Molecular Biology of the Cell

Ragazza in laboratorio
Molecular Biology of the Cell
Course sheet
A.Y. 2021/2022
Master programme
LM-6 - Biology
Master programme
Open with entry requirements examination
Course location
The MBC course covers all principal areas of the LM-6 Biology course, with a unique focus on biomolecular subjects that distinguishes it from other courses of the same LM Class. The main goal of the MBC course is to train biologists in advanced biomolecular research, to address present and future scientific challenges.
In-depth and up-to-date knowledge will be provided for the following subjects: molecular analysis of the genome; regulation of gene expression; structure and function of biological macromolecules and their interactions in supramolecular complexes; cellular communication, signal perception and transduction, metabolic regulation, biomolecular engineering and computing. Both theoretical and practical aspects of biomolecular research will be addressed. Graduate students will learn to apply novel and emerging research technologies/approaches, cutting-edge data acquisition systems and analysis, and will have hands-on experience with top-level nanotechnology, hosted in the research laboratories of the DBS. MBC graduates will be well-equipped to enter further, postgraduate-level education programmes.
The MBC graduate will acquire specialized and in-depth knowledge in molecular and cellular biology, and consolidated competences in the application of state-of-the-art analytical methodologies and experimental techniques to address a variety of biological challenges. This highly specific, yet multidisciplinary, profile will offer MBC graduates professional employment opportunities in both the public and private sectors, operating in biology-related fields. In particular, MBC will provide the necessary training to allow graduate employment in the following sectors:
-basic and applied academic research, in universities and other public/private research centers;
-environmental management /protection sectors;
-biomedical, agro-bio and pharmaceutical industries, and related professional sectors;
- promotion and development of innovative scientific technologies;
- biotechnological research and development in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and food industries
- editorial, intellectual property and scientific dissemination sectors;
-project management in the biotech industry;
- Biology teaching in adherence to Italian laws;
The fact that MBC is carried out entirely in English, will allow graduates to engage with public/professional sectors in both a national and international setting.

MBC graduates may be legally admitted to the "A Section" of the National Biologists Register. Furthermore, graduates will be fully qualified to apply for entry to national/international Ph.D. courses and other postgraduate specializations. Indicatively, the different employment sectors accessible to Master graduates, with reference to the intellectual, scientific and highly-specialized professions provided by the ISTAT 2008, NUP Isfol-Istat Classification of Professions, are here-listed:
· Biologists and related professionals -(
· Researchers and technicians graduated in the area of biological sciences - (

Employment statistics (Almalaurea)
MBC students are given the opportunity to spend part of their curriculum abroad, at a University within the European Union (EU), in the context of the Erasmus+ program of the European Commission. Students can attend courses and sit exams that can be included in the core curriculum and/or perform their practical thesis in several European Universities localized in North Europe, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Iberian Peninsula (see…). Most of the Northern European Universities offer courses taught in English.
The Erasmus+ call is released each year, usually in February. More information can be found at….
Accepted students must present a study plan that reports all the activities he/she intends to perform abroad, detailing the corresponding CFUs; the number of proposed CFUs should approximately correspond to those the student would have achieved over the same time period in his/her university. The proposed Erasmus+ program study plan, must be coherent with the MBC course content and must be evaluated and approved by the Academic Board. If necessary, the Academic Board may request the student to integrate the program of exams taken abroad. In accordance with the rules established by the Academic Senate, following completion of the Erasmus+ program, approved exams will be registered, possibly with the original denomination, as part of the student's curriculum, upon the conversion of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) into CFUs.
If the student performs the experimental thesis work abroad, he/she must follow the rules outlined above (see Internship criteria and Rules for the thesis and final exam).
The Erasmus and international mobility advisors for Biological area are prof. M. Cristina Bonza ( and prof. David Horner (
Admission Requirements.
The admission to the MBC course is subject to curricular requirements and a demonstrated background knowledge in suitable disciplines related to the course (DM 270/04). Admission is open to:
- Graduates in Biological Sciences (Class L-13) from any Italian University that follows CBUI rules, as adequately certified. In this case, credits (CFU or Ects) acquired by the candidate as an undergraduate will be fully recognized and will meet the curricular prerequisites. The CBUI guidelines describe the compulsory SSD (scientific areas) and the related recommended number of CFUs (min-max): 66-96 CFUs in biological subjects (BIO/01,BIO/02,BIO/04, BIO/05,BIO/06,BIO/07, BIO/09,BIO/10,BIO/11, BIO/18, BIO/19); 12-15 CFUs in chemistry-based subjects (CHIM/01, CHIM/02, CHIM/03, CHIM/06); 15-18 CFUs in mathematics/physics and computer science subjects (MAT/01-09, FIS/01-08 e INF/01).
- Biological Sciences (Class L-13) graduates from Universities that do not follow CBUI guidelines, Biological Sciences (Class L-12) ex DM509/99, or any other class that meet suitable curricular requirements, including graduates from foreign Universities that possess a title equivalent to the 1st level degree in Italian law. Curricular requirements are the acquisition of a minimum of 93 CFUs distributed in equivalent scientific areas (SSD), as described above, for Biological Sciences (Class L-13) that are in line with the criteria set by CBUI.

