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Admission Requirements

The Biophysics course is intended for BSc, MSc and PhD students. The course complements the material covered in the Physics of Life Processes in the BSc Physics program. Prior knowledge in (bio)physics and/or completion of the latter is not strictly required to participate. Yet, you should have some proficiency in statistical physics, and have some basic knowledge in biology.


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 * Cellmechanics * 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. 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 topic, as chosen from a list of relevant topics and complemented with recent literature. You will be able to formulate your research idea to a scientific audience.

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 scientific 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.


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 (30%) and an assay (70%) to be written on a topic provided (deadline end of January). BSc students will write a literature review, MSc students a research proposal. Regular participation and own presentations are required.

Reading list

Syllabus and additional readings provided on Brightspace.


As a student, you are responsible for registering on time, i.e. 14 days before the start of the course. This can be done via Mystudymap. You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2. Please note: late registration is not possible.

Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from July; registration for courses in the second semester is possible from December. For more information, see this page

In addition, it is mandatory for all students to register for exams. This can be done up to and including 10 calendar days prior to the exam or up to five calendar days in case of a retake exam. You cannot participate in the exam or retake without a valid registration in My Studymap.


Lecturers van Noort Prof.dr.Thomas Schmidt