Medical Natural Sciences

Natural sciences and medicine united

Natural sciences and medicine united

The Master’s programme in Medical Natural Sciences is a multidisciplinary programme that combines physics and chemistry with medicine. MNS is a collaboration between the researchers of the Beta department of VU, the VUmc and the AMC. This combination will teach you how to translate research into the fundamentals of physics, biology and chemistry into innovative solutions for healthcare. A multidisciplinary background like this will equip you perfectly for tomorrow’s approaches to medical research, in all their complexity.

As a Master’s student, you will have approximately one year of courses and one year of internships. There are a lot of course possibilities to create your own specialization. This provides the possibility to focus on your interest within the medical world. For example, you can opt for a physics profile, which can be more fundamental or more focused on the clinical application. You also can choose to explore the role of biomarkers in clinical chemistry or focus more on physiological approaches of threatening diseases. An important part of the master are the internships in the research groups. These bring your knowledge into practical work and improve your practical skills.

The Master’s programme in Medical Natural Sciences is a unique opportunity for students who want to combine scientific subjects with practical application. Market research shows that graduates of this programme have a bright future. For example, you will be able to:

  • Develop new possibilities and techniques for medical diagnosis and treatment;
  • Research ways of applying technology to treat various diseases;
  • Work on clarifying the molecular basis of various diseases.

The master’s in Medical Natural Sciences is a two-year programme worth 120 ECTS. During this time, you will take compulsory courses plus a number of optional courses. Your own research is an important part of the programme, which you could perform in one of the participating research groups. Moreover, you write a literature thesis on a subject within Medical Natural Sciences research and you acquire general academic skills.

Programme components

The Master’s programme in Medical Natural Sciences consists of: 

VariantOMCE
Compulsory courses (Major)36181812
Research project (Major)39363636
Literature study6666
Minor programme (obligatory in O-variant)21---
Internship (e.g. at a company)-3030-
M or C projects-2424-
High school teacher education---60
Ethics3333
Writing a scientific article3333
Optional program O-variant, for example
- Deficiency courses
- Extension research project
- Extension literature study
- extra courses
12


Total (cp)120120120120

 

An overview of the various courses which can be chosen can be found here. Besides, you have to opt for a profile. The different profiles can be seen here.  

At the initial planning stage of your Master’s, you can define your own programme in consultation with the Master’s coordinator.

Other interesting programmes

Medical Natural Sciences courses in study guide.

A Master’s degree in Medical Natural Sciences means you will be able to work in clinics, medical research institutes or for biomedical and pharmaceutical companies. If you decide to specialize further as a clinical physicist, clinical chemist or clinical computer scientist, a Master's degree will entitle you to take part in the postgraduate programme you need to achieve your goal. And there are professional Master's programmes in medical natural scientific subjects, such as toxicology.

Jobs
Graduates in Medical Natural Sciences enjoy highly favourable career prospects, partly due to the speed at which technology in the fields of imaging, analytical methodes, bio-informatics and moleculair research is developing. Another reason concerns recent developments relating to social issues, such as the ageing population and efficient healthcare. There is a growing demand for specialists equipped to work in an interdisciplinary environment.

Continuing your studies
After completing your Master's programme, you can conduct PhD research at a university. Graduates with excellent grades can apply for one of our PhD student positions. This is normally awarded for four years, during which the student is expected to complete a research project. The main task of a PhD student is to conduct research resulting in a thesis.

Think scientific, act practical
The Master’s programme in Medical Natural Sciences is a collaboration of the Beta department of VU, the VUmc and the AMC. The knowledge brought to you by specialists from this collaboration will teach you how to translate research into the fundamentals of physics, biology and chemistry into innovative solutions for healthcare. 

There are four specializations Medical Physics, Physics of Life, Medical Physiology and Molecular Clinical Diagnostics. The Medical Physics specialization is the only university programme in the Netherlands, outside of physics itself, that meets the requirements set by the Dutch Society for Clinical Physics for admission to its training programme in clinical physics. If you want more information, please contact the master coordinator.

High-level research is conducted in groups of outstanding quality. Various research groups are involved in the programme.