Students lacking adequate curricular requirements should contact the Coordinator of the Master's course well in advance, to plan the acquisition of the requested CFUs prior to the application deadline. Any lacking CFU can be acquired by passing the relevant exams and thus acquiring the credits at the University of Milan or any other University. Only students who possess the prerequisites will be invited to the interview.
The admission exam will consist of a formal interview (that can be arranged online) with an Evaluation Committee that will verify the candidate's background knowledge in Biology. A self-assessment test of theoretical knowledge will be made available to students prior to their interview to verify their level of knowledge.
For all students, knowledge of the English language must be at least B1 level ("lower intermediate") according to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages or equivalent certification. The proficiency in scientific English will be verified by the committee during the interview.

Knowledge Assessment.
The prerequisite to enter the MBC Master's Degree program is an adequate knowledge of the fundaments of biological disciplines as certified by the possession of the required CFUs as described in paragraph "Admission Requirements". Knowledge will be verified by: 1) evaluation of the bachelor study program and 2) an interview with the Admission Committee, composed of teaching members appointed by the Academic Board. The interview will evaluate the expertise of the candidate in topics related to the MBC degree, and will ascertain proficiency in the English language.
The committee will evaluate the candidate on a 100-point scale and award:
- 25/100 points for the graduation grade;
-10/100 points for the curriculum vitae (degrees with higher number of CFUs in biology related disciplines will obtain more points; the same applies to the presence of extra elective courses, Erasmus experience, others,...)
- 65/100 for interview performance
The minimum requirement for admission is 60/100 and an adequate English proficiency level (equivalent to B1 level).

For the academic Year 2021-2022 applicant interviews will be held online, for those who submit their application by the deadline (see above, "Application Form"), on the following days:
- 17th September 2021 at 14.30, for graduated students;
- 8th November 2021 at 14.30 for students that graduate in September and October;
- 12th January 2022, at 14.30, for students that graduate in December. Students must bring official proof of their identity (identity card or passport).
Upon graduation, students not from University of Milan, must present certification of their awarded degree to the Administrative Office or email via

Foreign students who are not resident in Italy and who possess a foreign bachelor's degree title, will be invited to an online interview in the following days:
- April 29th 2021
- May 26th 2021
- June 29th 2021
- July 20th 2021
- September 17th 2021
Foreign students who reside in Italy are classed as Italian citizens and must undergo the same evaluation. Check for updates on interview dates and times on the website:


Application for admission: from 12/03/2021 to 27/08/2021

Application for matriculation: from 01/04/2021 to 15/01/2022

Please note

For open admission Master programmes, students who are admitted to a Master and who already graduated must enrol by 30 September 2021, while students earning their Bachelor's degree by 31 December 2021 who are admitted must enrol by 15 January 2022.

