Bachelor in Life Sciences


Program Description

Bachelor of Life Sciences

Would you like to use science to improve the world we live in? To come up with solutions for world food shortages? To work on cures for cancer? These and other important advances all start with research in the laboratory. By studying Life Sciences at HAN University of Applied Sciences, you’ll get a solid footing in this exciting field.
Location: Nijmegen
Duration: 4 years
Degree: Bachelor of Science
Course start: September

Life Sciences gives you the skills and understanding to perform lab research in different scientific settings, including fundamental research and quality control. You can specialize in molecular plant biology, molecular pathogenesis, or biotechnology. Your practical experience combined with your scientific knowledge and skills make you a valuable asset to a wide range of employers.

Theory and practice

Theory and practice are inseparable at HAN University of Applied Sciences. You get a solid theoretical foundation as your lecturers guide you through all the current research topics in life sciences. But at the same time, you dive straight into practice in the lab. In fact, half your time is spent doing practical work. This means working in groups of 4-6 students on projects that deal with real problems in the field of life sciences. And because HAN University of Applied Sciences collaborates with companies and research institutes in the Netherlands and abroad, you get to work on cutting-edge research projects. This gives you invaluable experience as well as problem-solving and communication skills that put you in high demand on the labor market.


At the HAN Biocentre, staff and students conduct practice-based research that finds answers to specific questions from the professional field. The center focuses on biodiscovery, which involves the discovery, analysis, production, and application of biomolecules such as proteins and metabolites. As a Life Sciences student, you can also participate in various research projects at other universities and institutes. Some students have participated in research on melanomas at the Department of Pathology and Cancer Biology (Vanderbilt University Nashville). Others have contributed to research at the Biochemistry Department at the University of Oxford. This involves C. elegans, a nematode that enables the study of pathological conditions, such as tumor formation.

Lab facilities

During your studies, you will have access to excellent lab facilities. All the basics, as well as advanced apparatus, can be found there. What’s more, specialized microbiological, plant and biochemical labs allow you to do research on DNA, RNA, and protein. To make cells visible you can use light microscopy, fluorescent microscopy, and electron microscopy. For molecular research on skin cancer, you have access to real-time PCR apparatus, a high-performance plate reader, and a flow cytometer. And to make biological products, you can use the fermentation lab, where bacteria, fungi, and yeasts can be fermented under ideal conditions.

1st year

In your 1st year, you get a solid foundation in the life sciences, learning all the basic theories and lab techniques. At the same time, you go hands-on with group projects that help you learn to patiently deal with actual life sciences challenges like cancer research.

Course overview 1st year

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Chemistry
  • Laboratory Mathematics
  • Error Analysis
  • Bioinformatics
  • Mathematics
  • One-day mini work placement

2nd year

Starting from the 2nd year, your lecturers challenge you to work more independently so you become experienced in setting up research and analyzing and interpreting research results. At the end of the 2nd year, you are ready to choose your specialization: molecular plant biology, molecular pathogenesis or biotechnology.

Course overview 2nd year

  • Molecular and Biochemical Research
  • Interaction between Human, Plant, and Microorganisms

3rd year

In your 3rd year, you do a work placement of one semester at a research institute, a teaching hospital or a company in the Netherlands or abroad. This will boost your professional knowledge and skills and prepare you for the international job market. You are free to choose your own work placement, giving you the opportunity to experience the particular field you’re interested in. Some students have done their work placement at Keygene N.V., an agricultural biotech company, while others have been to the University of Bonn in Germany. Before you begin, you follow a preparation programme that tackles all the important aspects of the work placement.

Course overview 3rd year

  • Biomedical Research
  • Molecular Plant Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Work Placement
  • Elective (3rd or 4th year)

4th year

In the 3rd or 4th year of the course, you complete an elective semester in which you broaden or specialize your knowledge. HAN offers a number of excellent electives in the field of life sciences: Biorefinery, Molecular Plant Biology or Research. But you might prefer to spread your wings by studying at another university in the Netherlands or abroad. Perhaps you intend to continue your studies after your Bachelor's degree. In that case, a bridging ‘pre-master’ programme will be a great option. Either way, at HAN we encourage you to find the path that’s right for you.

Course overview 4th year

  • Elective (3rd or 4th year)
  • Graduation Assignment

In your 4th year, you’re ready to take your most challenging step so far: your graduation assignment. It gives you hands-on experience in designing and carrying out your very own research project at a company or research institute. This project focuses on a major issue in the field of life sciences. When it’s finished, you give a professional presentation of the results. You can do your graduation assignment at a company, research institute or hospital in the Netherlands or abroad. Students who went before you did their assignments at companies such as Merck/ MSD and Synthon Biopharmaceuticals, or at research departments of universities such as Dundee University in Scotland or the University of Queensland in Australia.

International setting

The Life Sciences course has a strong international focus. It allows you to study abroad and to work at a company outside the Netherlands during your work placement or graduation assignment. Besides that, your classmates come from around 25 different countries, so you pick up on different cultural habits and ideas and learn to become culturally aware. You also become involved in international collaborations through a variety of research projects. All of this prepares you for a career in an international setting.

Career prospects

As a Life Sciences graduate, you can work in either the commercial or private sector. This could be at a research institute, a hospital, a health agency or a pharmaceutical company. The type of work includes researching diseases, designing new drugs or undertaking quality assurance. Our graduates get jobs as:

  • Research Assistant
  • Researcher
  • Junior Project Leader


Would you like to continue your studies? With a BSc from HAN, you’ll experience a smooth transition into the HAN Master in Molecular Life Sciences. Or you could opt for another Masters programme, for example, Molecular Chemistry, in the Netherlands or abroad.

Study load per week

  • Contact hours: 20
  • Individual study hours: 20

Division theory, practice and study coaching

  • Theory: 50%
  • Practice: 40%
  • Study coaching: 10%
Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

HAN strives to be one of the top universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. With campuses in both Arnhem and Nijmegen, in the east of the Netherlands, HAN has over 30,000 students.

HAN strives to be one of the top universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. With campuses in both Arnhem and Nijmegen, in the east of the Netherlands, HAN has over 30,000 students. Read less
Nijmegen , Arnhem + 1 More Less