Research and development in imaging with MRI and MEG
Medical Physics stands for the utilization of physics for medical and biological purposes. The field of Medical Physics deals with the study of processes in the human body, as well as with the development and improvement of devices for diagnostic, therapeutic and revalidation purposes. The department conducts research and development in imaging with MRI and MEG.

Cardiovascular diseases
At VU Medical Center, medical physiological research is conducted on cardiovascular diseases such as cardiac infarction or vascular disfunction caused by diabetes and obesity. The techniques used encompass cardiac imaging, microscopic life cell imaging, contractile function assays and proteomics.

Biophysical research
The groups involved in the Physics of Life programme are engaged in biophysical research at the LaserLab Amsterdam. Key research activities are the development of minimally invasive optical imaging and microscopy technologies for functional mapping of human tissues, the use of fluorescence and microscopic techniques for the study of DNA and essential proteins in human cells, the use of advanced laser-spectroscopic techniques for the study of the interaction between light and biological matter.

Clinical and biomedical environment
The research is either embedded in or linked to the clinical and biomedical environment of the VUmc and AMC. Communication with medical staff and biologists is an important component of the study programme.

Overview Medical Natural Sciences

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

2 years

TUITION FEE

APPLICATION DEADLINE

15 July for Dutch students. 1 April for EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students.* * EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need housing services through Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam can still apply until 1 June.

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

None

FIELD OF INTEREST

Health and Movement
Natural Sciences

New cancer medicine
Research into proteins necessary for cell division can give clues as to how cancer can be treated. You can help us research the specific inhibitors of special motor proteins that prevent cell growth and leave other cell functions intact.

Optical biopsies
With new, advanced microscopy techniques, we can create “optical biopsies” for “real-time in vivo diagnosis”, allowing functional biopsies of living tissue from organs such as the human eye.

Can you grow a new intervertebral disc?
Last April, a cage was implanted in a patient suffering from a prolapsed disc in her neck. The bony material in the cage will grow and fuse with the neighbouring vertebral discs. The real challenge, however, is to grow a new intervertebral disc. We need students in Medical Natural Science to help us meet this challenge.

You are ought to chose for a profile. There are four profiles: research, social, communication and education. You can choose between the following profiles:

  • Research: focuses on Medical Natural Sciences research. With this profile you gain experience for a career in research, both in the university (PhD) as in industry.
  • Social: focuses on policy-analysis, management and entrepreneurship. This profile enables you to combine your background in Medical Natural Sciences with policy or management in industry.
  • Communication: focuses on science communication theory and research, as well as on practice (partly in Dutch). This profile provides you with special training for a job in science communication.
  • Education: provides you training as a teacher in chemistry or physics for Dutch pre-university (VWO) level or vocational education (HBO) level (partly in Dutch).

Maureen van Eijnatten

Within the specialization Medical Physics, Maureen van Eijnatten conducted an internship at Philips Research in Eindhoven. Read her experiences below!

"For my minor research project, I wanted to see what kind of research is performed at a leading international company in medical technology: Philips. On my own initiative, I arranged a five-month internship with Philips Research at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven."

Radiotherapy treatment planning

"The topic of my internship was radiotherapy treatment planning. Treating a cancer patient with external radiation requires very advanced planning of the treatment. It can be very complicated to get the desired amount of radiation in the tumor, while the surrounding healthy organs should be spared as much as possible to prevent side effects.

Usually, the treatment planner receives a list of objectives: the desired minimum, maximum or uniform dose to every organ or tumor structure. An objective can also be assigned to a percentage of the total structure volume, whereas multiple objectives can be assigned to a single structure. Ultimately, every assigned objective receives an importance weight. The treatment planner needs to manually play around with these variables – especially with the importance weights – to come up with a treatment plan for the patient.

To improve this complex and time consuming process, I helped designing an interactive software tool. This tool automatically calculates a set of possible treatment plans, taking objectives and importance weights into account. Thereafter, the physician can choose from a combination of plans and select the one that seems best for the patient.

The development of this tool required programming skills in MatLab. I learned the MatLab basics during some Master’s courses, such as Biomedical Modeling and Simulation. Also the course Scientific Writing in English was useful, since I needed to write a technical note for Philips, and of course my internship report."

