During your study

Molecular Medicine

Course modules & EC points

The MSc Molecular Medicine programme is a two-year research master’s programme of 120 EC, representing a total study load of 3,360 hours. For a detailed overview of the study programme, navigate the structure below. In addition, the Student Manual can be found below

Navigate to the EC module and course descriptions below. The EC module provides an overview of the courses along with their respective EC points and study load.

The theory courses of year 1 are designed to help students acquire the basic knowledge and capacities that they need to start the research projects they will be conducting as they proceed through the program. Most importantly, the courses aim to develop a sense of urgency to stay informed of new developments, and to acquire a life-long learning attitude. Without exception, theory courses are led by scientific MSc faculty. The laboratory visits and the larger research projects, which together take up almost 19 months of the total two-year study program, are usually performed within the many basic and/or translational research laboratories that participate in the MSc program. When working and learning in the lab, students will be continuously guided and supported by the scientific group leader who acts as their direct supervisor.

Course Code 





Personal and Professional Development Year 1 



Molecular Biology of the Cell  part A 



Molecular Biology of the Cell  part B 



Genetics and Bioinformatics 




Developmental Biology 

DB - Review Presentation 




Contemporary Research Topics  



Biology of Disease 



Lab Research Project Year 1 




Research Progress Presentation - Year 1 




Report Writing 

Research Report 




Total Year 1 



For full course descriptions, please have a look in our current Student Manual listed below.

At the start of the program (1st week of September 2023), students will be introduced to a number of MSc faculty members, scientific group leaders, and MSc course directors and coordinators. These Introduction Weeks are part of the Personal and Professional Development Year 1 course  (MM-PPD1) which also includes training on Scientific Integrity, Reflection Assignments on the student’s development, Presentation Skills and an Alumni Event. During the Introduction Weeks students have the opportunity to visit several of our research laboratories, to get a broader view of possible lines of investigation, and to get (further) acquainted with various research techniques. This will enable students to make an informed choice for the research projects ahead. 

Presentation skills

The aim of the Presentation Skills (part of Course MM-PPD1) is to practice organizing information for a concise and informative presentation and to practice oral presentation skills. In March students will have at least 3 Presentation Skills sessions.

From September and October onwards, the Molecular Biology of the Cell course is given. We will start this course with part A (MM-MBC-A) in the period September. Part A explores the basic aspects of biology. Students will have lectures four times a week. The course requires thorough and continuous reading of the textbook. Students are stimulated to actively take part in discussions. The MM-MBC-A course is followed by the Molecular Biology of the Cell part B (MM-MBC-B course) in the period October. Both exams aim to test insight and scientific ability.

End of October and November onwards the Genetics and Bioinfomatics course (MM-GB) is given to obtain a deeper theoretical understanding of genetic processes and bioinformatic tools available for their analysis. This course will highlight some of the developments in modern genetics research. Building upon the knowledge of classical (Mendelian) genetics, we will discuss several aspects of molecular genetic research on model organisms as well as patients. Topics discussed include bacterial genetics, genomes of higher eukaryotes, recombinant DNA technology, epigenetics, genomic imprinting, genomics and bioinformatics, molecular genetic technology in the clinic. The exam immediately follows the lecture series.

During the Developmental Biology course, November, December and January onwards, students will learn about developmental biology from an evolutionary perspective. The evolution of complex multicellular organisms is based on genetic changes, which are translated into changes in embryonic and postnatal development. Students will learn about molecular and cellular mechanisms of embryonic development, and dysregulation of development, in animals and humans, in an evolutionary context. The written exam immediately follows the lecture series. Students will also prepare poster presentations on selected topics. 

The Contemporary Research Topics (CRT) course is given in weekly sessions throughout February to April (twice a week on average). The CRT course is setup as a journal club; a literature reading course. 
Besides the research articles, some pages of the Molecular Biology of the Cell textbook should be studied, highlighting a technique or approach that is of importance to the paper. 
Furthermore, there will be excursions to a number of labs, to get familiar with specific technical equipment and, in small groups, students prepare short presentations about particular techniques. 
Writing an article abstract is practiced during class. The course is concluded with a written examination with open questions on a research article that was not discussed previously.

The Biology of Disease course aims to give students a deeper insight into current problems in translational research, narrowing the gap between clinical and biological science and scientists. We will discuss several examples of translational research as it is running at Erasmus MC at this moment. This is meant as template for further discussion on demands/needs to set up a good translational research project.

After an introductory discussion on clinical needs (‘a patient visits the doctor and what’s next..’’), we will discuss several examples of translational research in several topics from ongoing medical research. The session on the road from finding a target in the lab to clinical trials and introduction of a new drug in clinical practice offers insight in the long process of validation and implementation in a clinical setting.

