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Master's Degree Programme

About the programme 
Language: English  (See language requirements)  | Place of study: Aarhus  |  Commencement: August / September and January / February (only applicants with a legal right of admission can apply)


The MSc in Molecular Biology programme is both practical and research-oriented, reflecting the interests of business and industry, research institutions and the public sector. This flexible programme accommodates the interests of the individual student, because it allows you to specialise in a particular subject area while acquiring a general mastery of in molecular biology.


Students can choose to specialise within a more general field, including 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.

In the second year students write a thesis. There are excellent opportunities for collaboration 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.

World-class research

Teaching at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics is greatly influenced by the research conducted here, as the lecturers are active researchers. Students gain insight into on-going research projects across the entire spectrum of molecular biology, from bacteria and yeast to humans. The understanding of biochemistry and molecular biology is based upon the entire spectrum, from atoms to organisms.

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.

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.

In the assesment of whether a bachelor degree qualifies for admission to the MSc in Molecular Biology, Aarhus University considers the following to be important:

  • The bachelors degree should include subject components within molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, microbiology and bioinformatics equaling 80 ECTS, as well as basic subject components in Mathematics, Chemistry, Statistics and Probability Calculus as well as an introductory course in programming.

Upon admission further requirements regarding composition of the degree programme may be stipulated.

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.


Please see the general admission requirements.

Legal right of admission

Students with a 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 for admission to the Master’s degree programme no later than three years after completion of the Bachelor’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 programme only admits a limited number of students each year, meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme. 

Allocation of student places is based on an overall assessment. In evaluating qualified applicants, the admissions committee assess applicants on the basis of the following criteria:

Academic background

  • Overall grade level – Bachelor’s degree
  • Grades achieved on relevant courses*
  • Relevant courses* (measured in credit units) included in your Bachelor’s degree

* Relevant courses include core courses within the subject areas of Molecular biology, Bioinformatics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Probability theory and Statistics.

Please note that grades obtained after the time of application cannot be included in the assessment of grade level.

The admissions committee assess each applicant on the basis of the information provided in diplomas, transcripts, and course descriptions.

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.

The teaching is divided into two semesters per year. 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/

Academic regulations

Student life

Students on this programme are based at the Department of Molecular Biology – a large facility at Science Park Aarhus which students have furnished themselves and where they meet in connection with academic and social activities. In addition, a number of student organisations at the department organise academic activities, excursions, celebrations and social functions.

The University Park campus – a unique place

The main Aarhus University campus is unique, with buildings closely grouped together and surrounded by nature. The campus is conveniently situated close to the city centre, and student accommodation is readily available as long as you apply on time. There are a range of activities, ranging from running to regatta on the lake, as well as guest lectures, film screenings, and university events taking place throughout the year. To ensure student well-being, counselling services are available for students, to offer support and guidance during their time at Aarhus.

Aarhus as a city

As the second-largest city in Denmark, Aarhus is a young and dynamic place with plenty of opportunities. The 40,000 students at the university make up 17.5% of the city’s population, which leaves its mark on city life. An attractive feature of Aarhus is that there are beaches and woods a short bike-ride away, as well as cultural events taking place throughout the year, including the Aarhus Festival in September. The theatres in the city and the ARoS international art museum offer many events that enable you to experience the Danish culture. 

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Meet our graduates

Anne Yde, MSc. in Molecular Biology, PBU Manager at Eurofins Agro Testing

During my Master's programme, I had the freedom to specialise within the topics, I found most interesting. This freedom to choose specific courses was a result of my course combination in my Bachelor’s programme, which meant I only had to follow elective courses during my Master’s programme. For me, this was an advantage and meant that I chose to continue with courses within cell biology primarily.

I spent the final year of my Master's programme working on my thesis in the research laboratory at the Department of Molecular Biology, where I had also worked on my Bachelor's project. For my thesis, I worked on a project where we studied the repair mechanisms of DNA damage in neurons.

In the laboratory, I had the opportunity to learn about life as a researcher and to test methods, which could be of use later in my career. I found it very valuable to get to spend an entire year in the laboratory.

Today I work as a PBU Manager in Eurofins Agro Testing. We are a part of the Eurofins group, an international laboratory group with laboratories around the world. Eurofins in Denmark has more than 700 employees and carry out laboratory analyses within food, environment, agriculture, pharma, products, and materials. At Eurofins Agro Testing, we analyse samples from agriculture, horticulture and forestry, for example feed, soil, manure, and plants.

As PBU Manager, I am responsible for the production in our department. My job is quite varied, and includes both customer support as well as handling and validating results. I am also responsible for a number of methods and therefore handle any deviations in these methods and the development of new initiatives. In addition, I work with some IT tasks concerning the handling of samples, analyses, and results.

We handle many samples in the laboratory each day and you have to work at a high pace. This was a big change from life at the university. On a daily basis I do not use methods which I know directly from my work at the university, but my education as a molecular biologist has given me the ability to familiarise myself with new subject areas as well as a fundamental scientific and analytical approach, which I could not do without in my daily work.

Maiken Østervemb Krogshede, MSc in Molecular Biology, Site Quality Coordinator at Arla Foods Ingredients

My Master’s programme in Molecular Biology was very diverse, allowing students to customize their own academic profile. This meant that I could concentrate more on certain topics and choose elective courses, which matched my interests. I have always thought that health and nutrition were interesting – both functionally and physiologically. It comes naturally to me to ask the question "Why is it like that?", and often molecular biology can help me to find the answers.

The transfer from the study environment to "the real world" has changed my perspective on molecular biology and has given it an extra dimension. I clearly remember visiting the production area on my job for the first time and how fascinating it was to see the use of general molecular principles – and it still fascinates me!

In my daily work, I am a link to the company’s production, laboratory, logistics, sales and development. For each part, I use various skills that I have acquired during my education. For example, I use my knowledge of protein properties when working with the production, while I in the laboratory I use my knowledge about analyses and interpretation of analysis results. Other times it is the ability to communicate information and to acquire new knowledge quickly, which are important.

With my professional knowledge and skills acquired from my study and my daily job, I work on ensuring the high and right quality of whey proteins. By doing so, I am making a difference for many people with special nutritional needs by making use of all the magnificent qualities that whey has. This is in both products with proper nutrition for newborns; products of easily absorbable proteins for patients, elderly people, and athletes; and products with reduced milk proteins for lactose intolerant people.


Job functions for grads

The chart shows the five most common types of work for graduates 1-2 years after finishing their degree. The data is derived from a survey made by Epinion for the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and Aarhus University in 2020.

Competence profile

With a Master’s degree in molecular biology, you gain the following competencies:

  • You have general knowledge of molecular biology and detailed knowledge of key disciplines, methodologies, theories and concepts within this field.
  • 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 opportunities

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.

Graduates of the MSc programme in molecular biology are in demand on 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 the private and public sectors. If you are interested in becoming 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.