Medical Photonics

Study mode:Full-time Languages: English Duration:2 years
Deadline: May 31, 2021
StudyQA ranking:443

Photos of university / #unijena

To understand the cause of diseases, to facilitate an early diagnosis of diseases, and to provide a specific effective treatment, these are the goals modern medicine tries to achieve. Light plays a key role in turning this ambitious vision into reality. In biomedical research, modern optical and photonic techniques allow for monitoring and manipulating life processes in cells and tissues on a molecular level. But also in clinical practice, optical and photonic techniques are well established in many fields of medicine, like in ophthalmology, endoscopy or biomedical imaging.
To meet the demand for scientists trained in the interdisciplinary field of Medical Photonics, the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences, and the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy decided to establish conjointly the Master's degree programme of Medical Photonics. The MSc Medical Photonics programme conveys basic and advanced insights into the quickly developing field of Medical Photonics.
It is targeted at students holding a Bachelor of Science degree in physics, chemistry, biochemistry, and biology, but also at medical doctors and students of medicine. It provides students of these disciplines with the necessary training in the neighbouring disciplines and offers a comprehensive cross-disciplinary study programme. The aim of the MSc Medical Photonics programme is to provide all students with the necessary knowledge and practical skills to use and develop optical/photonic tools for biomedical research and clinical applications.
Although the interdisciplinary training of students in medicine, life sciences, physics, and chemistry is a central goal of this Master's degree programme, it is a big challenge at the same time. Since students with different knowledge and skills have to be taught, adjustment modules offered in the first year of the Master's programme aim at complementing the students' knowledge in the neighbouring disciplines. Additional modules give all students training in fundamental techniques, such as programming, statistics, and image processing. Elective courses in the second and third semester allow the student to focus on topics in which they are interested and to gather all the skills to work on the Master's thesis, which will be concluded in the fourth semester.

Educational organisation

The curriculum has a modular structure. Credit points are granted according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) for every successfully completed module. The individual modules are grouped into five "blocks".
Modules of the block "Adjustment" offered in the first and second semester of the Master's programme aim at complementing the student's knowledge in the neighbouring disciplines. Modules in this block impart knowledge in mathematics, physics, physical chemistry, spectroscopy, and human biology.
Additional modules within the block "Fundamentals" give the students training in basic skills such as programming, statistics, and image processing. These skills are fundamental to all of the other modules. Modules of this block also give an introduction into biomedical imaging techniques.
Elective courses can be selected in the second and third semester. Modules within the block "Specialisation" allow students to focus in more depth on special topics of Medical Photonics, such as microscopy (biological microscopy, single-molecule microscopy, electron microscopy, nano-optics, labels for biological specimens), spectroscopy and diagnostics (microspectroscopy, chemometrics, optical sensors, microfluidics, mass spectroscopy) as well as clinical applications (ophthalmology, medical diagnosis and therapy, theranostics, biomaterials) and important tools in Medical Photonics (lasers, optical fibres). Furthermore, students interested in mathematics and informatics will have the possibility to enhance their skills in additional modules (e.g., advanced mathematics, image understanding, visual recognition and analysis, management of scientific data).
Lectures and seminars are accompanied by practical courses. In the first and second semester, a practical lab course allows students to put the theory into practice. During this course, students can carry out experiments in set-ups located in the departments of physics, physical chemistry, and physiology. During the third semester, a research-oriented practical course provides the possibility to participate in a current research project of one of the research groups participating in the Master's degree programme and introduces the student to the topic of his/her Master's thesis, which will be concluded in the fourth semester.

Study abroad unit(s)



Internships are not systematically provided, but depending on the students interests and the approval of the examination board, a part of the practical courses and the practical work for the Master's thesis can be realised in one of the research-oriented companies in Jena.

