The research projects (Major/Profile) of your programme, are an integral part of your training as a Master's student of the Graduate School of Life Sciences.
More information about the start of your research project is available below.
When you start looking for a suitable research group for your research project, first check the requirements for the research project in the master research project guide for students. Below you can find other tips for finding a project and approaching a supervisor.
1. Use your own network
- Get suggestions from your Masters'programme or track coordinator about interesting groups and projects.
- Ask teachers from courses you liked about their research (group).
- Talk to your (older) fellow students and alumni about their research projects.
- The Life Sciences Representatives have also compiled an internship database in which you can look back at past internship topics and get in contact with the students who did them for more information on their project or the group they performed it in. You can find this file in the contents folder of your Blackboard community for the course Life Sciences Academy.
- Talk to lab chiefs / scientists / professors / postdocs.
2. Tips for searching
- You can search for research areas and researchers on the general pages of the UU (Research Areas | Universiteit Utrecht (uu.nl)), UMC Utrecht (https://www.umcutrecht.nl/en/research), or affiliated institutes like Hubrecht Institute, Westerdijk Institute, NIO, etc.
- Visit the websites of the different Master’s programmes. They often have an overview of the research groups involved in the programme.
- Check Career Services of Utrecht University, they host an internship database, which includes some projects at companies within the Netherlands, for Life Sciences students. The career officers of the GSLS also regularly post internship offers on their LinkedIn page.
- Check https://uu.konjoin.nl/ to get an overview of available research projects. Please keep in mind that not all available research projects are on KonJoin.
- Visit the Research Project Market. Every January a research project market is organized for GSLS and medicine students. Because of the timing (January) this is probably best suited for a project in your second year.
3. Tips for approaching researchers
- Send an e-mail with a clear motivation for the research topic/specialization of the supervisor. Send a separate e-mail to each supervisor/project. Think of it as a job application but keep it short (max. 300 words). Briefly state who you are, what knowledge and experience (subjects/internships/previous education) you bring to the table and why you would like to do research with this research group.
- It is no problem to contact multiple supervisors at the same time. Some will not respond, others might not have a place.
- The normal response time for an e-mail is 5 working days. Be polite, and give your receiver double the time. After two weeks, send a friendly reminder as a forwarded e-mail of the first message. Then the supervisor does not have to search for your first message. Make sure to start on time so you can allow the research groups the time to answer your e-mail.
- If you are not sure who to approach within a department, you can always ask the programme coordinator. He or she will often know how to get in touch with the group.
- If you have already sent several mails without positive results, contact your academic counsellor, career officer, or program coordinator to discuss the content of your e-mail.
4. Things to consider when you are looking for a research project
- Think about the topic and type of research you are interested in (e.g. fundamental, translational, or clinical).
- Choose a research project within the scope of your Master’s programme.
- Discuss your plan with your programme coordinator and ask for approval from the Board of Examiners.
- Your Major Research Project has to be done at Utrecht University or at UMC Utrecht, the Hubrecht Laboratory or the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology. Research projects of Science and Business Management, Medical Imaging, and Epidemiology (Postgraduate) can partly be conducted elsewhere/abroad, but only in cooperation with Utrecht University.
- Your Profile Project can be done everywhere, so also outside the institutes mentioned for the Major Research Project.
- For any of the projects you need to find a supervisor within Utrecht University.
When you find a suitable project, make sure you meet both your examiner as well as your daily supervisor, to see if you get along. Discuss all details with your (laboratory) supervisor. An overview of what you should discuss can be found on the General Application Form or Profile Application form. This includes:
- subject of your project;
- starting date and planning of general matters such as your courses and holidays. More information about the (maximal) duration of research project and extending your project is available here.
- agreements on other meetings in which you should participate such as weekly lab meetings, journal clubs, seminars, etc.
Please note: SBM, CSDB and BINN students have to fill out these forms via Osiris Case.
The quality and suitability of your research project will be assessed by your Master’s programme coordinator and the Board of Examiners (BoE). You need to follow the steps below in order for them to process your request and receive an approval:
- Fill in the General Application Form or the Profile Application form (open with Adobe Reader) depending on what kind of project you are applying for (exception: CSDB, SBM and BINN students do everything digitally via Osiris Case - see section below).
