MSc in Medical and Pharmaceutical Drug Innovation


2 locations available

Program Description

How can we make use of the immune system in order to target cancer? How does early life nutrition impact metabolic health in adulthood? How can microorganisms help fight against infectious diseases?

This selective two-year master program has a focus on Molecular Medicine and innovative treatment. It offers research-minded students small-group interactive teaching in an international and multidisciplinary environment. You will learn how to creatively apply knowledge and we will train you to become a critical and analytical scientist. You will be challenged with exciting cutting-edge research and methodologies and will learn how to critically read the literature, design novel research questions, translate hypotheses into testable research plans, and write scientific essays.

As a student you can focus on your interests and ambitions by participating in one of the following specializations after the first semester:

  • Oncology
  • Neuroscience
  • Infection and Immunity
  • Nutrition and Metabolism
  • Systems Medicine
  • Drug Innovation

Why study this program in Groningen?

If you choose to study MPDI at the University of Groningen, this is what you can expect:

  • A challenging multidisciplinary and intercultural approach to problem-solving;
  • Participate in a specialization of your choice;
  • Teaching by top-researchers with a high teacher-student ratio;
  • Large data cohorts;
  • Two major (international) research internships are part of the program;
  • Possibility to add a specialization to your diploma;
  • Possibility of obtaining a fully funded three-year Ph.D. position.


Year 1


  • Courses
  • Colloquium I (3 EC)
  • Introduction to Research Project I (3 EC)
  • Research Project I (30 EC)
  • Topclass I: Recent developments in medical, biomedical, and pharmaceutical sciences (11 EC)
  • Topclass II: Modern techniques in medical, biomedical, and pharmaceutical sciences (9 EC)
  • Topclass III: Theoretical preparation for advanced research in medical, biomedical, and pharmaceutical sciences (4 EC)

Year 2


  • Capita Selecta (6 EC)
  • Colloquium II (3 EC)
  • Elective A) Extension Research Project II, B) Elective Course, C) Track Dedicated Elective Course (5 EC)
  • Introduction to Research Project II (3 EC)
  • Research project II (30 EC)
  • Topclass IV: Project design (5 EC)
  • Topclass V: Ph.D. project proposal (8 EC)

Study load

40 hours of class and self-study per week on average.


Embedded in both the University Medical Center Groningen and the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, MPDI offers excellent facilities for (pharmaco)genomics, proteomics and in vivo(animal) and in vitro(cell) imaging. This direct interplay of the clinical, medical, and pharmaceutical sciences is what makes MPDI unique as well as the possibility to choose a specialization after the first semester. At the end of the second year, you will write and defend your own research proposal.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional

Students are encouraged to perform their second research proposal abroad, further enhancing their international experience. Previously students have done this at:

  • Children's Hospital Boston
  • Harvard Stem Cell Institute
  • Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, King's College London
  • J.W. Goethe University Hospital, Frankfurt am Main
  • KU Leuven
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • University Hospital Freiburg
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Oxford

Admission requirements

Dutch diploma

Specific requirements More information
Assessment interview

The selection committee makes a first evaluation and decides which students will be invited for an interview. During the interview students will be asked to:

  • explain their motivation
  • present their BSc thesis
  • present a scientific paper
Language test

Students who hold a VWO level high school diploma including English, meet the English language requirements.

Reference letter

Students will need to submit one academic reference.

International diploma

Specific requirements More information
Assessment interview

The selection committee makes a first evaluation and decides which students will be invited for an interview. During the interview students will be asked to:

  • explain their motivation
  • present their BSc thesis
  • present a scientific paper
Language test

Students must meet the English language requirements stated below:

  • IELTS overall band 6.5, no less than 6.0 on each section
  • TOEFL paper-based 580, no less than 55 on each section
  • TOEFL computer-based 237, no less than 21 on each section
  • TOEFL internet-based 92, no less than 21 on each section
  • Cambridge English: Cambridge certificate C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency (formerly known as CAE/CPE)
  • University of Groningen LCET: Minimum section scores C2 or C1 (one B2 allowed)
  • International Baccalaureate, with English as the medium of instruction
Previous education

Bachelor's degree in the fields of biology, pharmacy, life science, and technology or (bio)medical sciences.

