The programme provides in-depth training in the multidisciplinary fields of biophysics and biochemistry, with particular emphasis on subfields in which KU Leuven's research expertise is internationally recognised: the determination of molecular structures, molecular and supramolecular modelling, the spectroscopy of biomolecules, the physical modelling of complex systems and the study of these models, the transport through ion channels in membranes, and the study of molecular interactions and physical principles in vitro, in complex biological machineries and in the living cell.
This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
Students may select one of two tracks - Biophysics or Biochemistry and Biotechnology. The track Biochemistry and Biotechnology has three orientations: Physiological, Molecular and Cellular.
Alternatively, students who are not considering a research career can opt for Applied Biophysics.
Students choose courses from an additional list, which are different from their research orientation. Students may select courses from the entire programme offered by the university if they have the approval of the programme director. Students have to make sure that the entire programme of the master contains at least 120 credits.
We encourage students to complete part of their Master's training at another European university, preferably during the second year, when they can work on their Master's thesis or take specific subjects at one of the universities in our Erasmus exchange programme.
The Department of Biology is committed to excellence in teaching and research and is comprised of four divisions with diverse research activities ranging from molecular and physiological research at the level of cells and organisms to ecological research on populations, communities, and ecosystems. Although many research groups conduct in-depth analyses on specific model organisms, as a whole the department studies an impressive diversity of lifeforms.
Our research is internationally renowned and embedded in well-established worldwide collaborations with other universities, research institutes, and companies. Our primary goal is to obtain insight into patterns and processes at different levels of biological organisation and to understand the basis and evolution of the mechanisms that allow organisms to adapt to their constantly changing environment. This knowledge often leads to applications with important economic or societal benefits. The department attracts many students and hosts approximately 250 staff members.
Upon completing the programme, the graduate will have acquired:
A range of career options are available in the pharmaceutical and bioscience industries, where structure determination, modelling and the direct study of molecular interactions in the living cell play a major role. Because of the growing importance of the bioscience industry in today's society and the increasing need for sophisticated high-tech instruments and research methods, the demand for biophysicists and biochemists is expected to exceed supply in the near future.
Graduates may also pursue a career in medical sciences research or academic research. A considerable number of graduates, particularly those who choose for a research route, go on to undertake a PhD at one of our associated research laboratories.
The MSc in Environment and Development (E&D) is an interdisciplinary programme exploring the inter-dependencies between pressing environmental concerns and development pressures. It explores these themes, the disputes around it and practical issues from an informed theoretical perspective, with an abiding concern for social justice claims. Conventional academic approaches focus on development or the environment as separate categories, while this programme looks at socioeconomic development as a socio-ecological and politicoecological process.
In particular this E&D programme focuses on:
Those issues will be studied at the local and national level, but also taking into account the global scale of environmental and development agendas. In many cases the root causes of inequality and poverty, both in the Global South and in the Global North, are driven by regional or global economics far beyond the borders of a particular country, village or region.
The programme will teach you to critically evaluate the multiple dimensions of the relationship between development and the environment. Teaching, fieldwork, group and practical exercises will use examples of relevance to Northern and Southern countries.
The breadth and depth of the School of GeoSciences enables students to explore a variety of environment and development issues relevant to the programme: e.g. biophysical dynamics, food insecurity, environmental governance, river basin management, cultural studies, climate change, multiple scarcities and inequalities, gender and development,etc. Students are challenged to cultivate research thinking that is cross-cutting and globally relevant, but also grounded in cases that focus on particular issues, places or systems, providing insights to effective solutions.
This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Development Academy.
This MSc consists of two semesters of taught courses. Students take two compulsory and four option courses, each a balance of lectures, seminars, workshops and visits, followed by an individual dissertation.
Compulsory courses typically will be:
In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of option courses. We particularly recommend:
Courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change.
This programme is suitable for students seeking roles within international and national development agencies, thinktanks, NGOs, environmental consultancies or the private sector, or those going on to PhD research.
Would you like to know what it’s really like to study at the School of GeoSciences?
Visit our student experience blog where you can find articles, advice, videos and ask current students your questions.
Chemical biology is the application of chemical tools and ideas to biological and medical problems. This programme is designed to build on an existing knowledge of chemical structure and reactivity to give you a thorough grounding in contemporary chemical biology and drug discovery as well as introducing you to topics from the research frontier.
You’ll be taught by experts from across the Astbury Centre in chemical biology, biophysics and medicinal chemistry using a "problem-based" approach. Visiting lecturers from the pharmaceutical industry will share their expertise in industrially-relevant applications of chemical biology and drug design with you.
Bridging the gap between your undergraduate degree in a core subject, and interdisciplinary research in chemical biology, you’ll develop the skills to solve real-life research problems, benefitting from a multi-million pound investment in fantastic research facilities. Rather than focusing on a single discipline, you’ll learn to use either chemical or biological approaches to tackle the problem in hand.
Royal Society of Chemistry Accreditation
The University of Leeds launched the first taught MSc degree in Chemical Biology in the UK. The course was one of the first two MSc courses in the UK to receive accreditation from the Royal Society of Chemistry; graduates from the programme with an appropriate first degree in chemistry satisfy the academic requirements for the award of Chartered Chemist (CChem) status.
