Master's Degree Programme in Biosciences: Molecular Systems Biology

What does a cell require in order to function? The Molecular Systems Biology track gives students 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.  

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, and gene/protein structure-function relationships. It has a special focus on practical laboratory skills and molecular interaction networks.

A biology student doing an experiment

Entry 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 section on track-specific admission requirements 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 for the University of Turku. No exceptions will be made. Read more about the language requirements here.

Study right

It is not possible to have more than one Bachelor’s or Master’s study right at the same Faculty. Therefore, when accepting an offered study place, the student will lose any previous BSc. or MSc. study right at the Faculty of Technology at the University of Turku.


Before you start preparing your application, always read the full admission requirements on the application portal

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 not apply to more than one specialization track within the same Master’s Degree Programme at the University of Turku. Therefore, you should carefully consider that your educational background is suitable enough for the track that you are applying to.


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 and your answers to the optional questions included in the application
  • possible relevant work experience
  • possible interview

In addition to the education diploma and language certificate, you should include testimonials of any relevant work experience in your application. 

The academic evaluation is made only for complete applications that are received during the application period. Any preliminary assessment of suitability or chances for admission will not be given.

Programme in brief


Courses will contain 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 the 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 provide you with the 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

See the curriculum >

The University of Turku fosters students' professional growth and global perspective by promoting internships and student exchanges. Every degree student can take advantage of these opportunities – internship subsidy is available for all degree students that find a suitable internship position and every exchange programme includes a grant.


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
  • Vimentin 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



The programme offers two tracks:

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, the 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.


The Molecular Systems Biology track is organized by the Department of Life Technologies at the Faculty of Technology. At the Department of Life Technologies we conduct internationally acknowledged research that focuses on structure and function of proteins, photosynthesis and bioenergetics, in vitro diagnostics, and food sciences. The scientific research at the Department of Life Technologies is a diverse combination of fundamental research and applied science. Collectively, the research involves over 30 individual research groups funded by the Academy of Finland, European Union, Business Finland as well as companies and foundations. Students of the Molecular Systems Biology track attend various training courses and MSc thesis project as an active member of the research group(s).

Career prospects


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 allow you to develop methodological proficiency in current systems biology techniques. The course facilitates strong expertise and active participation in modern bioscience research.


Master´s Programme in Biosciences educates future experts for positions in academia, industry, and the 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

A 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.


During the studies, 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.