In contrast to traditional biology programmes, the modules in the first two years are not divided between botany, zoology, microbiology, etc.. Instead, students acquire understanding of the basic principles in biology, which lead sometimes to similar, sometimes to very different solutions for distinct organisms. The Bachelor programme conveys profound knowledge of biology, including the mastery of important experimental, mathematical, computational, and data science methods. Its central aim, however, is to empower students to combine biological with quantitative-analytical thinking. The integrative design of the teaching modules embeds the necessary quantitative skills in biological contexts.
Graduates with the Bachelor of Science degree in Quantitative Biology (qBio/qBio+) have acquired the following basic subject specific skills:
1. the ability to approach biological processes quantitatively and analytically through the intensive, integrated study of the fundamentals of mathematics, statistics and computer science;
2. the mastery of basic experiments in molecular and cell biology as well as the responsible experimental handling of organisms;
3. a sound knowledge of complex models for biological processes and the ability to develop simple models by themselves;
4. a deeper understanding of the theories and methods in their selected areas of life sciences.
5. the competence to assess current developments in the field of life sciences and their quantitative-analytical methods, taking into account social, scientific and ethical findings.
The total workload of the Bachelor Quantitaive Biology (QuantBio) in its 3-year variant is 180 CP. The basic phase is followed by a research phase, which culminates in the bachelor thesis. Students learn to study independently and in teams, and learn to critically evaluate scientific theories and methods. They acquire the ability to autonomously carry out theoretical and practical work in the area of quantitative biology.
In the first five semesters, interdisciplinary modules provide a deep understanding of biological mechanisms, phenomena, and concepts, combined with the relevant physical and chemical foundations. Besides teaching basic experimental techniques, the programme puts particular emphasis on mathematical modelling, biostatistics, and bioinformatics . The broad integration of theoretical and quantitative methods sets Quantitative Biology apart from other Bachelor programmes in biology.
Students have to choose one elective module among those offered in the biology bachelor programmes of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf ("V-Modul") and the University of Cologne (“Bio-Wahl”). Alternatively, students can do a research-based internship at a national or international university of their choice. The elective modules are usually offered in blocks of four weeks and typically combine lectures with all-day practical lab work. The thematic orientation of the elective-modules is largely based on the research focuses of the institutes and working groups at HHU and UoC.
In addition to the elective modules, the research phase entails a course on project planning, a project internship (which may serve as an introduction to the topic of the bachelor's thesis), and the bachelor's thesis itself.
Potential research areas focus on biochemistry, biotechnology, developmental biology, evolution, genetics, molecular biology, structural biology, synthetic biology, theoretical biology, computational cell biology, bioinformatics, and artificial intelligence.
Before the end of the basic phase, successful students can opt to transfer into the 4-year variant Quantitative Biology PLUS (QuantBio+). The 4-year variant is designed to give students additional opportunities for stays abroad and allows them to broaden their horizons in the field of quantitative biological research in academia and/or industry.