Should I study biophysics?
Biophysicist - job description, studies, training, salary and professional opportunities
Are you very interested in the natural sciences, are you very committed and do you like to experiment? Perhaps then the profession of biophysicist is the ideal career choice for you. In this profession you will research the development and function of biological systems according to the approaches and principles of physics.
Biophysicists carry out experiments, interpret diagrams for the test sequence and apply mathematical methods to describe biophysical relationships. You are involved in the development and optimization of medical technology devices and take on various planning and coordination tasks in project groups.
After studying biophysics, graduates can work in different areas. In addition to research institutes and universities, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies are also very interested in qualified biophysicists.
Scientific research and teaching are therefore not the only paths for your later career as a biophysicist. A variety of options are open to you, for example in the areas of quality assurance, process and product development, data collection and analysis as well as appraisal and expert activities. Many biophysicists are also employed in the semiconductor industry or at manufacturers of medical technology devices.
Video about studying and working as a biophysicist
Salary as a biophysicist
After successfully completing your studies, you will start your career and earn your first salary. The size of the starting salary depends on a number of factors, including, for example, the location and size of the company, the industry, and your degree and position.
While you get a starting salary of around 3,500 euros as a bachelor's degree, the master's degree as a career starter already brings you a gross salary of 3,900 euros.
An essential factor for the income level is your work experience, so your salary increases significantly over time. In the public sector, you can expect gross pay of between EUR 3,560 and EUR 5,650. The collectively agreed income in the commercial economy is around 5,580 to 5,820 euros gross.
The best salary prospects are offered to you in chemical companies. Responsible positions as quality managers, for which gross salaries of up to 9,000 euros per month are paid, are particularly lucrative.
Studies and training as a biophysicist
At the beginning of the undergraduate degree in biophysics, you will be taught basic knowledge in the fields of mathematics, bioinformatics, physics and chemistry. However, the focus is particularly on topics from biology such as animal and plant physiology, microbiology and genetics. In addition to the compulsory modules, there are compulsory elective modules available that may differ depending on the university. Possible areas are, for example:
- Crystal structure prediction
- Structure elucidation of membrane proteins
- chemistry of biological synthesis
During your studies you will carry out experiments under supervision; additional internships are often planned. The standard period of study up to the bachelor's degree is six semesters. Then after four more semesters you can acquire the master’s degree and specialize in certain areas of biophysics.
In this course, the basic knowledge acquired is deepened and supplemented. The designation of the courses can differ, for example biophysics, physics (biophysics) or nanobiophysics are possible. Bachelor's and master's degrees in biophysics are basically application-oriented, fundamentally theoretical and practice-oriented. The theoretically acquired knowledge can thus already be applied and tested in practice during the course.
Properties and requirements for biophysics
You need a general university entrance qualification to access the course. Since most universities have a numerus clausus, you should also have a very good grade point average. Excellent performance in the subjects of biology, physics, mathematics and chemistry are particularly important.
If you would like to acquire a master’s degree after completing your bachelor’s degree, depending on the university, you may be asked to write a letter of motivation. A doctorate is usually required for work in research and development.
An understanding of the natural sciences, the ability to think abstractly and logically, a technical understanding and spatial imagination are essential for working as a biophysicist.
Since studying biophysics and your later professional activity are very demanding, you should be very determined and have a strong willingness to learn and perseverance. Also important characteristics are an independent way of working, diligence and teamwork.
Application as a biophysicist
Your application documents should present you in the best possible light, so it is very important that you are very careful with the formulation of your cover letter and CV. The cover letter should be worded seriously, contain no spelling or grammatical errors and under no circumstances consist only of standard sentences.
It is advisable to find out more about the advertised position and the company beforehand. So you can tailor your writing individually, describe your knowledge and skills and present yourself in the best light.
The résumé contains relevant data of your previous career. It is particularly important that the bullet-point list does not have any inexplicable gaps. In addition to the key data of your school career, completed internships as well as information on part-time jobs, interests, foreign language skills and hobbies are important information on a résumé. Furthermore, copies of certificates and evidence of the internships and part-time jobs mentioned are part of the mandatory application documents.
Tips and templates for preparing applications!
Trends and career prospects for the job description
As a biophysicist, you benefit from very good career prospects, as you can pursue activities in different industries and professional fields. The choice of possible workplaces ranges from research institutes and universities to large companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.
Countless management positions are open to you with a master’s degree or doctorate. With regard to the specialist areas, graduates with good knowledge in the field of medical biophysics in particular have numerous opportunities.
Certain advanced training courses in areas such as physical measurement technology, medical technology or project management offer you, depending on the company, the opportunity to move up to better-paid positions.
If you are aiming for a career as a product developer, many economic areas are open to you. As a quality manager, you can expect a high salary and with some professional experience you can even take on a leading position in quality management.
Another career path for biophysicists is starting their own business. It is possible to work as an independent expert or consultant in the field of biotechnological research and development.
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