Biomedical sciences underwent a spectacular evolution during the past decades. New diseases such as bird flu arose, whereas others such as AIDS and diabetes have expanded. At the same time, researchers are discovering new ways to fight these diseases. The human genome has been decoded, gene technology is steadily growing, immunotherapy has been introduced for the treatment of several cancers and the first steps in the direction of stem cell therapy have been made. The laboratories at KU Leuven and University Hospital Gasthuisberg deliver cutting edge work in the field of disease and development of new therapies, stretching from bench to bedside. The Master of Biomedical Sciences at KU Leuven allows students to live this journey themselves, hands on.
Do you dream of working on the frontline of the ongoing battle for a better understanding of human health and diseases? Are dedicated to applying this knowledge to better prevention and treatment options? Then this programme is for you. During the two master's years you will be truly immersed in scientific biomedical research. By doing scientific research in a domestic or foreign laboratory, you will gain thorough know-how, strengthen your scientific skills and learn the newest scientific methods. All of these skills and accumulated knowledge will be applied in the most important part of the master's programme: your master's thesis.
The main goal of the curriculum is to train researchers in biomedical sciences by providing a rigorous scientific training based on the acquisition of knowledge, the collection and interpretation of information and the use of modern research techniques. This is expected to stimulate the critical thinking and independence required to address a specific research question related to (dys)function of the human body and its interaction with the environment. Furthermore, the curriculum provides broad, intellectually rigorous training allowing for a wide array of job opportunities in industry, research centres and society.
The aims of the curriculum follow the educational principles of KU Leuven, important among which is the independence of the student. For the acquisition of knowledge, the university uses its own high-quality interdisciplinary scientific research. KU Leuven aims to be a centre of critical thinking where, in addition to factual knowledge, people are stimulated to identify, define and solve problems.
The quality of the curriculum is guaranteed due to the strong interconnection between education and research in the Biomedical Sciences in the broadest sense. The faculty commits itself to a future-oriented educational project in an academic setting that is at once intellectually stimulating, socially supportive and student friendly.
Internationalisation has become an integral part of the profile of researchers in biomedical sciences. International exchange is the key to opening mindsets to global solutions in health and disease. Graduates can expect to embark on international-level careers in very diverse areas touching on human health.
First and foremost, biomedical scientists are prepared for a personal career full of exciting scientific research in academic or pharmaceutical laboratories dedicated to improving knowledge in human health and finding prevention strategies and cures for diseases. Beyond this, there are many different directions open to you.
Many graduates go on to careers in consultancy, policy, sales and marketing, communication and management in areas related to human health, such as the pharmaceutical industry, scientific writing agencies, regulatory agencies and government administration. Graduates find rewarding work in a wide variety of sectors: the pharmaceutical industry, the academic or educational world, healthcare, the environmental sector and food inspection, among others.
Programme graduates are in high demand in the pharmaceutical and medical industry. As a biomedical scientist, for example, you provide thoroughly prepared research, which is a crucial phase in the development of new drugs and other medical products. It is also possible to cooperate with the set-up and follow-up of preclinical trials in the pharmaceutical industry. The programme gives you the perfect profile for clinical trial design, as well as the monitoring and conducting of these trials, on both the business and clinical sides of the process.
You can also work for service companies that deliver or develop products or equipment to the medical sector. Positions in government are also open to you, especially in the area of public health. Some biomedical scientists choose to specialise in the legislation around patents and the protection of biomedical discoveries, and others begin careers as biology, chemistry or biotechnology teachers. Additionally, there is a current need for experts who can clearly communicate scientific information and research results to non-specialists and the general public.
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.