Biophysics Programme code: W4-S2BFA21.2022

Field of study: Biophysics
Programme code: W4-S2BFA21.2022
Programme code (USOS): W4-S2BFA21
Faculty: Faculty of Science and Technology
Language of study: English
Academic year of entry:
  • winter semester 2023/2024
  • winter semester 2022/2023
Level of qualifications/degree: second-cycle studies
Mode of study: full-time
Degree profile: general academic
Number of semesters: 4
Degree: magister (Master's Degree)
Access to further studies: the possibility of applying for post graduate and doctoral studies
Specializations: Bio and Pharmaceutical Materials Science
Semester from which the specializations starts: 1
Scientific or artistic disciplines to which the learning outcomes are related and their percentage share in education: physical sciences (natural sciences) [leading discipline]: 100%
ISCED code: 0533
The number and date of the Senate’s resolution: 306/2022 (28/06/2022)
General description of the programme:
During the first term in the University of Pisa, all students will have to complete a set of common courses devoted to a broad spectrum of materials science topics. During the second term, all students will move to Barcelona. The second term actually marks the first differentiation from teaching general knowledge in the materials science fields towards more specialized courses. It will offer the possibility to students to discover new concepts and approaches topics in a very flexible way based on a selection of optional courses. During the third term, students engaged in the “Track 1: soft-matter and biopharmaceuticals” track will move to Katowice to develop their skills on soft-matter (polymers, colloids, gels) as well as biological materials (peptides, proteins, biomaterials) of therapeutical interest and their specificities. In the meantime, students of the “Track 2: condensed-matter and pharmaceuticals” track will go to Lille.The “soft-matter and biopharmaceuticals track” (track 1) (Pisa-Barcelona-Katowice) will provide a training focusing on understanding at the molecular level of the physicochemical and biological properties of small and macromolecules, lipid membrane systems and macromolecular drugs. Biopharmaceuticals are among the most sophisticated medicines and are becoming increasingly prominent in the pharmaceutical industry. Some companies are already spending 40% or more of their R&D budget on biopharmaceuticals and they are expected to dominate product use and sales of the future. However, compared to conventional chemical drugs, therapeutic proteins suffer from intrinsic instability. Changes due to chemical or physical instability can alter protein folding and the protein 3-dimensional structure. It is a major problem because denatured or aggregated protein species will not only be therapeutically inactive, but also may cause unpredictable side effects, such as immunogenicity or toxicity. A strong awareness to attempt for highly stable biopharmaceutical products has thus emerged. Because of their highly limited stability in liquid form, many of these protein-based therapeutics would be unusable within a few days. Solid dosage forms are thus usually preferred. Industries are particularly highly demanding of training with a high fundamental knowledge in biophysics science to face many challenges of protein-based therapeutics because of their intrinsic physical and chemical instability and specific mode of formulation in the solid forms using different techniques of drying (freeze drying, spray drying, supercritical fluid drying). This problematic includes very important fundamental knowledge of materials science such as freezing, thawing, interfacial stress, interaction with specific solvents (water, sugars), mechanism of stabilization (glassy state, water replacement, interfacial adsorption) and know-how of very specific experimental techniques (microcalorimetry, Infra-Red, Raman scattering, Scanning electron micrographs).
Organization of the process of obtaining a degree:
§1 The diploma procedure has been specified at the University level in the Study Regulations and in the Ordinance No. 16 of the Rector of the University of Silesia in Katowice of 28 January 2015 on the procedure for submitting and archiving written diploma theses, as amended. §2 1. The student enrolls in a selected MA seminar, on the date set by the Dean. 2. The student chooses the topic of his master's thesis from the topics given by the Coordinator of a given field of study, simultaneously choosing the Promoter who proposed the topic. 3. The supervisor clarifies the subject of the master's thesis with the student, taking into account the conditions set out in §30, section 5 of the Study Regulations. 4. The student submits the diploma dissertation, archives its electronic version and submits a printed copy of his dissertation in the manner announced in the Ordinance of the Rector of the University of Silesia in Katowice of January 28, 2015 on the introduction of the procedure for submitting and archiving written diploma theses in accordance with, respectively, §2 clause 1, 2, 3, §3 section 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and §6 sec. 1, 2. §3 Reviews are made available to the graduate student in the APD system no later than 3 days before the scheduled date of the master's examination. § 4 1. The master's examination consists of two parts: (a) defense of the thesis, (b) answers to questions. 2. The defense of the master's thesis begins with the master's dissertation. Then the graduate student responds to the comments on the thesis contained in the reviews; then members of the commission formulate additional questions and comments about the work. The graduate student's answers end the defense of the thesis. 3. In the second part of the examination, the graduate student receives examination questions. The questions concern subjects in the field of biophysics (depending on the specialization: molecular biophysics, molecular spectroscopy, basics of drug action, optometry, science of biological and pharmaceutical materials). The scope of the exam in a given subject corresponds to the curriculum of the relevant lectures included in the Course Card. 4. At the end of the exam: a) Members of the commission evaluate the course of the diploma examination b) The committee determines partial marks for answers to particular examination questions. c) The examination committee determines the final grade for the thesis and the final grade for the diploma according to the rules adopted in the Study Regulations at the University of Silesia. 5. Immediately after determining the grades, the commission announces them to the graduate student.
