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COVID-19 update: This course will start online and continue on campus later. Read more

What will I learn?

The master's specialisation Drug Discovery and Safety offers you scientific training on and hands-on experience with a range of state-of-the-art techniques, required for the discovery and characterization of novel drug targets and the synthesis and optimization of new drugs.

What does this master’s programme entail?

This master’s specialisation provides you research-oriented education into the discovery of new drug targets and safe and effective lead molecules, particularly in the field of cancer, through a combination of advanced imaging techniques (‘systems microscopy’), in vitro and in vivo model systems, organic synthesis, molecular biology and pharmacology, and computational approaches.

Why study Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences: Drug Discovery and Safety at Leiden University?

  • The Drug Discovery and Safety specialisation is offered by the interdisciplinary research Division Drug Discovery and Safety of the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR) focusing on a wide variety of research themes from Drug Safety Sciences and Cancer Drug Target Discovery to Computational Biology, Chem- and Bioinformatics of Drug Targets, and Synthesis of Novel Tailored Drugs.
  • The strength of the programme is the research-oriented approach and the tailored programme designed for each student individually.
  • You study in an internationally, top-ranked research institute.

Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences: Drug Discovery and Safety: the right master’s programme for you?

If you are interested in research-orientated education into advanced systems microscopy technologies and clinically relevant model systems for target and drug screening in combination with cheminformatics for development of novel effective and safe drug leads, this master’s specialisation is the right choice. Focus is on targeting hallmarks of cancer.

Career prospects

In the Master’s programme in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences of Leiden University you are trained for a scientific career in drug research and development.

After graduating in the BPS with specialisation Drug and Target Discovery students are theoretically and experimentally trained in innovative drug research. Depending on the individually tailored programme students are either specialized in a specific area of Drug and Target Discovery research or have gained a more broad training. The extensive hands-on experience in specialized research projects is a strong asset. The combination of expertise in drug research and academic skills makes BPS graduates attractive for employers, irrespective of the chosen specialisation. All students who complete the master Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences, regardless of the specialisation, are admissible to a PhD programme in Bio-Pharmaceutical, Biomedical or other Life Sciences.


One finds graduates from Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences in the entire width of the (bio)pharmaceutical field. Their careers generally remain closely related to the field of drug discovery and design, or the development and production of drugs, including drug quality, safety and clinical trials. Jobs outside research include various functions in the pharmaceutical industry, in biotechnology companies, or with the government.

Many graduates from Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences choose a career in scientific research and pursue a PhD degree. After obtaining your PhD degree you can continue as a postdoctoral fellow and subsequently, via a tenure track position at university, develop further to assistant-, associate-, or full professor.

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Science

Study options

Full Time (2 Years)

Tuition fees
€18,016.00 (14,55,250) per year
Application deadline

Expected October 2022

More details

Start date

Expected September 2022


Leiden University

Rapenburg 70,



2311, Netherlands

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants need a BA or BSc degree (or equivalent) to be admitted to any of Leiden University’s master’s programmes. English-language proficiency: IELTS - 6.0; Toefl (internet based): 80 (component score: 20); Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE), or C1 Advanced (CAE): Cambridge component score of 169.

For international students

  • A copy of a valid passport or ID card
  • A copy of a Dutch residence permit (if applicable)
  • CV (résumé)
  • Language proficiency (if applicable)
  • Copies of diplomas and transcripts
  • Letter of motivation

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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