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What is the Master of Chemistry all about?

The overall aim of the Master of Chemistry programme is to train students to conduct research in an academic or industrial setting.

Students apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired by identifying a research question, situating it in its proper chemical and social context and designing a study that addresses this research question.

This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.


The full programme comprises 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System), including 18 ECTS for compulsory courses and 54 ECTS for electives. In addition, students develop advanced practical skills in an internship at KU Leuven to the value of 18 ECTS, while the remaining 30 ECTS are allocated to the Master’s thesis.

There are five majors to choose from:

  • Quantum Chemistry and Physical Chemistry.
  • Molecular Design and Synthesis.
  • Molecular Imaging and Photonics.
  • Polymer Chemistry and Materials.
  • Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology


The Department of Chemistry consists of five divisions, all of which conduct high quality research embedded in well-established collaborations with other universities, research institutes and companies around the world. Its academic staff is committed to excellence in teaching and research. Although the department's primary goal is to obtain insight into the composition, structure and properties of chemical compounds and the design, synthesis and development of new (bio)molecular materials, this knowledge often leads to applications with important economic or societal benefits.

The department aims to develop and maintain leading, internationally renowned research programmes dedicated to solving fundamental and applied problems in the fields of:

  • the design, synthesis and characterisation of new compounds (organic-inorganic, polymers).
  • the simulation of the properties and reactivity of (bio)molecules, polymers and clusters by quantum chemical and molecular modelling methods.
  • the determination of the chemical and physical properties of (bio)molecules, and polymers on the molecular as well as on the material level by spectroscopy, microscopy and other characterisation tools as related to their structure.


Knowledge and understanding

  • has extensive knowledge and understanding of a number of chemical fields of expertise and at least one advanced or specialized chemical topic;
  • can acquire autonomously chemical insights and methods;
  • has advanced theoretical and practical knowledge of methods of specialised chemical synthesis and characterisation.


  • knows to organize and carry out original chemical research;
  • can delineate a research topic, postulate a research question and revise this question in the course of the research;
  • can select and apply autonomously proper experimental and theoretical methods;
  • can find, use and interpret with intent specialized literature.

Acquire, use and form an opinion about information

  • has insight in the strategies of acquiring and using knowledge that are central to the domain of the exact sciences;
  • can acquire, adapt, interpret and evaluate quantitatively information and data;
  • can adapt and interpret research results in a multidisciplinary context, position it in the international context and report about this;
  • can apply his knowledge, understanding and problem solving capacities in a broader context;
  • can critically evaluate complex problems in the field of chemistry and formulate scientifically sound solutions.

Communication and social skills

  • can express verbally and in written form the results of research for a group of people of experts and laymen;
  • can take a scientific viewpoint and defend it for a public of fellow students, lecturers and specialist;
  • can function in a heterogeneous environments and teams;
  • has English communication skills;
  • can be in the lead and run a team;
  • can work autonomously.

Motivation and attitudes

  • is open to complementary input from other disciplines;
  • can take responsibility for and give direction to his personal professional development;
  • has professional behavior;
  • can autonomously function and contribute to research.


  • has competency that gives access to the PhD study and to employment in chemical and various other fields.

Career perspectives

The Master of Science in Chemistry offers a wide range of specialisations and, as such, many career options are available to our graduates. More than half of our alumni work in industry, while others work in academia or other research institutes.

Within industry, graduates can opt for a technical, a commercial, or research-oriented career. Since the chemical industry is also a major industrial sector throughout Europe and the rest of the world, employment opportunities are enhanced by obtaining a PhD. A few examples of professional domains where chemists are needed include industry (chemistry, petrochemistry, medical sector, pharmaceutical industry, agrochemistry, food industry etc.), government or public administration, and research institutes.

Visit the Chemistry MSc page on the KU Leuven website for more details!




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