Faculty of Science and Bio-engineering Sciences

Admission Requirements

Enrolling for this study plan is possible after having obtained one of the following degrees:

Academic Bachelor's programme bio-ingenieurswetenschappen
Academic Bachelor's programme biochemie en de biotechnologie
Academic Bachelor's programme biologie
Academic Bachelor's programme biomedische wetenschappen
AANBEVELINGSBRIEF 1 / LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION 1
AANBEVELINGSBRIEF 2 / LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION 2
MOTIVATIE / LETTER OF MOTIVATION
PUNTENLIJST/TRANSCRIPTS (NIET VOOR VLAAMS DIPLOMA)

Overview of the study plan

Strategies to improve health and agricultural production

Molecular Biology is a rapidly developing discipline. It stands at the crossroads of chemical, biological, physical and computational sciences and focuses on the understanding of cellular processes, biological molecules and their interactions. Molecular Biology is a multidisciplinary area of study that deals with the structure and function of molecules as well as their interplay in creating the phenomenon of life.

Research in molecular biology not only generates knowledge but also offers new opportunities for the development of diagnostic tools and new strategies for improving agricultural production, animal health, and human health.

The programme, commonly referred to as the Interuniversity Programme in Molecular Biology (IPMB), is jointly organised by KULeuven (www.kuleuven.be/kuleuven), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (www.vub.ac.be) and Universiteit Antwerpen (www.ua.ac.be).

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.

Exchange 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 as scientists

The programme content has been developed by several outstanding and multidisciplinary scientific teams. The advanced courses and electives are taught by leading researchers with a proven scientific track record, thus contributing to the research-oriented nature of the programme.
The two-year Interuniversity Master in Molecular Biology requires full-time attendance and active participation in lectures and discovery-based laboratory work to develop the mentality that drives the progress of science.

During practical training, problem-solving formats are used in which students work together to make observations and to analyze experimental results. Students who learn via problem-solving formats demonstrate better problem-solving ability, conceptual understanding and success in subsequent courses than those who learn in traditional, passive ways.

Structure of the programme

The Interuniversity Programme in Molecular Biology is structured over two academic years. In view of the diverse background of its students, a pre-test in week 1 of the 1st year is organised to test the student’s previous knowledge in mathematics, statistics, biochemistry, molecular biology and experimental research skills. Any deficiencies will result in a compulsory orientation towards certain electives.

By the end of the first year, students will have obtained the level of knowledge required to successfully take part in the advanced common core and specialised courses of the second year. Intensive training in the first year provides students with the laboratory skills to prepare a thesis in the second year.

Research Management Skills.
Our students learn to perform and manage research in a multidisciplinary and international context. We train them in various aspects of research communication and research management. This part of the programme includes a full course on Research Communication Skills (3 ECTS) and a full course on Project Writing and Management (5 ECTS).

Dissertation or Master’s Thesis (30 ECTS)
Under the direction and supervision of a promoter, students carry out an independent research project and prepare a dissertation: a written account of the research and its results. During the experimental part of the thesis, you learn to plan and perform experiments and critically interpret the results. You also learn to report both orally and in written, prepare presentations and summarize literature data. You learn to present your work in public and answer questions from a jury and the audience. Any topic is potentially acceptable as long as it offers a real contribution to Molecular Biology.
Priority is given to topics closely related to the student’s future work. Given the variety of possible research topics, the student is free to choose any lab, which does not necessarily have to belong to one of the three partner universities.

First year: Total of 60 ECTS
- Common core (35 ECTS)
- Profile-specific courses (9 ECTS)
- Electives (16 ECTS)

Second year: Total of 60 ECTS
​- Common core (13 ECTS)
- Electives (17 ECTS)
- Master's thesis (30 ECTS)


Electives (based on previous knowledge)

16 ECTS to be chosen freely (unless mandatory orientation after pre-test)

A pre-test in week 1 of the 1st semester of the 1st year will test the student’s previous knowledge in mathematics, statistics, biochemistry, molecular biology and experimental research skills. Deficiencies in previous knowledge will result in a compulsory orientation to certain electives.

REMARKS: Students who choose “Experimental research skills” cannot choose “High Throughput Techniques” nor “Bioinformatics and Omics” and vice versa.
Students who do not follow "Bioinformatics and Omics" as part of the electives in the 1st year of the model trajectory, have to take up this course as an elective in the profile of the 2nd year of the model trajectory.

