Throughout the first year (Master's programme), current topics in molecular biology 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 methodology courses and interaction 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 business partners. The results of these projects are presented and discussed in seminars. During the first year, special emphasis is put on individual advice and intensive training in small groups. Continuous feedback regarding academic performance is given to the students via 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 extent, 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 Molecular Biology 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 an innovative concept, a high degree of internationalisation, scientific excellence in teaching, measures of quality assurance, services and counselling and the alumni record. Together with the Göttingen Neurosciences programme, the Molecular Biology programme was the only Master's programme from a school of natural sciences and medicine to receive this award in 2006.
Since 2007, the programme has been part of the Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB) funded by the German Excellence Initiative. It is conducted jointly by the University of Göttingen, the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine and the German Primate Center. 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.
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. A wide range of methods courses are offered in biochemistry, molecular biology, cell staining and imaging, electrophysiology, systems physiology, light and electron microscopy, and genetics.
Forms of assessment
- Master's examinations (one written, two oral) at the end of the first year
- evaluation of Master's thesis by two referees
- evaluation of doctoral thesis by two referees
- public defence of doctoral thesis
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 molecular biological-/biomedical-oriented studies. The programme is intended to qualify students for a professional career in academia, industry or science management.