Whether you are a new graduate or already employed and seeking to further your career prospects, this course offers a solid career development path. You can also choose this course if you wish to pursue research in biotechnology at PhD level.
Biotechnology is the application of biological processes and is underpinned by • cell biology • molecular biology • bioinformatics • structural biology. It encompasses a wide range of technologies for modifying living organisms or their products according to human needs.
Applications of biotechnology span medicine, technology and engineering.
Important biotechnological advances including
The course is led by academics who are actively involved in biotechnology research and its application to the manipulation of proteins, DNA, mammalian cells and plants. Staff also have expertise in the use of nanoparticles in drug delivery and the manipulation of microbes in industrial and environmental biotechnology.
You are supported throughout your studies by an academic advisor who will help you develop your study and personal skills.
What is biotechnology
Biotechnology is the basis for the production of current leading biopharmaceuticals and has already provided us with the 'clot-busting' drug, tissue plasminogen activator for the treatment of thrombosis and myocardial infarction. It also holds the promise of new treatments for neurodegeneration and cancer through recombinant antibodies.
Genetically modified plants have improved crop yields and are able to grow in a changing environment. Manipulation of cellular organisms through gene editing methods have also yielded a greater understanding of many disease states and have allowed us to understand how life itself functions.
You begin your studies focusing on the fundamentals of advanced cell biology and molecular biology before specialising in both molecular and plant biotechnology. Practical skills are developed throughout the course and you gain experience in molecular biology techniques such as PCR and sub cloning alongside tissue culture.
Core to the program is the practical module where you gain experience in a range of techniques used in the determination of transcription and translational levels, for example.
All practicals are supported by experienced academic staff, skilled in the latest biotechnological techniques.
Research and statistical skills are developed throughout the program. Towards the end of the program you apply your skills on a two month research project into a current biotechnological application. Employability skills are developed throughout the course in two modules.
The masters (MSc) award is achieved by successfully completing 180 credits.
The postgraduate certificate (PgCert) is achieved by successfully completing 60 credits.
The postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is achieved by successfully completing 120 credits.
Optional modules :
As students progress through the course they are exposed to a wide range of teaching and learning activities. The assessment strategy of the postgraduate course considers diverse assessment methods. Some modules offer dedicated formative feedback to aid skills development with assessments going through several rounds of formative tutor and peer feedback. Summative assessment methods are diverse, with examinations present in theory-based modules to test independent knowledge and data analysis. Several modules are entirely coursework-based, with a portfolio of skills such laboratory practical's and research proposals generated throughout the course forming the summative tasks. In all cases, the assessment criteria for all assessed assignments are made available to student prior to submission.
The course is suitable for people wishing to develop their knowledge of molecular and cell biotechnology and its application to solving health and industrial problems.
You can find career opportunities in areas such as
Students on this course have gone on to roles including experimental officers in contract research, research and development in scientists, diagnostics specialists and applications specialists. Many of our graduates also go on to study for PhDs and continue as academic lecturers.
The Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering provides students with a state-of-the-art overview of all areas in biomedical engineering:
The teaching curriculum builds upon the top-class research conducted by the staff, most of whom are members of the Leuven Medical Technology Centre. This network facilitates industrial fellowships for our students and enables students to complete design projects and Master’s theses in collaboration with industry leaders and internationally recognized research labs.
Biomedical engineers are educated to integrate engineering and basic medical knowledge. This competence is obtained through coursework, practical exercises, interactive sessions, a design project and a Master’s thesis project.
Three courses provide students with basic medical knowledge on anatomy and functions of the human body. The core of the programme consists of biomedical engineering courses that cover the entire range of contemporary biomedical engineering: biomechanics, biomaterials, medical imaging, biosensors, biosignal processing, medical device design and regulatory affairs.
The elective courses have been grouped in four clusters: biomechanics and tissue engineering, medical devices, information acquisition systems, and Information processing software. These clusters allow the students to deepen their knowledge in one particular area of biomedical engineering by selecting courses from one cluster, while at the same time allowing other students to obtain a broad overview on the field of biomedical engineering by selecting courses from multiple clusters.
Students can opt for an internship which can take place in a Belgian company or in a medical technology centre abroad.
Through the general interest courses, the student has the opportunity to broaden his/her views beyond biomedical engineering. These include courses on management, on communication (e.g. engineering vocabulary in foreign languages), and on the socio-economic and ethical aspects of medical technology.
A design project and a Master’s thesis familiarize the student with the daily practice of a biomedical engineer.
The Faculty of Engineering Science at KU Leuven is involved in several Erasmus exchange programmes. For the Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering, this means that the student can complete one or two semesters abroad, at a number of selected universities.
An industrial fellowship is possible for three or six credits either between the Bachelor’s and the Master’s programme, or between the two phases of the Master’s programme. Students are also encouraged to consider the fellowship and short courses offered by BEST (Board of European Students of Technology) or through the ATHENS programme.
You can find more information on this topic on the website of the Faculty.
The programme responds to a societal need, which translates into an industrial opportunity.
Evaluation of the programme demonstrates that the objectives and goals are being achieved. The mix of mandatory and elective courses allows the student to become a generalist in Biomedical Engineering, but also to become a specialist in one topic; industry representatives report that graduates master a high level of skills, are flexible and integrate well in the companies.
Company visits expose all BME students to industry. Further industrial experience is available to all students.
Our international staff (mostly PhD students) actively supports the courses taught in English, contributing to the international exposure of the programme.
The Master’s programme is situated in a context of strong research groups in the field of biomedical engineering. All professors incorporate research topics in their courses.
Most alumni have found a job within three months after graduation.
This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
Biomedical engineering is a rapidly growing sector, evidenced by an increase in the number of jobs and businesses. The Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering was created to respond to increased needs for healthcare in our society. These needs stem from an ageing population and the systemic challenge to provide more and better care with less manpower and in a cost-effective way. Industry, government, hospitals and social insurance companies require engineers with specialised training in the multidisciplinary domain of biomedical engineering.
As a biomedical engineer, you'll play a role in the design and production of state-of-the-art biomedical devices and/or medical information technology processes and procedures. You will be able to understand medical needs and translate them into engineering requirements. In addition, you will be able to design medical devices and procedures that can effectively solve problems through their integration in clinical practice. For that purpose, you'll complete the programme with knowledge of anatomy, physiology and human biotechnology and mastery of biomedical technology in areas such as biomechanics, biomaterials, tissue engineering, bio-instrumentation and medical information systems. The programme will help strengthen your creativity, prepare you for life-long learning, and train you how to formalise your knowledge for efficient re-use.
Careers await you in the medical device industry R&D engineering, or as a production or certification specialist. Perhaps you'll end up with a hospital career (technical department), or one in government. The broad technological background that is essential in biomedical engineering also makes you attractive to conventional industrial sectors. Or you can continue your education by pursuing a PhD in biomedical engineering; each year, several places are available thanks to the rapid innovation taking place in biomedical engineering and the increasing portfolio of approved research projects in universities worldwide.