M1 - Interface-Biology-Physics

This training program is an extension of the Masters « Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire » at Sorbonne University. It is dedicated to the interdisciplinary interface between biology and physics. Biology and Physics have a long and fruitful history, to this day when concepts and technologies stemming from Physics keep influencing studies in Biology. This program will train students to master concepts, methods and technologies from physics alongside molecular and cellular biology with a particular attention to quantitative approaches that allow progress in understanding biological processes by unveiling complex mechanisms at all scales. The interdisciplinary acquired knowledge will greatly contribute to the students’ adaptability and success when joining projects invested in the life sciences in the public or private sector. This is a one year M1 program whose curriculum will be entirely in English. 

Further information on the iBP Interface-Biology-Physics M1 programme, hosted by the BMC "Molecular and Cell Biology", is available HERE.
The second cohort of this program will start at the beginning of the academic year 2023.

You will find below, at the "Application" tab, all the information to apply for the 2024-2025 academic year.

The course taught in English

M1 - Interface-Biology-Physics

There are three ways to submit your application, depending on your profile.
•    1) If you reside in one of these following countries:
A: Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan
B: Bahrain, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi
C: Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire
D: Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic
E: Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia
G: Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea
H: Haiti
I: India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel
J: Japan, Jordan
K: Kenya, Kuwait
L: Lebanon
M: Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco
N: Nepal, Niger, Nigeria
P: Pakistan, Peru
Q: Qatar
R: Russia
S: Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea
T: Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey
U: Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States
V: Vietnam.
You must follow the “Etudes en France” procedure.
!! Careful, the application deadlines are past in some countries for the 2024-2025 academic year. Please refer to the Campus France scedule from your country of residence: https://www.campusfrance.org/en/espaces.
•    2)  Only if you are English-speaker from France or any other countries than the ones listed above:
You have to apply through the eCandidat platform, that will be available from March 18th to June 13th.
You will need to upload supporting documents:
1.    A cover letter articulating why you want to join the Interface Biology Physics program
2.    A one page Curriculum Vitae
3.   Transcripts and diplomas of higher education
4.    One or two letters of recommendation

•    3)  Only if you are French-speaker from France or any other countries than the ones listed above:
You have to apply through the MonMaster platform that has been available from February 26th to March 24th.


Training objectives

This program is designed for students with a background in Biology who are interested in delving into the world of Physics. Biology keeps leaning on ever more quantitative approaches, many of which from concepts and technologies stemming from physics. The wide range of complementary knowledge that students will master after this program will greatly enrich their prospects for any further program they would wish to tackle afterward. In particular, a natural follow-up to this program would be the M2 “Systèmes Biologiques et Concepts Physiques” also part of BMC Masters. It can also open doors to other Masters at Sorbonne or elsewhere.


In a similar fashion to the general BMC M1, the program will be broken down into two semesters.

First Semester

The first semester is broken down in 3 blocks of roughly one month each.  The total number of credits over the semester is 30 credits. 

Block 1 
MU4BM001 Ateliers de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (12 credits)
It consists of 3 weeklong labs that will ensure that the students will have full experience     with many techniques from Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology, Immunology, Genetics and Microbiology. 

Block 2 
MU4BM011 Biological Physics (6 credits)
This class consists of a tour of physics principles as they pertain to the explanation of biological questions. It will provide the students with a physical framework to understand and evaluate biological questions.
MU4LVAN1 English for French speaker or French for English Native Speakers (3 credits)
This class is the language requirement for the program. It ensures that all will fully master both French and English by the end of the program. While English will be crucial to study in this program and master the scientific literature, not all the M2 programs you might want to join will be entirely in English. So assuring a mastery of scientific vernacular French is also important. 