Reference letter

One letter of recommendation from an academic must be submitted.

Other admission requirements

Non-EU students may apply for a scholarship for MPDI. The process of obtaining a scholarship is highly selective and non-EU students will need to indicate within their letter of motivation whether they depend on a scholarship in order to be able to enroll in MPDI or not. Furthermore, it is wise to motivate why we should select you for a scholarship.

Language requirements

Exam Minimum score
C1 Advanced (formerly CAE) C1
C2 Proficiency (formerly CPE) C2
IELTS overall band 6.5
TOEFL paper-based 580
TOEFL computer-based 237
TOEFL internet-based 92

Registration procedure

After you complete your application, the selection committee will assess whether your educational/academic background meets the specific program requirements. If so, students are required to submit a letter of motivation and one letter of recommendation from an academic. After evaluating these documents, the selection committee decides whether a student is invited for an interview.

For enrollment, please note that you have to apply for the program via Studielink. Students with a Dutch degree should, after applying via Studielink, send an e-mail to us for further instructions about the application procedure.

If you are applying with a foreign (non-Dutch) degree, please finalize your application in our Online Application System. More information about which steps to take as an international student can be found here.

Dutch students or students with a bachelor or master diploma from the UG who would like to apply for the upcoming academic year (2019-2020), please send an email to us.

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
Dutch students 01 May 2020 01 September 2020
EU/EEA students 01 May 2020 01 September 2020
non-EU/EEA students 01 May 2020 01 September 2020

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Program form
EU/EEA 2019-2020 € 2083 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2019-2020 € 15500 full-time
EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 2143 full-time

Job prospects

Upon completion of this program, you are fully prepared to become a Ph.D. student in an international research program. In fact, a number of students will be offered a full Ph.D. scholarship. Many stay at the UMCG, however, others have gone to a selection of other prestigious institutions or employers.

Job examples

  • Academia
  • Clinical Chemistry
  • Medical Consultancy
  • Nutrigenomics Scientist
  • Researcher
  • Entrepreneur


Research during the Medical Pharmaceutical Drug Innovation program

The educational program has six specializations, which are associated with the research institutes of the UMCG. Each specialization covers the entire spectrum of the research process. At the end of the program, students write their own grant proposal and the most successful proposals will be awarded funding to conduct their Ph.D. research.

The six specializations are:

  • Oncology
  • Medical Neurosciences and neurological diseases
  • Infection and immunity
  • Medical nutrition and metabolic diseases
  • Medical system biology and bioinformatics
  • Drug innovation

Here's what our students say about their research projects during the MPDI program:

Lisette van Os (21)

- ‘I chose somewhat of my own path within the master program. While completing the bachelor Life science & technology I got intrigued by regenerative medicine, which deals with the self-healing of organs and cells. Ultimately, this led me to want to research the role that cells and the extracellular matrix play in the lung disease Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF.'

Wellington Candido (28)

- ‘I am focussing my research on kidney transplantations and the way we can decrease the damage that occurs when the kidney is outside of the body. That can run up to hours since donor organs can come from any one of the other European countries. As it is on its way to the receiving patient, the kidney starts to deteriorate. What is going on in that time in the cells?’

Jolanda Smit, program director

- With the six different specializations, students are given the freedom to focus on the fields of their interest. Each specialization will be presented at the beginning of the program and students can decide if they want to participate in specialization or follow a general program. Students are assigned a mentor who helps them with decision making. Before students enter their first research project, they are asked to arrange a personal interview with three UMCG/GRIP professors of their choice. ‘That is where your motivation and independent decision making comes in again. You have to argue –via an oral presentation- which of the three laboratories suits your research ambitions the best.’

Last updated October 2019

About the School

University of Groningen The University of Groningen is a top 100 research university with a global outlook. We are currently ranked 80th in the Times Higher Education ranking and offer over 30 English... Read More

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