Master's Programme in Biophysics

120 credits

Programme syllabus, TBF2M

Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 6 November 2023
Registration number
TEKNAT 2023/166
Responsible faculty
Faculty of Science and Technology
Responsible department
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Decisions and guidelines

According to a decision taken by the Vice Chancellor 2021-05-11, Uppsala University will offer a Master's Programme in Biophysics from 2022-07-01 (UFV 2020/1170).

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.

Also required is:

  • 90 credits in biology and/or chemistry including 10 credits in chemistry and 15 credits in biochemistry and/or molecular biology; and 15 credits in mathematics and/or mathematical statistics; or
  • 90 credits in physics; 5 credits in programming; and 25 credits in mathematics and/or mathematical statistics.

Language requirements

Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at


The Master's Programme in Biophysics aims to educate students in the interdisciplinary subject of biophysics, a research area at the border between physics and biology. After completing the program, the students will have a clear understanding of the physical processes that are involved in biological phenomena, be able to produce elementary models of biological systems and be equipped with knowledge to use a variety of physical techniques to investigate complex biological problems. The programme provides students with a solid foundation for work in research and development, both within academia and industry. 

Learning outcomes

According to the Higher Education Act, the following applies for second-cycle studies:

Second-cycle studies shall be based fundamentally on the knowledge acquired by students during first-cycle courses and study programmes, or its equivalent.

Second-cycle studies shall involve the acquisition of specialist knowledge, aptitudes and accomplishments in relation to first-cycle courses and study programmes, and in addition to the requirements for first-cycle courses and study programmes shall:

  • further develop the ability of students to integrate and make autonomous use of their knowledge,
  • develop the students' ability to deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations, and
  • develop the students' potential for professional activities that demand considerable autonomy, or for research and development work. Ordinance (2006:173). 

Objectives for a Degree of Master (120 credits) according to the Higher Education Ordinance, System of Qualifications.

Knowledge and understanding

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) students must

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding in their main field of study, including both broad knowledge in the field and substantially deeper knowledge of certain parts of the field, together with deeper insight into current research and development work; and
  • demonstrate deeper methodological knowledge in their main field of study. 

For a Degree of Master in Biophysics at Uppsala university, this means that students must

  • demonstrate deeper knowledge and understanding of biophysical concepts and models, as well as their limitations, and on their own initiative be able to expand their area of knowledge; and
  • demonstrate deeper methodological knowledge in theoretical and experimental investigations of biological systems, and be able to apply their knowledge to develop solutions to complex biological and biophysical problems. 

Skills and abilities

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) students must

  • demonstrate an ability to critically and systematically integrate knowledge and to analyse, assess and deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations, even when limited information is available;
  • demonstrate an ability to critically, independently and creatively identify and formulate issues and to plan and, using appropriate methods, carry out advanced tasks within specified time limits, so as to contribute to the development of knowledge and to evaluate this work;
  • demonstrate an ability to clearly present and discuss their conclusions and the knowledge and arguments behind them, in dialogue with different groups, orally and in writing, in national and international contexts; and
  • demonstrate the skill required to participate in research and development work or to work independently in other advanced contexts. 

For a Degree of Master in Biophysics at Uppsala university, this means that students must

  • be able to justify the choice of the biophysical method used to study different properties of biological systems;
  • demonstrate an ability to identify, formulate, collaborate and solve problems in interdisciplinary projects in biophysics, based on their own subject of expertise; and
  • demonstrate an ability to communicate their own subject of expertise in an interdisciplinary context.  

Judgement and approach

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) students must

  • demonstrate an ability to make assessments in their main field of study, taking into account relevant scientific, social and ethical aspects, and demonstrate an awareness of ethical aspects of research and development work;
  • demonstrate insight into the potential and limitations of science, its role in society and people's responsibility for how it is used; and
  • demonstrate an ability to identify their need of further knowledge and to take responsibility for developing their knowledge. 