- Ask the approval (signature) of your Master’s programme coordinator
- Email the application form (PDF) to the Master’s Administration Office (for Science students: firstname.lastname@example.org, for Biomedical students: email@example.com and for Epidemiology students MSc-Epidemiology@umcutrecht.nl) at least 20 working days before the start of your Research Project.
- Only digital forms (as a PDF via email) will be accepted. The BoE will assess the application and within two weeks you will receive an approval email by one of the research project coordinators. You can only start with your Research Project after you have received an approval email.
External projects (for example at non-university institutes or abroad) require signing of an additional contract, the GSLS Internship contract which you will find integrated in the General Application Form and the Profile Application form (open with Adobe Reader).
Questions regarding the Internship contract can be directed to:
- firstname.lastname@example.org for Biosciences students of the Faculty of Science.
- email@example.com for Biomedical Sciences students of the Faculty of Medicine. If you don't know which faculty you belong to, check here.
More information about external projects is available here.
Students from the Master's programmes CSDB, SBM, and BINN participate in a pilot in which the entire procedure for the Major Research Project, Business Internship, Writing Assignment, and Profiles is digitized in Osiris Case/ Osiris zaak. After arranging these components of your study program, you need to register and apply for these via https://osiris-student.uu.nl/ under the tab ‘Cases’ (‘Zaken’ in Dutch). Here, you can also check the status of your application, submit your interim assessment and finalize your project.
More information about the new procedure Osiris Case ('Zaak') can be found in the manual for students. This procedure is new for your examiner as well. Please inform him/her on beforehand and point out the available manual for examiners.
Both the digital procedure and the manual were created with the utmost care, but they may be incomplete or contain some errors. We would appreciate your feedback for any type of improvement, so please feel free to contact us about your findings. For comments or questions please contact your Master’s administration via
If you don't know which faculty you belong to, check here.
UMC Utrecht internship account
For projects at the UMC Utrecht you need an UMC Utrecht internship account. With the UMC Utrecht internship account you can work on the computers of the research group within the UMC Utrecht where you perform your research project or writing assignment. Please note, that this account is different from the account that allows you to work on computers at the UMCU Study Landscape in the Hijmans van den Bergh building.
Within one week after you have received the approval of the Board of Examiner for your research project or writing assignment at the UMC Utrecht, an UMC Utrecht internship account is requested on your behalf. You will receive an e-mail with instructions to activate this account. After your account is activated, your supervisor / the secretary of your department can request access to shared disks of your research group, specific software or lab rooms for you via the BCP-er of the department.
Please note, after the end of your research project or writing assignment the specific rights coupled to your UMC Utrecht internship account will be terminated. Should you do a second research project or writing assignment, you can use your UMC Utrecht internship account again. After graduating, your UMC Utrecht internship account will be closed.
If you have any question, please contact STIP (STIP@umcutrecht.nl or 088-75 53478).
Besides the UMC Utrecht internship account, you also need a UMC card. You will receive an excel file with all the requirements that you need to fill in together with your supervisor, in bold. Send this form to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive an e-mail when you can go to the Facility Service Center to obtain the UMC card.
Note: You can only obtain the UMC card by showing a valid ID card or valid passport. A driving license, digital print or a photo on your telephone is not sufficient.
You can proceed with coupling your UMC Utrecht internship account to the UMCU card to be able to print via Follow Me during your research project or writing assignment. In the UMCU Study Landscape you have to print without your UMCU card, please follow the instructions that are available at the printer.
Note: printing via your UMC Utrecht internship account is only allowed while you are doing your research project. This is strictly monitored and the costs of any unlawful use of the printer outside this period will be charged directly to the student in question.
Compulsory e-Module 'Quality and Safety'
Within the UMC Utrecht all employees and students need to work according to the Joint Commission International (JCI) rules. To introduce these standards for quality and safety to you, you need to follow the e-module 'Quality and Safety' before the start your research project. You will receive an e-mail from the Master’s administration office with an invitation for this e-module.
You can find this e-module on Blackboard under the course ‘Master UMCU stage (BMB518518)’. After opening the course, click on the item 'e-modules' in the menu (left) to continue to the module. After you have finished this module this will be registered as a 'pass' in Osiris under this course code.
If you will work with the digital patient database HiX, you need to follow a HiX training before you can start. You will receive an e-mail from the Master’s administration office with the date of the HiX training. Please confirm your attendance in reply to this e-mail.