Connection between the field of study and university development strategy, including the university mission:
A field of study in line with the development strategy of the Institute of Physics and the mission of the University.
Specialization: Bio and Pharmaceutical Materials Science
General description of the specialization:
The European Master programme "BIOPHAM (BIO&PHArmaceutical Materials science)" is a two-year (120 ECTS) programme entirely taught in English and jointly operated by the University of Lille (France), the University of Pisa (Italy), the University of Silesia in Katowice (Poland) and the Polytechnic University of Catalunya (Spain). BIOPHAM answers to an international demand for qualified graduates with theoretical and applied high-level training in materials science and physics & chemistry of materials and their applications to pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals. During the third term, students engaged in the “Track 1: soft-matter and biopharmaceuticals” track will move to Katowice to develop their skills on soft-matter (polymers, colloids, gels) as well as biological materials (peptides, proteins, biomaterials) of therapeutical interest and their specificities. students will get the opportunity to specialize either on numerical techniques applied to drugs (atomistic modelling, mathematical diffusion models for controlled drug delivery) or on dedicated advanced characterization experimental techniques. The fourth and last term covers the Master thesis of the students. The location where the student will perform her/his thesis is a free choice and can be performed in a research laboratory of a partner University, in an associated academic/industry partner organization or in any other company offering oriented topic for the Master thesis. The students will be strongly encouraged to take advantage of the large network of associated academic and industrial organizations and external associated universities. In any case, an agreement will be signed between the student, the company/laboratory/organization where the work placement takes place and the host University chosen by the student for the fourth term. All defences will be made public and followed by all students (compulsory) thanks to video-conference systems.
Internships (hours and conditions):
Research/industrial internship as an introduction to research projects. The internship should last up to 2 months, and take place in one of the EU countries in an academic or industry laboratory, large scale research facility, or computer center After completion of the internship, the students will have hands-on, operative knowledge of a research project carried out either at a university, research institute or facility, or private company. They will actively participate in a line of research or development of a product, and become acquainted with the work environment which is the target of the Erasmus Mundus program. A supervisor from Institute/Company + Tutor from UPC.
Graduation requirements:
The condition of graduation is: -passing all modules specified in the study plan of the biophysics major with the specialization "Bio & Pharmaceutical material science", and passing the required examinations, writing and defending the master's thesis in front of the examination committee, -obtaining the number of ECTS points required by the study plan.
Number of ECTS credits required to achieve the qualification equivalent to the level of study: 120
Professional qualifications:
(no information given)
Percentage of the ECTS credits for each of the scientific or artistic disciplines to which the learning outcomes are related to the total number of ECTS credits: physical sciences (natural sciences): 100%
The graduate:
understands complex physical and natural phenomena and processes; can relate and explain these phenomena [KBF_W01]
has an in-depth knowledge of the sciences such as biomathematics, biophysics, biochemistry and bioinformatics [KBF_W02]
can apply modelling methods to biophysics and biochemistry issues [KBF_W03]
is proficient in the use of scientific apparatus for studying physical and biological phenomena; understands the theoretical basis of the functioning of research apparatus [KBF_W04]
has knowledge of nanobiotechnology, of obtaining and applying nanocarriers, biosensors, nanoparticles in medicine and health care [KBF_W05]
has knowledge in the field of optics and ophthalmology, has learned the construction of physical equipment and its application in diagnosis and therapy in ophthalmology [KBF_W06]
knows and understands the basic physical phenomena occurring at the molecular level, methods for their description and the use of physical research to explain them [KBF_W07]
knows the basic software used in molecular modelling [KBF_W08]
knows the basics of drug action, their chemical affinity, knows how to design their chemical properties [KBF_W09]
has a basic knowledge of experimental methods used in molecular biophysics [KBF_W10]
knows the basics of occupational health and safety at the level that allows independent work in the laboratory [KBF_W11]
has an in-depth knowledge of selected scientific methods and is familiar with issues characteristic of the discipline of science not related to the programme [KBF_W12]
has knowledge of intellectual property and copyright protection [KBF_W13]

The graduate:
is able to clearly present correct biophysical reasoning, collect and generalise facts in speech and writing [KBF_U01]
is able to apply a mathematical apparatus to solve complex problems in physics and biophysics [KBF_U02]
