Research in Groningen

The Graduate School of Medical Sciences (GSMS) trains and educates excellent researchers and promotes excellent research. The GSMS is responsible for all Research Masters and PhD education and training programs within the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), including the ‘Junior Scientific Masterclass’, a special research-oriented program (BSc Honours and (D)MD/PhD program) for talented medical and dental students. At the GSMS we are outward-looking in our approach, working with people and partners from all over the world. All of our postgraduate programs are conducted in English and in fact half of our doctoral students are international.

Research within the UMCG ranges from fundamental to patient-oriented (clinical) research. The UMCG has organized all its research in five Research Institutes that each have developed research programs around specific aims and objectives. The five Research Institutes collaborate in the GSMS to educate and train research masters and PhD students for future scientific leadership. We endeavor to encourage and shape students to become critical and independent thinkers. Both PhD and Research Master students have the opportunity to tailor their program to fit their own personal research interests.

Research Master’s programs (2 years)

Graduate School of Medical Sciences

The Graduate School of Medical Sciences administrates three Research Master’s Programs:

1. Behavioural, Cognitive and Neurosciences (BCN / BCN-BRAIN)

The Research Master Behavioural & Cognitive Neurosciences, organised by the Research School of Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences (BCN), concentrates on three focal and closely related areas of particular strength within the field of neurosciences:

  1. Animal and human behaviour (B-track),
  2. Cognitive neuroscience and cognitive modeling (C-track) and
  3. Molecular and clinical neuroscience (N-track).

The program is characterized by its interactive setting, offering the unique chance of a truly multidisciplinary neuroscience education, while becoming an expert in one specialistic track. The program is essentially tailor-made. Depending on the student’s research interest (or future career aspiration) the student can design his or her own training program.

2. Clinical and Psychosocial Epidemiology (CPE - SHARE)

The Research Master Clinical and Psychosocial Epidemiology organized by the Research Institute SHARE concentrates on epidemiology in the area of chronic diseases, with an emphasis on psychosocial factors, including quality of life, public mental health, and psychiatric epidemiology.

The core of the program is characterized by conducting a research project resulting in a Master’s thesis. The program is organized in close collaboration with important clinical research groups on chronic diseases within the UMCG. Students are individually linked with senior researchers based on the student’s preference.

3. Medical Pharmaceutical Drug Innovation (MPDI - GUIDE)

This Top Master focuses on molecular and translational medicine.

This Research Master’s programme trains students in the area of molecular medicine, specifically areas like cancer research, ageing research, drug target finding and drug development, health and nutrition, and complex diseases and bioinformatics. Main components of the programme are two research projects (subjects based on the student’s preference) which culminate in the writing of your own proposal for a PhD project.

Degree awarded: Master of Science

Upon graduation you will be fully prepared to pursue a successful and fulfilling career in medical, biomedical or health sciences. Having had the opportunity to design your own PhD project as part of the Master program, you will also be well qualified to go on and attain a PhD position anywhere in the world. The very best students will receive offers to continue with their PhD at the UMCG. Regardless of whether or not you decide to continue to PhD level, the opportunities for our graduates are vast, with the skills you will have attained being sought after by any organisation conducting or dealing with research, in both the public and private sectors.

PhD training programs (MD/PhD, 2+2, 3 or 4 years)

The GSMS PhD curriculum has an extensive program (choice of more than 70 courses and activities) offering each PhD student the opportunity to join courses and activities related to the Research Institute they participate in and their own specific research interest. Five Research Institutes work together to organize these courses and activities each based on their own field of expertise: 1. Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences (Research School BCN/Research Institute BCN-BRAIN), 2. Chronic Diseases and Drug Exploration (Research Institute GUIDE), 3. Cancer Research (Cancer Research Center Groningen), 4. Health Research (Research Institute SHARE) and 5. Biomedical Engineering (Research Institute W.J. Kolff)

The Graduate School offers different types of PhD training programs. 1. The MD/PhD program offers medical and dental students the opportunity to combine the last two years of the Master phase with a PhD training (two additional years of research training financed by the UMCG) to obtain a (D)MD and PhD degree upon completion. 2. The Abel Tasman Talent Program (also see below) offers PhD Sandwich Scholarships (2+2 years). First, PhD students pursue a two years PhD education and training program at their home university followed by a two years program in Groningen (funded by the UMCG) where the thesis will be completed. 3. Upon successful completion of their Research Master’s programs GSMS Research Master’s students have the opportunity to apply for a 3 years PhD education and training program within the GSMS. 4. Finally, within the UMCG regularly regular 4-year PhD positions are available (offered by individual researchers or research groups) and posted on the UMCG website.

Degree awarded: PhD

More information:

Abel Tasman Talent Program

The Abel Tasman Talent Program (ATTP) supports high-potential international students to excel in the field of (bio)medical or pharmaceutical sciences. Two types of financial support can be distinguished:

  • Financial support for students from one of our so-called ‘preferred partner universities’
  • Financial support for exceptionally talented students from other institutions
More information:

Erasmus Mundus Action 2 mobility

The European Committee’s program ‘Education and Training’ offers many opportunities to stimulate education, training and exchange of Research Master’s and PhD students of the European Union and beyond. The University of Groningen participates in many of these exchange programs.

More information: