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Course content

What is the Master of Molecular Biology all about?

 This programme, commonly referred to as the Internuniversity Programme in Molecular Biology (IPMB), is jointly organised by

  • KU Leuven
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Universiteit Antwerpen

IPMB is endorsed and supported as an international programme by the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR-UDC). Although originally designed to meet the needs of students from developing countries, the programme also welcomes non-traditional and reorienting student seeking to enter the fascinating world of molecular biology. Erasmus-Socrates students studying at one of the organising universities for one or two semesters are also most welcome to attend classes and acquire laboratory skills.

Students are awarded a joint degree from the participating institutions. 


The IPMB is organised over two academic years. In view of the diverse background of its students, the first year consists of in-depth courses covering the most important topics in molecular biology. By the end of the first year, you will have obtained the level of knowledge required to take succesfully part in the advanced, specialisation courses of the second year.

Intensive laboratory training will prepare you to embark on the preparation of your thesis, which you will complete in the second year along with four advanced courses followed by three specialisation courses in the field of either human health, animal production or plant production. Much attention is also paid to the preparation and writing of the thesis, which is an original research project completed under the guidance of a supervisor and defended in public.


The Master of Molecular Biology (Interuniversity Molecular Biology - IPMB) programme is intended to offer theoretical and practical training to young scientists from developing countries, who are involved in education/research in human medicine, animal production or plant production.

This programme is designed to train these students to become capable, critical and self-reliant scientists who are able to apply the knowledge acquired to contribute to the further development of their country through their involvement in education, research and policymaking.

IPMB graduates will be able to ensure that the potential offered by molecular biology and biotechnology in terms of human and veterinary medicine and animal and plant production, find due application in their country.

Although originally conceived to meet the needs of students from developing countries, the programme offers an excellent opportunity for all students, including non-traditional and reorienting students, to study molecular biology in an international context.

Students are expected to:

  • have developed an advanced knowledge of fundamental sciences;
  • have developed an in-depth insight into biological processes;
  • have developed an in-depth insight into the functioning of living organisms in all their forms;
  • have developed a critical mind allowing them to appraise scientific and social aspects of applied molecular biology;
  • be capable of analysing and/or summarising and critically reflecting on scientific literature;
  • be capable of detecting and analysing problems and of proposing solutions to solve them;
  • be able to contribute, through molecular biological research, to solving problems faced by developing countries;
  • be able to operate as a member of a team;
  • be able to report, both orally and in writing;
  • be able to contribute to efforts to set up nationwide and international cooperation (South-South, South-North);
  • be able to operate in nationwide and international networks;
  • be able to disseminate the acquired knowledge in their country and region through their activities in education and research and through peer reviewed publications;
  • have developed skills to act as reliable advisors for local policymakers by making proposals for the further development of molecular biology in education and research, and, as such, to contribute to the further development of their country and improve the living conditions of the populations in the South;
  • be trained to a level sufficient to beginning a doctoral programme (PhD).

Career path

IPMB graduates find employment in universities, hospitals, private and governmental research laboratories and patenting bureaus, as lecturers, consultants and advisors to policy makers, among other careers. Many graduates go on to begin PhD programmes in Belgium or abroad. Students from developing countries can apply for a VLIR-UOS sandwich PhD scholarship. Flemish students can apply for a PhD scholarship of VLIR-UOS to make a PhD on developmental relevant topics.

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





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