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Masters Degrees in Biophysics, Belgium

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What is the Master of Biophysics, Biochemistry and Biotechnology all about?. 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. Read more

What is the Master of Biophysics, Biochemistry and Biotechnology all about?

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.

Structure

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.

Elective Courses 

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.

International

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.

Department

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.

Objectives

Upon completing the programme, the graduate will have acquired:

  • thorough understanding of the properties of biomolecules, their functions and interactions with other molecules at a cellular and higher level, and particularly their structure-function relationship;
  • profound knowledge of recent developments in disciplines such as biophysical modelling, bioinformatics, genome and proteome analysis, and ability to integrate this knowledge and to apply it to new problems;
  • abilities to thoroughly familiarise oneself in a reasonably short time with several subject areas of biophysics and biochemistry, and to keep oneself informed of relevant developments in the field of study; this implies the abilities to consult and understand relevant literature, to acquire new insights and to formulate new hypothesis based on these sources;
  • abilities to independently identify and analyse physical and molecular aspects of a biophysical problem, to plan a strategy for the solution and to propose and perform appropriate experiments;
  • appropriate attitudes to work in a team environment and to make a constructive contribution to scientific research at an international level, at the university, in the biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries, at research institutions or public services;
  • abilities to make a systematic and critical report of personal biophysical or (applied) biochemical research and to present this to an audience of specialists;
  • attitudes of continued attention to the risks associated with the conducted experiments, with respect to safety and the environment, and to thoroughly analyse these risks.

Career perspectives

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.



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