Forms of assessment

In general, each of the modules of the Master's programme is concluded with an oral or written exam. In addition to this, some modules may require the student to give presentations. A written report is mandatory in practical modules. All requirements that need to be fulfilled to earn the credit points given for each module are listed in the module catalogue.
The overall grade for the Master's programme is a combination of the module grades and the grade of the Master's thesis.

Course objectives

Graduates of the Master's programme Medical Photonics will be qualified to work at biomedical research institutions as well as at companies of the life science sector and medical engineering.
After having successfully completed this Master's programme, students with a background in natural sciences will possess the knowledge and practical abilities to apply optical and photonic methods in medical research, in laboratory diagnostics, and in the daily practice of a hospital. (However, graduates with basic education in natural sciences will not obtain a license to practice medicine.)
Physicians participating in this programme will become familiar with optical and photonic methods used in clinical practice and therapy. They will also appreciate the potential of new photonic approaches and promote their transfer into clinical practice.
Furthermore, the Master's programme also enables graduates to apply for a position as a PhD student in a renowned field of research. In this context, local graduate schools like the Abbe School of Photonics, the Jena School of Molecular Medicine, the Jena School for Microbial Communication, and the graduate programme "Photonic Analytics in Biomedicine - Optical and Spectroscopic Technologies for Cell and Tissue Diagnostics" supported by the Carl Zeiss Foundation will also provide graduates with the possibility to pursue an academic career in optics and photonics.
The Master's degree also qualifies medical graduates to participate in the MD/PhD programme offered by the Faculty of Medicine.

Language requirements

Proficiency in English language is required as all modules are taught in English only. Applicants are not required to provide proof of their English skills.

Academic requirements

Applicants must have a Bachelor of Science or a comparable academic qualification in chemistry, physics, biology, biochemistry/molecular biology or closely related fields, state exam in human medicine.
In order to gain admission, the Bachelor's degree should have been concluded with the grade "good" (equal to a 2.5 in the German grading system).

Enrolment fees

Semester fee (Student Services and Student Self-Government) including a semester ticket for free use of public transport: approx. 190 EUR per semester and a one-off fee of 20 EUR for a multifunctional student ID card (Thoska).

Costs of living

We recommend that you budget at least 600 EUR per month for accommodation and food, and a further 50 EUR per semester should be budgeted for books.

Job opportunities

Generally possible, depending on visa requirements and current availability

Arrival support

Although the winter semester starts in mid-October, students are advised to arrive in Jena at least by October 1st or earlier. Before classes start, Jena University offers an orientation week in order to introduce international students to the city and university. Moreover, pre-courses offer students the possibility to brush up their skills in mathematics. Students are strongly advised to take advantage of these offers. Detailed information will be provided with the letter of admission.

Services and support for international students

At the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the International Office assists all international students and can direct them to the department responsible for answering any questions they may have. Jena University has ERASMUS agreements with more than 200 European partners and 30 bilateral agreements with partners in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, the USA, Canada, and Japan. Jena University has 2,200 international students who come from 85 countries.
There is a comprehensive programme of counselling, administrative support, language courses, and tutoring for incoming students. The International Office also arranges accommodation for students who come to Jena on exchange or scholarship programmes.
The rooms in the student residences are allocated by Student Services ("Studentenwerk Thueringen": Private flats are also available, but students must find them on their own. Student mentors assist incoming students by meeting them at the train station, showing them to their rooms, introducing them to the university and its facilities, familiarising them with the city of Jena, introducing them to student life, and helping them with their paperwork. Student associations and groups offer a wide variety of joint activities and events, tandem language courses, concerts, excursions, etc., to help the international students to feel welcome and integrated. The Language Centre offers German language courses at several different levels.


Places in student residences are available. Please apply to the "Studentenwerk Thueringen" (
For further information, please visit our website at

You can also look for single or shared private accommodation on your own. There are numerous information boards with accommodation offers in the buildings of the university. However, please note that the availability of private accommodation in Jena is rather limited.
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