International working environment

"At first, I was a little worried about moving from Amsterdam to Eindhoven because I did not know anyone in this area. Fortunately, I soon found myself in a stimulating and enjoyable working environment at Philips Research. I had my own spot in the office where I was surrounded by top researchers and students from all over Europe.

It was interesting to experience the differences with research at a university. Company projects often have a clear goal and focus on possible applications. Of course I experienced those moments when you are not sure what you are doing, but in the end I managed to create a useful research tool. All in all, I am very grateful for this opportunity and I would recommend a company internship to all Medical Natural Science students!"

Dutch students

The Medical Natural Sciences programme is open to both Dutch and International Students with a background in Medical Natural Sciences or a related subject. Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. If you have read the admission criteria below and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.

Step 1: Meet the admission criteria
In order to gain admission to the Medical Natural Sciences Master’s programme, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. Academic writing skill is to be demonstrated by submitting a thesis. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. A Bachelor degree obtained at an applied university or higher vocational education (HBO in Dutch) in most cases does not grant direct access to the programme (only exceptionally high ranking students stand a chance of admission).

Specific requirements for the Computer Science master’s programme 

Important: All students must contact the master coordinator of the specific specialization.
  • Direct admission to the Master's programme in Medical Natural Sciences is possible with a bachelor degree in Medical Natural Sciences. If you have a bachelor degree in a related subject, you will have to meet certain entry requirements depending on specialization you choose.
  • HLO graduates
    There will be limited possibilities in the opt for courses. Students are advised to contact the master coordinator.

General language proficiency requirements
VU Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test and to submit their score as a part of the application. Exceptions are made for students:
1. who have obtained a Dutch VWO diploma.
2. who have obtained an international Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma.
3. who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia.

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online
Dutch students or students with a Dutch University degree, please follow: Online application for students with a Dutch University degree

Students with an international degree, please follow: Online application for students with an International University degree

For International degree holders, digital scans of the following documents are required:

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • 2 Letters of recommendation
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Diploma(s) / statement of expected graduation
  • A transcript of the marks obtained during the Bachelor's programme.
  • Bachelor's or Master's thesis (written in English)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education 
  • English language test 

Detailed descriptions of the required documents can be found here

Step 3: Await decision on admission
The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. The conditions include sending a certified copy of your diploma and submitting the results of your English language test. Also, arrange payment of the tuition fees or authorize VU Amsterdam to withdraw the fees (you need to have a European bank account for this option). Here you will find an explanation of the registration procedure and the relevant deadlines. When all conditions are met you will receive a confirmation of your registration and you will be ready to start your programme at VU Amsterdam!

Further information about:

Accommodation
Visa
Tuition fees
Scholarships

Admission to a Master’s programme: the Bachelor-before-Master rule
The Bachelor-before-Master rule is applied to all VU programmes. This means that you can only start a Master’s programme on 1 September if you have obtained your Bachelor’s degree. Uncompleted Bachelor’s subjects are not permitted if you want to start a Master programme. 

What does this mean now for students? - You may have to adjust your study plan. For example, if you’re planning a semester abroad in the first semester and you would like to start the following Master’s programme in September, please note that every part of the Bachelor’s study programme has to be completed – not only the compulsory parts of the programme. Other (short) interruptions of your study programme can also have an effect on your ability to proceed onto a Master’s programme. If the Bachelor’s programme is not fully completed, you cannot start the Master’s programme until the start of the next academic year. Take this into account when planning your study path! Please contact our faculty’s study advisors when you have any questions.

You can apply online for admission to a master’s programme at VU Amsterdam. Applications for admission to the master’s programme, and the application fee payments must have been received by VU Amsterdam no later than:

StudentsDeadline
non-EU/EEA and EU/EEA students who also wish to apply for a VUFP grant1 March
non-Dutch students with an international degree1 April
non-Dutch students with a Dutch degree1 June
Dutch students from institutions other than VU Amsterdam 1 June
Dutch students from VU Amsterdam1 June 
Dutch students with an international degree 1 June 

For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure contact your International Student Advisor at the International Office:

Central International Office

International Student Advisor:
Erik van Zwol
Tel + 31 (0)20 598 7499 
E admissionsfs@vu.nl

Always contact the Master's coordinator for advice before sending in your application.

