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This intensive programme leads graduates with a bachelor's degree to a Master of Science (M.Sc.) within 18 months. After a 3-year doctorate programme, graduates may acquire either the title Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Dr. rer. nat.. The semester structure has been removed, different subjects are integrated into a uniformly structured range of courses and it is possible to switch into the doctorate programme without a master's thesis, thus shortening the period of study. All courses are held in English.
The programme is divided into two parts. During the first year, lectures, tutorials, seminars, methodical internships and individually tutored research projects take place within 36 weeks. Lab rotation and individual tutorials as well as the involvement of lecturers from Max Planck institutes guarantee work that is hands-on and research-oriented. The first year of study ends with one written and two oral exams that qualify for the master's thesis. These may be omitted if good or excellent grades have been attained during the first year of study, allowing the student to switch directly over to the 3-year doctorate programme.
Early participation in scientific conferences and courses as well as the publication of articles in international scientific journals are also required for the doctoral degree. The doctorate programme enables research stays in laboratories abroad.
Social integration also plays an important role. A coordination office helps students at the start of their studies in Göttingen and offers a central contact point during the entire programme.
Involved in the interdisciplinary programme of the Göttingen Centre for Molecular Biosciences are the Faculties of Biology and Psychology, Medicine, Chemistry and Agricultural Sciences, the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and for Experimental Medicine, as well as the German Primate Centre.
The degree qualifies graduates for a professional career in molecular and cellular biosciences.
The Master's/PhD Molecular Biology Program starts with an initial segment of one year in which all students participate. This first segment of intensive theoretical and practical studies starts in October and ends in August with written and oral examinations. The semester structure is not followed during the first year. Instead, the courses are structured in a modular fashion covering a period of 36 weeks with short breaks at Christmas and Easter. Thereafter, two separate segments are offered which last 3 years for the doctoral program and 6 months for the Master's program.
The first segment of the Master's/PhD Molecular Biology Program is mandatory for all students. It consists of practical training in the participating research laboratories combined with comprehensive lectures, tutorials and seminars to provide students with a sound theoretical background. To successfully complete this segment of the program, a minimum of 90 credits must be accumulated.
Lectures / Tutorials (20 credits):
Current topics in molecular biology are taught by internationally renowned scientists in a comprehensive lecture series. A catalogue of study questions and recommended reading is issued, serving as a guideline for discussion in tutorials which accompany each lecture.
Methods Courses (20 credits):
During the first 9 weeks (Oct - Dec), students participate in a series of methods courses. These courses provide an introduction to theory and principles underlying the fundamental methods of the molecular biosciences. Every student conducts 18 two-day experiments in small groups. Each two-day experiment is carried out in a different department. Thus students become acquainted with a variety of methods and laboratory facilities during the initial phase of the program.
Research Projects (Lab Rotations; 45 credits):
Starting in January, every student conducts three research projects (lab rotations) in the participating departments, chosen from different fields. Each project is individually supervised. It involves seven weeks of experimental work, followed by one week of data analysis and a written lab report in the format of a scientific research publication. Results of the first two projects are presented in a seminar.
Seminar (5 credits):
Starting in March, all students meet weekly for a two-hour seminar, in which participants present and discuss the results of their research projects.
Special Courses and Presentations (optional)
* Participating research groups present and discuss their scientific interests in a special lecture series, offered between October and December.
* A "crash course" in basic statistics (4 days with lectures and exercises) is offered in October.
* A one-day workshop on oral presentation skills and writing of a scientific paper is offered in December.
* A one-day seminar on good scientific practice is offered in December.
Upon successful completion of the first segment, students may conclude the program with a six-month Master's thesis project based on scientific research. The thesis project involves experimental work under the supervision of a faculty member of the Molecular Biology Program. The degree "Master of Science" is conferred if and when the candidate has
* received the required credits for the first segment of the program.
* passed the examinations at the end of the first segment.
* successfully completed the Master's thesis.
In October 2006, the Molecular Biology Master's program was awarded the label "Top 10 International Master's Degree Courses made in Germany". The award was granted by "Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft" together with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in a national contest, in which 121 Master's programs of 77 universities participated.
Criteria for the award were the innovative concept, a high degree of internationalization, scientific excellence of teaching, measures of quality assurance, services and counseling, and the alumni record. Together with the Göttingen Neuroscience Program, the Molecular Biology program was the only Master's program in the natural sciences and medicine which received this award.
Financial Aid / Scholarships
First Year (MSc studies)
The program supports every student with up to 800 Euros/month throughout the first year if the request for financial aid is well justified. Whether a student receives the full amount through a stipend from the program or whether financial aid is granted, in part, through a student loan, depends on the number of students applying for a scholarship and on the financial situation of the applicant.
Every student is required to declare all stipends, fellowships, grants etc. she/he receives from other sources to the coordination office. Students who obtain a full scholarship (600 Euros or more) from other sources (e.g. government, home university, DAAD, companies, etc.) will not receive additional funding from the Molecular Biology Program.
In addition to basic support and scholarships, students may apply for a loan of up to 250 Euros/month. The loan (no interest rate) is paid back by the student within 12 months upon entering the PhD phase of the Molecular Biology Program.
The Master's Program has been accredited by the Zentrale Evaluations- und Akkreditierungsagentur Hannover (ZEvA) in 2003 (re-accredited in 2008 and 2013).