Objectives and competences

The master's degree in Physics of Complex Systems and Biophysics enables students to acquire the analytical and computational tools and theoretical knowledge required to understand and model emerging properties, collective behaviour and physical aspects of complex and biological systems, based on an understanding of the individual behaviour of the parts that form these systems and the complex interactions between them.
The reductionist method of tackling a complex problem by isolating its components has lost strength and has been replaced by a more holistic approach in which various disciplines are combined: interactions between the components in a system require new treatment with new tools. The brain, for example, is not just a collection of interacting neurons but a neural network that generates many emerging phenomena (for example memory and thought) at the frontier of physics, biology and biophysics.

Those who are most interested in more formal aspects of science will find the environment conducive to investigating the foundation of these theories. The tools and knowledge acquired in this degree will provide opportunities for graduates in research in complex systems. This may be through a doctoral degree or within the professional world in public administrations or technological companies that need to model and process large amounts of data from the fields of physics, economics or biology.

In this master's degree, students will gain extensive theoretical and practical training that will allow them to tackle a range of new and interdisciplinary applications. Those who are most interested in more formal aspects of science will find the environment conducive to investigating the foundation of these theories. The tools and knowledge acquired in this degree will provide opportunities for graduates in research in complex systems. This may be through a doctoral degree or within the professional world in public administrations or technological companies that need to model and process large amounts of data from the fields of physics, economics or biology.

Basic information

TypeMaster's degree
Faculty or schoolFaculty of Physics
Branch of knowledge
  • Physics and astronomy
  • Interdisciplinary
Mode of delivery
  • Face-to-face
Number of places available25
Length of course1 academic year
Approximate price per credit27.67 euros per credit (82 euros for students who are not EU nationals and do not currently reside in Spain). Fees for the academic year 2023-2024
Course detailsIndicators
Open pre-enrolmentYes
Open enrolmentNo
Lead to doctoral studiesYes
Admission for applicants not holding a degree qualificationNo
Bridging coursesYes

Objectives and competences


The main objective of the master's degree in Physics of Complex Systems and Biophysics is to provide students with theoretical knowledge and analytical and computational tools to understand and model the emerging properties, collective behaviour and physical aspects of complex and biological systems. This is based on the rules governing the individual behaviour of the parts that form the systems and the complex interactions between these parts.


Basic competences

  • Capacity to demonstrate knowledge forming the basis of original thinking in the development or application of ideas, typically in a research context.
  • Capacity to apply the knowledge acquired to problem-solving in new or relatively unknown environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to the field of studies.
  • Capacity to integrate knowledge and tackle the complexity of formulating judgements based on incomplete or limited information, giving due consideration to the social and ethical responsibilities that are implicit in their application.
  • Capacity to communicate knowledge and conclusions and the grounds on which these conclusions have been reached to specialist and non-specialist audiences in a clear and unambiguous manner.
  • Capacity for ongoing self-directed and independent learning.


Generic competences

  • Critical reasoning and commitment to the plurality and diversity of social realities.
  • Capacity to identify, establish or resolve a problem in a relevant way and to interpret and assess the results obtained with a critical spirit.
  • Capacity to apply communication techniques to scientific literature searches and to acquire information effectively.
  • Capacity to write scientific and technical documents.
  • Capacity to communicate, make presentations and write scientific articles in English in the subject area of the master's degree.


Generic competences

  • Capacities of autonomy, dynamism, organization, critical and prospective analysis.
  • Capacity for self-assessment and self-criticism.
  • Capacity to work as part of a team and adapt to multidisciplinary and international teams at different scales.
  • Capacity for analysis and synthesis and capacity to adopt global perspectives and to apply knowledge to practical cases.
  • Capacity to take decisions and adapt to new situations.


