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Majors and Minors

Faculty of Science

At the UvA  you can choose to do your Master’s programme with a society-/ business-oriented major or minor that focuses on other skills than doing research. In this case you will follow the programme of your chosen scientific discipline during the first year of your Master’s (although slightly adjusted), and a society-/ business-oriented major or minor during the second year. You will graduate as a Master of Science. If you have the ambition to do a professional specialisation make sure to inform about conditions early in your Master's programme.   

Major Science in Society (60 EC, in English)

The Master's major Science in Society:

  • is meant for students with a broad interest in current affairs, social issues, policy, management and entrepreneurship relating to scientific matters
  • concerns reading and writing policy advisery reports, management aspects such as leadership styles and motivation techniques, and organisational structures
  • offers career prospects such as policy preparation adviser with a government department, or a management career in a pharmaceutical company
  • is part of a two-year Master’s programme: during the first year, you will follow the regular Master’s programme of your chosen scientific discipline (60 EC), and subsequently you will follow the first year of the Master’s programme Management, Policy-Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health & Life Sciences, at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Do biomedical innovations not only raise scientific questions for you, but also ethical, legal and social questions? Then the major Science in Society might be for you.

Major Teaching (60 EC, in Dutch)

This programme is designed for students thinking of a job in secondary or professional education. Following this programme gives you the opportunity to achieve the first-level teaching qualification within two years.

The first year you will follow the courses (60 EC) of the programme of your choice and in the second year you will take courses at the ILO (Interfacultaire Lerarenopleidingen), part of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education. You will graduate as a Master of Science in your own discipline.

Major Science Communication (60 EC, partly in Dutch)

Is designed for students who have a broad interest in current events, societal issues and the public debate on the position of the natural sciences in society

  • Prepares you for careers on the intersection of science, technology and society; professions for which you need a critical, academic attitude and the skills to support a fruitful dialogue between science and society
  • Is part of a two-year master education programme: you first follow the regular master programme of your choice (60 EC) to deepen your expert knowledge, after which you follow the Science Communication specialization year (60 EC) at the Athena Institute at VU Amsterdam.

Do you see yourself working in the future as a science journalist at a newspaper or at a popular science magazine? Or do you aspire to be a communication adviser at a biomedical company, a content manager at a science museum or a PR-manager at an environmental organisation? With the Science Communication master specialization you can combine your interest in the natural sciences with gaining knowledge and skills within the field of science communication.

Major Big Biomedical Data Analysis (60 EC)

Biomedical research is developing fast, especially due to the use of 'omics' technologies that generate large data sets, such as Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and Mass Spectrometry (MS). Omics data analysis and interpretation becomes ever more important, as biomedical research becomes more and more data-driven.

This major is designed for students that want to learn how to handle, analyse and interpret big omics data sets, in order to address and investigate biomedical research questions. The programme is intended for those who aspire a research career in a university or research institute, as well as for those who want to do R&D, in for instance a pharmaceutical or life-science company.

  • Read more about this major

    The major consists of three 6-EC courses and a 42-EC internship. The content of the three courses will be subsequently: Genomics, Transcriptomics and Proteomics/Metabolomics. During the internship you will work and participate in a biomedical research group, such as in the AMC or the NKI, to work on a research project. In addition, you will have weekly bioinformatics sessions at Science Park to discuss data analysis approaches, methods, and the (more technical) interpretation of results.

    Why did you choose the Big Biomedical Data Analysis Major?

    Michelle Smulders, Master's student in Biomedical Sciences, explains why she chose the Big Biomedical Data Analysis Major and tells you more about the study programme.

    For whom?

    This major is intended for those students that want to be able to analyse omics big data themselves. This is useful in research and for life sciences companies. For instance, when you are interested in genes that are involved in complex diseases, you may want to analyse all 4 to 5 million sites in the genome where differences between humans exist. This will lead to a big data set. The major is designed to teach students the skills required to interpret such data.


    The Big Biomedical Data Analysis programme starts with three compulsory 6 EC courses that teach you enough skills in scripting (such as Linux bash, R, Python), tools, analyses approaches and statistics to be prepared for your internships. In addition, various applications of the sequencing and mass spectrometry technologies will be discussed, such as single cell sequencing, ChIP-sequencing, and targeted and non-targeted (LC)-MS approaches. The content of the courses will be: September: Genomics, October: Transcriptomics, November: Proteomics/ Metabolomics.

    The internships are organised according to a new concept. You will work in a biomedical research group or company to participate in their research. In addition, you will have regular bioinformatics discussions at Science Park. At the start of your internship, in December, you will also learn about various bioinformatics topics (computer clusters, workflows etc.), and write a data analysis plan, as a part of your preparation for the 42 EC internship.


    The Major Big Biomedical Data Analysis starts once a year in September. To start with the Major Big Biomedical Data Analysis, it is obligatory to have completed at least 48 EC of the master’s programme of your choice at the start of the major.

    To register, please write an email to dr. Martijs Jonker: Please note that there is a restriction on the number of students that can participate.


    For questions about this major, please contact the major coordinator Erik Joling:, or Martijs Jonker:

Minor TESLA (30 EC)

Do you want to work on a real business case in a multidisciplinary team? The Tesla project is characterised by an interdisciplinary and unconventional focus on utilising science knowledge in real life environments. During the intensive programme students will attend lectures by speakers from within and outside of the Academia, participate in a range of skills trainings, be responsible for the organisation of part of the track and work in small groups on a project for an external partner (company).

Minor Science for Sustainability (30 EC)

Science for Sustainability is a minor for science master students who want to make a connection between their scientific background and the societal challenge to enhance a sustainable future. You learn to combine scientific and transformational knowledge with insights in economics and politics. The final aim is to come to science based solutions for pressing issues such as climate change,  the need to safeguard our environment, and the global demand for energy, water and food. Note: This minor is only possibly in selected Master's programmes.   

Within which Master’s programmes?

The professional master majors and minor are available within most two-year Master’s programmes of the UvA Faculty of Science. The major teaching can only be integrated in the following programmes:

  • Biological sciences
  • Biomedical sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Earth sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Stochastics and Financial Mathematics

Entry requirements

Professional majors
If you are admitted to a Master’s programme in which the master majors are available, you are automatically admissible to a master major within that programme. Please note that some majors have other application deadlines than regular Master's programmes. 

Tesla minor
The Tesla minor is a selective programme with an intake procedure consisting of a written application, a presentation, an interview and an assessment.


For more specific questions about the professional master majors, please contact the Majors Manager, dr. Erik Joling:

Dr. E. (Erik) Joling

Majors Manager