Biomedical Sciences: Drug Discovery and Development - UTU Masters
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Master’s Degree Programme in

Biomedical Sciences: Drug Discovery and Development

Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku

Welcome to discover new drugs with us!

The Master’s Degree Programme in Biomedical Sciences – Drug Discovery and Development specialisation track trains experts for the entire drug development chain.
The application period for the studies starting in autumn 2019 is 3 December 2018 – 31 January 2019.

The studies in Drug Discovery and Development give you a deep understanding of up-to-date methods applied to identify and validate new drug targets and to generate lead drug molecules. It also provides knowledge of technological innovations as well as methods of clinical drug research and development phases, clinical trial design, study planning and biostatistics. In addition, you will learn about drug regulatory science and pharmacovigilance.

After graduation, you will master drug discovery and development processes as well as procedures applied in drug regulatory science. You will also be familiar with the role of drug regulatory authorities during the life-span of a drug. The University of Turku also offers Drug Research Doctoral Programme for post-graduate studies.

You will get comprehensive skills to work in the field of biomedicine and drug discovery in companies, universities, research institutes or drug regulatory authorities. The Programme also gives a good foundation for those interested in entrepreneurship.

PROGRAMME IN BRIEF

Programme structure
http://www.utu.fi/en/sites/biomedicine/programmes/drugdiscovery/structure/Pages/home.aspx
Academic excellence & experience

Turku is a great place to study drug discovery and development! Of the Finnish drug innovations, 90 per cent have been made in Turku. To support the future discoveries, the University of Turku has chosen drug development as one of its strategic profiling areas.

The research in biosciences and medicine is internationally ranked among the top in the world. The keys for success lie in long biomedical research traditions and a compact campus area where two universities and a university hospital operate to create an interdisciplinary and innovative study and research environment.

Research focus is on translational medicine, disease modelling and biomedical imaging. Available infrastructure includes the world famous Turku PET Centre and Turku Centre for Disease Modeling, both of which offer services for drug development research.

Turku also has the largest cluster of pharma industry in Finland. Nearby companies not only provide experts for visiting lectures, but also create internship and job opportunities for the graduates.

Master's thesis & topics

The Master’s thesis project is based on independent, experimental research work.

You agree on your thesis topic with your thesis examiner who also accepts the topic. You will write a research plan, conduct a research project in a laboratory, analyse obtained results, and demonstrate your ability to interpret results and write a report in a form of a scientific article. The project work is always performed under the guidance of a supervisor.

In order to also practice scientific communication, you will present your results in seminars and write a press release to stimulate collaboration between the academia and the media. Additionally, you will act as a peer reviewer for you fellow student to practice feedback discussions.

Examples of thesis topics:

  • Drug development for receptor antagonists and their potential in treating cognitive disorders
  • Pharmacological characterization of ion channels
  • Diagnostics tools for coronary artery diseases – characterization of antibodies
  • Modelling of schizophrenic disorders in rats
  • RNA interference in HSV-virus treatment
  • Optimization of synthesis of indatsole structures for drug development
  • The use of positron emission tomography (PET) to measure the effect of disease modifying therapies in MS disease
  • PET-imaging of molecules targeted in inflammation – preclinical studies with arthritis model

BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES AT TURKU UNIVERSITIES

Biomedical Sciences at Turku Universities

Turku has longstanding research traditions in the field of biomedicine. Especially the areas of drug discovery, diagnostics, and biological and medical imaging represent the top level expertise of the University of Turku.

The Drug Discovery and Development specialisation track is part of the MSc Programme in Biomedical Sciences, which is a collaboration of two universities, the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. The close co-operation of four biomedical programmes forms a unique educational combination of biomedical sciences in Finland and worldwide.

The programme in Biomedical Sciences is managed together by the Faculties of Medicine, and Science and Engineering at the University of Turku. The offered education is based on the true research strengths of the participating units:

  • Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Turku
  • Department of Biochemistry at the University of Turku
  • Department of Chemistry at the University of Turku
  • Department of Biosciences at the Åbo Akademi University

Other specialisation tracks of the Master´s Degree Programme in Biomedical Sciences are Biomedical Imaging, Molecular Biotechnology and Diagnostics, and Medicinal and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry. Major subject studies in each are track-specific but can be offered as selectable studies for all the study tracks. Each student makes a personal study plan which helps to select the courses, which best suit for personal interests and background.

Drug Discovery and Development specialisation track is part of the NordBioMedNet network. The universities of Bergen, Copenhagen, Eastern Finland, Turku and Karolinska Institutet have established the network to develop biomedical education in Nordic countries. Students in Drug Discovery and Development track have possibilities for course, internship and research project exchange in the partner universities. The network also offers virtual intensive courses and online learning portal on www.nordbiomed.org.