For specific questions about the Master’s specializations, please contact the coordinator:  

Dr. ir. Theo Faes
Phone: +31 20 44 40178
Email: tjc.faes@vumc.nl

Practical information for international students
empty

Would you like to know more about our courses, scholarships and application & registration procedure? Please contact our International Office.

E-mail: admissionsfs@vu.nl

General information about VU Amsterdam
empty

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 12:00). You may also email us at study@vu.nl.

Would you like to read the key points of the Master's programme? Order the brochure. Or find out more about the Master's programmes and visit our information days.

International students

The Medical Natural Sciences programme is open to both Dutch and International Students with a background in Medical Natural Sciences or a related subject. Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. If you have read the admission criteria below and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.

Step 1: Meet the admission criteria

In order to gain admission to the Medical Natural Sciences Master’s programme, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. Academic writing skill is to be demonstrated by submitting a thesis. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. A Bachelor degree obtained at an applied university or higher vocational education (HBO in Dutch) in most cases does not grant direct access to the programme (only exceptionally high ranking students stand a chance of admission).

Specific requirements for the Computer Science master’s programme 

Important: All students must contact the master coordinator of the specific specialization.
  • Direct admission to the Master's programme in Medical Natural Sciences is possible with a bachelor degree in Medical Natural Sciences. If you have a bachelor degree in a related subject, you will have to meet certain entry requirements depending on specialization you choose.
  • HLO graduates
    There will be limited possibilities in the opt for courses. Students are advised to contact the master coordinator.

General language proficiency requirements

VU Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test and to submit their score as a part of the application. Exceptions are made for students who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia or who have obtained an international Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma.

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online

Dutch students or students with a Dutch University degree, please follow: Online application for students with a Dutch University degree

Students with an international degree, please follow: Online application for students with an International University degree

For International degree holders, digital scans of the following documents are required:

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • 2 Letters of recommendation
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Diploma(s) / statement of expected graduation
  • A transcript of the marks obtained during the Bachelor's programme.
  • Bachelor's or Master's thesis (written in English)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education 
  • English language test 

Detailed descriptions of the required documents can be found here

Step 3: Await decision on admission
The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam! 

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. The conditions include sending a certified copy of your diploma and submitting the results of your English language test. Also, arrange payment of the tuition fees or authorize VU Amsterdam to withdraw the fees (you need to have a European bank account for this option). Here you will find an explanation of the registration procedure and the relevant deadlines. When all conditions are met you will receive a confirmation of your registration and you will be ready to start your programme at VU Amsterdam!

Further information about

Accommodation
emptyVisa
emptyTuition fees
Scholarships

You can apply online for admission to a master’s programme at VU Amsterdam. Applications for admission to the master’s programme, and the application fee payments must have been received by VU Amsterdam no later than:

StudentsDeadline
non-EU/EEA and EU/EEA students who also wish to apply for a VUFP grant1 March
non-Dutch students with an international degree1 April
non-Dutch students with a Dutch degree1 June
Dutch students from institutions other than VU Amsterdam 1 June
Dutch students from VU Amsterdam1 June 
Dutch students with an international degree 1 June 

There are several possibilities for obtaining funding. Among them are:

  • VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP)
  • Holland Scholarship Programme (HSP)
  • Orange Tulip Scholarship (OTS)
  • Fulbright scholarship
  • STUNED Scholarship Programme
  • Indonesia Endowment Fund of Education (LPDP)
  • Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP)
  • Direct Loan Programme 

Information about scholarships, fellowships and grants

For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure contact your International Student Advisor at the International Office:

Central International Office

International Student Advisor:
Erik van Zwol
Tel + 31 (0)20 598 7499 
E admissionsfs@vu.nl

Always contact the Master's coordinator for advice before sending in your application.

For specific questions about the Master’s specializations, please contact the coordinator:  

Dr. ir. Theo Faes
Phone: +31 20 44 40178
Email: tjc.faes@vumc.nl

Practical information for international students
empty

Would you like to know more about our courses, scholarships and application & registration procedure? Please contact our International Office.

E-mail: admissionsfs@vu.nl

General information about VU Amsterdam
empty

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 12:00). You may also email us at study@vu.nl.

Would you like to read the key points of the Master's programme? Order the brochure. Or find out more about the Master's programmes and visit our information days.