Graduate programs
The School of Sciences and Humanities offers seven graduate degree programs. The programs are designed to train the next generation of highly qualified experts to meet national and global challenges.
The MBST Program objective is to produce the next generation of leaders in the rapidly changing world of biology and to educate students who are at the cutting edge of quantitative research methodologies including computational and statistical methods for the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of complex data in life sciences. Research fields can encompass all of the life sciences, from molecules to ecosystems.

Duration: 2 years
  • Application deadline for international applicants: February 29, 2024
  • Application deadline for local applicants: April 18, 2024
MBST Program is designed for graduates from biological sciences, biochemistry, and cellular and molecular biology programs. The two-year MBST degree program offered at SSH is based on highest international standards and the unique research infrastructure of Nazarbayev University. This program serves the needs of students with a strong undergraduate biology background with an interest in fundamental research, biomedical sciences, and synthetic biology. MBST provides distinctive training in quantitative biology and modern research methods. Students are taught advanced statistics and bioinformatics, molecular and structural biology of the normal and pathological cell, advanced microbiology, neurobiology, cellular biophysics, biophysical methods, synthetic biology, and beyond. They perform a research thesis supported by our leading research scientists.

1. An undergraduate degree (Bachelor's degree or equivalent) and a graduate/postgraduate degree (if applicable) in a relevant discipline with a minimum CGPA of 2.75 out of a 4.00.
During the application period final year students may submit official current transcript for consideration.
2. High level of English proficiency.

The absolute minimum requirement for English language proficiency test reports for admission to the program is:

1) Overall IELTS test score of 6.5 (with sub-scores no less than 6.0) or the equivalent TOEFL score as posted on the ETS website;
2) Candidates with not sufficient IELTS score may be admitted to the ZERO-year program:
The absolute minimum requirement for English language proficiency test report for conditional admission (NUZYP) is an overall IELTS test score of 5.5, with no more than one sub-score of 5.0, or the equivalent TOEFL scores as posted on the ETS website;
3) Applicants, at the discretion of the Admissions Committee, can be exempted from submitting the language proficiency test report if:
– one of their earlier academic degrees was earned in a country with English as the language of official communication, academic instruction and daily life.

– an undergraduate and/or graduate degree was earned in a program which was officially taught in English.
– an applicant is an NU graduate.

3. High motivation and strong interest in the program as outlined in a statement of purpose;
4. A curriculum vitae;
5. Two letters of recommendation.

Application package checklist:

1. Complete Application form;
2. National ID (for the citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan) and passport (for international applicants);
3. Official document confirming name change (if applicable);
4. Bachelor's (or equivalent) degree diploma with transcript;
During the application period final year students may upload official current transcript for consideration.
5. IELTS or TOEFL certificate valid as of date of online documents submission;
6. Document confirming English as the language of instruction (only for applicants who earned their degree in a program which was taught in English and request an exemption from submitting IELTS or TOEFL).
Applicants should provide a detailed certificate/reference from the university indicating the number and list of subjects completed in English.
7. Curriculum vitae (up to 1 page);
8. GRE/GMAT certificate valid as of date of online documents submission (not mandatory but recommended);
9. Statement of purpose (up to 1 page);
10. Two confidential letters of recommendation (at least one academic reference) written within the last 12 months (to be provided by referees electronically or in hard copy after receiving an email request);
11. Consent for Applicant's personal data processing (according to the template in applicant's personal account).


All required documents indicated above (excluding letters of recommendation) must be uploaded by candidates to the Personal account before the indicated deadline.
All submitted documents shall be in English or with notarized English translation.
Submission of a complete application package does not guarantee admission to the Program.
Applicants recommended for admission must provide hard copies of all documents as requested by the Admissions Department within established period of time.
Applicants who obtained their degree diplomas/certificates from foreign education institutions must request their official transcripts to be sent directly to the University: 010000, Astana, Kabanbay Batyr Ave., 53, Nazarbayev University, Admissions Department.

After completing the MBST program, students will be eligible to enter a Ph.D. program either in Kazakhstan or abroad or become employed in the local or international industry.
Discipline core courses in advanced prokaryotic, eukaryotic molecular cellular and structural biology are accompanied by a life sciences-oriented statistics course that will enable students to analysis data.

Other core courses in applied bioinformatics, advanced statistics and cellular biophysics offer students the necessary theoretical knowledge and methodological skill set for specialization supported by research electives in immunology, neuroscience, cancer biology, environmental systems, drug design and development, synthetic biology, or gene therapy.

The courses of the entire program will consist of lectures, problem- and team- based learning courses, seminars, practical and experimental approaches. Latest research findings will be fully integrated into the teaching. English language will be used throughout the program
Ample funding is available for local and international students, with the majority receiving a full scholarship and stipend.
To get more details please follow the link.
Program Assets
• Curriculum taught by internationally recognized faculty;
• Advanced academic training for careers in academia and industry;
• Our alumni are accepted by leading graduate schools and employed by universities worldwide for example Harvard Medical School, University of Heidelberg, and University of British Columbia;
• Access to the exclusive research infrastructure of Nazarbayev University, including next-generation sequencing, high-throughput and super-resolution microscopy, atomic force microscopy, TEM and scanning electron microscopy, state-of-the-art flow cytometry, imaging flow cytometry, etc.
Program Aims
The primary goals of the MBST program are:

• To give students a solid foundation in quantitative cellular and molecular biology to better understand how a new revolution happens in biological sciences in treating numerous diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, and understanding the biological foundations of living systems;
• To provide students with comprehensive tools and mentored research on important issues in life sciences and experimental quantitative biology depending on their inclinations. This will entail working with leading Nazarbayev University faculties and will culminate in a Master's thesis;
• To raise a new generation of professionals capable of contributing to Kazakhstan's technological innovation and growth.
Master Student Publications and Conference Abstracts with our Faculty
1. A. Bekbayev, M., Suleimenov, A. Kakpenova, S. Kauanova, I.A. Vorobjev (2017). Mitotic slippage is the major outcome for cells treated with microtubule inhibitors. Molecular Biology of the Cell: 2017 Dec 15; 28(26), (abstract # P1309)

2. Len, P., Iskakova, G., Kussanova, A., et al. Meta-analysis and Systematic Review of Coagulation Disbalances in COVID-19: 41 Studies and 17,601 Patients. (2022) Frontiers Cardiovasc. Med.

3. Mirasbekov, Y., Abdimanova, A. et al. (2021) Combining Imaging Flow Cytometry and Molecular Biological Methods to reveal Presence of Potentially Toxic Algae at the Ural River at Kazakhstan. Frontiers Mar Sci

4. Nazarbek, G., Kutzhanova, A., Nurtai, L., Mu, S., Kazybay, et al. (2021). Nano-evolution and protein-based enzymatic evolution predicts novel types of natural product nanozymes of traditional Chinese medicine: cases of herbzymes of Taishan-Huangjing (Rhizoma polygonati) and Goji (Lycium chinense). Nanoscale Adv. 3, 6728-6738.

5. M. Suleimenov, S. Bekbayev, Y. Tagay S. Kauanova, D. Potashnikova, I. A. Vorobyev (2019). Navitoclax Dramatically Enhances Death of Cells Arrested in Mitosis by Various Microtubule Inhibitors. Molecular Biology of the Cell: 2019 Dec 12; 30 (26), (abstract # P339)
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