Career prospects

Infectious diseases and immunity disorders affect a large part of the population. Therefore, highly trained scientists in infection and immunity are needed for developing fast diagnostic procedures, effective treatment, and preventative measures such as vaccines in order to minimise the impact for individual patients and society.

Academic and professional knowledge and skills

The Biomedical Sciences Master's programme Infection and Immunity focuses on studying infectious diseases and immune disorders. By providing a broad theoretical background and extensive research experience, manoeuvring on the battle field of host against pathogens becomes second nature. Students of this programme will learn how bacteria and viruses try to avoid immune defences and how this is counteracted by either the immune system itself or by therapeutic intervention.

Being trained to answer new hypotheses using up to date techniques, the graduates leave our programme with a toolbox of skills and knowledge that can be used broadly in life sciences. Those techniques include next generation sequencing, high - throughput screening, proteomics, advanced microscopy, analysing and manipulating protein function in living cells, transgenic and knockout animals, bioinformatics, and systems biology.

By following the research cycle twice during long internships, the students get acquainted with creating a relevant research question, designing the experimental set - up, performing experiments, analysing the results, and drawing conclusions in the context of relevant literature.

This training takes place in the stimulating environment of the Infection and Immunity Center Utrecht, as well as in affiliated groups at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment and collaborating groups abroad.

Possible prospects

MSc graduates trained in both fundamental and translational aspects of infection and immunity are in great demand. They will find their way into:

  • research in academic hospitals;
  • research institutes (fundamental research);
  • biotechnology;
  • the pharmaceutical industry;
  • policy - making organisations in science and health care; 
  • education

Academic careers

By the end of their Master’s programme, the majority of our students have secured a PhD position within the field of infection and immunity either in Utrecht or elsewhere in the Netherlands. Several of our alumni have been accepted onto PhD programmes at prestigious international universities.

Professional careers

  • Recruitment consultant for life sciences;
  • Project managers in health care;
  • IT consultants

Facts & figures

The number of international students varies between 10 and 25%. Per year 1 - 2 students with a Bachelor’s of Applied Sciences are accepted onto the programme. More than 50% of Infection and Immunity students perform their second research project abroad at leading universities or institutes. About 70% of our graduates continue by joining a PhD programme and have continued their academic career at:

  • UMC Utrecht or another university medical center in the Netherlands;
  • NKI (Netherlands Cancer Institute); DKFZ (German Cancer Institute)
  • Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, SWE;
  • University College or King's College London, GB;
  • Stanford University, CA, USA;
  • Rockefeller University, NY, USA; or
  • Harvard University/ Whitehead Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA

UU Career Services

UU Career Services offers training related to career orientation and job application skills; examples include writing an application letter and CV and conducting a job interview. You can find more information about career services on UU Career Services for Dutch students or UU Career Services for international students.

UU Career Days

Once a year Utrecht University organises Career Days. The Career Days offers the opportunity to sign up for workshops and trainings, and to meet recruiters at the careers fair. It’s also possible to join a job application training or have your resume checked.

Annual Master’s Symposium Infection and Immunity

This symposium is organised by and for Infection and Immunity students and offers workshops for other career options than the academic world and/or contact with alumni. The organising group of students will broaden their scientific network by contacting key-not speakers and acting as their hosts during the symposium.

In addition to individual guidance, group based career orientation is available in the project ‘Navigation towards personal excellence’. This starts with information about profiles, valorisation, and speed dates with alumni during the mandatory Graduate School of Life Sciences general course at the start of all Master’s programmes and continues during 3 workshops and reflection days within the Master’s programme spread over the two years. ‘Career lunches’ with our own life sciences researchers within the GS-LS offer a personal view on someone’s career path. On top of this, you can use your electives for several related course on career orientation. All these activities will be embedded in the newly developed careers centre.