The Master's programme aims at a focused education in modern biophysics, with a particular emphasis on the molecular view of biomolecules as cellular machines. It relates the concepts of biophysics and soft matter physics to the new field of nanophysics/nanotechnology, acknowledging the fact that both fields share a wide selection of methods and technologies, and that biomolecules can be ideal study and model objects for functional nanosystems.
The course is characterised by interdisciplinary training in the field of molecular and cellular biophysics, thorough education in the current methods of molecular cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics and nanotechnology, intensive practical work in the bio and nano field, research and application-oriented education.
The track Molecular Biophysics covers topics from the fields of biology, biophysics and polymer physics. Nanotechnology is firstly approached from the angle of nanobiotechnology to pinpoint basic interdisciplinary concepts. The focus is on biophysics and nanophysics. The students gain a broad overview of molecular and cellular biophysics and molecular nanostructures and machines in theory and experiments. To stress the molecular approach, the programme also covers modern single molecule techniques (single molecule optics, scanning probe techniques) that are fundamental in both biophysics and nanophysics. The programme has a strong practical focus.
In the track Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, students may choose one of two specialisation options: biophysics or nanoelectronics. The specialisation option Nanoelectronics covers molecular electronics, nanooptics, concepts of molecular modelling and molecular magnetism. The specialisation option Biophysics covers applied biophysics, biophysical methods and cellular machines. In both specialisation options, students learn basic concepts of molecular biology and biochemistry.
Educational organisationThe lectures and lab classes take place primarily during the first three semesters. The lab classes are organised as blocks at the end of each semester and run for several weeks. There are examinations at the end of each semester for each course. In the third semester, students work on a small lab project in three different labs for two weeks each. The fourth and final semester is mainly devoted to writing the Master's thesis.
Due to the limited number of students (up to 30 per academic year), it is possible to structure the lectures so that the students are actively involved. This allows full participation by the students during the lectures and lab classes.
The Master's programme Nanobiophysics is composed of two tracks: Molecular Biophysics with two years in Dresden; Nanoscience and Nanotechnology offered in cooperation with KU Leuven (Belgium), JFU Grenoble (France) and Chalmers (Sweden) in the framework of the Erasmus Mundus programme of the EU. Students of this track study the first year at KU Leuven and the second year at one of the other universities and obtain a joint degree.
Study abroad unit(s)Students have the opportunity to go abroad for their Master's thesis during the fourth semester of the Master's programme.
Students participating in the Erasmus Mundus programme Nanoscience and Nanotechnology spend their first year at KU Leuven (Belgium) and their second at one of the other three partner universities depending on their specialisation.
InternshipsLab classes are part of the curriculum of the Master's programme. Usually, they are organised as blocks at the end of each semester. In the third semester, there are three lab rotations in which students work for two weeks per lab rotation on a project in three different labs.
Forms of assessmentFor each module, there are written or oral examinations at the end of the lecture periods. During the exercises, seminars and lab classes, essays, lab protocols and reports have to be written and/or presented. A Master's thesis is written during the last semester of the Master's programme. The results of the work have to be presented in a colloquium/defence.
For each module, the credit points are awarded when the module is successfully passed. The Master's thesis is worth 30 credit points. In total, 120 credit points are awarded for the Master's programme.
Course objectivesOn the basis of the discussed methods and different scientific approaches, the graduates are able to conduct independent scientific research. They can work on complex problems and solve them with scientific methods that may lie beyond their current state of knowledge. They are able to think across scientific boundaries, communicate scientifically on a multidisciplinary level and solve economic problems.
Through a sound training in physics, biology and polymer and material science from a nanoscopic view, i.e. by using the wide variety of modern nanotechnological approaches and single-molecule based methods, the graduates are able to understand molecular machines quantitatively, to use and manipulate them, to adapt and develop them for technical processes. They know the basics of biophysics and bionanotechnology and are able to characterise and understand complex molecular machines as e.g. biomolecules with the help of nanotechnological approaches. They are able to harness these modules in technological systems and use them as templates or model systems for a bottom-up nanotechnology. They have acquired an analytical-technical profile.
A graduate in Nanobiophysics has extensive knowledge of modern experimental and theoretical biophysics and a sound background and experimental experience with biological systems from biochemistry to molecular cell biology. The graduate knows the most important concepts and methods in nanotechnology as well as different modern single-molecule methods in theory and practice and has a basic background in material sciences. Graduates are qualified to work in R&D labs/departments in an interdisciplinary context and are able to assess the economic aspects and relevance of their work.
English proficiency: TOEFL: 550 points (paper-based test); 213 points (computer-based test); 79 points (internet-based test) or IELTS 6.0 or other equivalent and internationally recognised certificates
Applicants are required to have:
- a "Diplom", Bachelor's degree, or equivalent qualification in physics or biophysics or in engineering (nanotechnology)
- good knowledge in physics including mechanics, electrodynamics, optics, thermodynamics, quantum theory and basic knowledge in chemistry and biology
- proficiency in English: TOEFL (550 points paper-based test, 213 points computer-based test, 79 points internet-based test), or IELTS (6.0) or equivalent certificates
The enrolment fee is currently about 260 EUR per semester and includes a semester ticket, which entitles students to use public transport in and around Dresden and regional trains within the federal state of Saxony. Additionally, it offers benefits (e.g. price reductions) for many cultural and leisure activities in Dresden.
Costs of living
The cost of living varies according to personal needs and preferences. However, about 700 EUR per month represents an average budget for a student in Dresden, including expenses for accommodation, food, items of everyday life, and insurance.
(This figure is relatively low compared to other big German cities.)
In order to top up their budget, some students may want to look for temporary work in Dresden. If so, different regulations apply for students from EU member states, countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, and students from outside the European Union and the EEA area. Please bear in mind that a temporary job is not easy to find. In addition, restrictions on the duration of employment may apply.
Professors, lecturers and group leaders involved in the Master's programme may offer students the possibility of working as academic assistants (especially in the labs). However, living expenses can be financed only partially through a job as an academic assistant.
Funding opportunities within the university
Each year, students can apply for a "Deutschlandstipendium", a stipend of 300 EUR per month. The application round is usually opened in the summer for the following winter term. Information can be found on the website of the TU Dresden.http://tu-dresden.de/studium/rund-ums-studium/foerderung-und-finanzierung/deutschlandstipendium
Arrival supportThe university provides counselling via e-mail and personal appointments regarding all matters related to arrival and living in Dresden, guided campus tours, and welcome receptions to which new students are invited to meet other students and professors.
For PhD students and researchers, the Welcome Center also provides additional support services concerning visa issues, finding suitable accommodation, etc.
Services and support for international studentsTU Dresden International Office offers a tutor network that helps new international students organise their studies. All international freshers are invited to an introduction day at the beginning of their first semester, on which they will also meet their tutors.
Furthermore, the International Office's cultural office and various student initiatives provide a plethora of social and cultural activities each semester (guided city tours, trips in the region and to other cities in Germany or neighbouring countries, language tandems, etc.).
AccommodationIt is quite easy to find accommodation in Dresden. Accommodation is available either via the Studentenwerk Dresden or on the private market. Rent for a single room in a student residence is approx. 250 EUR.
Private housing can be found online. We recommend moving into a hall of residence at the beginning of your stay in Dresden and later find a place on the private market or in a shared apartment, known in German as a "Wohngemeinschaft".