Cell-to-cell signalling in development and disease

Do you have a clear and specific interest in cancer, stem cells or developmental biology? Our Master’s programme Cancer, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology combines research in three areas: oncology, molecular developmental biology and genetics. The focus is on molecular and cellular aspects of development and disease, utilising different model systems (mice, zebrafish, C. elegans, organoids and cell lines). The programme will guide you through the mysteries of embryonic growth, stem cells, signalling, gene regulation, evolution, and development as they relate to health and disease.

The freedom and flexibility of the programme and the advice of the staff were the real strengths of the programme.
Marlies Cancer, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology

The right choice for you?

Given that fundamental developmental processes are so often impacted by disease, an understanding of these processes is vital to the better understanding of disease treatment and prevention. Adult physiology is regulated by developmental genes and mechanisms which, if deregulated, may result in pathological conditions. If you have a specific interest in cancer, stem cells or developmental biology, this Master’s programme is the right choice for you. Cancer, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology offers you international, high ranked research training and education that builds on novel methodology in genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics technology applied to biomedical and developmental systems and processes.

What you’ll learn

In the Cancer, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology programme you will learn to focus on understanding processes underlying cancer and developmental biology using techniques and applications of post-genomic research, including microarray analysis, next generation sequencing, proteomics, metabolomics and advanced microscopy techniques. You explore research questions concerning embryonic growth, stem cells, signaling pathways, gene regulation, evolution and development in relation to health and disease using various model systems. As a Master’s student you will  take theory courses and seminars, as well as master classes led by renowned specialists in the field. The courses are interactive, and challenge you to further improve your writing and presenting skills.

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When my career goals changed, I was able to tailor the programme to reflect this, which is a strength of the programme structure.
Pieter Munster, alumnus Master's Cancer and Stem Cell Biology

Why study Cancer, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology at Utrecht University?

Compared to most other Master’s programmes in cancer and stem cell biology in the Netherlands, in Utrecht we offer:

  • Strong focus on fundamental molecular aspects of disease related questions, particularly questions related to cancer and the use of stem cells in regenerative medicine
  • A unique emphasis on Developmental Biology, a process with many connections to cancer
  • The opportunity to carry out two extensive research projects at renowned research groups
  • An intensive collaboration with national and international research institutes, allowing you to do your internship at prestigious partner institutions all around the world

Read more on why in Utrecht

Your background

To apply for our Cancer, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology programme, you must have thorough basic knowledge of molecular biology, cell biology, metabolism and signal transduction. We look for students with ambition in research and high GPA scores.

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Career in Cancer, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology

As a MSc graduate trained in both fundamental and disease-oriented aspects of biomedical genetics you are in great demand. You’ll be prepared for PhD study in one of the participating or associated groups. Alternatively, leaving after obtaining your MSc degree you will profit from a solid education in molecular genetics, in addition to your specialised knowledge of developmental biology. You’ll find your way to biotechnology, the pharmaceutical industry or education.

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Degree: This Master's programme is officially registered under its name in the Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes
  • Title: MSc
  • Master's degree in: Biomedical Sciences
  • Programme: Cancer, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology
Accredited by the NVAO
Croho code:
Language of instruction:
Part- or full-time status:
2 years
Credits: 60 credits equals one year full-time study load (European Credit Transfer System, ECTS)
Start of studies:
  • February
  • September
When to apply:

Check the deadline that applies to you

Tuition fees:
Graduate school:
Life Sciences