From bench to bedside

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and the incidence keeps rising due to aging of the population. This Master is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms behind growth of cancer cells, the effect this disease has on a patient’s life and the influences of risk factors. During this Master, you will learn all about the pathways involved in cancer onset and development and possible targets for treatment.

View the brochure Master Oncology online. 

You can find more information on our website.

Overview Oncology




Two years



April 1st for non-EU/EEA students, June 1st for EU/EEA students






Health and Movement

An impression of Master Oncology

The Master Oncology offers you a challenging program with a high degree of freedom to choose among several specialized Master courses and a number of outstanding research groups for research projects. The program coordinator advises you during your career development and helps you to set-out a tailor-made program of your interests. The Master Oncology is a two-year international program of 120 ECTS and tuition is completely in English.


You can find more information about the program on our website.


Generally speaking, students must complete their Bachelor’s or pre-Master’s before starting on their Master’s programme. This is known as the ‘BSc-before-MSc rule’. Due to the corona crisis, however, some students have had to partially stop their studies, resulting in an unfortunate delay.

There has been examined how an exception to this BSc-before-MSc rule can be made possible for Master’s programmes at VU Amsterdam. This means that, under certain conditions, students who are lacking credits for no more than a few courses including their bachelor project, will still be able to start their Master’s at VU Amsterdam next year. This is a one-off measure. The missing credits must be completed during the 2020-2021 academic year, in other words no later than August 31 2021. Please read carefully below which rules apply for admission into the Master’s programme Oncology.

Master programma Oncology

The following rules apply this year for admission into the Master's programme:

Target GroupNumber of EC at least achieved
(Inter)national students EER (European Economic Area)150 EC
HBO bachelor students210 EC
international students non-EER (European Economic Area)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 EC or equivalent

Please note that,apart from the rules above, the following passages are still applicable and must be met to be considered for admission into the Master’s Programme:

- Admission criteria / requirements that are not EC related

- English language proficiency requirements


As an international student from the European Economic Area, please note that it will be extremely challenging to complete your Bachelor’s degree and simultaneously start with your Master programme at VU Amsterdam.

Request exceptional admission
Do you meet these conditions or do you expect to meet these conditions by 31 August at the latest? If so, you can request exceptional admission no later than 1 August. You can do this by completing and submitting the form.

Do you want to start a Master’s programme in September?
Then complete the form for exceptional admission to a Master’s programme.


The Master Oncology aims to train Bio-medically oriented Bachelors and related Bachelors in Life Sciences to become independent researchers with in depth knowledge in the field of Oncology.

  • Does the impact of cancer on a patient's life and their surrounding trigger you to fight this disease?
  • Do you have a biomedical background and are you interested in working in a multidisciplinary environment?
  • Do you enjoy working with people who dare to challenge each other in order to get the best result?

If so, the Master program Oncology was made for you!

Admission requirements 

This is a selective Master's programme. You will be considered for admission to the Master's programme Oncology if you hold 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. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. For a bachelor’s degree from an institute of higher education (HBO/HLO) you need at least 240 EC (4 years of study). 

To be considered for admission to the Master’s programme in you must meet the requirements listed below. 

  • Academic Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Life Sciences or comparable. If you hold a BSc degree in a closely related discipline (e.g. Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences or Medicine or another relevant science program) you are also eligible to apply
  • A clear motivation and talent for participation in the program.
  • High level of academic and professional ability and oral and written proficiency in English at an advanced level.
  • Basic knowledge of Oncology and Immunology.
  • Research Laboratory skills (preferably a bachelor internship of > 12 EC).
  • Pass the admission test of the master program.

We will also take into account your grade point average, marks for relevant courses, study progress and extracurricular activities.

The Admissions Board of the master Oncology 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. In all cases, decisions will be made within 6 weeks after the application deadline.

Only in exceptional circumstances may we deviate from the specific admission requirements. If you believe your case is subject to such exceptional circumstances, then please explain so in your letter of application. 

English language proficiency requirements

International degree holders

VU Amsterdam requires international students to pass an English language proficiency test. 

Exceptions are made for students: 

  • who have obtained an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma. 
  • who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia.

Below you will find the minimum English test scores for this master programme:

  • IELTS: 6.5 - please note that candidates must take the Academic test and not the General one!
  • TOEFL paper-based test: 580
  • TOEFL-ITP: 580
  • TOEFL Internet-based test: 92
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): C

For TOEFL and IELTS, the test must have been completed no more than two years before 1 September of the year in which your programme starts. 

Dutch degree holders

You must have passed the English courses in your previous education. In case the admission board decides that the level of English proficiency is not clear based on de previous education and/or admission assessment test, students will be asked to provide a VU-test English-language proficiency: TOEFL ITP certificate with a minimum score of 580.

Selection procedure

The master Oncology Admissions Board reviews all requests for admission and selects students that meet the entry requirements. The Admissions Board also assesses whether you will be able to successfully complete the Master’s programme within the set time frame. This means the decision on your application is based on a thorough analysis. 

You will receive a written notification of the decision of the Admissions Board. You will also be notified when you are placed on a waiting list and/or if you still have to fulfil certain conditions.

You can contact the programme coordinator with questions about your eligibility. However, only with the “admission email” you will be officially notified about your conditional or unconditional admission.

Admission procedure

Online admission

We will begin accepting applications from October 1. You should complete an admission request through Studielink. You will receive a confirmation of your request as well as login details for VUnet. Complete the application and upload all required documents relating to the admission requirements in the VUnet portal before the application deadline (1st of April for non-EU students and the 1st of May for EU students). EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need housing services through Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam can still apply until the 1st of May. 

Deadline extended: Application is possible until the 1st of June (EU students). For more information, visit  our website.

Complete your application in time!

In addition to applying online, you are asked to submit a number of forms and documents. Please submit your application with all required documents well before the latest date of application. If your file is incomplete at that time, we will be unable to consider your application.

Application procedure: Prepare documents and apply online 

Please prepare the following documents. Please note that all documents must be submitted in English.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Transcript of records (Provide a certified translation if it is not in English)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation 

International students also have to submit a copy of their bachelor thesis (or another sample of academic writing) and course descriptions.

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. 

Assessment test 

An assessment test is part of the admission procedure. The test consists of two parts and you need to pass them both. You can find more information about the assessment test, the test dates and application form on our website. 

Final decision 

Final decision of admission will be communicated before the 1st of July.

After being admitted to the Master Oncology, students need to complete their registration and pay tuition fee. Information about tuition fees can be found on the central student administration website of the VU University Amsterdam. 

For more information, visit our website or send an email to the program coordinator: masteroncology@vumc.nl

Some international students are happy to tell you about their experiences with living and studying in Amsterdam. These Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and have attended various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed here on this webpage: vu.nl/ambassadors.

Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!

Miriam E. van Strien, PhD
Coordinator Master Oncology
E-mail: masteroncology@vumc.nl
Tel: +31 20 44 46345

Postal adress

Amsterdam UMC - VU University Medical Center
Institute for Education & Training, BS7 G-010 
PO BOX 7075
1007 MB Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Visiting adress

VU Amsterdam - Medical Faculty
Van der Boechorststraat 7
1081 BT Amsterdam
The Netherlands