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Master's degree programme in Molecular Biology

Introduction

I work as a project manager, which means that I make sure things get done, and I’m responsible for following up afterwards. Projects could concern new products, for example, and solutions for industry, where I’m part of the chain all the way through from development to testing, sales and customer support.

CASPAR HØY SIMONSEN
Graduate, MSc in Molecular Biology
Application Specialist, Dupont


The MSc in Molecular Biology programme is open to Danish and international university students. The programme is both practical and researchoriented and reflects the interests of the business community, research institutions and the public sector. It is flexible and can accommodate the interests of the individual student, who can specialise in a particular subject area while acquiring general competencies in molecular biology.

WORLD-CLASS RESEARCH

Teaching in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics is greatly influenced by the research conducted here, as the lecturers are active researchers. Teaching is of a high academic standard and the research at a high international level. Ongoing research projects include subjects and competencies at all levels, from bacteria and yeast to humans. The understanding of biochemistry and molecular biology is based upon the entire spectrum, from atoms to organisms.

Students can choose to specialise within a more general field – for example, one of the five branches of molecular biology in which Aarhus University is particularly strong: molecular medicine, structural biology, systems biology, plant biology, and quantitative genetics. The MSc in Molecular Biology programme counts as 120 ECTS credits. Students can tailor the study programme to fit their qualifications and interests. In the first year, students follow an individually planned course programme, while in the second they write a thesis. There are excellent opportunities for connecting up with a group of researchers in connection with work on the thesis project. This gives students a chance to participate in the group’s research projects, academic discussions and articles.

CAREER PROFILE

Molecular biology graduates are well placed in both Danish and international job markets. They work across a wide range of fields and institutions, mostly within research or administration and consultancy, in both private and public sectors. If your wish is to become a communicator, you can teach at laboratory-technician and teacher-training colleges or in adult education. Molecular biologists also work in specialist molecular biology fields in the food industry, the health sector and the pharmaceutical industry.

Admission requirements

The following Bachelor’s degrees qualify students for admission to the Master’s degree programme in Molecular Biology:

  • A Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from Aarhus University, the University of Southern Denmark or the University of Copenhagen.

The following other degrees can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme in Molecular Biology:

  • Another Bachelor of Science degree with subject components in Molecular Biology equalling 60 ECTS credits, as well as basic subject components in Mathematics, Chemistry and Statistics.

Other qualifications can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme, provided the university assesses that their level, extent and content correspond to the degrees mentioned above.

Legal right of admission

Students of the Bachelor's degree programme in Molecular Biology at Aarhus University have the right to be admitted to the Master's degree programme in Molecular Biology on the condition that application is made with a view to continuing directly from the Bachelor's degree programme to the Master's degree programme. The legal right of admission requires receipt of the application by Aarhus University within the appropriate period of time.

Selection criteria

As the Master’s degree programme in Molecular Biology (due to government legislation) only admits a limited number of students each year, meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme.

In evaluating qualified applicants, the admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of the average mark (i.e. GPA) of the Bachelor’s degree at the time of application. Marks/grades obtained after the application deadline will not be included in the GPA.

The admissions committee assesses each applicant’s marks on the basis of the information provided by diplomas and transcripts.

Language Requirements

Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency.
Please see the page on language requirements.

Documentation

Please see the general admission requirements.

Programme structure

The Master’s degree in molecular biology counts as 120 ECTS credits and mainly consists of subjects within the molecular biology field of study. You specialise by participating in course activities and projects and by writing a thesis. During your very first week, you structure your own individual study programme with the help of a teacher from the Department of Molecular Biology by choosing courses from a course catalogue. Your programme is based on your academic qualifications and interests and the subjects you studied for your Bachelor’s degree. The plan must be approved by the Board of Studies before you can enrol for examinations.

For more information about the individual courses, go to: kursuskatalog.au.dk/en/

Forms of teaching

At the University of Aarhus, you are in close contact with researchers in a way that you rarely experience at other universities. The door to the professor’s office is always open if you need clarification of the study material, and you are encouraged to ask questions at lectures and during exercises. We make heavy demands on your academic skills and independence. In return, you gain considerable benefits in the form of academic challenges and scientific knowledge, in addition to broad competences.

The teaching at the university focuses on independence, critical thinking and collaboration. Part of the teaching is in the form of lectures that introduce new angles to the material compared with the textbooks. The theoretical and practical exercises take place in small groups where you study relevant issues in depth. Most molecular biology students also spend a certain amount of time on laboratory work.

The varied forms of teaching, collaboration in groups and the opportunity for close scientific dialogue with the researchers provide you with general competences that are in great demand in the global job market. These competences include abstract, critical and independent thinking, analytical skills and strategic planning. You can use these skills in many contexts – even in jobs you didn’t know you were qualified for.

