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Admission Requirements

The Biophysics course is intended for MSc and Ph.D. students. The course complements the material covered in the Physics of Life series of the BSc Physics program. Prior knowledge in Biophysics and/or completion of the latter is not strictly required to participate.


During this course you will obtain an understanding of the principles underlying a diverse selection of modern biological physics. Introductory lectures are combined with presentations by yourself on contemporary literature that relates to the topics in the syllabus. The final assignment is a written proposal on a topic chosen by you.

Topics covered: * Protein folding * Molecular motors * Biomembranes * Gene regulation * Self-organized systems and pattern formation

Course objectives

You will be able to explain the physical principles underlying the many facets of modern biological physics, as well as an appreciation of their biological context.
In your explanation you will put extra emphasis on the analysis of experimental techniques and their results.
In the proposal you will be able to demonstrate command of the specialized topic chosen from a list of relevant topics, that you will complement with recent literature and where you will be able to formulate your research idea.


Physics Schedule

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

Zie Brightspace

Assessment method

The grade will be based on homework (20%) and a research proposal (80%) to be written on a topic provided (deadline end of January). Further, regular participation and own presentations are required.

Reading list

Syllabus and additional readings provided on Brightspace.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Lecturers Prof.dr.Thomas Schmidt van Noort


Transferable skills

You will learn how to efficiently read and interpret relevant scientific literature and to relate this to a theoretical framework.
You will present biophysical topics to peers, participate in critical discussions about these papers and relate the results to topics discussed in the syllabus.
You will make exercises to address problems from a biological context using physical, mechanistic models and quantitative data analysis.