For a Degree of Master in Biophysics at Uppsala university, this means that students must

  • be able to use biophysics terminology to independently present a picture of the state of knowledge and be able to explain and discuss scientific and research ethics issues;
  • be able to give an accurate and balanced picture of methods, results, conclusions and future applications possibilities; and
  • be able to analyse the role of biophysics in society, especially with regard to ethical aspects and sustainable development. 

Layout of the programme

The first semester is intended for separate introductory courses for students with background in physics (PHYS) or background in biology and/or chemistry (BIO/CHEM), as well as optional courses in computer science or advanced courses in physics (PHYS). The second semester introduces the courses in biophysics and optional courses at advanced level. The third semester continues with the programme's core courses, which provide a strong basis in theoretical and experimental biophysical methods and which are closely connected to current research. Students can use their newly acquired skills and work in cross disciplinary groups. The programme ends with a degree project of 30 credits in academia (research groups at UU or other universities) or in industry.


The teaching in the master's programme is based on the students' previous experiences and knowledge. Students are expected to participate and contribute actively in the teaching and take great responsibility for both their own and their fellow students' learning. The programme's teachers have the main responsibility for creating good conditions for active individual and joint learning. The teaching is designed and developed continuously through a respectful dialogue between teachers and students, where everyone contributes to the renewal and mutual learning.

Teaching methods vary from course to course. Lectures and lessons are used together with group activities such as seminars and projects, where training in communication is an integral part. In most courses, the independent laboratory training is also a very important part.

The master's programme in biophysics is an international master's programme and the language of instruction is English.


Upon request from a student who has fulfilled the degree requirements, the Vice Chancellor issues diplomas for the Master of Science (120 credits) with biophysics as the main field of study.

A Master's degree is a so-called general degree, which means that the student achieves the degree in its main subject according to the criteria below, regardless of the courses being part of the program or not, therefore there is a possibility also to include single subject courses in the degree.

A Master's degree (120 credits) is obtained after the student has completed course requirements of 120 credits (two year of full-time studies). The degree must include courses at advanced level (second-cycle level) of at least 60 in the main field of study. A degree project in the main field of study of 30 credits minimum is included in the degree requirements. In addition to courses at advanced level (second-cycle level), a Master's degree may include course or courses from basic level (first-cycle level) equivalent to no more than 30 credits. The course or the courses are meant to provide such additional competence as is needed for in-depth studies in the main field of study and cannot be included in the student's basic degree.

In order to be entitled to a Master's degree, a Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish "Kandidatexamen", from an internationally recognised university is required.

Other directives

In order to be admitted to a later part of the programme the student must:

  • fulfil the general and specific entry requirements for the programme.
  • have 15 credits of courses relevant to the programme, at Master's (advanced) level, in addition to the Bachelor's degree.
  • have sufficient prior knowledge to be able to follow the programme at the level at which the student is admitted, which means that the student is able to study at least 15 credits from the programme outline (for the semester to which the student is admitted). The other 15 credits are specified in the individual study plan.

All points above must be satisfied, and the courses completed (modules do not count), at the latest by the deadline for supporting documentation of qualifications (see below). Students can only be admitted to a later part of a programme or a specialisation within a programme if there are available places in the programme in the semester in question.

An individual study plan for the first semester should be established by the programme study counsellor.

For studies starting the autumn semester the application period is 15 March - 15 April. Supporting documentation of qualification for the application may be submitted no later than 1 June (for autumn semester). For studies starting the spring semester the application period is 15 September - 15 October. Supporting documentation of qualification for the application may be submitted not later than 1 December (for spring semester). If the specified dates for the application deadline or completion date fall on a public holiday, the deadline is postponed to the nearest following weekday. After the last application day, it is possible to submit a late application until the beginning of the semester. Late applications will be handled in the order they are received.

If the number of applicants is larger than the number of available places according to the dimensioning applicable, the selection criterion of average grade on prerequisite courses from a higher education institution (courses relevant to the programme) is used.