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Molecular Biology

Course Description

This Master is an Interuniversity Programme on Molecular Biology (IPMB), jointly organized by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Universiteit Antwerpen, and selected and supported by the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR-UOS) as one of its international course programmes. Although originally designed to meet the needs of students from developing countries, the programme offers an exquisite opportunity for those who seek re-orientation to enter the fascinating world of molecular biology. Also Erasmus exchange students who visit the organizing universities for one or two semesters are most welcome to attend classes and acquire laboratory skills.

The programme aims at strengthening and updating the theoretical and practical skills of young scientists from developing countries who are already involved in either human or animal health care, or agricultural research. The goal of the programme is not just to transfer technology but rather to train participants to acquire the ability to cope with a wide range of scientific problems and challenges and to provide them with the intellectual tools needed to develop a molecular biological approach to tackle the problems their country is facing.

1st year: in-depth courses in bioscience

In view of the diversity of the background of the students, the first year consists of in depth courses that cover the most important topics in molecular biology and bring the students to the level of knowledge required to successfully follow the advanced and specialization courses of the second year. During intensive laboratory training, students are well prepared to embark for the preparation of their dissertation in the second year.

2nd year: specialization courses

In the second year, all students take four advanced courses followed by three specialization courses in either the field of human health, animal production or plant production. Also much time is devoted to the preparation and writing of the dissertation, which is an original research work made under the supervision of a promoter and defended in public.

Career opportunities

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


The programme is one of the International Course Programmes supported by the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR-UOS). A limited number of scholarships is available for students coming from certain developing countries.

Visit the Molecular Biology page on the Vrije Universiteit Brussel website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Christian Dimkpa

2323.jpg IPMB has been a propelling force for my career development. Such is the quality of education provided by IPMB that, in addition to the offer in Germany, I have a second PhD offer with the West African Rice Development Agency (WARDA), to work on the genetic mechanisms underlying drought resistance in rice. Part of this work will be conducted at the biotechnology facility of the University of Cornell in the USA. However, I decided to accept the German offer.

(Student Profile)

Joseph Nkolola

2324.jpg The IPMB MSc was extremely important in my career development as it paved the way for me to receive a promotion from the University of Zambia's staff development program (as a trainee lecturer) to the position of a full-time lecturer at the institution. The MSc was also pivotal in allowing me to successfully compete and receive a PhD scholarship in the United Kingdom.

(Student Profile)

Evans Njeru Simon

The International Programme Molecular Biology (IPMB) changed the course of my career. One of the courses called “Social and Economic Aspects of Biotechnology” helped me to understand the facts, myths and controversies surrounding the world of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their application in modern biotechnology. Today, I am a biosafety officer in charge of analyzing and reviewing applications for GMO work and related activities, and I also monitor compliance with biosafety laws.

(Student Profile)

A.S.M Lutful Ahasan

As soon as I arrived on campus, I received a warm welcome from the IPMB secretariat and I felt immediately at home. The interuniversity dimension of the study exposed me to different academic environments and a wide range of research. The knowledge and experience I gained in the IPMB programme (International Programme Molecular Biology) have put me in a better position to continue with advanced learning and research, and to perform innovative scientific work for my country.


MasterMind Scholarships - 20+ Awards

The Government of Flanders has launched a new scholarship programme in 2015, Master Mind Scholarships. For the academic year 2017-2018, it awards up to 45 scholarships to outstanding Master students from all countries.http://www.studyinflanders.be/en/scholarship-programmes/master-mind-scholarships/

Value of Scholarship(s)

7,500 Euros/year


Only outstanding students can apply (equivalent of magna cum laude, first class honours, Grade A).

Application Procedure


Further Information



OAS (Organization of American States) Scholarships - 10 Awards


Value of Scholarship(s)

1,350 Euros+tuition fee waiver for top students


Be a citizen and/or permanent legal resident of any OAS member state (http://www.oas.org/en/member_states/default.asp), except the United States and Canada

Application Procedure


Further Information


Entry Requirements

Eligible are holders of a bachelor/master diploma (or equivalent), issued by a Flemish university, in the fields of sciences, applied biological sciences, applied sciences, medicine, veterinarian medicine, pharmacy or holders of the diploma of Industrial Engineering with specialization in Chemistry or Agriculture.Eligible are also holders of one of the above mentioned diplomas, issued by a non-Flemish university after 4 years of study or relevant. Applicants should present a proof of proficiency in English.

Last Updated

08 December 2016

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