Master of Biology (Leuven)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

This is a specialized and highly flexible program with an emphasis on developing problem-solving, independent thinking and robust communication skills. You will be trained in both theory and techniques of fundamental and applied research, in one of two tracks: Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology, or Molecular Biology and Physiology.

What is the program all about?

The Master of Science in Biology (Leuven) program is geared towards preparing the student for the challenges and opportunities awaiting in the broad field of biology.

Our primary goal is to obtain insight and to understand the basis and evolution of organisms that adapt to their environment. This knowledge leads to applications with important economic and societal benefits, employment opportunities.


The Department of Biology is committed to excel in teaching and research and comprises of three divisions with diverse activities ranging from molecular and physiological to ecological research on populations, communities, and ecosystems. The Master of Biology program includes four mandatory modules:

  • Common Core (18 ECTS)
    Training in processing and analyzing complex biological data, basic programming, and societal discussion.
  • Advanced Biology (54 ECTS)
    Advanced and specialized courses will grant you the necessary knowledge and insights in a specific area of biology.
  • Elective courses (18 ECTS)
    Additional courses can be selected in Advanced Biology or Entrepreneurship.
  • Master’s Thesis (30 ECTS).
    You will conduct original research in an academic setting with the help of a supervisor, and defend your master’s thesis publicly.


Our research is internationally renowned and embedded in a well-established worldwide network of other universities, research institutes, and companies.

The department studies an impressive diversity of lifeforms using the latest technology and research equipment.

You will be learning with experts in the field, and our faculty brings out the best in each individual student and provides the framework for successful teamwork and problem-solving.

Is this the right program for me?

You must hold an academic Bachelor's degree and be familiar with the subjects and courses within the program, 18 credits are allotted for filling any basic knowledge gaps. You should show expertise in oral and written English.


The program Master of Biology has the following learning outcomes:

Knowledge and insight

1. Having a thorough knowledge of and insight in the field of Biology, can make use of related scientific disciplines and can integrate the different levels of biological organization.
2. Having advanced knowledge of at least one subdiscipline in the field of Biology and insight into the contemporary research within this subdiscipline.

Applying knowledge and insight

3. Having the competences and the insight to take the following steps in his/her own scientific research within a research team:
a. define a research topic, formulate a research question and adjust it during the research
b. develop a suitable solution process and plan it
c. perform and implement a risk analysis of the planned experiments
d. perform the scientific study independently and accurately
e. analyze the data statistically and present them graphically
f. and this taking into account the deontological rules of conduct.

Developing and opinion
4. Being able to consult the relevant international discipline-related literature and assess its validity in the function of a specific research question.
5. Being able to independently interpret and comment on the results of his/her own research as well as bibliographical study in a critical way in the function of a specific research question.
6. Being able to critically judge complex scientific, societal and ethical issues concerning the discipline and formulate scientifically motivated, sustainable and ethically sound solutions

7. Possessing the necessary attitudes and skills to participate in a team in a multidisciplinary and international professional environment
8. Being able to take a motivated position and defend it orally towards peers and experts as well as communicate to a general audience.
9. Being able to report, communicate and present both orally and in writing, taking into account the relevant deontological rules of conduct.

Learning skills and educational aims
10. Being capable of acquiring knowledge, carrying out research and tackling scientific problems in an autonomous way, with attention for originality, creativity, and sustainability.
11. Possessing the skills to keep up-to-date with the recent international developments within the own discipline and in science in general.

Career Opportunities

As a graduate of the program, you may pursue a career as a scientific researcher at universities, agroindustries, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, environmental conservation organizations and NGOs. You will also hold the skill set to be an excellent candidate for employment as a scientific advisor in banks and private investment foundations, a policy officer in governmental and public administration, a scientific communications advisor, a scientific journalist, or a science teacher.

Start your career, during your studies

During your bachelor's and master's program you can shape your own profile by choosing a certain specialization, studying abroad (Erasmus), doing an internship, or starting your own business.

The Student Career Center is happy to put you on the right track towards your first work experience. The center also coaches you in the search for an interesting job and helps you with job interviews. For students wanting to start their own business, the KU Leuven also has Lcie, the KU Leuven community that encourages students with innovative and entrepreneurial ideas.

Don’t know where to start? The Student Career Center's databases contain offers for jobs, volunteer work, innovation projects, and student jobs. You can also visit one of the events organized by the Career Center.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked ... Read More

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked among the top 100 in the world. Read less
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