language Requirements

    Applicants must have excellent English language skills and a certificate that proves those skills. You can indicate your language skills by taking one of the internationally recognized English language tests. 

    Applicants must reach the minimum required test results to be considered eligible to the University of Turku. No exceptions will be made. Read more about the language requirements here.

    TRACK-SPECIFIC ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

     

    The applicant’s previous degree on the basis of which s/he is seeking admission to the Master’s Degree Programme in Biosciences must be in a relevant field of study. Relevant fields of previous studies for the Molecular Systems Biology track are molecular biosciences including

    • biochemistry
    • cell and molecular biology
    • molecular plant biology
    • molecular microbiology

    Also basic knowledge of numerical analysis of biological data e.g. bioinformatics or statistical analyses is required.

    You may apply to both specialisation tracks of the programme but the choices must be prioritized on the application form.

    SUPPLEMENTARY STUDIES

    The contents of formally eligible applicants' previous degrees do not always correspond to the academic level of the programme. Therefore admitted students can be advised or required to complete up to 60 ECTS of additional, Bachelor level studies while studying for the Master's Degree. The extent and contents of the supplementary studies are defined individually for each student when a personal study plan is formulated in the beginning of the studies. The supplementary studies may be part of the Master's Degree only up to 20 ECTS and they may therefore extend the targeted study time.

    Since the language of instruction in Bachelor’s level at the University of Turku is Finnish, an applicant needing supplementary studies available only in Finnish can be required to submit proof for Finnish skills during the application process. In case such proof is not submitted, the applicant needing supplementary studies must be rejected.

    APPLICATION EVALUATION

    Annually 15 students are admitted to the Master's Degree Programme in Biosciences. The decision of admission will be based on

    • the relevance of the applicant’s awarded degree(s)
    • the amount, relevance and grades of the courses in the degree(s)
    • the language test result (see Language requirements)
    • the motivation letter
    • possible answers to the optional questions included in the application
    • possible relevant work experience
    • possible interview

    It is possible to have only one Bachelor’s or Master’s study right at the Faculty of Science and Engineering. Therefore, when accepting an offered study place, the student will lose any previous BSc. or MSc. study right at the Faculty of Science and Engineering.