CAREER OPTIONS

Competence description

The studies in Drug Discovery and Development provide you with a deep understanding of:

  • up-to-date methods applied to identify and validate new drug targets, and to generate lead drug molecules that modulate biological activity of the target
  • technological innovations made in lead optimisation process
  • how new drug candidates are investigated during the non-clinical drug development phase
  • methods of clinical drug research, clinical drug development phases, clinical trial design and biostatistical study planning
  • various aspects of the drug regulatory science and pharmacovigilance
Job options

After graduation, you will be an expert in drug discovery and development processes. You will know the procedures applied in drug regulatory science and the role of drug regulatory authorities during the life-span of a drug.

You will learn comprehensive skills to work in the field of biomedicine and drug discovery in companies, universities, research institutes or drug regulatory authorities. The Programme also gives a good foundation for those interested in entrepreneurship.

  • Possible job titles are:
    • medical liaison
    • medical writer
    • regulatory consulting expert
    • scientific/technical advisor
    • research director
    • project manager
    • drug development pharmacologist
    • university lecturer/researcher
Career in research

The Master of Science degree completed in the Programme qualifies the graduates for PhD studies in Turku, elsewhere in Finland or universities worldwide. Graduates from the Programme are eligible to apply for a position in the University of Turku Graduate School, UTUGS. The Graduate School consists of 16 doctoral programmes which cover all disciplines and doctoral candidates of the University.

Together with the doctoral programmes, the Graduate School provides systematic and high quality doctoral training. UTUGS aims to train highly qualified experts with the skills required for both professional career in research and other positions of expertise.

Several doctoral programmes at University of Turku are available for graduates:

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

GENERAL DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

A BSc degree that formally qualifies the applicant to access Master’s level studies in the country where it has been completed. This degree should correspond to at least 180 ECTS (European credits) or to a minimum of three years of full-time study.

OR

A polytechnic degree from a Finnish University of Applied Sciences (ammattikorkeakoulu). Students with such degree might however be required to complete additional studies while studying for the Master’s degree to qualify for Master’s degree studies (see Additional studies).

See the Admission Requirements for more information!

ADDITIONAL STUDIES

The contents of formally eligible applicants’ previous degrees do not always correspond to the academic level of the Programme. Therefore admitted students can be advised or required to complete additional, Bachelor level studies. These can be done while studying for the Master’s Degree, but they are not part of the degree and may extend the targeted study time. The amount of required additional studies cannot exceed 60 ECTS.

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

All applicants must prove their knowledge of English. See the Admission Requirements for more information!

Please also see http://masters.utu.fi/how-to-apply/

TRACK-SPECIFIC DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

The degree on basis of which you are applying to the MDP in Biomedical Sciences must be in a relevant field of study. For the Drug Discovery and Development track such fields are

  • bioengineering
  • biochemistry
  • bioinformatics
  • biology
  • biomedical sciences
  • chemistry
  • medical sciences
  • other life sciences
  • pharmacology
  • pharmacy

The applicants should also be familiar with the basics of laboratory practice. Both Finnish and foreign students can apply to the programme.

The applicants will have to put the specialisation tracks they are applying to into an order of preference upon application.

SCORING

Applications are evaluated by the admission committee of the Master’s Degree Programme. The applicant is scored separately for each track s/he is applying to. The admission committee also may interview the best scoring applicants in each specialization track. The interview invitations will be sent by e-mail. If the applicant is not reached for the interview, the application will not be processed further.

Following application components are scored:

  • Compatibility of the background studies 0-4 p. (0 p. = insufficient, 1p = sufficient relevance, 2 p. = good relevance, 3 p. = excellent relevance, 4 p. = outstanding relevance)
  • Previous academic success and study history 0-3 p. (0 p. = insufficient/not suitable, 1 p. = sufficient, 2 p. = good, 3 p. = excellent. Here it should be noted, that if the applicant has already an MSc degree(s) or higher, or is already studying at University of Turku, it is not necessarily considered to be beneficial.)
  • Laboratory working experience 0-3 p. (0 p. = no experience, 1 p. = laboratory course work as part of previous studies, 2 p. or 3 p. = additional experience which is not directly included in the previous studies, e.g. internships, summer projects, other working experience)
  • Motivation letter 0-3 p. (0 p. = insufficient, 1 p. = somewhat motivated, 2 p. = sufficient and well-justified motivation, 3 p. = excellent motivation)
  • The interview performance and the English skills during the interview are both scored on scale 0-3 p. (0 p. = insufficient, 1 p. = satisfactory, 2 p. = good, 3 p. = excellent).

