Master of Molecular and Cellular Biophysics
Master of Science
EducationThe Master of Molecular and Cellular Biophysics is an international interdisciplinary study programme offered by the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Medicine in collaboration with the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry, Biology, the Medical Imaging Centre, and the Physiology Research Group.
This two-year Master's programme (120 ECTS credits) focuses on the phenomena related to the interaction and communication between living cells and their molecular constituents, drawing on research methods used within the fields of molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry and physics. The programme provides in-depth training in the multidisciplinary field of biophysics, 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.
Students may select one of two tracks - either Biophysics or Biochemistry and Biotechnology - and one of three orientations - Physiological, Molecular or Cellular. Alternatively, students who are not considering a research career can opt for Applied Biophysics.
The Master of Molecular and Cellular Biophysics is an initial Master's programme. You can follow this programme on a full-time or part-time basis.
ProfileApplicants are expected to have a working knowledge of fundamentals of physics, biochemistry, and biology. If necessary, a number of basic courses will be offered. In some cases, students are required to take a number of introductory courses, either a set of courses in biochemistry and cellular biology geared toward students with a Bachelor's degree in physics, or a set of physics courses geared toward students with a Bachelor's degree in biochemistry or biology. In addition, the programme offers three main specialisations: Physiological Biophysics, Molecular Biophysics, and Cellular Biophysics. Alternatively, students who are not considering a research career can opt for Applied Biophysics.
Prospective students should:
- have a strong interest in the structure-function relation of biomolecules;
- have a strong interest in the understanding of the behaviour of molecules in the living cell;
- have a sound theoretical and practical basic knowledge of physics, chemistry, biochemistry and biology;
- possess the general skills concerning laboratory work and statistical data analysis, presenting and reporting, retrieving and assimilating information, computing and project-oriented working;
- be able to study and report on a specific scientific sub-area through guided independent learning with a gradually decreasing support.
Basic knowledge is defined on the basis of the following international textbooks:
- Physics : R.Serway & J.Jewett, Physics for Scientists and Engineers (6th ed)
- Mathematics: C. Neuhauser, Calculus for Biology and Medicine (2nd ed)
- Chemistry: J.R. Holium, Fundamentals of General, Organic and Biological Chemistry (6th ed)
- Biology: Solomon, Berg & Martin, Biology
- Biochemistry: Garrett & Grisham, Biochemistry (3rd ed) or Van Holde & Ahern, Biochemistry (3rd ed)
For specific admission requirements, click on the desired programme in the 'Choose your courses of study' section.
ObjectivesUpon 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.
After graduationA 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 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 the associated research laboratories.
Information sessionsKU Leuven organises a Verderstudeerbeurs each spring. In addition, faculties also organise information sessions for many of their bridging and graduate programmes.
All information sessions for (future) Master's students
SpotlightWe 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. More information can be obtained by contacting Professor M. De Maeyer or Professor J. Rogiers.
ContactFaculty of Science
Prof. dr. J. Rogiers
Tel. +31 16 32 72 38
Kasteelpark Arenberg 11 bus 2100
tel. + 32 16 32 14 01
Study Advice Service
Naamsestraat 80 box 5415
3000 LEUVEN, Belgium
To contact us please complete the contact form on our website.