A year divided into four terms

The teaching is divided into terms with four terms per year. Each term consists of a block of seven weeks followed by an examination period of 2–4 weeks. For an example of a course calendar, go to: studerende.au.dk/en/studies/subject-portals/studies/teaching/teaching-calendar/

PhD programme

If you have the necessary skills and interest, you have the option of applying for admission to the PhD programme. You can apply when you have completed your Bachelor’s degree and one year of your Master’s degree or when you have completed your Master’s degree. In the PhD programme, you start working on a research project and are gradually trained through courses and personal guidance to become a researcher.

For more information, go to: phd.au.dk/gradschools/scienceandtechnology/


 

Student life

There is more to life as a molecular biology student at the University of Aarhus than subjects and lessons. The versatile and inspiring student life at the Department of Molecular Biology is centred around “Die rote Zone” – a large facility at Science Park Aarhus, which the students furnished themselves and where they meet in connection with academic and social activities. In addition, a number of student organisations at the Department of Molecular Biology organise academic activities, excursions, celebrations and social functions. The different student associations at the university consist of students who meet to discuss issues relating to their degree programme. These organisations influence the academic content of the degree programmes, from department and centre level to the top management levels at the university.

Campus – a unique place

The University of Aarhus is unique, especially because the buildings are grouped in one campus area close to the Aarhus city centre. The campus has many green areas and a beautiful park surrounding a small lake. Here you also find student accommodation and an underground system of corridors, which means that you don’t have to get your feet wet going from the canteen to your study area. There are also lecture theatres and a host of activities ranging from sports days to the regatta on the lake, interesting lectures, a film club, libraries and university celebrations. The campus ensures that you have easy access to the canteen, student counsellors, teachers, the bookshop, the State and University Library and the Friday bar.

Aarhus as a study centre

The university is not all Aarhus has to offer. As the second-largest city in Denmark, Aarhus has numerous different cultural activities. The well-known Aarhus Festival is celebrated for a week at the beginning of September every year and the streets really come to life. During the rest of the year, you can visit different music venues and concert halls in the city or find entertainment at one of the many theatres in Aarhus. The city’s many museums include ARoS – the major international art museum, which is a spectacular place for visual experiences. If you have had enough of cultural activities, you can ride your bike to the beach in no time or go for walks in the Risskov woods or in the beautiful woods around Marselisborg. The forty thousand young students in Aarhus make up 17.5% of the population, which leaves its mark on city life. Aarhus is a young, dynamic city with plenty of opportunities.

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Career

Job functions for grads

This data is derived from AU's 2013/2014 employment survey. This data should not be considered a completely accurate representation of the labour market and job functions for all graduates of the individual degree programmes. It exclusively represent the responses submitted to the survey in the years in question.

Competence profile

With a Master’s degree in molecular biology, you have the following competences:

  • You have general knowledge of molecular biology and detailed knowledge of key disciplines, methodologies, theories and concepts within molecular biology.
  • You can independently plan, manage and implement projects and apply the results in scientifically relevant decision processes.
  • You can assess the applicability and appropriateness of theoretical, experimental and practical methodologies for the analysis and solution of scientific questions and issues.
  • You can structure your own competence development independently and critically.
  • You are able to systematically and critically familiarise yourself with new subject areas.
  • You can communicate academic questions and issues to both a scientific and a general audience.
  • You can collaborate constructively on a scientific basis to solve subject-related issues.
  • You are familiar with ethical questions and issues relating to molecular biology.

Job profile

The University of Aarhus educates molecular biology graduates for the regional, national and international job markets. Graduates from the Department of Molecular Biology find work in a wide range of fields and institutions. Most jobs are within research, administration and consultancy as well as teaching and communication in the private or public sectors.

Molecular biology graduates are employed in positions within a wide range of molecular biology areas ranging from biotechnology, nature and the environment to the food industry.

If you have a burning desire to communicate about molecular biology, you can choose to teach at upper secondary school or at laboratory technicians’ and teachers’ training colleges, or in connection with different forms of adult education. Finally, some molecular biologists work with communicating molecular biology knowledge in the media and publishing worlds. A molecular biology degree is the key to many different types of jobs throughout society.

Jobs in the industrial sector

Molecular biology graduates mainly find work in the industrial sector – especially the large Danish and international pharmaceutical and health industries, and the modern advanced technology food industry. This applies particularly to companies that have a strong link to research environments or carry out their own research. In addition to research, molecular biology graduates increasingly work in areas such as patent administration, communication and project management.

Jobs in the health and food sectors

As a molecular biologist, you primarily work with finding solutions to the many health and food challenges that our society is facing. These are due to the ageing population and more stringent standards for food development and quality. These areas are growing rapidly – a trend that is expected to continue. The employment prospects for future molecular biologists therefore look very promising.

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Revised 2016.04.06