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Integrative neuroscience considers neural components in their functional context. All levels of analysis are of interest: How do molecular and cellular components build functioning neurons and synapses? How do brain cells work together to form operational circuits? How do circuits jointly generate behaviour and cognition? How are individual brains shaped by their interaction with other brains and with the natural environment?
The integrative study of the nervous system involves newer developments such as functional brain imaging, and the application of molecular biology, genetics and immunology, as well as more traditional areas like psychophysics, neurophysiology and neuroanatomy. In addition, neural modelling, and quantitative analyses are growing rapidly in importance. Accordingly, the graduate programme introduces students to a wide variety of techniques from different disciplines.
The Master's programme provides a broad background in the basic areas of neuroscience. This includes molecular and cellular neuroscience, systems and behavioural neuroscience, as well as theoretical and computational neuroscience. Students take core courses in all of these areas and choose from a range of advanced courses. They perform practical or laboratory exercises in all core areas and spend several weeks each in three research laboratories. The wide range of areas and requirements makes for an intensive and rewarding study experience.
Educational organisationThe first two semesters provide a broad foundation in molecular, cellular, systems, and theoretical neuroscience. In addition to basic courses, which are required, students may choose to take part in tutorials designed to fill any gaps in their biology, physics, or mathematics background.
Basic courses required in the first semester: Cellular Neurophysiology (lecture and lab six credits), Basic Molecular and Cell Biology (lecture three credits), Comparative and Integrative Neuroanatomy (lecture and lab six credits), Neuroethology (lecture three credits), Theoretical Neuroscience I (lecture three credits), Mathematical Foundations (lecture three credits), Lab Rotation (four credits). Optional courses in the first semester (at least one must be taken): Basic Molecular and Cell Biology (tutorial two credits), Theoretical Neuroscience I (tutorial two credits), Mathematical Foundations (tutorial two credits), Journal Club (student-led seminar two credits)
Basic courses required in the second semester: Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (lecture and lab six credits), Development and Plasticity (lecture and lab six credits), Systems Neurophysiology (lecture three credits), Learning and Memory (lecture three credits), Theoretical Neuroscience II (lecture three credits), Biological Statistics (lecture three credits), Lab Rotation (four credits). Optional courses in the second semester (at least one must be taken): Systems Neurophysiology (lab two credits), Theoretical Neuroscience II (tutorial two credits), Biological Statistics (tutorial two credits), Journal Club (student-led seminar two credits).
In the third semester, more advanced courses provide further training in areas the student is considering for specialisation. Basic courses required in the third semester: Neurogenetics (lecture and lab four credits), Neuroimmunology, -endocrinology (lecture and lab four credits), Neural Signalling (lecture and lab four credits), Cognitive Neurobiology (lecture four credits), Psychopharmacology (lecture four credits), Macroimaging (lecture and lab four credits), Microimaging (lecture and lab four credits), Spiking Networks (lecture and lab four credits), Clinical Neuroscience (lecture four credits), Scientific Ethics (two credits), Lab Rotation III (four credits). Laboratory rotations are an important part of the programme. All students carry out three laboratory rotations of four weeks duration over the first three semesters. This exposes students to different approaches to neuroscience research and helps students in choosing an appropriate laboratory for their thesis work.
In the fourth semester, students who do not wish to pursue doctoral studies will select a topic and adviser for their Master's thesis. Their Master's thesis research will occupy most of the fourth (and possibly the fifth) semester.
After the third semester, students who pass a "qualifying examination" may transfer to the doctoral programme, which will consist of doctoral thesis research, special topics courses, and additional coaching in professional skills.
A weekly journal club provides an opportunity for students to present and discuss current
research in integrative neuroscience. The biweekly neurocolloquium features internationally renowned guest speakers in all areas of neuroscience. Doctoral students are required to attend both journal club and neurocolloquium regularly.
An annual weekend retreat lets doctoral students to meet neuroscience faculty and staff in an informal setting. Whenever possible, the retreat is organised jointly with another European PhD programme in neuroscience. Approx. one year after beginning their thesis research, doctoral students are required to pass a "candidacy examination". In this examination, each student presents his or her research project to a committee of three faculty members. This creates an opportunity to discuss problems and difficulties of the thesis project, to solicit advice and suggestions, and to plan remedial action.
Forms of assessmentWritten and oral examinations
Master's thesis with colloquium (28 credit points)
Language requirementsProof of English proficiency (only non-native speakers of English)
Several organisations offer tests of English proficiency:
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum requirements are 79 points (Internet-based), 213 points (computer-based), 550 points (paper-based)
IELTS (International English Language Testing System): at least 6.5 points
Cambridge Proficiency in English, grade C (ESOL),
UniCert III or UniCert IV
Academic requirementsBecause of the interdisciplinary nature of modern neuroscience, our students have diverse backgrounds in physical and/or biological sciences. Accordingly, a BSc degree in a relevant field (physics, biology, medicine, mathematics, and others) from an internationally recognised university is required for admission. Students with other degrees and with a sufficient number of courses in biology, physics, inorganic and organic chemistry, and calculus may be considered on an individual basis.
Enrolment feesCurrently 94.50 EUR per semester
The semester fee covers services offered by the "Studentenwerk" (Student Union) and the student representatives. Enrolled students receive a semester ticket for free use of public transport, student discounts in the campus cafeteria, etc.
Costs of livingA minimum of 700 EUR per month must be budgeted for accommodation, costs of living, health insurance, books, and miscellaneous expenses.
Job opportunitiesDo not plan to combine studies with an additional job. The course schedule will demand all your time and effort!
Funding opportunities within the universityScholarships cannot be provided for new students. The university provides a limited number of excellence scholarships. Eligible candidates are students in advanced semesters who clearly show above-average results.
Arrival supportBefore arrival, a welcome package with relevant information will be sent to prospective students.
There is a pick-up service if desired. Please inform the student group IKUS (http://www.ikus.ovgu.de) of your arrival in advance. IKUS will meet you at the station in Magdeburg.
Furthermore, there is a "Welcome & Orientation Week" at the beginning of the semester.
Services and support for international studentsThe International Office and the programme coordinators assist students in any way possible. To integrate new students into the university and into the student community, both the university and the faculty offer a "Welcome & Orientation Week" right before studies start in October. The university offers German language courses and lots of social and cultural events organised by the IKUS or by other student initiatives at the faculty or on campus.
AccommodationThe "Studentenwerk" (Student Union) Magdeburg manages the on-campus halls of residence (mostly one- to four-room apartments). Currently, the monthly rent ranges from 220-350 EUR per room (approx. 12-35 square meters), depending on size and furnishing. Rooms in the halls of residence are limited in number. The accommodation request can be found here: http://www.studentenwerk-magdeburg.de/en/accommodation/accommodation-request/.
The Student Union assists all new students in finding adequate accommodation, either on or off campus. Private accommodation is available on the Magdeburg accommodation market. However, fully furnished units are in relatively short supply.