is able to explain the processes occurring in the living matter based on the laws of physics and chemistry [KBF_U03]
can perform various types of physical measurements and experiments related to the phenomena occurring in nature [KBF_U04]
is able to perform statistical analysis and interpretation of measurement results [KBF_U05]
can use selected software packages for the analysis of molecular structure, proteins, drugs, etc. [KBF_U06]
is able to select and apply appropriate scientific apparatus and perform a series of measurements of the properties of biological systems [KBF_U07]
can describe basic micro- and macroscopic properties of the living matter based on the knowledge gained [KBF_U08]
is able to prepare a study containing a description, analysis, discussion of errors and conclusions on experimental results obtained [KBF_U09]
is able to work individually and in a team; is able to estimate the time required to conduct out the commissioned task [KBF_U10]
can obtain information from literature, databases and other sources; can integrate and interpret information obtained, draw conclusions and formulate and justify opinions [KBF_U11]
has a sufficient command of English (B2+ level) to comprehend the specialist literature and manuals for IT devices and tools [KBF_U12]
is able to clearly present the problem/point of view to the specialist and the layman [KBF_U13]
can prepare a typical written paper on specific biophysical issues using advanced theoretical models [KBF_U14]
has the ability to prepare and deliver an oral presentation in their native and English languages, using modern multimedia techniques [KBF_U15]
has the ability to self-learn, e.g. to improve professional competence [KBF_U16]
has an in-depth ability to pose and analyse problems based on the acquired content from the discipline of science not related to the programme [KBF_U17]
communicates in a foreign language using advanced language communication competences and has the ability to comprehensively read complex scientific texts and an in-depth ability to prepare various written works (including research) and oral presentations on specific issues in a given programme in a foreign language [KBF_U18]

The graduate:
knows the limitations of their own knowledge and understands the need for further education [KBF_K01]
is able to precisely formulate questions to deepen their own understanding of a given topic or to find the missing elements of reasoning [KBF_K02]
is able to work in a group with different roles; understands the division of tasks and the individual's need to fulfil a given task [KBF_K03]
understands the need to improve professional and personal competences [KBF_K04]
understands and appreciates the importance of intellectual honesty in their own and others’ actions; acts ethically [KBF_K05]
understands social aspects of applying the acquired knowledge and skills and the related responsibility [KBF_K06]
is able to listen to a different opinion and professionally discuss the issue in question [KBF_K07]
can think and act in terms of entrepreneurship (costs, economic effects, profit and loss account, profitability) [KBF_K08]
is able to correctly identify priorities for the implementation of the tasks specified by themselves or others [KBF_K09]
understands the need for an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems, integrating knowledge from different disciplines and practising self-education to deepen the knowledge acquired [KBF_K10]
Module Language of instruction Form of verification Number of hours ECTS credits
Basic requirements
Disordered and Off-Equilibrium Systems [W4-2BF-MB-21-03] English exam lecture: 48 6
Mechanical Behaviour of Materials [W4-2BF-MB-21-04] English exam lecture: 48 6
Optional Courses: Common Basis lecture: 132
depending on the choice: 0
Module Language of instruction Form of verification Number of hours ECTS credits
Basic requirements
Large Facilities: Synchrotron and Neutron Sources [W4-2BF-MB-21-11] English exam lecture: 45 5
Materials Science of Drugs [W4-2BF-MB-21-13] English course work lecture: 30
laboratory classes: 6
Molecular and Soft Condensed Matter [W4-2BF-MB-21-12] English exam lecture: 36 4
Optional Courses: Pre-Orientation lecture: 50
depending on the choice: 22
Internships and Field Work
BIOPHAM Short Internship [W4-2BF-MB-21-18] English course work internship: 45 5
Others requirements
Rosetta Stone Language Course [W4-2BF-MB-21-19] English course work discussion classes: 24 4
Module Language of instruction Form of verification Number of hours ECTS credits
Basic requirements
Application of Vibrational Spectroscopy in Therapeutic Substance Studies [W4-2BF-MB-21-21] English exam lecture: 15
laboratory classes: 30
Molecular Biophysics [W4-2BF-MB-21-20] English exam lecture: 15
laboratory classes: 30
Optional Courses: Specialization lecture: 60
depending on the choice: 60
Others requirements
Introduction to Entrepreneurship [W4-2BF-MB-21-32] English course work lecture: 30 1
Language Course: Scientific English [W4-2BF-MB-21-29] English course work discussion classes: 45 4
Protection of Intellectual Property, Health and Safety, Ergonomics [W4-2BF-MB-21-30] English course work lecture: 15 1
Subject in the Field of Humanities [W4-2BF-MB-21-31] English course work lecture: 30 3
Module Language of instruction Form of verification Number of hours ECTS credits
Basic requirements
Master's Seminar, Master's Laboratory, Preparation of a Master Thesis [W4-2BF-MB-21-33] English course work seminar: 30
laboratory classes: 180