In groups of 3-4 students, students will work on, and finally present, a possible translational research project in which they investigate the biological cause of an illness and how their data will be valorised (i.e. gets back to the patient again).

For the final course session, each of the groups will present a possible investigation strategy for a current clinical problem. These small projects will be presented to their fellow students and will stimulate them to think out of the box (and their own comfort zone).

Based on faculty presentations, lab rotations, and discussions with research supervisors and course directors, students will choose a topic and research group for a research project (Lab Research Project Year 1). At the end of this project (average duration will be 6 months) the results are written up in a report (see course MM-RW).

Research Progress Presentation - Year 1 (MM-P1):  In April/May students will present a 15 to 20 minutes talk on the progress of their research project, accompanied by PowerPoint slides.

Finally, in June-July students will write a scientific report: course Report Writing (MM-RW). Based on the experiments conducted and results obtained during the first year research project in the lab, the student will write a scientific report. They will write up the results of their work in the form of a research article (manuscript) with the style used in PLOS Biology. This will include: Title, Abstract, Introduction, Methods (for this purpose in more detail than is currently standard in publications), Results, Discussion and References, accompanied by figures. 

The completed report will be about 20-30 pages long. Prior to the writing of the report, students will have two class sessions to receive instructions and make preparations.

Navigate to the EC module and course descriptions below. The EC module provides an overview of the courses along with their respective EC points and study load.

Course CodeNameECHours


Personal and Professional Development Year 2 






Courses and Seminars 



Journal Clubs 



Writing a Project Proposal 



Research Progress Presentation - Year 2 



Lab Research Project Year 2 





Master Thesis 

Master Thesis - Presentation 




Total Year 2 



Upon completion of the program, when the MSc Thesis has been submitted, defended, and approved, you are awarded the Master of Science in Molecular Medicine degree.

For full course descriptions, please have a look in our current Student Manual listed below, pages 20 – 50.

Year 2 of the program is almost entirely taken up by a second Lab Research Project.

The laboratory, topic and research supervisor of the year 2 project will be different from those of the year 1 project. A new project proposal will have to be written, based on the interests of the student and the laboratory. Students will be trained in additional specific methods, and will carry responsibility on successful implementation of their research plan. Students should start looking for a new lab, new supervisor, and new topic in June of the preceding semester. The average duration of the research project for second year MSc students is 10 months.

The Personal and Professional Development Year 2 course (MM-PPD2) includes reflection assignments on the student’s development, an individual midterm talk with the Year 2 coordinators, an Alumni event and a Career event.

In regular course meetings in October and November, you are educated on how to write a scientific project proposal. You will develop a first draft of your own research proposal, describing the plan of work for the one-year period leading to the MSc thesis. The written research proposal will be prepared together with, and approved by, your research supervisor. This plan, agreed upon by both student and faculty, will be the basis for your research work leading to the MSc Molecular Medicine degree. The research proposal should describe the plan of work for a full-year period of research.

This will include: Title, Summary, Description of the proposed research, Knowledge utilisation, and Reference list (including figures as appropriate). These parts will be written in a step-wise manner. At each stage, the written parts will be evaluated by faculty on specific elements of scientific writing, as well as content, and revised accordingly.  Students will also review and evaluate the completed proposals of two of their peers to provide comments, during a discussion session, before the final revision.

Students are encouraged to participate in several courses, seminars, lectures, and symposia available at Erasmus MC or elsewhere. In consultation with their research supervisor and course directors, they may compose a program according to their individual needs and interests. Participation in an international meeting is to be considered.

Individually, students will present and critically discuss a scientific publication with their peers in a Journal Club. Each student chooses and presents one research paper on a topic of interest within the wide field of biomedical science, selected from an international peer-reviewed scientific journal. An experienced faculty member will be available to guide the discussion.

In March, halfway of the full-year research project, students will give a 20 minutes research progress presentation, accompanied by a slideshow. The students from the first MSc year are invited to these presentations. The presentation should include a brief introduction to the project, information on specific experiments and methods, actual data and controls and a conclusion.

The second, full-year, research project is concluded by submission and defence of the MSc thesis. The thesis will take the form of a full-length research article, suitable for publication in an international journal. In contrast to a regular article manuscript, the MSc thesis will include a more elaborate Introduction, describing the scientific background of the study; the Materials and Methods section will be expanded to include a complete and detailed description of all methods that have been applied; also, a List of Abbreviations will be added. The defence of the thesis will take about 15 minutes and will be preceded by an oral half hour presentation of aim, results and conclusions of the thesis work.

Once the MSc thesis is written, approved, and defended, students are awarded the Master of Science in Molecular Medicine degree. The MSc graduation ceremony is held at the end of every academic year, in the first week of September. Faculty, undergraduate students, and alumni are invited to this festive event.

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