In the first half of the year you’ll cover a core range of modules designed to build on an existing knowledge of chemical structure and reactivity to give you a thorough understanding of chemical biology and the techniques required for drug design. In the second half of the year you’ll spend the majority of your time working on an interdisciplinary research project which will allow you to work with and gain advice from two supervisors with complementary expertise.
This project will contribute 50% of the mark for your degree. The School will help you to select the project that is right for you, in an area that interests and motivates you. The project will provide you with key research experience to take your career forward. With the core modules behind you, you’ll be ideally positioned to choose an exciting problem to investigate.
The breadth of expertise available at Leeds means that you will be able to combine a wide range of techniques from computational ligand design to synthesis, protein engineering and laser spectroscopy. These techniques might span one of more of the following general areas;
You’ll receive training in the generic skills that are required for the module, including scientific writing and giving oral presentations. You’ll select your project at the start of the second semester,undertaking a programme of directed reading before writing an initial report. You’ll then spend over four months in your supervisors' research laboratories working alongside PhD students and experienced postdoctoral researchers. During the research project, you’ll have access to the outstanding research facilities in chemical biology that are available in Leeds.
You will be taught by experts across the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, meaning you’ll learn from both chemists and biologists to gain the skills and knowledge to work in a multidisciplinary environment. You’ll be taught through a series of lectures, small group workshops and practical lab sessions. You will also get involved in student led activities such as literature presentations.
The wide range of continual assessment formats will allow you to improve your generic skills, and to hone your ability to solve problems. As part of the continual assessment of modules, you will give a wide range of oral presentations; prepare short articles, essays and research reports; perform computational exercises; and undertake group-based problem solving activities. Your research project will be assessed through your practical work and a written research report.
On graduation, you’ll be ideally placed to undertake interdisciplinary research in academia and the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry. You’ll also be in a strong position to pursue a science-related career, such as patent work, scientific publishing or scientific administration.
In addition, this course will leave you well-placed to forge a career at companies working at the interface between chemistry and biology. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are increasingly seeking researchers with a strong interdisciplinary background.
Many of our graduates have secured positions on Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry PhD programmes in the UK and internationally. The Astbury Centre hosts a wide range of PhD programmes incorporating Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, offering many opportunities for students graduating from the MSc course. The MSc provides tailored training at the interface between chemistry and the biological sciences, and will enhance your prospects of securing a place on one of these highly competitive postgraduate programmes.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
The rapid transformation in the nature of drug discovery means that knowledge of related disciplines, and the technologies used, is essential for those considering a career in commercial or academic research.
This MSc will help you explore the latest methods of developing drugs and therapeutic compounds for humans and animals and disease control agents for plants.
You will learn about marketing, licensing and regulations, which are all part of the development process. Our multidisciplinary approach links structural biology, bioinformatics, chemistry and pharmacology.
You will investigate the fundamental scientific problems and techniques of drug discovery and design, alongside the challenges of developing principles for new therapeutic strategies.
You will have hands-on experience of crystallographic computer programming and computation for bioinformatics.
You will consider the moral and ethical aspects of the agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries through case studies, seminars and discussions.
This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project, leading to a dissertation.
This MSc is designed to help you pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry or relevant government agencies, and it will provide a good background for managerial or technical roles in research, design and development. It is also a solid basis from which to continue your studies to PhD level.
Medicinal and Biological Chemistry requires a thorough understanding of molecules, their structures, properties and synthesis, but it also demands the chemical understanding of the nature of biological structures, from macromolecules to cells, the design of pharmaceutical materials in the laboratory and their function in clinical settings.
The knowledge and skills acquired in the course will leave graduates well equipped to compete for positions related to 'drug discovery' in chemical, pharmaceutical or biotechnological companies.
The degree consists of advanced lecture courses in:
These are studied concurrently with a predominantly practical based course offering an introduction to research methods.
Students then proceed to a period of full-time research project work, leading to the submission of their Masters dissertation.
Lectures are given by leading researchers in the area of medicinal and biological chemistry.
The lecture courses are supported by tutorial sessions and assessed by examination in May.
The Introduction to Research Methods course includes an exciting problem solving exercise where you learn important skills such as Communicating Science, Innovation, Dealing with Intellectual Property and Grant Application Writing, together with a literature survey and written report, defining the scope of the subsequent individual research project work.
On completion of the course, students should have developed a depth of comprehension and critique in the core elements of their subject area, including:
Additionally they will have enhanced their professional/practical skills through:
Students will also have the opportunity to develop transferable skills such as:
Graduates are well suited to take up roles in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, either in research and development or sales and marketing. You will gain valuable work experience in a real-life research environment.
Alternatively, a Masters degree is a precursor to a PhD degree.
Our courses teach students the valuable skills they need to also move into other areas outside chemistry. Careers in IT, management or finance are possibilities after completing your degree.
Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.
Our programmes are excellent preparation for careers in international and rural development, agricultural economics, and marketing within the food chain and policy. Some 96% of our graduates are in work or further study six months after graduating.
Engagement with a wide variety of visiting speakers and field trips provides many opportunities for networking. In addition, competitive internships and placements, and research dissertations are an opportunity to showcase your skills, undertake overseas field research or link with organisations in the development sector. For examples of organisations our graduates go on to, please visit: http://www.reading.ac.uk/giidae" target="_blank">http://www.reading.ac.uk/giidae