Career Prospects

Graduates with an MSc in Drug Innovation will be eligible for many PhD programmes. As soon as you graduate with a PhD, and if you want to pursue for a career in academia, you can aim for a post-doctoral fellowship. After that, you can then opt for either an assistant, associate, or full professorship role, which occurs mostly through tenure tracks. You can also choose to contribute to drug innovation within research institutes, any of the growing number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies (ranging from small start-up to ‘big pharma’), or health care organisations. After completing the Drug Regulatory Sciences profile, you can find jobs in regulatory affairs, often even without a PhD programme. Other opportunities in the same institutes or companies include careers in business, administration and education.

Possible prospects

Academic careers 

About 66% of the MSc graduates aims for a PhD programme. This is divided into 30% of the PhDs that stay in Utrecht, 19% that prefer other universities in the Netherlands, while 17% opt for international universities like Cornell University, Oxford University, Imperial College London and others. PhD graduates either wish to find a career in academia or they want to prepare for positions in institutes or industry.

Professional careers 

About 30% of Drug Innovation students choose a profile in Communication and Education, Science and Business, or Drug Regulatory Sciences. They go on to pursue a career within research-intensive institutes and professionalise further in, for example, management, teaching, communications, or find employment in drug evaluation boards and health care (e.g. industrial regulatory affairs, clinical research, or policymaking).

The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry is one of the most research-intensive industries, allocating up to 20% of budgets to R&D. This means that Drug Innovation students with an additional PhD degree have excellent job prospects. Working in industry without a PhD degree is possible but occurs only occasionally.

Recent data show that approximately 9% students choose a career in industry after their Master’s Drug Innovation. Others seek a career as a clinical research associate (7%), a consultant (4%), in government (4%), or as a teacher (2%).

After graduation as an MSc in Drug Innovation

PhD programmes

  • Utrecht University 30%
  • Dutch universities 19%
  • International universities 17%

Other careers

  • Industry 9%
  • Clinical research associate 7%
  • Consultant 4%
  • Government 4%
  • Teacher 2%

International students

Learning Dutch

If you want to find a job or internship in the Netherlands, knowing Dutch will get you places. Even if you work within an international organisation, knowing at least some Dutch is always a benefit and in some cases even a requirement. In order to learn Dutch, free language websites such as or can get you started or take a look at the Dutch courses offered by Babel. As a student from Utrecht University you receive a 25% discount on their course offerings.

After graduation

If you want to stay in the Netherlands after your graduation, you can apply for the ‘residence permit orientation year’. This permit can be submitted within 3 years after completing your studies and allows you unlimited working rights (hence: a work permit –TWV- is not required). For an overview of the conditions that apply for this permit, please visit the IND website.

After the Master you are able to continue in an academic career if you like, but you could also go into the pharmaceutical industry or into an advisory board of hospitals for instance. You have a lot of options and that is something I really like about this Master.