From the courses listed below, students must obtain 16 ECTS credits.

3ECTS credits - Mathematics and Statistics
3ECTS credits - Biochemistry
5ECTS credits - Molecular Biology
5ECTS credits - Experimental Research Skills
5ECTS credits - High Throughput Techniques
5ECTS credits - Bioinformatics and Omics
3ECTS credits - Molecular Pharmacology
3ECTS credits - Cell Biology and Cell Signaling

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Common core 1

Compulsory courses for a total of 35 ECTS-credits, which form the core of the Master of Science in Molecular Biology, are followed by all students during the first year of the model trajectory.

From the courses listed below, students must obtain 35 ECTS credits.

3ECTS credits - Analytical Biochemistry
3ECTS credits - Molecular Microbiology
3ECTS credits - Plant Molecular Biology
5ECTS credits - Research rotation I
5ECTS credits - Immunology
3ECTS credits - Research Communication Skills
5ECTS credits - Genetics and Genetic Engineering
8ECTS credits - Research rotation II

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Profiles

Students have to choose one profile: either “Biotechnology for Global Health” or “Agro- and Plant Biotechnology”.
Each profile consists of 9 ECTS compulsory courses in the first year of the model trajectory and 17 ECTS of electives to be followed in the second year of the model trajectory.

Profile Biotechnology for Global Health - compulsory part

All courses within this profile are compulsory.

From the courses listed below, students must obtain 9 ECTS credits.

3ECTS credits - Molecular Parasitology
3ECTS credits - Vaccine Technology
3ECTS credits - Protein Structure and Function

Profile Biotechnology for Global Health - electives

For 17 ECTS-credits to choose from the list of electives.

From the courses listed below, students must obtain 17 ECTS credits.

5ECTS credits - Bioinformatics and Omics
3ECTS credits - Advanced Developmental Biology
3ECTS credits - Cellular Immunology
4ECTS credits - Human Infectious Diseases
4ECTS credits - Human Genetics and Diseases
4ECTS credits - Epidemiology : Study Design and Analysis
5ECTS credits - Biodata Mining
6ECTS credits - Embryonic Stem Cells
3ECTS credits - Immuno-imaging and molecular therapy
3ECTS credits - Stem Cell Biology
3ECTS credits - Molecular Pharmacology
6ECTS credits - Medicinal Chemistry
3ECTS credits - Molecular Biophysics
3ECTS credits - High Throughput Techniques

Profile Agro- and Plant Biotechnology - compulsory part

All courses within this profile are compulsory.

From the courses listed below, students must obtain 9 ECTS credits.

5ECTS credits - Plant Disease Biology and Management
4ECTS credits - Applied Biotechnology in Livestock Production

Profile Agro- and Plant Biotechnology - electives

For 17 ECTS-credits to choose from the list of electives.

From the courses listed below, students must obtain 17 ECTS credits.

5ECTS credits - Bioinformatics and Omics
3ECTS credits - Molecular Plant Physiology
5ECTS credits - Biodata Mining
3ECTS credits - Plant Genetics
3ECTS credits - Biotechnology Regulation
6ECTS credits - Functional and Experimental Plant Ecology
6ECTS credits - Plant Breeding
6ECTS credits - Crop Production
4ECTS credits - Plant Biodiversity
3ECTS credits - Plant Yield

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Common core 2

Compulsory courses for a total of 13 ECTS-credits are followed by all students during the 2nd year of the model trajectory.

From the courses listed below, students must obtain 13 ECTS credits.

3ECTS credits - Micro- and Nanobiotechnology
5ECTS credits - Global Biotechnology Challenges
5ECTS credits - Project Writing and Management

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Master's thesis

The master's thesis can only be started after at least 54 ECTS-credits have been obtained.
During the experimental part of the master's thesis, students learn to plan and perform experiments and critically interpret the results obtained. They also learn to report both orally and in written, prepare powerpoint presentations and summarize literature data. They learn to present their work in public and answer questions from a jury and the audience. Any topic is potentially acceptable as long as it offers a real contribution to molecular biology. Priority is given to topics closely related to the student’s future work. Given the wide variety of possible research topics, the student is free to choose any lab, which not necessarily has to belong to one of the three partner universities.

From the courses listed below, students must obtain 30 ECTS credits.

30ECTS credits - Master's thesis

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