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Programme outline

Number of ECTS credits: 
120
Number of years: 
2
Study language: 
English
In cooperation with: 
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Universiteit Antwerpen
Faculty: 
Science and Bio-engineering Sciences
accredited by NVAO
Campus: 
Brussels Engineering, Sciences & Humanities Campus

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Master of Science in Biology

After the master

 

Master of Science in Molecular Biology

Standaard traject
Academic year 2017-2018
Molecular biology is the discipline within the life sciences that aims at understanding the molecular basis of life in health and disease. Obviously, it is a multidisciplinary subject, dealing with the structure and function of molecules as well as their interplay to create the phenomenon life. Research in molecular biology not only intends to produce knowledge, but also offers new opportunities for the development of diagnostic tools, new strategies to improve agricultural production and improve the health status of man and livestock.
This Master is an Interuniversity Programme on Molecular Biology (IPMB), jointly organized by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Universiteit Antwerpen, and selected and supported by the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR-UDC) 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 students in exchange programmes 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.

The Master of Science in Molecular Biology consists of the following modules:

- common core 1 and 2
- practical training I and II
- specialisation
- dissertation
- electives

The student needs to acquire a total of 120 ECTS-credits to obtain the degree of 'Master of Science in Molecular Biology’

Common core

The common core covers in depth and advanced courses in molecular biology and courses in the field of human health, animal production or plant production.

Common core 1

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.
From the courses listed below, students must obtain 42 ECTS credits.
Title Course titular Semester ECTS credits
General and Analytical Biochemistry 1st semester 6
General Chemistry and Protein Chemistry 1st semester 5
Microbiology 1st semester 3
Molecular Biology 1st semester 5
Nucleic Acid Chemistry and Genetic Engineering 1st semester 3
Bioinformatic Tools 2nd semester 3
Immunology 2nd semester 5
Microbial Genetics and Genetics of Higher Eukaryotes 2nd semester 3
Virology and Parasitology 2nd semester 3
Visits 2nd semester 3
Mathematics and Statistics 1st and 2nd semester 3

Common core 2

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. Common core II courses can only be chosen after at least 48 ECTS-credits of common core I (practicals I and II compulsory included) have been obtained.
From the courses listed below, students must obtain 18 ECTS credits.
Title Course titular Semester ECTS credits
Advanced and Applied Molecular Biology 1st semester 5
Advanced Microbial Genetics and Virology 1st semester 4
Physical Chemistry and Structural Analysis of Macromolecules 1st semester 4
Social and Economical Aspects of Biotechnology 1st semester 5

Practical training

The practical courses are organised in the first year meant to train the students in mastering current labaratory techniques, plan and execute simple experiments and report the results obtained.

Practicals I

During intensive laboratory training, students are well prepared to embark for the preparation of their dissertation in the second year. These practicals aim at mastering general techniques commonly used in molecular biology and biotechnology laboratories. Special attention is given to safe and good laboratory practices, planning of the experiments, reporting and discussion of the results obtained. Students have to prepare seminars about different techniques in molecular biology and to write the results of the practicals as a scientific paper. For these two tasks, students should be able to search information and to summarize literature data.
From the courses listed below, students must obtain 5 ECTS credits.
Title Course titular Semester ECTS credits
Practicals I 1st semester 5

Practicals II

During these specialized praticals orgainzed in the second semester of the first year of the Master, students work during six weeks in research labs under the supervision of experienced researchers. They perform practical work related to the research topics of the labs they visit. Each session takes one or two weeks. Specialized practicals are organized at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the Universiteit Antwerpen, the Instituut voor Tropische Geneeskunde Antwerpen and the Universiteit Gent.
From the courses listed below, students must obtain 10 ECTS credits.
Title Course titular Semester ECTS credits
Practicals II 2nd semester 10

Electives

In the first year of the model trajectory, students have to choose 1 elective course.
From the courses listed below, students must obtain 3 ECTS credits.
Title Course titular Semester ECTS credits
Physiology : Option Animal Physiology 2nd semester 3
Physiology : Option Plant Physiology 2nd semester 3

Specialisation

Students have to choose one specialisation profile in the second year of the model trajectory:


- Human Health

- Plant Production

- Animal production


Specialisation courses can only be chosen after at least 48 ECTS-credits have been obtained.

Specialisation Human Health

Specialisation Human Health
From the courses listed below, students must obtain 12 ECTS credits.
Title Course titular Semester ECTS credits
Epidemiology : Study Design and Analysis 2nd semester 4
Human Genetics and Diseases 2nd semester 4
Human Infectious Diseases 2nd semester 4

Specialisation Plant Production

Specialisation Plant Production
From the courses listed below, students must obtain 8 ECTS credits.
Title Course titular Semester ECTS credits
Biocontrol of Plant Diseases and Bio-fertilisation 2nd semester 4
Phytopathology 2nd semester 4

Specialisation Plant Production: Electives

4 ECTS-credits to choose.
From the courses listed below, students must obtain 4 ECTS credits.
Title Course titular Semester ECTS credits
Plant Biodiversity 2nd semester 4
Plant Yield 2nd semester 4

Specialisation Animal Production

Specialisation Animal Production
From the courses listed below, students must obtain 12 ECTS credits.
Title Course titular Semester ECTS credits
Applied Biotechnology in Livestock Production 2nd semester 4
Livestock Genetics 2nd semester 5
Prophylaxis of Infectious Diseases of Farm Animals 2nd semester 3

Dissertation

The dessertation can only be started after at least 48 ECTS-credits have been obtained.

During the experimental part of the dissertation, 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.
Title Course titular Semester ECTS credits
Dissertation 1st and 2nd semester 30