Programme description and courses list
First semester
Courses or activities ECTS Total hours Language SSD
Advanced molecular biology 6 48 English BIO/11
Molecular bioinformatics 6 48 English INF/01
Organic chemistry applied to biology 6 48 English CHIM/06
Second semester
Courses or activities ECTS Total hours Language SSD
Molecular genetics 6 48 English BIO/18
Protein biochemistry 6 48 English BIO/10
Structural biology of the cell 6 48 English BIO/01 BIO/06
Open sessions
There are no specific sessions for these activities (e.g. open online courses).
Courses or activities ECTS Total hours Language SSD
English proficiency B2 (3 ECTS) 3 0 Italian
Courses or activities ECTS Total hours Language SSD
Biomolecular methods laboratory 9 72 English BIO/10 BIO/11 BIO/18
Laboratory training 12 0 English
First semester
Courses or activities ECTS Total hours Language SSD
Biomembranes 6 48 English BIO/09
Developmental biology and genetics 6 48 English BIO/18
Functional genomics 6 48 English BIO/11 BIO/18
Molecular microbiology and genetics of microorganisms 6 48 English BIO/18 BIO/19
Molecular pharmacology and immunology 6 48 English BIO/14 MED/04
Synthetic biology 6 48 English BIO/04 BIO/10 BIO/11 BIO/18 BIO/19
Second semester
Courses or activities ECTS Total hours Language SSD
Methods in biochemical investigation 6 48 English BIO/10
Signal transduction 6 48 English BIO/04 BIO/10
Stem cells and genetic diseases 6 48 English BIO/14
Conclusive activities
There are no specific sessions for these activities (e.g. open online courses).
Courses or activities ECTS Total hours Language SSD
Final dissertation 30 0 English
Optional activities and study plan rules
1 - The student must choose one of the following three courses:
Courses or activities ECTS Total hours Language Lesson period SSD
Developmental biology and genetics 6 48 English First semester BIO/18
Functional genomics 6 48 English First semester BIO/11 BIO/18
Molecular microbiology and genetics of microorganisms 6 48 English First semester BIO/18 BIO/19
2 - The student must choose one of the following three courses:
Courses or activities ECTS Total hours Language Lesson period SSD
Biomembranes 6 48 English First semester BIO/09
Molecular pharmacology and immunology 6 48 English First semester BIO/14 MED/04
Stem cells and genetic diseases 6 48 English Second semester BIO/14
3 - The student must choose one of the following three courses:
Courses or activities ECTS Total hours Language Lesson period SSD
Methods in biochemical investigation 6 48 English Second semester BIO/10
Signal transduction 6 48 English Second semester BIO/04 BIO/10
Synthetic biology 6 48 English First semester BIO/04 BIO/10 BIO/11 BIO/18 BIO/19
4 - The student must acquire 12 CFU by selecting any of the courses offered by the University of Milan, provided that they are coherent with MBC topics and that the course content does not overlap with those present in mandatory and guided-choice courses. Obviously, as open choice courses, the student can pick the remaining guided-choice courses that he/she had not inserted in the study plan. If unavailable in English, open-choice courses can be taken in Italian provided that the student is fluent in Italian Language.
There are no propaedeutic courses in the MBC programme that limit progression from the first to the second year.
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Course locations
Classrooms are located in the University buildings in: Via Celoria, 26 (Biology buildings); Via Celoria, 20 (Teaching Sector); Via Golgi, 19. Most laboratories are located in the Department of Biosciences, Via Celoria 26, 20133 Milano.
Head of study programme
Academic guidance tutor
Erasmus and international mobility tutor 
Study plan tutor
Internship tutor
Master's degree admission tutor
Credit recognition tutor
Quality Assurance Delegate
Reference structures

The tuition fees for students enrolled in Bachelor's, Master's and single-cycle degree programmes are divided into two instalments with different calculation methods and payment schedules:

  • The amount of the first instalment is the same for all students
  • The amount of the second instalment varies according to the ISEE University value, the degree programme and the student status (on track / off track for one year or off track for more than a year) 
  • An additional fee is due for online programmes

The University also offers:

  • Concessions for students meeting high merit requirements
  • Diversified tuition fees according to the student's home country for international students with assets/income abroad
  • Concessions for international students with refugee status

Scholarships and benefits

The University provides a range of financial benefits to students meeting special requirements (merit, financial or personal conditions, international students).

Learn more