In addition, an applicant may receive additional points from completing a possible pre-assignment task during the interview (0-3 p.).

If the applicant scores 0 p. in any of the components, the application will not be processed further. In the case of the same amount of points, all of the applicants with the same score will be selected.

HOW AND WHEN TO APPLY

Application Form and Enclosures

The application form for the studies starting in autumn 2019 is available online during the application period on 3 December 2018 at 8:00 (local time in Finland) – 31 January 2019 at 15:00 (local time in Finland, GMT +2). On the same form you can apply for any of the four tracks in the Biomedical Sciences programme. Enclosures are attached to the application in digital form (pdf).

During one application round to the international Master’s Degree Programmes the applicant may apply to a maximum of three Programmes at the University of Turku.

If you are graduating only after the deadline, you may apply on the condition that the required application documents are submitted and arrive at the University of Turku by 8 July 2019 at 15:00 (local time in Finland).

Please read all the application instructions and detailed admission requirements carefully before applying! Make sure that you fulfill both the admission and language requirements before applying.

How to apply

Applications are done on the Studyinfo portal (www.studyinfo.fi). Search for the Master’s Degree Programme in Biomedical Sciences, University of Turku.

STEP 1. COLLECT THE REQUIRED APPLICATION DOCUMENTS

Make sure you have the required degree and documents. The online application is open only during the application period, so make sure you will finish your application before 31 January 2019 at 15:00:00 (Local time in Finland, GTM+2).

The following documents must be scanned and attached to the electronic application (in pdf format, in color) at the Studyinfo portal:

  • The original degree certificate (in the original language) AND an English, Finnish or Swedish translation (or an English-language Diploma Supplement concerning graduates from European universities) of the degree certificate.
  • The original transcript of study records (in the original language) AND an English, Finnish or Swedish translation (or an English-language Diploma Supplement concerning graduates from European universities) of the transcript of records.
  • Certificate of knowledge of English (see Language requirements).

In addition, the following enclosure is required to help in handling of the applications, and identifying the applicants in the interview:

  • Copy of information page of the passport or identification card containing the applicant’s name, date of birth and photo

 

It is possible to attach additional documents, such as CV or work certificates, which provide more information about the applicant.

All translations must be made either by an authorized translator or by the degree awarding institution. Each page of an official translation must bear the translator’s stamp and/or signature. Official translations must be exact translations of the original documents. Translations done by the applicant him- or herself are not accepted.

STEP 2. WRITE A MOTIVATION LETTER

Prepare a motivation letter to be copy-pasted on the application form. The letter of motivation is an important factor in considering the applicant’s suitability to the programme and will be scored so please prepare it carefully. Please notice that the motivation letter may be checked for plagiarism with the Turnitin system of the University of Turku.

Also be prepared to describe the grading scale used at your institution at the time of your studies. The grading scale must include all the grades and marks appearing on your transcript of records and their relation to each other. You should also provide a link to an official website where this information can be verified. (In many cases this information is already included in the transcript of records.)

The application form also includes track specific questions the answers of which will be scored. Therefore reserve some time for filling in the application form.

STEP 3. FILL IN THE APPLICATION FORM

The application form is filled online in the Studyinfo portal. Please search at www.studyinfo.fi for the Master’s Degree Programme in Biomedical Sciences.

The application form is available and a completed application can be updated until the end of the application period on 31 January 2019 at 15.00 (GMT +2). When filling in the form you should select the specialization track of the Master´s Degree Programme in Biomedical Sciences to which you will apply. If you wish to apply for several tracks, you’ll have to put them in the order of preference.

 

ADMISSION

The yearly quota is 40 students shared out to the four specialization fields.  The admission decisions are published by 29 March 2019. All applicants will be informed by email, but also hard copies are sent upon request. All students are required to start in the beginning of the autumn semester, and there is no separate admission for the spring semester.

The admitted applicant will have to show the originals of his/her educational documents (degree certificate and transcript of study records) at the University of Turku after arrival in Finland. Depending on the country the original documents may have to be attested or legalised. Please see the country specific requirements for the submission of the documents upon arrival already before applying.

 

Master’s Degree Programme in

Biomedical Sciences: DRUG DISCOVERY AND DEVELOPMENT track

UNIVERSITY OF TURKU

Degree: Master of Science

Duration: 2 academic years, 120 ECTS credits

Mode of study: Full-time

Faculty / Department: Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine

Location: Turku, Finland

Language of instruction: English

Start date: August 2019

Application period: 3 Dec 2018 – 31 Jan 2019

Tuition fee for citizens of EU/EEA countries or Switzerland:  None

Tuition fee for citizens of non-EU/EEA countries:  €12,000 / academic year

Scholarships available: check the website

CONTACT INFORMATION

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