Specific competences

  • Knowledge of advanced techniques to analyse the empirical data that are used most regularly in the physics of complex systems and biophysics.
  • Command of mathematical methods and statistical physics techniques that are required in physics of complex systems and biophysics.
  • Command of the most common numerical methods and simulation techniques used in physics of complex systems and biophysics.
  • Capacity to compare the predictions of theoretical models with empirical data from different disciplines.
  • Capacity to critically analyse the results of calculations, experiments or simulations and determine potential errors.
  • Command of the fundamental concepts of statistical physics of non-equilibrium.
  • Advanced knowledge of stability analysis techniques.
  • Command of advanced concepts relating to probability and statistics to apply them to complex systems.
  • Capacity to communicate the results of an analysis clearly using communication and display techniques with suitable, interpretable data for specialist and general audiences.
  • Capacity to identify the relevant magnitudes that can be observed in a specific complex system to carry out efficient simulations.
  • Knowledge of the most advanced techniques in relation to statistical physics that are currently used in research.
  • Capacity to make advanced use of physical statistics principles of artificial intelligence.
  • Capacity to forecast interdisciplinary applications of statistical physics.
  • Command of basic physical and statistical mechanisms of biophysics.




Access and admission

Applicant profile and access requirements

Recommended applicant profile

The master's degree is aimed at students with a university qualification in sciences and engineering disciplines with broad training in physics, mathematics and computer science, who want to obtain interdisciplinary postgraduate training in complex systems and biophysics.

Access requirements and conditions

General requirements
In accordance with Article 16 of Royal Decree 1393/2007, of 29 October, students wishing to be admitted to a university master's degree must hold one of the following qualifications:

  • Official Spanish university degree.

  • A degree issued by a higher education institution within the European Higher Education Area framework that authorizes the holder to access university master's degree courses in the country of issue.

  • A qualification issued by an institution outside the framework of the European Higher Education Area. In this case, applicants must request homologation of the degree to its equivalent official Spanish university qualification or obtain express approval from the University of Barcelona, which will conduct a study of equivalence to ensure that the degree is of a comparable level to an official Spanish university qualification and that it grants access to university master's degree study in the country of issue. Admission shall not, in any case, imply that prior qualifications have been recognized as equivalent to a Spanish master's degree and does not confer recognition for any purposes other than that of admission to the master's degree course.

Specific requirements
The master's degree in Physics of Complex Systems and Biophysics can be accessed directly by students who have taken official bachelor's degrees (240 ECTS credits) in physics, physical engineering or equivalent areas of knowledge.
Students with national or foreign qualifications at a level equivalent to the EHEA bachelor's degree and corresponding to areas of physics knowledge other than those mentioned previously, mathematics and statistics or information and communication technologies who have suitable knowledge to take advantage of the master's degree course must take as bridging courses subjects of the Minor in Fundamental Physics from the UB EHEA bachelor's degree in Physics that the Coordination Committee considers to be suitable, up to a maximum of 30 ECTS.
Exceptionally, students with qualifications in environmental sciences, biology and related sciences with strong training in quantitative aspects of biology or ecology who are particularly motivated to gain a command of physical and mathematical aspects of biology could be admitted.
In any case, students must have a level of English equivalent to at least B1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.



The pre-registration period for the academic year 2024-2025: February 1 - June 21.


  • Pre-enrolment fee: A pre-enrolment fee of 30,21 euros is charged. Students who apply to more than one master's degree must pay the fee for each pre-enrolment request. Pre-enrolment requests cannot be processed until this fee has been paid.Fees will only be refunded if the master's degree in question is suspended.
  • Reserved places: A maximum of 5% of the new places of the master's degree are reserved for students who meet the general and specific access requirements and accredit the recognition of a degree of disability equal to or greater than 33%.

Required documentation

Selection criteria

The Coordination Committee is responsible for selecting students for the master's degree based on their curriculum vitae, with the possibility of a personal interview. The following aspects of CVs will be evaluated in particular:
- The academic record relating to basic subjects (mathematics and physics) and computer science (75%)
- The knowledge of languages other than B1 in English, with official certification (15%).
- The student's interest in taking the master's degree, as explained in their letter of interest, that indicates the reason for this choice, and a personal interview with the members of the coordination committee, if necessary (10%).
The Coordination Committee could take into account other merits, such as letters of recommendation.

