GGNB Neurosciences — International Max Planck Research School

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: Jan 15, 2024
StudyQA ranking:1513 Duration:3 years

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The intensive, research-oriented programme includes the following topics: molecular neurophysiology and cellular neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, neurobiophysics, neuroendocrinology, neuropharmacology, developmental neurobiology, behavioural neurobiology, clinical and theoretical neuroscience, and bioinformatics.

Educational organisation

Throughout the first year (MSc programme) current topics of the neurosciences are taught by internationally-renowned scientists in a comprehensive lecture series. All lecture topics are discussed in tutorials. Students learn fundamental techniques applied in current research in methods courses interacting with members of participating research groups. Subsequently, students carry out three independent research projects (lab rotations) of eight weeks each in participating laboratories including research labs of local industry partners. Results of these projects are presented and discussed in seminars. Special emphasis during the first year is put on individual advising and intensive training in small groups. Continuous feedback regarding academic performance is given to the students via short tests, evaluations of the lab rotation projects and in tutorials and seminars.
Students who have passed the 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.
The doctoral programme emphasises independent research carried out by the students. Doctoral students select three faculty members as their thesis committee, who closely monitor progress and advise the students with regard to their research project. Doctoral research is complemented by research lectures and colloquia, PhD seminars, advanced methods courses, training in professional skills such as scientific writing, presentation skills, intercultural communication, project management, team-leadership skills, conflict resolution, ethics and career development. Doctoral students are involved, to a moderate amount, in teaching (e.g. tutorials, supervision of methods courses or lab rotations).
Extracurricular activities (excursions, cultural events, sports, theatre) are offered throughout the programme. Special emphasis is placed on an all-round advisory service in both academic and extracurricular activities.
In October 2006, the Neuroscience Master's programme was awarded the title "Top 10 International Master's Degree Courses Made in Germany". The award was granted by the "Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft" together with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in a national contest, in which 121 Master's programmes of 77 universities participated. Criteria for the award were the innovative concept, a high degree of internationalisation, scientific excellence of teaching, measures of quality assurance, services and counselling, and the alumni record. Together with the Göttingen Molecular Biology Programme, the Neuroscience Programme was the only Master's programme in the natural sciences and medicine that received this award in 2006. Since 2007, the programme has been part of the Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB) funded by the German Excellence Initiative.
The programme is conducted jointly by the University of Göttingen, the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine, the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation, the German Primate Center and the European Neuroscience Institute Göttingen (ENI-G). It is also recognised and funded as an International Max Planck Research School.

Study abroad unit(s)

Master's phase: no study abroad units during the first year. Master's thesis projects may be conducted abroad within the framework of existing international partnerships.
Doctoral phase: participation in international scientific meetings, time-limited research projects and method courses abroad are encouraged. Travel grants are available.


During the Master's year, all students carry out three lab rotations of eight weeks in the research labs of the programme or in research labs of participating local industry. During the doctoral phase, there is the option of research collaboration with other research institutions.

Forms of assessment

Master's phase: Master's examinations (one written, two oral exams) at the end of the first year; evaluation of Master's thesis by two referees
Doctoral phase: evaluation of doctoral thesis by two referees; public defence of doctoral thesis

Course objectives

The aim of the programme is to provide an intensive, research-oriented education in an excellent research environment, in which students deepen and expand their knowledge, skills and abilities gained in their previous studies in the biological/life/natural sciences, medicine or related fields. The programme is intended to qualify students for a professional career in academia, industry or science management.

Language requirements

Applicants whose native language is not English are asked to submit proof of proficiency in English. If no English test is available, proficiency in English can be evaluated during a personal interview. Proven higher education in English or a reasonably long stay in an English-speaking country may also be accepted.

Academic requirements

Bachelor's degree or equivalent in biosciences, chemistry, physics, medicine, psychology or related fields. Applications are welcome even if the required degree has not been awarded by the time of application, as long as this will be conferred before courses start in October.

Enrolment fees

Enrolment fees are approx. 300 EUR per semester. Fees include a prepaid semester ticket that entitles students to use regional trains free of charge within the federal states of Lower Saxony and Bremen, as well as city buses. Students of the University of Göttingen receive discounts for cultural events. Meals and drinks are also available at reduced prices at all university canteens.

Costs of living

The average cost of living in Göttingen is modest compared to other major university cities in Germany. Currently, expenses for accommodation, food, health insurance, and books reach approx. 800 EUR per month. Please note that fees for health insurance may vary according to age. Living expenses might be slightly higher.

Job opportunities

The University of Göttingen and the Neurosciences programme support students in pursuing a professional career in academia, industry or science management. During the period of study, employment as a teaching or research assistant at the university or its non-university partners is possible. For the MSc part of the programme, fellowships are available at approx. 800 EUR per month. For the doctoral part of the programme, doctoral fellowships / work contracts are available at approx. 1,200 to 1,500 EUR per month.

Arrival support

The Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB) Office serves as a central service centre for all student-related matters within the graduate school, including visa and travel arrangements and support upon arrival.
The International Office provides a complimentary pick-up service ("Buddy Exchange Service") from the Göttingen railway station to the accommodation. German students help newly arrived students to adapt to the university and the city during their first weeks. There is also an orientation week for new international students, which provides valuable information about Göttingen and the university.
A two-week orientation prior to the programme provides assistance and advice for managing daily life (including arrangements for a bank account, health insurance, residence permit, visa extension, and accommodation). Intensive language courses in German are offered at different levels to facilitate students' start in Göttingen. Additional language courses and social activities accompany the programme.

Services and support for international students

Comprehensive services and support in both academic and extracurricular activities from application to graduation are provided by the coordination office. For this service concept, the German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs awarded the programme with the 2004 prize for excellent support services for foreign students at German universities. During the first year (MSc phase), tutorials and methods courses are held in small groups of five students. Lab rotations are supervised individually. During the doctoral phase, individual counselling is provided by thesis committees. Fellowships are available for each phase of the programme.
The International Office assists international students with all administrative questions regarding their stay in Germany, e.g., enrolment, visa, foreigners' registration office, health insurance, and financing of their studies. Furthermore, it features a broad cultural programme, e.g., international cultural evenings, language workshops, theatre courses, films, dance classes, theatre, and opera visits. Trips to various tourist destinations in Germany are offered throughout the year.


The Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB) Office, in collaboration with the student services organisation ("Studentenwerk"), helps students find adequate accommodation. Many international students live in student residences. These have single apartments or shared apartments with individual rooms. There are also apartments available for couples and families with children.
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