Stockholm university logo, link to start page
Gå till denna sida på svenska webben

Master's Programme in Neurochemistry with Molecular Neurobiology

Are you interested in how the nervous system works at its most fundamental level? Do you want to study at the frontier where chemistry and biology meet? Then this highly selective master’s programme, the only one in Europe dedicated to neurochemistry with molecular neurobiology, could be for you.

Understanding the human brain with its billions of neurons and trillions of synapses is one of the most complex challenges in modern science. This master’s programme specialises in neurochemistry, molecular functions, and disorders of the nervous system with a clear focus on research. You start with the biochemistry of the molecular components, then move on to how neurons communicate with each other, before studying how different neuronal networks regulate body functions, emotions and behaviours.

The Master’s in Neurochemistry with Molecular Neurobiology teaches you to become a researcher. The programme requires good lab skills and most students who are admitted significantly exceed the minimum requirements. A number of different teaching activities including lectures, theoretical and practical projects, laboratory, journal club and problem-based exercises are used. You will be challenged to reason, think creatively and solve problems on your own.

A generous amount of laboratory time ensures that you can actually practice the theory you learn and develop the proficiency in the lab that our graduates are known for. You will work closely with leading researchers in different specialisations – the biochemistry of molecular components that make the nervous system work, the organisation of brain circuits, neurotoxicity, and the mechanism behinds neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease – being coached in small groups with high teacher to student ratios.

You will be surrounded by the world’s top chemists, including some of the people who choose the Nobel prize winners, and have the chance to attend Nobel lectures given by the Nobel prize winners themselves. All of the master’s programmes in chemistry are internationally, but for the Neurochemistry with Molecular Neurobiology this is particularly so, with students coming from many different countries and also completing their diploma projects as exchange students in yet other countries.

  • Programme overview

    The program is 120 ECTS and starts at the end of August each year.

    The program consists of four mandatory courses, a total of 60 ECTS and an an independent master thesis project of 30, 45 or 60 ECTS.

    You will also be able to take university level electives. A maximum of 15 ECTS on first level are allowed in your degree. Perhaps study a different branch of chemistry to become interdisciplinary. Some of the most important discoveries are happening where multiple disciplines meet, like where neuro chemistry meets biology, organic chemistry or biochemistry.

    Year 1

    Fall semester

    Neurochemistry with Molecular Neurobiology

    followed by

    Signal Transduction

    Spring semester

    Advanced Neurochemistry with Molecular Neurobiology

    followed by

    Neuronal circuits; neurochemistry and networking principles

    Year 2

    60 ECTS independent degree project (mandatory).
    15 ECTS elective courses and 45 ECTS independent degree project (mandatory).
    30 ECTS elective courses and 30 ECTS  independent degree project (mandatory).

    Independent project

    The masters program in Neurochemistry with Molecular Neurobiology contains an independent project of a minimum of 30 ECTS.

    In order to start working on your independent project you will have to have passed the three mandatory courses.

    You can do your independent project at Stockholm University or at any other Swedish university that offers a project matching the program.

    Many students on the masters program in Neurochemistry with Molecular Neurobiology do their masters thesis abroad through the Erasmus traineeship program. More info here:

  • How to apply

    There are two application rounds:
    1) An international application round open from around October 15 to January 15.

    2) A Swedish - EU/EES application round open from around March 15 to April 15.

    Note! Students from outside EU/EES countries, which require a VISA to come to Sweden for studies, have to apply in the international application. Swedish/EU/EES students are welcome to apply in either application rounds.

    You apply for the program through

    Selection process

    Additional eligibility criteria

    Relevance of previous studies in relation to the programme and motivation letter.

    As part of the application for our Master's programme you will be asked to provide a  motivation letter. The motivation letter is an important selection criteria and must be uploaded together with your application at the university admissions site.

    Please answer the follwing questions, and add the document to your application on university admissions. We expect maximum one A4 page.

    • Your full name
    • E-mail address
    • The name of the masters programme you are applying to
    • A list of completed courses, including number of credits, which count toward meeting the specific eligibility requirements for the program (please include courses not completed as well)
    • Relevant experience, such as research, employment, volunteering that has contributed to experience
    • What inspired you to apply to this particular program?
    • Lab experience
    • Why are you a good candidate?
    • What do you hope to achieve with your degree?
    • What research questions interest you and how do they relate to the ongoing research at Stockholm University?

    Upload this letter with your application on to

  • Meet us

    Meet our students

    Meet Greta, former masters student

    Meet our alumni

    ”Biochemistry has an elegance and profoundness that really stands out”

    Smaranda Bacanu from Bucharest left her chemistry studies behind and moved to Sweden.