Block 3
MU4BM012 How Instrumentation illuminates Biology at micro/macroscales (6 credits)
This class consists of a thorough presentation of how experimentation historically and currently impacts biology. Students will understand the physical world at multiple biological scales in time and space: how physical govern biological processes; how to measure/quantify/interpret them and how to engineer innovative biology assays.
MU4B009 Biostatistics (3 credits)
This class consists of a full introduction to biostatistics from mathematical foundations to deep learning.  It is an important staple of the acquired toolkit of this program. 

Second Semester

The second semester consists of two mandatory classes:
2 month INTERNSHIP (9 credits)
This is an internship that needs to be at the interface between physics and biology. This is a crucial part of the program. 
MU4BMOIP (3 credits)
This class consists of a tour of the soft skills (communication, organization, teamwork) useful in a professional scientific setting. It also is an overall introduction to the professional scientific world. 

and a choice of 3 among 8 different elective classes (6 credits each):

  • MU4BM112 Molecular biology of eukaryotes 
  • MU4BM113 Established and emerging model organisms for marine science 
  • MU4BM142 Theoretical and practical introduction to epigenetics 
  • MU4BM169 Introduction to stem cell biology 
  • MU4BM148 Embryonic models for genetic diseases and cancer 
  • MU4BM123 UE Immunologie fondamentale et intégrée 
  • MU4BI033 Python for Physiology modeling 

The more specific explanation of the content of the second semester classes can be found here. 
The total of credits for the second semester is 30 credits. 

There is a parternship with the physics Masters that also recoginizes the M2 “Systèmes Biologiques et Concepts Physiques”.  http://master.physique.sorbonne-universite.fr

Skills and competencies

Disciplinary knowledge

  • main notions concepts and techniques from molecular and cellular biology, 
  • fundamentals of modern physics involved in biological processes or linked to quantitative analysis, 
  • deep understanding of a few specialized domains of physics with important applications in biology, 
  • being able to use abstract reasoning,
  • using mathematical and statistical tools,
  • multidisciplinary approach,
  • knowing multiple current and historical instrumentation techniques,
  • set up an experimental approach to address a scientific question,
  • use acquisition and data analysis softwares.

General skills

  • using a programming language
  • using information and communication technologies, 
  • efficient information search, 
  • communicating the results of your work in both the oral and written form, 
  • teamwork,
  • planning a project
  • integrating oneself in a research team or any professional environment,
  • understanding and being understood in a foreign language.

Target audience & Admission criteria

This program welcomes students after the completion of L3 as well as students from engineering schools with a biology background. The registration process will be open till June 1st. 
This program welcomes sutdents who completed their L3 at Sorbonne University or any other universities, alongside students from engineering schools with a biology background.  

The application calendar is available on the Sorbonne University website : https://sciences.sorbonne-universite.fr/formation-sciences/candidatures-et-inscriptions/master

The application will be made on the eCandidat platform

What's next ?

This program is a springboard to a wide range of M2 programs either in biology alone or at the interface between Biology and Physics. A natural follow-up to this M1 program is the M2 « Systèmes Biologiques et Concepts Physiques » at Sorbonne Université, but it also opens the door to many M2 programs within Sorbonne Université or elsewhere. The interdisciplinary knowledge gained through this program, alongside their mastery of both French and English, will enable the students to efficiently join the M2 programs where their knowledge of physics will be  a great asset. Besides the M2 “Systèmes Biologiques et Concepts Physiques”, the M2 “BMC Biochimie et Biologie Moléculaire”, the M2 “BMC Biologie Cellulaire, Développement et Cellules Souches” and the M2 “BMC Immunologie” are especially keen on getting students with interdisciplinary training.

The orthogonal and interdisciplinary skills the students have gained will keep helping them stand out far beyond the completion of their M2. In a world were reactivity and the ability to possess a breadth of knowledge is key, the interdisciplinary training that students will receive in this program is bound to widen their horizons. Whether to pursue an academic career, joining a Research and Development department or figuring out what their next scientific endeavor may be, this program will give the students a wide and multidisciplinary foundation on which to build the most innovative and orginal career. 


Head of teaching

Pr Nicolas Biais