The Coordination Committee does not consider applications that omit any of the following documentation:
- CV.
- Certificate or academic record of the qualification used for admission to the master's degree, issued by the university of origin, that describes the subjects that have been taken and the grades.


The Coordination Committee of the master's degree makes the decision on applications for pre-enrolment. Applicants are notified directly of the decision on their application.


As a general rule, at the UB you will be required to enrol online. Remember that you can lose your place if you do not enrol on the day you have been assigned

Course curriculum

Subjects and course plans

Distribution of credits

Compulsory 21
Optional 21
Compulsory placements
Compulsory final project 18

List of subjects

Subject Type Language Credits
Specialization: Physics of Complex Systems and Biophysics
Advanced Methods for Molecular Simulation Optional 2nd semester 3
Advanced Statistical Physics Optional 2nd semester 3
Analysis and Visualization of Big Data Compulsory 1st semester 3
Cellular Biophysics Optional 2nd semester 3
Complex Networks Optional 2nd semester 3
Computational Systems Biology Optional 2nd semester 3
Disordered Systems Optional 2nd semester 3
Dynamic Systems Compulsory 1st semester 3
Experimental Techniques Optional 2nd semester 3
Final Project Compulsory 2nd semester 18
Introduction to Machine Learning Optional 1st semester 3
Molecular Biophysics Optional 1st semester 3
Molecular Modelling Optional 1st semester 6
Neuroscience Optional 2nd semester 3
Nonequilibrium Statistical Physics Compulsory 1st semester 6
Pattern Formation Optional 1st semester 3
Physics of Economic and Social Systems Optional 2nd semester 3
Probability and Statistics Compulsory 1st semester 3
Soft Matter Optional 2nd semester 3
Statistical Physics of Complex and Biological Systems Compulsory 1st semester 6

Previous years


Placements in a company or another type of organization are an integral part of university studies, providing first-hand experience of working methodologies in students' chosen professional fields. They offer invaluable practical experience for the transition into work after graduation.

Placements are supervised by tutors and subject to assessment. They are therefore included in the academic record.  There is also an option to complete non-curricular placements of up to 500 hours, which can be extended to 900 hours. For both curricular and non-curricular placements, an educational cooperation agreement is signed between the UB and the company, institution or other organization at which the placement will be carried out.

Institutional information

Career opportunities

What can you work on ?

The master's in Physics of Complex Systems and Biophysics offers a unique interdisciplinary education that prepares students for a wide range of professional opportunities both in academia and industry. The knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired enable graduates of this program to tackle emerging challenges in scientific and applied research, as well as providing the opportunity to enter the job market in technology and engineering companies.

On one hand, the training of master's students allows them to find professional outlets in academic institutions and research centres. With a deep and modern understanding of the physics of complex and biological systems, graduates can contribute to cutting-edge research in contemporary issues such as statistical physics, biophysics, condensed matter physics, complex networks, etc. The master's program provides students with the ability to conduct research from theoretical, experimental, and computer simulation perspectives.

In the field of research, master's graduates can find opportunities in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, which seek professionals with advanced knowledge to improve the processes of discovering new drugs and therapies.

On the other hand, the master's training offers professional opportunities in companies that value diverse problem-solving abilities and training in modelling, big data management, and artificial intelligence systems. These companies operate in sectors such as software development, consulting, the financial industry, or banking, to name a few examples.

In summary, the master's in Complex and Biological Systems opens doors to a variety of professional paths, from scientific research to practical applications in sectors such as health, technology, and consulting. With versatile and comprehensive training, graduates become well-prepared professionals to face current and future challenges in this exciting and evolving field.

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