    Smaranda Bacanau
    Smaranda Bacanu, MSc in neurochemistry, now focusing on her PhD in cancer research

    Hello Smaranda, can you tell me a bit about yourself?
    ”In 2008, through some quite unexpected turn of events, I decided to interrupt my almost-completed chemistry studies at the university in my home town (Bucharest) and to move to Sweden. Some two years later, after learning Swedish and working in the restaurant business for a while, I finally realized that my passion for chemistry did not fade with time and that the best thing for me to do was to continue my studies. This turning point did not happen at an easy time in my life, and it took a while to figure out what I wanted to do. But eventually, I signed up for the chemistry bachelor’s program at Stockholm University, and by doing so, I restarted my whole university education from zero”.

    When and why did your interest in chemistry awake?
    “I have enjoyed chemistry as a subject since very early on – maybe as early as the sixth grade in elementary school. But it was in high school that my passion for chemistry developed. I was not a “straight-A student”, more of a typical high school kid. But I did prefer natural science and chemistry was really my thing”
    “There were many things that sparked my interest in chemistry. One thing I remember in particular was in 9th grade when we learned how to determine electron configurations for all the elements in the periodic table i.e. what the rules are for populating the available atomic orbitals with electrons and applying these rules for each chemical element. That was a cool moment!”

    What is it that intrigues you about chemistry?
    “For example, that chemistry is the science of what planets and stars are made of. As well as the science of what we, as living organisms, are made of. Certainly, all natural sciences are part of what we are, some in more fundamental ways than others. Still, it is chemistry (particularly biochemistry) that aims to describe the complexities and intricacies that characterize life. When I think of chemistry (biochemistry) as a science, I feel it has a certain elegance and profoundness that stands out”.

    When taking the bachelor’s program, what moment/course helped you figure out your future choice of education?
    ”During my second year of university, when taking the biochemistry course. I instantly knew this was the type of chemistry that fitted me best and that I wanted to continue. It was a ”this is it” kind of moment. So, I ”tailored” the remainder of my bachelor’s and master’s level education to include as much biochemistry and molecular biology as possible and I still work and develop in this area”.

    If someone is considering applying to the bachelor’s program in chemistry, what would you tell them?
    “I would tell future students that this program taught me one of the most important things: the type of chemistry I am most passionate about. I would also tell them that this program is an excellent career starting point that offers a solid base of knowledge as well as practical experience, which is essential in the future. And last but not least that they will have the opportunity to learn and be inspired by many great teachers and colleagues”.

    Do you have any advice for students who have just started?
    “From personal experience, do not be intimidated if somewhere during your studies you run into a type of chemistry that simply is not “your thing”. It is all part of the experience, and later on, you will most likely encounter situations where that knowledge will be useful—I’ve been there!
    “Also, be ready for some entertaining moments that the student association at Stockholm University might have prepared for newcomers during the first weeks of studies. There may be one particularly fun moment that awaits you as a new student. That is all I can reveal…”

    Can you tell me a bit about the master’s program you chose? The best things about it?
    “I chose to do a master’s in neurochemistry with molecular neurobiology at Stockholm University, and I´m pleased with that decision. The best part was the diploma project work, where I chose to study Alzheimer’s disease for one whole year. I learned so much during this time, and I had the great pleasure of working with amazing people both in the research group and at the department of neurochemistry, a part of the department of biochemistry and biophysics”.

    What do you work with now?
    “Nowadays, I am focusing on cancer research as a PhD student at the Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institute. I work with a method known as the cellular thermal shift assay (CETSA), which can be employed to generate comprehensive information on drug mechanism of action and resistance. Together with my colleagues, I am looking closely into several currently-available cancer therapies with the overall aim of identifying novel biomarkers for drug efficacy, that one day may be used in the clinic to guide personalized cancer therapy in patients”.

    What are your plans for the future?
    “Complete my PhD and complete my PhD! I have two years left until my PhD thesis defense, so there is still a bit of time to think about what my next step will be”.

  • Career opportunities

    Many of our students use this programme as a stepping stone to obtaining a PhD and an academic career. They have also landed jobs with top pharmaceutical and biotech firms.

  • Contact

    Course responsible:

    Associate Professor Anna-Lena Ström


    Chemistry Section & Student Affairs Office:

    Office:        Chemical Practice Laboratory M345


    Web: and

    Instagram: @chemistry_stockholmuniversity

    Facebook: ChemistryStockholmUniversity