MSc Life Sciences


The Idea

The master's program "FOKUS Life Sciences" is a very comprehensive, interdisciplinary and fast track preparation for performing a PhD project at the Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS), University of Würzburg.

Available research topics for the master's program as well as for the subsequent PhD are clustered in the sections of Biomedicine, Integrative Biology, Infection and Immunity, and Neuroscience, comprising more than 300 research groups.

The master's program FOKUS Life Sciences thus bundles the leading Life Sciences expertise in Würzburg under the auspices of the faculty of Biology, including the other faculties participating in the Graduate School of Life Sciences: Physics, Chemistry & Pharmacy, Medicine and Psychology.

An emphasis/specialization/major in some aspect of the Life Sciences with a strong foundation in the basic (in contrast to applied) sciences is expected. A bachelor's degree e.g. in biology, biochemistry, biomedicine, pharmacy, bioinformatics, biotechnology, can be a sufficient basis (but see below regarding research experience).

The prospective students have finished their BSc (or are close to completion) and

  • have an excellent theoretical knowledge
  • have substantial experimental research experience, most lilely in the form of an experimental BSc thesis
  • want to enter a doctoral thesis research project as quickly as possible without omitting the MSc degree
  • are willing and able to take a high work load
  • want to study in a highly international class of peers with English as the teaching language
  • are keen on working in a highly interdisciplinary and diverse environment

Please note: This is not the right study programme for you if

  • your main career goal is an MSc degree
  • your main interest is to study any remotely fitting study programme taught in English
  • you have only a basic education in the natural sciences: study programmes that have a mostly technical/applied content such as nursing, laboratory technology, industrial biotechnology, fisheries science, etc., in most cases are not a sufficient prerequisite to apply. Neither are medical/veterinary programmes, unless substantial experimental research experience can be proven
  • you lack substantial experimental research experience (practical courses are not equivalent to research)

Please inquire, if in doubt.

The Study Program

Term 1

Lecture series "Topics and Concepts in Life Sciences" and Methods in Life Sciences" (10 ECTS each)

The lectures provide first hand insight into ongoing research, covering the most advanced methods, model organisms and current research topics. They are taught by principal investigators who are also members of the Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS).

Lab-course "Methods in Life Sciences" (10 ECTS)

The lab courses will take place within the research labs of any of the >300 GSLS members.

Candidates averaging a mark of 1.7 (B+) or better in the first term may immediately proceed to the MSc Thesis in the second term. All others will continue taking courses in the second and third term, before finishing their MSc program with a thesis in the 4th term.

Term 2 and following

The thesis project (25 ECTS) will take place in one of the laboratories of the >300 participating research groups. If the thesis is evaluated with 1.3 (A-) or better, candidates may directly proceed to a doctoral project.

The thesis defense (5 ECTS) and the other remaining 60 ECTS credit points may then be obtained in parallel with doctoral research. This is facilitated by earning credits for program elements which are anyhow obligatory during the doctoral study program, such as special lectures and courses provided by the different GSLS sections (program). The figure below depicts this course of events.

Alternatively, students may regularly finish the MSc study program in four semesters without a doctoral project in parallel.