Master of Biophysics, Biochemistry and Biotechnology (Leuven)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

This international study program is offered by the Faculty of Science in collaboration with the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Biology. The two-year master's program focuses on functions and interactions of living cells and their molecular constituents, drawing on research methods used within the field.

What is the program all about?

The Master of Biophysics, Biochemistry, and Biotechnology (Leuven) program provides in-depth training in multidisciplinary fields, with particular emphasis on subfields in which KU Leuven's research expertise is internationally recognized: molecular modeling, spectroscopy of biomolecules, optogenetics, and the biophysics of neural circuits.


Students on this two year Master's program will select one of two profiles, either Biophysics or Biochemistry and Biotechnology.

Introductory courses comprise a maximum of 18 ECTS points that can be obtained from the introductory courses in order to fill any gaps. Core courses are specific to each of the two profiles and through Elective Courses, students may select relevant courses from the entire program offered at the university if they have the approval of the program director.

Finally, 30 ECTS are obtained upon completion and defense of your second Master thesis project.


This study program will prepare and equip you to enter the workplace with all the necessary skills, expertise, and experience to solve many of the greatest challenges facing the fields of Biophysics, Biochemistry, and Biotechnology.

The mission of the Department of Physics and Astronomy is exploring, understanding and modeling physical realities using mathematical, computational, experimental and observational techniques. It consists of five divisions performing high-quality research on Hard and Soft- condensed matter & Biophysics, Nuclear Physics, Theoretical Physics, and Stellar Astrophysics.

The Department of Biology is committed to excellence in teaching and research and comprises four divisions with diverse research activities ranging from molecular and physiological research at the level of cells and organisms to ecological research on populations, communities, and ecosystems.

The Department of Chemistry consists of five divisions, which conduct research embedded in collaborations with other well-established universities, research institutes and companies around the world.

These departments assist students in realizing their full potential and acquiring the skills they will need to find the right place of employment.

Is this the right program for me?

You want to understand and help to cure diseases, experiment with- or design advanced technologies for probing biophysical and biochemical processes, develop biotechnologies and you are open to working across disciplines.

You are expected to have a working knowledge of the fundamentals of physics, calculus, biochemistry, and biology. If necessary, you may be required to take a number of introductory courses to fill gaps in previous studies.

You should have a strong interest in the structure-function relation of biomolecules, understanding of the behavior of molecules in living systems, and possess the skills to conduct laboratory work, perform statistical data analysis and work independently in a project-oriented way.


The program Master of Biophysics, Biochemistry, and Biotechnology has the following learning outcomes:

Knowledge and insight

1. Having a thorough knowledge of and insight in the properties and biomolecules, their functions and interactions with other molecules at the cellular and higher level, and particularly their structure-function relationship,
2. Having advanced knowledge of at least one subdiscipline in the fields of Biophysics or Biochemistry and Biotechnology 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 one’s own scientific research within a research team:
a. define a research topic, formulate a research question and adjust it during the research,
b. constitute a suitable solution process and plan it,
c. perform and implement a risk analysis about the planned experiments,
d. perform a scientific study independently and accurately,
e. process the acquired data into a graphic work
f. and this taking into account the relevant deontological rules of conduct.

Developing and opinion

4. Being able to, starting from a research question, consult the relevant discipline-related literature and assess its validity.
5. Being able to, starting from a research question, process, interpret and comment independently the results of the own research as well as bibliographical study in a critical way.
6. Being able to critically judge complex scientific, societal and ethical issues concerning the discipline and formulate scientifically motivated and ethically sound answers.


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 in writing for a general audience.
9. Being able to report, communicate and present written as well as orally, 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 to originality and creativity
11. Possessing the skills to keep up-to-date with the recent international developments within the discipline and in science in general.

Career Opportunities

A range of career options exists in the pharmaceutical and bioscience industries, where the demand for biophysicists and biochemists is expected to exceed supply in the near future. There are also relevant job openings within governmental research organizations, regulatory bodies, clinical facilities, health centers, private organizations, and industrial centers.

Graduates may pursue a career in medical science, pharma and biotech applied or academic research. A considerable number of graduates are undertaking a Ph.D. program in one of our associated research laboratories and partner organizations.

Start your career, during your studies

During your bachelor's and master's programs you can already shape your own profile by choosing a certain specialization, studying abroad (Erasmus), doing a work placement, 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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