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Molecular Biology (M.Sc./Ph.D.)


The international programme is a joint venture of the University of Göttingen, the University Medical Center, the German Primate Center and the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences. Leading scientists of all partners offer research-oriented training across a broad spectrum of modern molecular life sciences with access to their state-of-the art laboratories during methods courses and individually supervised research projects.

After one year of intensive course work, students of this integrated Master/PhD programme can continue with a six-month thesis to obtain a Master of Science degree, or join the PhD part directly (fast-track option).

The award-winning program is recognized as an International Max Planck Research School, offering stipends to all of its students. A dedicated team of staff members provides a variety of support, individual counselling and career guidance.

Molecular Biology
Master of Science (M.Sc.) / Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) / Doctor rerum naturalium (Dr. rer. nat.)
Language of the programme:
Standard period of study:
18 months / 3 semesters
Winter semester
Restricted (Application via the online portal of the study programme)

Get to know us


The integrated Master/PhD program offers excellent study and research conditions to prepare aspiring young scientists for a professional career in academia or science-related professions in the private or public sector. At any stage of their studies, the students are exposed to a broad spectrum of theoretical and practical training, individual counselling and guidance to prepare for taking well-informed decisions on their next career steps.

In 36 lecture weeks (accompanied by tutorials), 20 methods courses during the first three months of the master's program, and three eight-week research projects (lab rotations), students acquire in-depth knowledge in the following subject areas of molecular biosciences:

Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Structural Biology, Genetics, Bioinformatics, Biophysics, Metabolic Physiology, Cell Biology, Oncology, Immunobiology, Neurobiology, Developmental Biology, Microbiology, Systems Biology, Biotechnology.

Professional skills such as good scientific practice, scientific writing, presentation techniques, design of scientific illustrations, and handling of experimental animals are taught in workshops and applied during lab rotations and reporting seminars.

In addition, all foreign students can participate in free German language courses, which are optionally offered at different levels as introductory intensive courses and evening courses throughout the study program.

During the subsequent PhD studies, students benefit from the wide range of qualifications (scientific methods courses, professional skills workshops, industry excursions, language courses, other events) offered by the Graduate School GAUSS and the Graduate Center GGNB.

Annual retreats of the Molecular Biology program, the student-organized international symposium Horizons in Molecular Biology and regular cultural nights contribute to a close personal and scientific exchange.

Master's stipends: All students are supported by a stipend of the Max Planck Society at the amount of 900 €/month during their entire master's studies, unless they receive comparable scholarships from other sources.

PhD funding: During their PhD studies, students are usually funded by the supervising institution through work/funding contracts. The program has as budget available for start-up, bridging, or wrap-up funding as needed.

Student activities: Budgets are available for students to attend international scientific conferences and student-organized, scientific or cultural events.

Newly admitted students receive info letters in preparation of their studies, advice, and a variety of administrative support as part of a two-week orientation program prior to their first year of study. Throughout their studies, students receive individual counselling from members of the programme regarding their course of study and the advancement of their skills, interests, and personal development.

The Molecular Biology program is regularly evaluated by independent external reviewers and has been rated several times as a model best practice example. Together with the Neurosciences program, it received the 2004 prize for excellent support services for foreign students by the Federal Foreign Minister and was awarded the label "Top 10 International Master's Degree Courses made in Germany" by "Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft" together with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in a national contest.

Related programmes


Intensive course program in the first year

During the first year of research-oriented training, students earn 90 credits (ECTS) in a combination of theoretical and practical modules between October and July:

The first year of study concludes with a written and two oral Master’s examinations in August.

Integrated Master’s/PhD concept

After successful completion of the Master’s examinations, a six-month Master’s thesis (30 credits ECTS) leads to the award of the Master of Science degree concluding the Master’s program after 18 months. The majority of students continues in the Molecular Biology program with their PhD research without the need for panel-based admission interviews.

Alternatively, students who have passed the Master’s examinations at the end of the first year with good or excellent results qualify for direct admission to a three-year doctoral project in one of the participating research groups without being required to complete a Master's thesis first (fast-track option).

More information

Regulations and module directory


Previous education

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
  • 120 credits (ECTS or equivalent) at the time of application.
  • Eligibility:
    • Degree program in molecular biosciences, cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics, biotechnology, or a closely related discipline.

Language requirements

  • Very good knowledge of English is required.
  • If English is not the native language, the language skills can be proven, for example, by an internationally recognized language test, an English-language bachelor's degree or an extended stay in an English-speaking country.
  • Knowledge of the German language is not required.

Three-stage admission process

The online application portal is open for each application round from September 15 to January 15 (start of studies: October).

In addition to the information on personal background and motivation and the upload of all relevant documents, the contact details of two reviewers for letters of recommendation should also be provided. The reviewers should be informed by the students in time about the planned application.

All applicants will be informed in the second half of January whether they have qualified for the second selection round (15-minute online interviews at the end of January).

During a third selection round in mid-February, admission decisions are made on the basis of two personal interviews (30 minutes each).


Academic Advising

Dr. Steffen Burkhardt

Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 11
37077 Göttingen

Phone: +49 551 39-26685/26686

Molecular Biology Office

Academic Advising

Kerstin Grüniger

Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 11
37077 Göttingen

Phone: +49 551 39-26686

Molecular Biology Office